Public Access Restored to Sea Ranch Beach

July 31, 2014 in News

Public access to “Walk On Beach," a quarter-mile of sandy shore in The Sea Ranch, is restored after years of trail closure. The reopening is the result of an agreement between Sonoma County and The Sea Ranch Association that shifts a portion of the public path onto open space held in common by the private community.

Walk On Beach is near the northern end of the coastal development and is one of five Sea Ranch beaches with access trails managed by Sonoma County Parks. For years, the public reached Walk On Beach from a Highway 1 trail that connects to a bluff-top path to the beach. Incremental erosion and severe storms washed away a section of the bluff trail just north of the beach in 2003, and the damage required closing this final leg of the public access.

In the intervening years, Regional Parks collaborated with homeowners on options for repairing or realigning the eroded trail segment. Consensus was reached earlier this year on a plan to move the trail inland a few feet onto the Sea Ranch commons. Sonoma County Supervisors and The Sea Ranch Association in April approved a Revocable License Agreement that calls for the county to manage the trail segment for up to 20 years. The Sea Ranch Association completed the trail work in July, and beach access is fully restored.

The Walk On Beach trailhead continues to be located at 40101 Highway 1, in a clearly marked parking area. To reach the beach, visitors follow a forested trail west for .3-miles to a junction with the bluff-top trail and then walk south on the bluff for .2-miles to a wooden staircase leading to the beach.

Regional Parks manages a total of seven public trails within The Sea Ranch. The trail easements were granted by the developer in the 1980s to the California Coastal Conservancy, which then deeded the easements to Sonoma County to provide public access in perpetuity.

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