AB 1426 would require the California Department of Parks and Recreation to report to the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee and the Assembly Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee about any proposed state or local agency infrastructure projects that would encroach or interfere with the operation of San Onofre State Beach.
San Onofre State Beach hosts more than 2.5 million visitors annually and is home to the last remaining wild and undeveloped watershed in southern California, the San Mateo Creek watershed. The 2,100-acre park contains upland habitat, trails, and the popular San Mateo campground, which provides affordable coastal accommodations for Californians. The coastal portion of the park is home to the world-famous Trestles Beach, which was immortalized in the Beach Boys’ song “Surfin’ USA.” The park also contains an ancient sacred village, Panhe, which was used by native Acjachemen people and is still used as a sacred ceremonial and cultural location by the Acjachemen.
For almost the last two decades, the park had been threatened with a proposal to build a multi-lane toll road that would have bisected San Onofre State Beach and ruined the San Mateo Watershed. Park supporters fought that proposal, which was denied by the California Coastal Commission, federal Department of Commerce, and state Regional Water Quality Control Board. Those decisions recognized that building the proposed road through the park would cause very significant environmental impacts and would be contrary to law.
In late 2016, a legal settlement was reached between environmental groups, the California Attorney General, and state agencies that had fought the proposal and the transportation agency that had proposed it. However, the park continues to be threatened by proposals for new or expanded transportation infrastructure.