The Save San Onofre Coalition reached a settlement with California's Transportation Corridor Agency (TCA), and the six-lane, 16-mile toll road will not be built through the San Onofre State Beach.
In the past 15 years, the iconic surf break of Lower Trestles and the surrounding habitat have been threatened by the extension of a toll road that would run through and devastate one of the most visited and beloved state parks in California.
State Route 241 (SR 241) was constructed by the TCA and is owned by the state of California. Plans to extend the toll road in southern Orange County have always had the opposition of environmental groups and conservationists.
San Onofre State Beach was established in 1971 by then-Governor Ronald Reagan, and it is one of the most popular parks in the state. Every year, more than 2.4 million visitors experience this magnificent park, its beaches, and natural areas.
If the toll road had been built, it would have destroyed the multiple world-class surf spots of Trestles, polluted the watershed, and destroyed thousands of acres of open space that contain 11 endangered or threatened species.
"The agreement reached today is the culmination of years of work by the Save San Onofre Coalition to ensure the protection of the extraordinary recreational, cultural and natural resources of San Onofre State Beach and the Richard and Donna O'Neill Conservancy," explained Elizabeth Goldstein, spokesperson for the Save San Onofre Coalition and president of the California State Parks Foundation.
"For the past two years, TCA and its team of experts have engaged in thoughtful and productive discussions about the future of improving transportation mobility and the importance of protecting environmentally sensitive areas. This agreement is a baseline for achieving both of those objectives," added Mike Kraman, CEO at TCA.
The Save San Onofre Coalition comprises 12 local and national environmental organizations: Audubon California, California Coastal Protection Network, California State Parks Foundation, Defenders of Wildlife, Endangered Habitats League, Laguna Greenbelt, Inc., Natural Resources Defense Council, Orange County Coastkeeper, Sea and Sage Audubon Society, Sierra Club, Surfrider Foundation and WildCoast/CoastalVaje.
It's all over. San Clemente's iconic cobblestone surf break has been saved. Lower Trestles will continue to be Southern California's finest surf gem.