The Land

In the early 1990’s, a proposed development threatened public access of the Estero Bluffs open space and natural coastline north of Cayucos. The citizens, led by the founders of CLC, challenged the development. As a result of the community’s efforts, the Trust for Public Land acquired the property in 1998, granted fee ownership to California State Parks and a perpetual conservation easement to the newly formed Cayucos Land Conservancy.

This partnership has allowed a community-led group to be an active partner in managing Estero Bluffs State Park, which then led to other cooperative efforts. Since, CLC has acquired an easement on the San Geronimo Ranch, the backdrop to Estero Bluffs and continues to purchase or accept donations of hillside lots east of town.

In order to be good stewards of these properties, CLC meets quarterly with State Park representatives to discuss management issues and has instituted several stewardship projects including “Bluff Walks”, volunteer work days, and yearly monitoring. 

Toro Coast Preserve Project Update

The southern boundary of Cayucos is now permanently preserved!

  • Escrow on Parcel 1 closed Thursday April 30 - in orange on the map.
  • Parcel 1 is now a San Luis Obispo County Park.
  • Beach parcels south of Toro Creek Road are expected to close sometime in early 2021.

Many, many thanks to our generous donors and supporters; you have bolstered funds for this project beyond all expectations. CLC is still accepting donations for the remaining parcels, as the precise figure for their closing is still being determined.

These are the goals that have driven the 5 year process for Phase 1 of the Toro Coast Preserve Project (Chevron parcels):

  • Preserve open space between Cayucos and Morro Bay;
  • Preserve the spectacular rural views from Hwy 1 and the beach;
  • Preserve public access to "dog beach" and have it remain a dog friendly beach;
  • Provide land for the California Coastal Trail from Studio Drive to north Morro Bay;
  • Protect environmental resources in Toro Creek as well as hundreds of acres of grasslands.

The Cayucos Land Conservancy, the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County and the Trust for Public Land, together with the County of San Luis Obispo and the City of Morro Bay, have been working for many years to find a conservation solution for a big part of Chevron’s former oil facility between Cayucos and Morro Bay. 

Finally in December 2019 a purchase and sale agreement was signed, formalizing a deal and setting April 2020 as the close of escrow.  State agencies have agreed to provide approximately $4,000,000 to help fund, what we hope is, Phase 1 of a multi-phased and multi-year effort to conserve key parts of the entire Chevron property.  We anticipate that the local community will need to contribute approximately $750,000 to make these goals a reality.

CLC is leading efforts to fundraise the difference between what State agencies are contributing and the cost of the properties.

Please donate to this important addition to the Cayucos greenbelt.

Phase 1 (see the map above) includes the 258 acre parcel which was purchased from Chevron last April. As you can see from the map, this large parcel abuts the southern boundary of Cayucos both east and west of Highway 1.  This property  and Estero Bluffs State Park to the north, serve as cornerstones to the greenbelt around Cayucos.  When escrow closed on Parcel 1 in April it immediately became a San Luis Obispo County park.  County Parks will continue to graze the inland 248 acres and to lease the existing residence.  County Parks intends to maintain public access to the beachside 10 acres and to eventually build the Cayucos to Morro Bay section of the California Coastal Trail on that section of the property.

Another important component of Phase I are the parcels on the ocean side of Hwy 1 bordering on north Morro Bay.  It is the conservation partners' goal, by working with the Cayucos Sanitary District (CSD), to facilitate the acquisition of these parcels (in purple) by the City of Morro Bay so that the bluff and beach will remain open to the public and continue to be "dog friendly".   Hopefully this transaction will close in early 2021.

The Cayucos Land Conservancy and the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County (LCSLO) are also intent on conserving the Cayucos Sanitary District's inland parcels (triangular shape also in purple), which are bounded by Highway 1, Toro Creek Road and Toro Creek.  Negotiations between the two conservancies and the CSD are ongoing and the partners hope to  determine how best to protect the inland parcels by Spring of 2021.

Estero Bluffs State Park

The Estero Bluffs, a four-mile coastal plain north of Cayucos, is the centerpiece of the Cayucos Land Conservancy efforts. CLC’s conservation easement is designed to preserve these bluffs as the way they were in 2002. Although State Parks holds the fee title, the easement empowers CLC to participate in management of the Bluffs, enforce the easement, and concur in all management decisions.

San Geronimo Ranch

San Geronimo Ranch, a 900-acre working cattle ranch, is a key components of the greenbelt that surrounds Cayucos, and lies north of town directly across from the Estero Bluffs. The voluntary agreement, entered into with the owner, ensures that this area will remain a working ranch and open space, with its classic California ranch headquarters. It also provides the opportunity to restore and protect the riparian area which flows through the heart of the property. The Ranch, along with the Bluffs, is the dominant northern backdrop to Cayucos on Highway 1.

Hillside Lots & Land Acquisition

In the late 1920’s two subdivisions were established on the hillside directly above Cayucos, creating 1,640 paper lots. One of the Cayucos Land Conservancy's goals is to acquire lots from willing owners to preserve these hills as part of the greenbelt. Some lots are donated by owners, others are purchased. In addition, generous grants have allowed us to continue this ongoing project and we presently own nearly 25% of the hillside lots.

CLC is an all volunteer organization dependent upon funds received from membership dues and grants, and therefore has a limited budget with which to purchase these lots. However, we are a 501©(3) public benefit corporation, so a donation or sale to CLC at less than fair market value could provide a substantial deduction to the donor on state and federal income tax returns. Please contact us if you would like to discuss a lot transaction.

Harmony Headlands

Harmony Headlands State Park Located approximately 5 miles north of Cayucos, between Highway 1 and the Pacific, Harmony Headlands was purchased by the State in 2002. Beginning in 2007, CLC partnered with local State Park staff to provide parking, communication and a volunteer program at the park. Thanks to the generosity of the Hind Foundation and Negranti Construction, the park opened to the public in Fall of 2008.

The trail through Harmony Headlands provides an easy hike to the coast, less than 2 miles and fairly level, the only public access to the coast between Cayucos and Cambria. The 700-acre park is open daily, from 6am to sunset. Per State Parks rules and regulations dogs, horses, bicycles and camping are not allowed in the park.