The Trust for Public Lands, recognizes the community's desire to actively participate in the preservation of the land surrounding Cayucos. In the early 1990’s, a proposed development threatened the loss of the Estero Bluffs, the natural coastline and open space surrounding the town, and the citizens, led by the founders of CLC, challenged the development. As a result of the community’s efforts, the Trust for Public Lands acquired the property in 1998 and 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 a good steward 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.
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, a 980-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.
In the 1920’s two subdivisions were established on the hillside directly above Cayucos, creating 1,640 paper lots. One of the Cayucos Land Conservancy's goal 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 approximately 20% 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 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.