Get Ready To Ride! The Pismo Preserve Is Purchased

A celebration is in the works by the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo, to applaud the purchase of 900 acres of land to be turned into a public-use preserve called the Pismo Preserve. Escrow documents were signed Tuesday, September 16, at 10:00 am officially putting this pristine California coastland, which serves as the backdrop to the city of Pismo Beach, into the hands of the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo.

This monumental feat of raising 12.3 million dollars in about a 6 month period of time to purchase the land, fund the initial site improvements, and finalize all the paperwork and legal papers to permanently preserve this land to benefit the community is worthy of a celebration.

The first phase, purchasing the Pismo Preserve, is over but the work is not done. Now the Land Conservancy will develop plans and acquire permits for two staging areas/parking lots, restroom facilities, picnic areas, etc. The time frame for the completion of this “permit acquiring” phase is nine months.

Equestrian Involvement

The purchase of Pismo Preserve is great news for Equestrians as the plan includes access for Equestrians throughout the Preserve. In addition, the staging area will be designed and constructed with experienced, trail-riding Equestrians giving input on the design as well as having a role in the development of the trails.

Beverly Poorman, Vice President of SLOPOST (San Luis Obispo Parks, Open Space and Trails Foundation) and an avid SLO County trail rider will be one of the Equestrians giving input on the staging area. She has this to say, “SLOPOST has promised $25,000 specifically for the Equestrian staging area. We hope to have a separate staging area for horses in the interest of public safety and to meet the specific needs of Equestrians.”

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Beverly Poorman, Vice President of SLOPOST

Beverly went on to explain the vision for the Equestrian staging area, “We would like to see the staging area large enough to accommodate 15-20 rigs and to make it safe for tying horses. Safety and easy pull in and out is our goal. We will have to work with the terrain and budget.”

Pismo Preserve Trail Development

Presently there are about 10 miles of trails already on the Preserve. The plan is to expand this to a series of multi-use trails providing another dozen miles of trails and linkages to trails all over the Preserve. Beverly shared the vision for the trail development as well, “We will work closely with the multi-user groups to help find that balance in safety, terrain and sustainability. SLOPOST has been working together with the CCCMB (Central Coast Concerned Mountain Bikers) for years supporting, maintaining and creating multi-use trails in our county. We will continue to help in the development and maintenance of the trails in this project.”

The Land Conservancy is also planning on training a local volunteer trail maintenance crew, “with sustainable trail building techniques to help ensure that Pismo Preserve and other area trails are effectively maintained.”

How You Can Get Involved

The first date of involvement is Saturday, November 22nd from 9am-4pm at the Pismo Preserve when both the CCCMB and The Land Conservancy will host a trail building school for any interested volunteers who would like to be a part of trail development and maintenance. It will also be an early opportunity to get onto the Preserve and see all it has to offer as a nature-lover’s paradise.

The Land Conservancy also plans to engage the community in a series of stakeholder workshops to make sure that people can voice their concerns and opinions before the Preserve is open to the public.

The anticipated beginning construction date of the parking lots and staging areas is summer of 2015. Once completed, the Pismo Preserve would be open for dawn-to-dusk community use. If the permitting phase and the construction phase both go as planned, the anticipated opening date would be Fall of 2015. There is currently no public access allowed on the property because certain amenities must be constructed to support public use before opening. However, community members can gain exclusive early access by volunteering or attending a stakeholder workshop. For invitations (including info on the celebration party) and for Pismo Preserve updates, sign up for The Land Conservancy’s e-newsletter here.

This was written by: 

Sharon Jantzen

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Former Pony Clubber, Eventer and Dressage rider who balanced training and showing with getting a college degree (from Cal Poly SLO), becoming a wife and raising a family.

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