Trestles Parking Lot No Longer Free

Jesse Merle-Jones, Lower Trestles

That hike down to Lowers just got a bit pricier, and longer… Photo: Steindler

Since we don’t make the half-hour hike to one of surfing’s most populated waves all that often, we hadn’t really heard anything about this until it came across my web digging this Monday morning. At first, it really pissed me off. How can they charge for that lot?

But after reading the article, it kind of makes sense to me. They do charge for parking in every other state park, and it’s only a small price to pay when heading there. But $10–15? I don’t know if I agree with that one. Anyways, read the article and let us know what you think about this in the comments below. Is it right or do we need to help out one of the best state parks around? And how about the dude going off about the state officials, he says they should be ‘terminated.’ I don’t need to explain the irony on that one…

As reported by Andrea Swayne for the San Clemente Times.
Surfers pulling in to the Trestles [Carl's Jr.] parking lot on Tuesday morning, August 11, were surprised by a row of public notice signs zip-tied to the fences.  The signs were posted by the California State Parks Department to announce that effective August 17, "…vehicles parking in the San Onofre State Beach-Trestles parking area are subject to applicable State Park day-use fees and parking regulations. Valid State Park Annual Day Use Passes will be accepted…"

According to Rich Haydon, State Parks South Sector Superintendant for the Orange Coast District, a manned kiosk will be erected at the lot entrance to begin charging the new fee, which is expected to be between $10 and $15.

The announcement was met with a pretty even split—those in favor vs. those against the new fees—among surfers interviewed that morning regarding their opinions on the issue. Though curiously, local San Clemente surfers were absent among the group using the lot that morning.

"I think the new fees are ok. We fought to protect this park from the toll road and it was defeated, but we lost the economic benefit that it would have provided. So why not now be able to actually get some money from the lot to help with upkeep and use the money to make sure that the park is best used for everybody?" said surfer Mike Besnard of Irvine. "We charge for other state park parking, so why not for this one?"

Doug Anderson of Orange had a different opinion. "I'm here at least three times a week and this makes me very angry," said Anderson. "I can't figure out why this legislature can't operate within a budget. Everyone else has to—both at home and at work. Why are these people who are paid to do a job and fail at managing the state allowed to keep their jobs? It seems to me that they should be terminated. When you don't pay your bills at home who do you ask for money? It frustrates me. I think it should be the same with the legislature—even more so because it's not their money!"
When asked about other revenue generating ideas such as the likelihood of the Trestles special event parking area (off of Basilone Road) being opened at times other than during events such as surf contests, Haydon said that it is unlikely to happen. "The special events lot is not part of the Parks General Plan and would require a very lengthy process, possibly several years, to change the policy on that lot," said Haydon.

The public notice signs showed up at the lot on the same day that the California State Parks Department issued a press release announcing other statewide fee increases.