Isla Vista’s Camino Pescadero Park will be closed until Sept. 17 while Santa Barbara County reconstructs the beach access stairs, which have been damaged by repeated storms, according to Santa Barbara County Parks Superintendent Jeff Lindgren.
The past two winter seasons and large amounts of cliff erosion from previous years have deteriorated the supporting structure of the stairs, according to Lindgren. He added that there “was nothing actually wrong with the park” but that it was closed to allow for construction on the staircase.
“The beach access staircase was damaged from exposure to the sea and wave action over the years and particularly the stronger storms and swells from the last two winters,” he said.
Camino Pescadero Park, at the intersection of Camino Pescadero and Del Playa Drive, gives I.V. residents and visitors access to I.V.’s sandy shores through its beach access stairway. But the typically busy walkway for beachgoers is now surrounded by a wire fence and a sign stating “Beach Access Closed.”
The project — a collaboration between Santa Barbara County, the I.V. Recreation and Park District (IVRPD) and UC Santa Barbara — began in early June with an estimated cost of $734,000, according to the minutes from the May 23 Santa Barbara County Park Commission meeting.
The project is funded by a grant from the Community Development Block, money allocated toward deferred maintenance within the Santa Barbara County budget, as well as $10,000 from UCSB’s Coastal Fund. The Coastal Fund is a student-created and funded project that offers funding for proposals that seek restoration, preservation, access or educational projects for the coastal habitats of the University, according to the fund’s website.
UCSB is also supporting the county during this reconstruction by allowing county vehicles access to UCSB’s beach to reach the construction area, according to Lindgren.
Santa Barbara County previously revamped three of the five coastal access stairs, most recently in 2007, with each taking four months to complete, the Nexus reported in 2007. The 2007 repairs replaced the entire structure of the wooden stairs, with additional stainless steel at the bottom, and handrails running along the entire staircase.
I.V. beach goers can still access Camino Pescadero beach through the stairs at other locations such as El Embarcadero and Camino Del Sur beach access.