Bureau of Land Management approves new access to California Coastal National Monument
New management plan spotlights Cotoni-Coast Dairies recreation with world-class vistas on Santa Cruz County’s North Coast
MARINA, Calif. — Hiking, biking, horseback riding and bird-watching are just some of the planned activities the public will be able to enjoy at Cotoni-Coast Dairies – one of the latest additions to the California Coastal National Monument. A finalized management plan released this week will guide the use of nearly 6,000 acres of coastal-facing public lands.
“The BLM is committed to expanding public access to the California Coastal National Monument under the Cotoni-Coast Dairies Resource Management Plan Amendment,” said BLM California’s State Director Karen Mouritsen. “This plan supports the Biden-Harris Administration’s America the Beautiful initiative and demonstrates BLM’s ability to balance recreation with habitat management, livestock grazing, cultural resource protection and fuels reduction.”
Future planned access includes 27-miles of new trails for hiking, bicycling, horseback riding and dog walking. Two year-round parking areas, one seasonal parking area and pedestrian/bicycle connections to San Vicente Redwoods and the North Coast Rail Trail are proposed to be constructed. Recreation on the property will provide opportunities for exercise, challenging trail features, world-class vistas, nature viewing, bird-watching and photography. Access to the property is currently limited to guided tours, while implementation gets underway, and BLM is committed to ensuring the many values of the area are safeguarded, as access increases.
“Today’s accomplishment for Cotoni-Coast Dairies owes its success to the tremendous involvement by partners, organizations and individuals who helped inform the decision-making process,” said BLM Central Coast Field Manager Ben Blom, whose office approved the plan. “At the heart of this planning effort is community-based conservation and citizen-centered stewardship, which have a long-standing history for this remarkable property. We are excited to work with our partners and stakeholders, as we transition our efforts toward implementation.”
Cotoni-Coast Dairies was donated to the BLM in 2014 by The Trust for Public Land. The property is distinguished by broad marine terraces separated by six forested, perennial streams that flow from the Santa Cruz Mountains into the Pacific Ocean. The area supports a wide variety of habitats and wildlife, including coho salmon, steelhead trout, California red-legged frogs, mule deer and mountain lions. A phased approach to recreation development will help protect the property’s sensitive biological and cultural resources. The plan identifies half the area as core habitat for fish and wildlife that will have limited recreational access.
The management plan advances the BLM’s commitment to vegetation management and provides a framework to reduce fuels that can feed wildland fires. It also authorizes livestock grazing on more than 2,000 acres of public lands and enables the use of prescribed controlled burns and mechanical treatments to prevent encroachment of woody vegetation into the wildland-urban interface.
The BLM’s partners, who contributed their diverse perspectives and expertise, were instrumental in developing the shared vision for the Cotoni-Coast Dairies. These partners include the Amah Mutsun Land Trust, Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, California Coastal Commission, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, CalFire, California State Parks, Caltrans, Davenport North Coast Association, Friends of the North Coast, Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, NOAA-National Marine Fisheries Service, Santa Cruz County, Santa Cruz Mountains Trail Stewardship, Santa Cruz Regional Transportation Commission, Sempervirens Fund and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Today’s release of the decision record for the Cotoni-Coast Dairies Resource Management Plan Amendment for the California Coastal National Monument initiates a 30-day appeal period for implementation-level decisions that ends on July 23, 2021. More information on this planning effort is available online at https://go.usa.gov/xEJAw. For specific questions, please call the Central Coast Field Office at 831-582-2200.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.