Santa Cruz Rail Trail - Nighttime Closure


December 1, 2021

On Thursday, the Coastal Commission approved a consistency determination for a proposed 7.5 mile multi-use pedestrian trail that will run from Wilder Ranch State Park to Davenport in Santa Cruz County along the railroad corridor. The project was broady supported by local agencies and the general public. The staff recommendation included two controversial conditions to the proposed project; those included a prohibition on shoreline armoring for the trail and for unrestricted 24 hour access to the trail. This vote would have limited nighttime access to the parking lots and trail item The vote was motioned by Commissioner Caryl Hart and seconded by Carole Groom and failed in a split 4-5 vote.

Why You Should Care

Crimes should be dealt with by law enforcement, not by blocking public access. The Coastal Commission’s charge is to maximize public access.


Pro-Coast Vote

Anti-Coast Vote

In a series of votes, the Commission upheld the unrestricted access condition of the staff recommendation despite opposition from the applicants and community members who insist that public access to the coastal trail will increase crime at night. The Commission encouraged crime to be dealt with as such and noted this could be revisited if there are any issues. Commissioner Hart and Groom motioned to modify special condition 3 from keeping the parking lots and trail open 24 hours a day to open from 6 am to 10 pm. The motion failed.

Organizations Opposed

Surfrider Foundation

Decision Type

Consistency Certification

Staff Recommendation

Approval with Conditions

Coastal Act Policy