WHISLER-WILSON RANCH CAMPING FEASIBILITY STUDY
For over 40 years, the District has served the community as the premier public open space parkland acquisition agency in Monterey County. In April 2004, the District purchased the spectacular 4,300 acre Palo Corona Regional Park. The following year, the northern 600 acres were opened to limited public access and by 2010 a new trail system and trail map were completed. In November 2011 the final payment was made and staff began the process of drafting a General Development Plan for the entire 4,300 acres. The most critical limitation to full access is the lack of adequate public parking.
To improve and expand public accessibility into the park the District purchased the 317-acre Whisler-Wilson property in December 2012 as an addition to Palo Corona Regional Park. The property was acquired with the intent of creating a secondary entrance into the park and additional off-highway public parking. Final payment, and full ownership of the property, will take place in January 2015.
Always observant and persistent for grant funding opportunities, the District was successful in obtaining a one-million dollar grant from the State Coastal Conservancy and another three million dollar grant from State Proposition 117 Habitat Conservation Fund for the acquisition.
Because coastal camping is a highest recreational demand priority for the state the Conservancy grant was conditioned with a requirement that the District complete a camping feasibility study for the new property.
In April 2013 the District hired the landscape consulting firm of DesignWorkShop to prepare the necessary feasibility study. Over the spring and summer DesignWorkShop collected public surveys; contacted government, non-profit, and community stakeholders for input; and collated statewide camping demand and trend data. In the meantime, the District hosted two public meetings: the first at Rancho Canada on April 24th and the second on August 20th at Carmel Youth Center. The District also hosted a two-day weekend “open house” on October 18-19 to share information with the community and receive feedback for the draft study. On January 6th the District Board a Draft Final Report for submission to the State Coastal Conservancy and for posting to the District website for further and continued public comment.
The draft final report will be sent to State Parks for their consideration as that agency goes through its planning process for public access and use of its Point Lobos Ranch property that boarders the District’s Whisler-Wilson property.
For further information, please contact District Planning and Conservation Manager Tim Jensen at [email protected].