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   Conservation Issues of the Ventana Chapter | monterey county

Whaler's Cove Beach on north coast again open to public

August 2007

Seven years after the Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) purchased Whaler's Cove near Pescadero for permanent protection, the non-profit land trust announced that the beach at Whaler's Cove is once again accessible to the public. Located 20 miles south of Half Moon Bay on Hwy. 1, the beach is part of Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park and is owned and operated by California State Parks.

New recycled-redwood stairs to the beach from the bluff above provide public access which was blocked by the former property owner.

Whaler's Cove boasts a rich and colorful past. Portuguese whalers once hauled their catch onto the beach, which in the mid-1800s was also a loading ground for sending timber to market. Rumrunners secretly used the shores to deliver their stashes of liquor, and in the mid-1940s, a commercial oyster farming operation occupied the cove. Historical remains are partially visible on the property today.

More recently, in 1981, a private buyer purchased Whaler's Cove with the intent to construct a home on the site. In 1994, the owner changed her plans and sought permission from San Mateo County to develop a nine-unit motel instead. As part of the negotiations, she agreed to give the 1.5-acre beach portion of the property to the state. However, she maintained title to the access points for the beach and promptly erected a chain-link fence and posted "No Trespassing" signs, effectively blocking access to the beach.

Today the motel and fence are gone. For the first time in 13 years, the public will officially be able to access the beach again.


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