The California Coastal Commission recently approved a coastal development permit for Crystal Cove State Park Historic District, which will result in the renovation of 17 cottages in the area. Not only will this help to increase public access to affordable overnight stays in the area, but it will also allow the park to provide education opportunities to under-served students.
Working Toward Improvements
Over the last four years, California State Parks and Crystal Cove Alliance have been working with the California Coastal Commission in an effort to obtain permits to restore 17 un-restored cottages located on the north beach area. Restoring these cottages represents the capstone project for the Crystal Cove Alliance, which has a mission of Preservation, Education and Conservation. Having previously been identified as part of the overnight rental program in the Preservation and Public Use Plan, which had previously been approved, the 17 cottages will significantly increase rental opportunities in the area. Considering that the area was a private community for approximately 60 years, many are considering the permit approval to be a major public access success story.
Taking the Next Step
While the permits have been approved, the Crystal Cove Alliance still needs to work toward raising the balance of the funds that are needed to complete the project. The California Coastal Commission, which has long been a dedicated partner to the project, has provided $5 million in mitigation funds to assist with the final phase of the rehabilitation project. The current proposal calls for $4 million to go toward the infrastructure and restoration while $1 million will go toward a permanent education endowment.
The proposal also calls for the development of the Coastal Dynamics Education Program. This is part of a ten-year effort between the California Coastal Commission and California State Parks to create innovative education programs and research projects in partnership with the University of California, Irvine. The coastal engineering program will provide opportunities to study the stress the California coastline is experiencing due to a combination of sea level rise and human modification of the physical and environmental systems. Crystal Cove State Park itself can serve as a natural laboratory for science and engineering, making it an ideal location for educating under-served K-12 students as well as college students. The goal is to provide students with the opportunity to stay overnight just a few feet from the shoreline as they learn about the changing coastline and experiment with innovative solutions.
Providing Overnight Accommodations
Once the 17 cottages are restored, they will offer a total of 22 affordable overnight rental units ranging in price from $35 per night for a dorm bed to $245 per night for a large cottage that sleeps 10 guests. Cottage #20 will be an “open bed” dorm lodge, making it the first of its kind at Crystal Cove. Other dorms-style lodges offer private locking bedrooms with a shared common area, while the open bed dorm will have 11 beds and will be available for up to 36 nights per year for students. For the rest of the year, it will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis at a cost of $35 per bed.