While Pirates Cove is a great place to watch the sunset, take a good photo or just explore, the location has increasingly faced a number of issues.

Among the most notable of these issues is the parking lot, which is difficult to drive across due to an uneven foundation. The lot has also become home to car break-ins, high rates of littering and crime. San Luis Obispo County Parks and Recreation is working on a new project to improve public safety and combat the area’s high volume of litter. The county was granted ownership of the area above the beach including the parking lot and trails in 2014. Since then it has pushed for renovations in the area, but none have been approved thus far.

County Parks and Recreation is back with its most recent plan proposal. The plan includes a new road base in the parking lot and the addition of trash cans, recycling bins and additional features to protect the area’s cultural resources.

County Parks and Recreation Director Nick Franco said rather than making the area a park, the goal behind these plans is to better manage the natural area.

One concern expressed in a public workshop was that these renovations would result in losing anywhere from 20 to 25 parking spots in the area. Franco said the Parks and Recreation Department has asked designers to go back to the drawing board to see if they can keep the current amount of parking to keep constituents happy.

“The goal is to actually manage the area and improve public safety,” Franco said. “The area is getting trashed.”

Communication studies junior Amanda Guard said Pirates Cove is the dirtiest beach in the entire county. Guard is the social chairman for Cal Poly’s environmental management club, the Surfrider Foundation.

Guard said she is hopeful renovations could make the area more regulated to combat all the trash found in the area. She said volunteers are constantly picking up trash and that they commonly find needles and traces of illegal substances around the cove.

County Parks and Recreation is working to obtain a permit to make renovations to the area but does not presently have details as to an estimated cost. Before any official plans for renovations can begin, it must be granted a permit.

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