Año Nuevo State Park General Plan

California State Park and Recreation Commission Approves
General Plan and Other Actions

elephant seal bull in haremThe California State Park and Recreation Commission met on October 31, 2008 at the Costanoa Coastal Lodge and Camp near Pescadero. The Commission approved the general plan for Año Nuevo State Natural Reserve and State Park. They also approved three actions proposed in the general plan: the consolidation of the natural reserve and state park into one park unit, named Año Nuevo State Park, classification of a cultural preserve within the park, and classification of a natural preserve in the coastal area of the park.

For more information on the proposals approved in the resolutions, see the preliminary general plan text, available for download below.

The final approved general plan, incorporating final changes and the commission resolution, is being prepared for publication.

The Preliminary General Plan and Final EIR Response to Comments are available for download below.
Female elephant seal
Año Nuevo State Park, on the San Mateo County coast, is renowned for its Northern Elephant Seal breeding grounds. But it also harbors spectacular scenery, several sensitive species, and reminders of an intriguing history. The park section on the ocean side of Highway 1 was formerly a separate park unit named Ano Nuevo State Natural Reserve (SNR).

Cascade Ranch Horse Barn, Ano Nuevo SP The section formerly known as Año Nuevo State Park (SP) is on the inland side of the highway. It was acquired in 1985, but is not yet open to the public. Its 2900 acres encompass meadows, redwood forest, agricultural lands and a historic dairy ranch.

There had not been any comprehensive planning for the Natural Reserve since a 1979 general plan for San Mateo Coast park units. Changes in visitor numbers and use patterns, expanding awareness of sensitive species, and opportunities to create new connections with other nearby public lands prompted State Parks to develop a new plan for the State Natural Reserve in conjunction with the General Plan for Año Nuevo SP.

The Preliminary General Plan recommended that Año Nuevo SP and SNR be combined into a single state park unit, with an expansion of the current Natural Reserve Wildlife Protection Area and Año Nuevo Island to be classified as a Natural Preserve. The California Park and Recreation Commission approved the combining of the two parks and the classification of the Natural Preserve on October 31, at the same meeting where they approved the general plan. The general plan for the combined park establishes a long-term vision, identifies potential recreation and facilities, and guides future park management, resource stewardship, and appropriate public use.

The General Plan also serves as a Programmatic Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the purposes of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). In fulfillment of CEQA guidelines, California State Parks filed the  Año Nuevo SNR Notice of Preparation (PDF, 1.9 MB) and Año Nuevo SP Notice of Preparation (PDF, 1.9 MB) at the beginning of of the  General Plan/ EIR development, and a Notice of Availability (PDF, 92 KB) and Notice of Completion (PDF, 218 KB) for both park units  to announce the beginning of the EIR public review period. After the commission approved the plan, State Parks filed a Notice of Determination (PDF, 92 KB) on November 5, 2008.

Public input and feedback is an important part of the CEQA process. Members of the public reviewed and commented on the Preliminary General Plan/Draft EIR during the public comment period, from March 28, 2008 to May 12, 2008. The comments and responses are included in the Final EIR, available for viewing and download below. The public was also able to comment at the California State Park and Recreation Commission hearing on the plan.

The Final General Plan document, not yet compiled, will consist of the approved preliminary general plan with changes resulting from public and staff comments, and the Park and Recreation Commission's resolutions approving the plan and associated classification recommendations.

Park and Recreation Commission Resolutions
General Plan Approval (190 KB)
Approval of Reclassification (197 KB)
Quiroste Valley Cultural Preserve Approval (170 KB)
Coastal Natural Preserve Approval (170 KB)

Preliminary General Plan and Final EIR Documents

The Preliminary General Plan  and Final EIR/Response to Comments are available for download below. The final general plan will be posted when it is compiled. The general plan has been divided into four plan sections and individual figures for downloading. All files are in PDF format.

Front Cover through Chapter 1:Introduction (1.1 MB)Ano Nuevo Preliminary General Plan
  (Includes table of contents and executive summary)
Chapter 2:Existing Conditions through Chapter 3:Issues (2.4 MB)
Chapter 4:Park Plan (PDF, 1.5 MB)
Chapter 5:Environmental Analysis through Plan Contributors (2.9 MB)

General Plan Maps (Document Figures): 
Figure 1: Regional (1.3 MB)
Figure 2: Location (1.3 MB)
Figure 3: Existing Facilities (1.0 MB)
Figure 4: Existing Roads and Trails (1.8 MB)
   Roads and Trails Key (127 KB)
Figure 5: Alquist-Priolo Fault Zones
Figure 6: Watersheds(2.0 MB)
Figure 7: Coastal Zone (656 KB)
Figure 8: Vegetation Communities (2.3 MB)
Figure 9: Wildlife Habitat (5.5 MB)
Figure 10: Natural Resource Sensitivity (3.5 MB)
Figure 11: Cultural Resources (484 KB)
Figure 12: Planning Zones (1.1 MB)
Figure 13: Año Nuevo SR Key Draft Proposals (735 KB)
Figure 14: Año Nuevo SP Key Draft Proposals (477 KB)
Figure 15: Proposed Preserves (1.1 MB)

Final Environmental Impact Report Response to Comments (1.2 MB)

Past Public Participation in the Planning Process

Public Open House, 12-08-07
A public workshop was held during the early planning stages for Año Nuevo SP & SNR . Participants learned about the planning process, reviewed the resource data, and provided input on issues, concerns, and recommendations for the park’s future. Using this input, the planning team developed alternatives and preliminary plan guidelines for public review.

On December 8, 2007, the planning team held a public open house in Pescadero to preview the draft plan proposal highlights for Año Nuevo SP & SNR and Butano SP, share information on the key natural and cultural resources identified in the planning process, update participants on the regional planning process and context, and gather further public input. The commission hearing on October 31, 2008, was another opportunity for public comment.

Regional Planning Approach
The Año Nuevo State Park (combined with the State Natural Reserve) General Plan was developed as part of a regional planning effort, along with general plans for Butano State Park and Big Basin Redwoods State Park. These parks share many natural and cultural characteristics, and have similar visitor demographics. Each one also has its own outstanding features and visitor opportunities. This planning process, while addressing each park's unique needs and assets, recognizes the potential for regional collaboration between these and other nearby public lands in resource protection, recreation, interpretation, and park management. 

The Butano State Park Preliminary General Plan/Final EIR was presented to the commission at the same meeting as the Año Nuevo plan.. For more information, visit Butano State Park: General Plan In-Progress. 

The Big Basin Redwoods SP General Plan  will be completed sometime in 2010. For more information, see Big Basin Redwoods State Park: General Plan In-Progress.

For more information on the park units, visit the Año Nuevo State Natural Reserve and Año Nuevo State Park  webpages.

California State Parks
Planning Division
P.O. Box 942896
Sacramento, CA 

General Plan Section
TEL: 916-653-9901
FAX: 916-651-1215