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Carmel Area State Parks General Plan



Point Lobos SNR by DSchaechtele

Overview

California State Parks is in the planning process to prepare a regional General Plan for four state park units located in the Carmel area: 1) Carmel River State Beach, 2) Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, 3) Point Lobos Ranch (an unclassified park unit), and 4) Hatton Canyon (an unclassified park unit). This planning project is referred to as the Carmel Area State Parks General Plan.

Carmel Area State Parks map



Public Meeting #1

The first public meeting in support of the planning process was held on April 18, 2012 at the Rancho Canada Golf Club in Carmel.

Materials presented at the meeting can be accessed at the links below:

PowerPoint Presentation:
Link to PowerPoint Presentation

Facilities Station:
CASPs Facilities - Art-Board 1
CASPs Facilities - Art-Board 2

Recreation Opportunities Station:
CASPs Recreation - Art-Board 1
CASPs Recreation - Art-Board 2

Resources Station:
CASPs Resources - Art Board 1
CASPs Resources - Art Board 2


Process Station:
CASPs General Plan and EIR Process
CASPs Watersheds

Comments were collected on the comment card that can be accessed at the link below:
Link to Comment Card

Here is a link to the public comments received:  Carmel Area State Parks Public Meeting Comments 2012

If you were unable to attend the meeting, or would like to submit additional comments, please feel free to fill out a comment card and send it in by email to plan.general@parks.ca.gov or hardcopy to California State Parks, Planning Section, Attn: Ellie Wagner,1 Capitol Mall, Suite 410, Sacramento, CA 95814. You are also welcome to send your comments in email format or as a separate attached letter.

Thank you for your interest in the planning process!

Sincerely,
The Carmel Area State Parks Planning Team



Newsletter 1

Additional information about the planning process and how you can get involved can also be found in the first Newsletter available at the following link:
Newsletter link

Environmental Impact Report (EIR)

The General Plan is subject to environmental review pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). A Program Environmental Impact Report (EIR) will be prepared concurrently with the General Plan. A Notice of Preparation (NOP) for the EIR was filed with the State Clearinghouse on April 4, 2012. Copies of the NOP and accompanying Notice of Completion (NOC) are provided below. Public Workshop Number 1, announced above, also served as a CEQA scoping meeting.
Link to NOP
Link to NOC


Early Agency and Stakeholder Meetings

On February 15 and 16, 2012 the planning team hosted two early coordination meetings at the Monterey District office, one for stakeholder groups and the other for agencies.  At the meetings, planning team members gave a brief overview of the properties included in the General Plan, the planning process, and timeline. The meeting presentation can be accessed here:
Meeting Presentation

Following the presentation, agency members and stakeholder groups were asked to provide input on a series of questions to inform the early phases of the planning process. Questionnaires used at the meetings are available here:
Stakeholder Questionnaire
Agency Questionnaire

If you are an agency member or stakeholder interested in providing additional input, please feel free to fill out the respective questionnaire and send by email or regular mail to:
Ellie Wagner, Project Manager
California State Parks, Planning Section
1 Capitol Mall, Suite 410
Sacramento, CA 95814
plan.general@parks.ca.gov

Summaries of the meetings are available here:
Stakeholder Meeting Summary
Agency Meeting Summary

Thank you for your interest in the planning process!


Why a General Plan is Important
A General Plan is a broad-based policy document that establishes a long-range vision, goals, and guidelines for park management.  A General Plan also provides direction on future recreation opportunities, resource management, historic sites, visitor facilities, park improvements, services, and programs. An Environmental Impact Report (EIR) will also be prepared as part of this planning process as required by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The EIR will evaluate potential environmental effects associated with implementation of the General Plan proposals.

Brief History of the Four Carmel Area Parks
A combined General Plan was completed for Carmel River State Beach and Point Lobos State Reserve in May 1979 (later reclassified as a State Natural Reserve). Since 1979, State Parks has acquired two additional properties: Point Lobos Ranch, located on the east side of Highway 1, across from Point Lobos State Natural Reserve; and Hatton Canyon, located north of Carmel River State Beach and east of Highway 1. These four parks provide a valuable opportunity to blend features and optimize functions of natural and cultural resource management, watersheds and hydrology, wildlife corridors, trail systems, and park operations in a regional context.


Carmel River State Beach

Carmel River State Beach is a 297-acre area, created by flood cycles and the meandering Carmel River that flows into the Pacific Ocean. The State Beach features the Carmel River Lagoon and Wetland Natural Preserve, the Ohlone Coastal Cultural Preserve, a mile-long beach, a lagoon restoration site, an organic agricultural farm with historic buildings, and a bird habitat that includes waterfowl and songbirds. Monastery Beach, also known as San Jose Creek Beach, is part of Carmel River State Beach, and is popular with scuba divers. Ocean swimming and wading are extremely dangerous at this location.

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve contains 1,325 acres of headlands, coves and meadows. Its natural beauty is the inspiration for artists, writers, and photographers, and has been called the “greatest meeting of land and water in the world.” The Reserve is habitat to more than 23 species of mammals. The offshore area (an Underwater Park), popular with divers, forms one of the richest underwater habitats in the world. Wildlife includes seals, sea lions, sea otters and migrating gray whales. Thousands of seabirds also make the Reserve their home. Hiking trails follow the shoreline and lead to hidden coves. The area was once a vibrant whaling and abalone industry. A small cabin built around 1851 by Chinese fishermen still remains at Whalers Cove and is now a cultural history museum. The Reserve also contains important archeological resources.


Point Lobos Ranch

Point Lobos Ranch provides spectacular views of Carmel Bay and the coastline. This 1,329 acre property contains one of the world's largest native Monterey pine forests, examples of the rare Gowen cypress, and areas of the rare maritime chaparral plant community. This property and the surrounding public lands provide mountain lion habitat, and San Jose Creek provides steelhead spawning grounds. The property contains important Native American archaeological sites and an early twentieth century complex of ranch buildings.


Hatton Canyon Bike Patk

Hatton Canyon contains a variety of habitats, including wetlands, riparian, and pine forests in the higher elevations. The canyon’s stream, Hatton Creek, typically flows year around, providing lush vegetation and a rich environment for wildlife.  Most of Hatton Canyon’s 130 acres are isolated by major roadways at either end: Carmel Valley Road to the south and Highway 1 to the northwest. A recently developed bike trail offers convenient access under Carmel Valley Road to the southern end of Hatton Canyon. The south portion, known as “Marathon Flats,” is frequented by visitors and is the site of several special events, most notably serving as the terminus for the internationally renowned Big Sur Marathon.


How You Can Get Involved in the Planning Process

California State Parks invites your input as we begin the planning process for the Carmel Area State Parks. We welcome your ideas and suggestions for future public use and preservation of these valuable resources. Please check this website for future announcements, including public planning meetings.

To be added to the General Plan mailing list, email: plan.general@parks.ca.gov, or write to the Planning Team at the address below (Please type "CASPs GP" in e-mail Subject line):

California State Parks, Planning Section
Carmel Area State Parks General Plan
1 Capitol Mall, Suite 410
Sacramento, CA 95814

This General Plan is being prepared with the assistance of the Point Lobos Foundation, funded in partnership with California State Parks and Proposition 84 bond funds.

For more information about Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, visit the following websites: California State Parks and Point Lobos Foundation.