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Staircase to Nowhere

On the Northern end of Pismo Beach, just before the Village of Shell Beach, to the North of Ventana Grill below the bluff stands a concrete column that many may wonder, “what was that for?” Well let’s dig into that mystery and reveal it’s fantastic future! A few years ago, that column was the spine for a sturdy spiral staircase which was connected to the bluff by a pedestrian bridge and allowed visitors to access the beach below. Unfortunately, one of our few blustery Pacific storms damaged the bridge and it had to be removed for safety. So the solitary staircase stood there for years with no access to it unless you kayaked there during low tide.

The stairs were part of the restaurant property but were dedicated to the city in 1972. You could go down the stairs and have access to the Elmer Ross Beach below, which was a tidal beach connecting to the Dinosaur Caves area during a low tide.

In recent years, the stairs were deemed unsafe and to deter curious kayaking visitors from climbing them, they were also removed. Now all that remains is the concrete column.

After many years of work with the California Coastal Commission and the City of Pismo Beach, Martin Resorts began a restoration project to improve accessibility along the coastline in scenic Pismo Beach. The goal of the restoration project was to maximize public access to the beach, protect the scenic corridor and the natural environment, and improve and provide continuous access to the California Coastal Trail. In so doing, the stairway to nowhere will be made whole again!

The group overseeing the project conducted comprehensive environmental and archaeological reviews and used specific materials that look like the natural coastline, improving the aesthetics of the area while also protecting coastal wildlife and their habitats. As the trailwork draws to a conclusion, they gifted the trail project to the city on July 3, 2019 to be accessible for eternity. The project was an effort to create and/or connect an important portion of the California Coastal Trail – over 1200 miles of trail stretching along the California coastline.

“We’re really proud of this project,” Noreen Martin, President and Owner of Martin Resorts said. “We feel a strong obligation to protect the coastline and provide the public as much access as possible.

We are keeping an eye on this project for sure and look forward to an updated article about this new Pismo Beach area to explore!

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