Proposed trail brings fears of more crowds at Lower Trestles surf spot

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Surfers complain that a plan for a new trail to Lower Trestles beach near San Clemente will ruin their surfing break and bring in more crowds.

SAN CLEMENTE - Locals who surf the famous Lower Trestles beach near San Clemente are unhappy that plans to build a new trail to the beach will ruin their surfing break and bring in more crowds.

The surfers complain that a plan by some conservationists, environmentalists and architects to build a new trail will ruin the beach, the Daily Pilot reported.

Surfers told the newspaper they want to keep the Lower Trestles just the way it is because of its world-class waves and its quirky dirt path across railroad tracks, marshlands and a bluff.

The vociferous crowd of surfers has already raised its hackles against a plan to replace the old wooden railroad trestle crossing a marsh with a new concrete bridge. And surfers' opposition was key to a state Coastal Commission decision to reject building a major freeway interchange next to Lower Trestles to accommodate a proposed southeastern Orange County tollway.

Surfers complain that easier access would bring more crowds to the beach and their coveted positions in the waves. They told the newspaper the Lower Trestles is one of the last untouched spots after 30 years of a Southern California population boom.

``This is Trestles. Don't we have enough beaches where we can bring the umbrellas and coolers and family and everything?'' asked Mike Reolo, who told the Daily Pilot that he has been surfing at Trestles for years. ``It's already crowded enough here.''

Currently, the newspaper reported, anyone walking over the tracks is technically trespassing. Dozens of Amtrak and Metrolink trains whiz past Trestles daily at up to 60 miles an hour.

``It's just one small segment that needs to be safer,'' Mark Raucher, assistant environmental director at the Surfrider Foundation, told the Daily Pilot. ``We want to be pretty low-key and to blend in.''

``I don't think that by making access safe you're going to increase crowds,'' Raucher said. ``The goal isn't to bring more people to what some locals think is there secret spot.''

Trestles is wedged between San Clemente to the north, and the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station to the south, on the Orange-San Diego county line.

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