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California beach campsite banned to visitors thanks to excess of ‘human waste’

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California beach campsite banned to visitors thanks to excess of ‘human waste’

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Overnight camping at a beach along California’s central coast is banned due to an excess of “human waste,” officials said this week.  

The California Coastal Commission announced Thursday that overnight camping and campfires will be banned at San Carpoforo Beach for the next two years. 

Beachgoers walk along the shore as a campfire glows on the beach at San Carpoforo Creek on California Highway 1 near Ragged Point on Saturday, May 1, 2021 in Big Sur, CA.

Beachgoers walk along the shore as a campfire glows on the beach at San Carpoforo Creek on California Highway 1 near Ragged Point on Saturday, May 1, 2021, in Big Sur, CA.  (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

San Carpoforo, or “San Carpo,” is located off Highway 1 in northern San Luis Obispo County, about a four-hour drive south of San Francisco. It is the only free beach campsite in the Big Sur area – a fact not widely known until recently. 

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The Commission detailed the deteriorating quality of the beach in a staff report recently made available. The report noted that more visitors frequented the campsite once word spread it was free. A lack of resources for the U.S. Forest Services to monitor the site and a lack of trach cans, restrooms and fire rings have led to higher levels of trash and debris, the report said. 

“The beach has no restrooms, very limited parking, no potable water, and no trash containers or collection,” the Commission wrote in the staff report.

The area is home to a number of endangered animals, such as the western snowy plover, which have been negatively impacted by the beach’s deteriorating conditions. 

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While the ban is in effect, the U.S. Forest Service will devise a plan to “reset” and figure out a way to allow camping in the future. Day use of the beach is still available for visitors.  

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