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Pismo Preserve trail expects to see twice the number of visitors originally anticipated in 2021

Sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean abound on the Pismo Preserve hiking trails.
KEYT
Sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean abound on the Pismo Preserve hiking trails.

PISMO BEACH, Calif. - The popular Pismo Preserve trail is ending 2021 on a high note, with some 200,000 people visiting over the course of the year.

The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County said Thursday that the Preserve logged 142,000 visitors in just the first nine months of 2021.

By the end of the year, an estimated 200,000 people are expected to visit. That's twice the number the Land Conservancy estimated when the recreational area first opened in January 2020.

“The 2021 numbers are important because we’re past that rush of initial curiosity and still seeing a staggering number of visitors, and that's even after the economy opened up and people had more options for entertainment and exercise,” said Kaila Dettman, the Executive Director of the Land Conservancy.

The Land Conservancy bought the 880-acre area in 2014 for $12 million. It has panoramic ocean views and an 11-mile network of trails for hikers, bicyclists and equestrians. There is also an ADA-accessible picnic area, bike parking, a bike repair stand, and on-site parking with space for horse trailers.

Because the trail site has become so popular, the heavy use is impacting natural habitats. The Land Conservancy says it needs more staffing for fire prevention, trash pickup and other conservation efforts to make sure the land is still healthy for the animals that live on it. Because of the pandemic, more cleaning is also needed at restrooms and other facilities.

The Conservancy says it relies on donations to cover additional expenses and other programs like docent-led hikes and children's activities.

For more information on the group, click here.

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Lindsay Zuchelli

Lindsay Zuchelli is the Executive Producer at NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Lindsay, click here.

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