Trestles On Trial: Over 700 Surfrider Members Show In Support

"If they win, they'll turn Trestles into another Doheney," Pat O'Connell said about the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) as he leaned against the wall in packed Auditorium of the San Clemente Community center. "The builders don't have to see the effects of what they've done."

The prevailing opinion of the other estimated-700 concerned members who attended last night's presentation to the seven members of the California State Park and Recreation Commission was a similar one: No Toll Road cutting the San Mateo and San Onofre wild life area.

Surfrider, the {{{Sierra}}} club and more than a handful of other different environmental organizations rallied against the TCA's proposed Foothill South Toll Road, which would cut into nearly 400 acres of the 2200 acre San Mateo and San Onofre State parks and disrupt the sediment flow into Trestles.

"The definition of insanity," said Pat Johnson, referring to the incessant development and derogation of California's coast, "is repeating the same mistakes over and over again and expecting different results."

More than eighty members signed up to address the Recreation Commission for two minutes or under, speaking for or against the Toll Road. While the majority of orations ranged from scientific appeals, legislative injustices, or emotional outcries against the Toll Roads there did exist less than a handful that spoke in favor of it.

Discounting the four TCA representatives who were present, the small group of well dressed people in favor of the Toll road spoke about similar grievances: although they feel the environment is important, it is a secondary concern when it comes to human needs--specifically the need to not sit around wasting time in traffic.

Rebutting this general argument, numerous anti-Toll Road speakers pointed out that, while traffic is a problem there are other more feasible environmental solutions--such as widening the I-5.

However, Mimi Walters, Assembly Woman of the 73rd felt otherwise, arguing that the Toll Road wouldn't affect the wild life and habitat of the designated area. After an outcry of boos and hisses had quelled, Caryl Hart subtly asked the Assembly Woman if she was serious: "We're talking about the same beach, right?"

Despite the TCA and other's claims that the Toll Road would not significantly harm the environment--a claim which many doubted--they never once mentioned anything about the surf.Looking toward other ruined surf breaks of the past as examples, it is the overwhelming feeling of the surf community that slapping down 16 miles of a concrete Toll Road one mile from the beach would change the way Trestles breaks for the worse.

"The Surf has been created by that river, by the creek," put Mark Rauscher (Surfrider assistant environmental director) simply for the non-surfers in the room. "When you get the heavy rains, all the sand and cobbles get pushed out and it gets nicely shaped so that the wave peels just beautifully."With surfers mourning the recent loss of Mundaka to sand drudging, along with the history of Killer Dana's loss (a nearby point break) in the 70's to the construction of a harbor, there was a fleet of concerned surf activists who attended the meeting to protect one of California's greatest surfing gems. Volcom and Oneill rolled up strong, and representatives from ASG were there in numbers too.

"If we can't save this wave in our own yard it doesn't say a whole lot about the surf community," said Matt Mcclain, Surfrider's National Communications Director. "We've got to save the victories that count, and coming out before the bulldozers start moving when you can still make a difference is how to do it."

Indeed, while the night appeared like a victory for those against the Toll Roads as the Recreational Committee members all seemed dedicated to protecting San Mateo and San Onofere, comity member Bobby Shriver offered activists strong words of political advise:

"It is very important to keep at it and let your local representatives and the government know how you feel. If you stop coming to meetings, things will happen."