What We Do
The County of San Luis Obispo Parks and Recreation Department works to enhance the quality of life in SLO County. The department acquires, develops plans for, manages and maintains approximately 14,000 acres of open space, parks, beaches, trails, lakes, golf courses and natural areas. In addition to providing an array of recreational opportunities for county residents, the County’s lakes, beaches, trails and parks draw thousands of visitors each year and contribute significantly to tourism in San Luis Obispo County.
The department also operates three public golf courses that are open to residents and visitors alike. Morro Bay, Dairy Creek and Chalk Mountain golf courses are all managed in an eco-friendly manner and offer excellent opportunities to play affordable golf on the Central Coast.
What We Did in 2014
Focusing on Environmental Stewardship to Enrich Lives
San Luis Obispo County residents and visitors enjoy pristine open spaces and beautiful golf courses, many of which are maintained by the County of San Luis Obispo Parks and Recreation Department. From enhancing its environmentally friendly golf courses to facilitating the environmental impact report conducted for the Bob Jones Pathway, Parks and Recreation saw a successful year of resource protection while also enriching the lives of residents and visitors.
Rebuilding the Cayucos Pier
Maintaining a Zero-Waste Golf Course
The County Parks and Recreation Department received the Community Environmental Stewardship Award in fall 2014 for maintaining its Dairy Creek Golf Course as a zero-waste park. While many people may believe that golf courses around the nation are not managed in an environmentally friendly manner, the County-operated Dairy Creek Golf Course off of Highway 1 across from Cuesta College is designed to be environmentally focused.
Not only is its sole source of irrigation from reclaimed water, but it has become the first zero-waste golf course in the nation. In 2011, the course added a Zero Waste Park to its integrated waste management program. This facility utilizes traditional and worm composting to manage all green waste, food waste, and trash in an effort to remove waste streams from the landfill. The facility uses both hot and cold composting methods and has reduced the number of clubhouse trash receptacles from 13 to just a single trash can.
Dairy Creek Golf Course also has 25 sheep grazing the grassland areas around the links to control brush and invasive plants without using gasoline-powered weed whackers or harsh chemicals. The sheep not only reduce the resources to maintain these out of play areas, but also are an effort in land management to return these areas back into the native grasslands that once thrived on the property before the course existed. The course also solicits the help of raptors to reduce the use of chemical controls for pests. There are 16 owl boxes and 40 raptor perches, which attract birds of prey that help control animal pest populations.
Superintendent of County Golf Operations Josh Heptig says they are also expanding the zero-waste program to the County’s two other golf courses: Morro Bay Golf Course and Chalk Mountain Golf Course in Atascadero.
Drafting the Bob Jones Environmental Impact Report
The County’s Parks and Recreation Department also prepared the Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Bob Jones Pathway, a 4.4-mile trail that connects south San Luis Obispo to the existing Bob Jones Trail. The highly anticipated project will provide an important recreation and transportation link connecting San Luis Obispo and Avila Beach, creating a safer route for bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities, with nearly half of the new pathway located adjacent to orchards and fields.
However, the County needed to look at the environmental impacts of such a project before it could begin construction. In 2014, County Parks and Recreation prepared the Draft EIR to provide the public and responsible trustee agencies with information about the potential environmental effects of the proposed pathway and to identify alternatives and mitigation measures to the proposed project that could reduce or avoid its adverse environmental impacts.
A public meeting was held on November 13, 2014 and the comment period ran through December 8, 2014. At this time, it is expected that construction of the trail will begin in 2017.