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Group fights for historic designation of North County surf spots

SAN ONOFRE, Calif. – A battle is brewing over a popular surf spot near San Onofre State Beach.  The Surfrider Foundation has been trying to get the world famous surf break known as Trestles recognized as a historic landmark for years.

“We are trying to preserve the historical value of this special beach,” said Mark Rauscher, the coastal preservation manager for the Surfrider Foundation.

Surfrider contends the 2.2-mile stretch of beach, which includes all of San Onofre State Beach, is the birthplace of surfing in the United States and has been a gathering spot of surfers since the 1930s.

san o pig“The surf industry is based here in South Orange County because of its close proximity to San Onofre,” said Rauscher.  “It really is the hub the surfing culture in America.”

But not everyone supports the proposal, including State Senator Mark Wyland, whose district includes San Onofre State Beach.  He was not available to speak with FOX 5, but his director said the historical designation would impede military training.

“What we’re talking about here is preventing the military from doing their job,” said Donna Cleary, the district director for Senator Wyland. “Let’s put it this way, if it was a historic site, the Marine Corps would have to ask permission to train.”

Rauscher said that is absolutely not true and the area is largely used for recreation.

“We have been trying to talk to the Navy and address some of their concerns. We have been talking with them for several years,” she said.

If the historical designation is granted, the land will be protected from projects such as a highway expansion.

In 2008, the California Transportation Corridor Agency proposed to expand a toll road that would join the San Diego Freeway at Trestles Beach.  The Coastal Commission denied the proposal.

The Surfrider Foundation will present their application to the State Historical Resources Commission Friday morning in Sacramento.  If approved it will be passed to The National Register Of Historic Places.

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