North County bluff collapse prompts beach concerns

Local

ENCINITAS, Calif. – A recent bluff collapse in Encinitas has area residents concerned with some arguing that more needs to be done to keep the community safe.

Nobody was hurt when a chunk of a bluff came crashing down on the morning of May 29 at Grandview Beach, south of Beacon’s Beach. But the incident renewed concerns about the dangers of beach erosion and the undercutting of the bluffs at local beaches.

“I was astonished that this wasn’t huge news because that’s a huge chunk of rock that fell,” said Allyson Earnest, who lives on the bluff.

The day after the collapse, Earnest captured several photos of people sitting on chairs and beach towels near the bluffs and in sight of signs warning of unstable cliffs.

And there’s reason for alarm. The site is located several hundred yards from where three women were killed after a multi-ton section of sandstone collapsed onto them in August of 2019. A lawsuit filed by the family against the city of Encinitas still is pending.

Lynn Gilson, who lives steps from Grandview, says they’re losing about two feet of beach each year.

“As this beach continues to narrow, our summer tourists are almost forced to sit close to the bluffs, which puts people in grave danger,” Gilson said.

Encinitas, in a partnership with Solana Beach, has allocated funds for bluff restoration, but it doesn’t include this particular stretch of beach.

“That, for me, is frustrating,” Gilson said. “I calculated that it’s about 23% of Encinitas is shoreline and it’s what makes Encinitas so special is our beaches. I just can’t stand the thought of completely losing it.”

That’s something Earnest fears as well.

“High tide means there’s no beach so people are getting pushed up closer and closer to the bluff,” she said. “I’m actually afraid that one day, somebody’s gonna say nobody’s allowed on the beach at high tide.”

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