Photos courtesy of: Bram Norman, Jason Murray, Kenneth and Gabrielle Adelman, California Coastal Records Project, George Salas, Leo Hetzel, John Early, Jim Kempton, Barry Wood, Kris Ethington, Barry Berg and Susan Goggins
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The San Onofre Foundation (SOF) is a California non-profit, charitable corporation, whose mission is to provide education, protection, and preservation for the California State Parks at San Onofre and San Clemente State Beaches. As a public liaison to these parklands, the San Onofre Foundation will foster a comprehensive stewardship of this unique recreational resource, with its historically important sites and environmentally significant setting.
Created in 1971 by Richard M. Nixon’s presidential decree and supported by then-California Governor Ronald Reagan, San Onofre State Beach is among the top five most visited State Parks in California, with annual attendance exceeding 2 million.
The current park covers just over 2,000 acres with 5.5 miles of gorgeous Pacific Ocean coastline. San Onofre Surf Beach is the most popular surfing beach in the United States, and the cobblestone reefs of Trestles make it one of the best year-round surf breaks in North America. The park also hosts major international surf competitions, Native American cultural festivities, and bicycling events.
Home to the ancestors of the Acjachemen tribe, the State Park’s San Mateo delta encompasses the site of the 9,000-year-old village of Panhe, where for thousands of years Native Americans erected dwellings, cultivated crops, and constructed sacred burial grounds.
Acquired by the State in 1933, San Clemente State Beach was home to a three hundred-man Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp during the depression years. The CCC built the San Clemente campground and developed the State Park at Doheny, six miles to the north. San Clemente State Beach is also one of the most popular campgrounds in California. The small visitor center is an historic Ole Hansen-era cottage, which now hosts special events in a charming Spanish style courtyard with spectacular panoramic ocean views.
The park consists of 90 acres, with 1.1 miles of beach frontage, and provides opportunities for hiking, camping, paddle boarding, bird watching, biking, surfing, swimming and other beach activities.
SOF will work cooperatively with California State Parks to develop and promote a strong image that San Onofre State Beach is a world treasure that must never be compromised. The Foundation will provide quality educational and interpretive panels that share the complete story of the park’s main stakeholders, including Native Americans, surfers, cyclists, environmentalists, and others. SOF will seek to facilitate a safe pedestrian railroad crossing to Trestles surfing beach, leading to an environmentally friendly, raised access walk above the marsh to the sand. The San Onofre Foundation hopes to expand operations of the San Clemente State Beach Historic Cottage Visitor Center by providing appropriate items that will increase visitor understanding and appreciation of these State Parks' values and purposes.
The Foundation may receive funds from donations, membership dues, grants, special event sponsorship, and other fund raising activities. It may sponsor, support, and assist docent programs, environmental educational activities, and resource management projects in support of such programs. SOF may provide seminars, lectures, and other activities that contribute to the mission.
Endeavoring to incorporate the many viewpoints of those who share in the park experience at San Onofre and San Clemente State Beaches, the San Onofre Foundation will work to protect, preserve, and enhance the rich cultural and natural history of this magnificent coastal zone.
These are your parks, and the San Onofre Foundation can become your voice.
Please join your fellow park lovers and supporters. Let us together create a strong vision for the future of these sacred lands and our public trust, which we must pass to all future generations.