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Removing the San Clemente Dam and restoring the river was the first phase of this groundbreaking project. The next phase is to enable the public to access and experience the beautiful re-wilded Carmel River at this site, sharing the story of its transformation.

California American Water intends to transfer approximately 920 acres of the site to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which would be managed by Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District (MPRPD) for public access and connect MPRPD’s Garland Regional Park and San Clemente Open Space.

Because of the site’s remote location, access will be a back-country experience requiring a significant hike, bike, or horseback ride. Once reached, the site holds numerous opportunities:

  • Public recreation along 3 miles of the Carmel River with potential for adding 5 miles more.

  • Sharing the dam removal’s story of hope and transformation and the ongoing evolution of the river as it recovers.

  • Potential to link together Garland Ranch Regional Park and San Clemente Open Space.

  • Future potential to connect trails to nearby campsites in Los Padres National Forest’s Ventana Wilderness.

A public meeting was held on February 5, 2018 to gather initial public feedback about interests and concerns for public access on the property. A meeting summary is available here.

Next Steps

A community planning process is needed to evaluate access options, address community desires and concerns, and develop short- and long-term solutions. Contact the Coastal Conservancy (Trish Chapman, to stay informed of the next steps of the planning process.

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