by Jorge Laguna
When I was a kid growing up in the San Mateo Highlands, some of my most vivid memories were of my parents taking me to local parks and open spaces in the area. My family spent many afternoons walking Sawyer Camp Trail, investigating sea creatures at low tide at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve and camping overnight at Memorial Park. We’d picnic, hike, or just enjoy nature- parks were a fantastic refuge from the day to day of our normal lives. As a young child, these were amazing opportunities to learn new things and have freedom that I didn’t have in the classroom or at home. Looking back on it some of my best times growing up were exploring nature, and I feel fortunate to have had the chance to experience this at an early age.
Tunitas Creek is a 6.6-mile-long stream that flows to the ocean through Tunitas Beach. Tunitas Creek Beach is a beautiful stretch of the California coast located just north of San Gregorio and Highway 84. Four sensitive habitat areas come together at this site, including the riparian corridor, sand dunes, marine habitat and habitats supporting rare, endangered and unique species, such as the coastal marsh milkvetch.
The beach, however, is under stress from unregulated human activity, prompting the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors to take steps to ensure the safety of visitors while reducing impacts to the natural environment and neighboring community. At their June 6 meeting, the Board introduced an ordinance that aims to curb harmful behavior that puts people, wildlife and sensitive habitat at risk.