Caspar Headlands and Caspar Creek North Riparian Area
By this agreement, the Caspar Community , a non-profit corporation,
undertakes to own and manage public coastal access across and through the
Caspar Headlands and the north riparian area of Caspar Creek, defined on
the attached map.
This property was owned by the Caspar Lumber Company and, since
1990, the Caspar Cattle Co. In 1985 the California Coastal Commission
delineated a trail from Caspar Road across the Caspar Headlands to Caspar
Beach and in the 1985 Mendocino County General Plan, Coastal Element,
Policy 4.6-4 noted "Blufftop trail on (Caspar) headlands shall be acquired
consistent with Policy 3.6-5." Policy 3.6.5 notes, "Acquisition methods
such as bequests, gifts, and outright purchases are preferred by the County
when obtaining public access from private landowners."
The purpose of Caspar Community's owning and managing this property
is to permanently protect the public's right of access to the Caspar
Headlands and the north riparian area of Caspar Creek, including the
blufftop, beaches and adjacent coastal waters. Activities will be allowed
which can be pursued safely and without jeopardizing or degrading the
existing scenic and environmental qualities of the area. Such activities
may include, but are not necessarily limited to walking; viewing native
flora, birds, whales and other wildlife; subsistence fishing; photography;
and the general enjoyment of the scenic beauty of the site.
EXISTING SITE CONDITIONS:
The Caspar Headlands, about 52 acres, consists of three stepped
levels decreasing in height as one travels west from Caspar Road to the
blufftop. A relatively recently planted line of eucalyptus trees defines
the north boundary; Caspar Road defines the east boundary; the Pacific
Ocean defines the west; and Caspar Bay the south boundary. This headlands
was historically the Caspar Lumber Company's lumber-storage area and
several rocked roads traverse the headlands. Iron rings set into the
headlands are among the archeological remains indicating the transfer of
lumber from the headlands to doghole schooners anchored in Caspar Bay. The
area is dotted with Sitka Spruce, cypress, Indian paint brush, and is home
to much bird and animal life. Caspar Community will contract for habitat
studies which will be attached to this Management Plan. Until recently,
cattle have grazed on the headlands.
An historic, rocked trail leads from the headlands to Caspar Creek.
This trail, when cleared of fallen trees and overgrown blackberries, will
provide the critical link in a seven-mile hiking trail from Russian Gulch
State Park to Pine Beach.
In time, it will be appropriate to build a foot bridge over Caspar
Creek, but in the meantime it is usually quite easy to ford the Creek.
The north riparian area of Caspar Creek, about 20 acres, consists
of one five-acre flat area just west of Highway One which is largely
covered with invasive plants (pampas grass and gorse); a one-acre property
with a house on Frontage Road; and 14 acres of steep, north face wooded
slope. The former Highway One, which was replaced in 1965, traverses the
riparian area from west to southeast, ending on the north side of Caspar
Along the north side of Caspar Creek are significant archeological
remains of the former Caspar Lumber Company, including foundations. This
site would lend itself to interpretive panels describing the location and
scope of Caspar Lumber Company.
Interpretive panels describing the logging operation of the former
Caspar Lumber Company throughout the Caspar Headlands and north riparian
area of Caspar Creek and the development of trails will be accomplished in
phases with all planned improvements designed to comply with rules
governing the issuance of applicable use and building permits. All
development will be based on input solicited from local residents, the
Coastal Conservancy, the California Coastal Commission, The Trust for
Public Land, the Mendocino Land Trust, the Mendocino County Planning
Department, and the public.
A bird and wildlife survey, archeological survey, geological
survey, and botanical survey will be completed. Based on this information,
trails will be mapped out and developed. Trail building will be guided by a
professional and include a team of Caspar Community volunteers. Any grading
and/or added material will be in accordance with the advice of the
Access will be available 24 hours a day.
Subject to the approval of Cal Trans, parking will be provided,
with appropriate highway signage, on both the east and west side of Highway
One, just north of Caspar Creek Bridge. Visitors parked on the east side of
the highway will cross under the bridge on a foot trail. A trail from the
parking will either follow the downward slope of the property until it
connects with Old Highway One and then continue to Caspar Headlands and
south to Caspar Beach or north to Pine Beach; or the trail will follow
Frontage Road to Caspar Headlands and thence to Caspar Beach or Pine Beach.
Fencing along Caspar Road will be replaced and several entrances to
the Caspar Headlands will be designed and built.
Signage will include safety warnings which will be placed near the
bluff edge to discourage travel up and down the cliff; a Caspar Community
telephone number for people to call in the event of problems or complaints;
and a telephone number to reach the Mendocino County Sheriff if a law
enforcement problem arises. A public phone is located at the Caspar Inn.
Garbage cans will be provided and maintained by Caspar Community;
they will be located in one or more central places.
Caspar Community will establish an endowment fund with which it
will hire staff to carry out the day-to-day management of the property.
Staff will report to the Caspar Community Board.
Caspar Community will hire a site manager for Caspar Headlands and
the north riparian area of Caspar Creek. This person will coordinate the
volunteer work parties; will oversee the reintroduction of native
grasslands; and will monitor and record the use of the property.
Maintenance of the trail will be carried out by volunteer work
parties organized by the Caspar Community. The work parties will monitor
the site monthly, gather litter and make repairs as necessary.
The Caspar Community maintains liability insurance through its
membership in the Land Trust Alliance.
A Caspar HeadlandsAdvisory Committee will be formed which will
oversee the maintenance and development of the property. All decisions will
pass through this committee. Membership will include a board member and the
executive director of the Mendocino Land Trust, a board member and the
president of the Caspar Community, and a resident of Caspar.
An evaluation report will be prepared annually by the Caspar
Community and copies will be forwarded to the California Coastal
Commission, the State Coastal Conservancy, the Mendocino Land Trust, The
Trust for Public Land, and the Mendocino County Planning Department. The
evaluation shall include estimates of user numbers; physical condition of
the Caspar Headlands and Caspar Creek north riparian area; particular
maintenance, safety problems, and complaints (and measures taken to address
them); proposals for additional phases of development; and whatever
additional information is relevant to ongoing maintenance and improvement
of this public open space.
This plan may be amended, as needed, with the concurrence of all
six signatories. Amendments may be considered for subsequent phases of
development or any other reasons.
In the event that the Caspar Community disbands or otherwise ceases
to exist, title to the Caspar Headlands and Caspar Creek north riparian
area will revert to the Coastal Conservancy or other appropriate public or
nonprofit entity considered acceptable to the other five signatories to
The foregoing is agreed to by and between the Caspar Community, the
California Coastal Commission, the Coastal Conservancy, the Mendocino Land
Trust, The Trust for Public Land, and the Mendocino County Planning
[ the following individuals will be solicited to approve this document: ]
Mike Dell'Ara, PresidentDate
Peter Douglas, Executive DirectorDate
California Coastal Commission
William Ahern, Executive OfficerDate
Roger Sternberg, Executive DirectorDate
Mendocino Land Trust
Reed Holderman, Regional DirectorDate
The Trust for Public Land
Ray Hall, Planning DirectorDate
Mendocino County Planning Department
DRAFT DATE: April 2000
Please address feedback to the document manager, Judy Tarbell
document copyright © 2000 by Judy Tarbell.
This document has been read and approved for web circulation by the Caspar Community's Plan and Acquisition Committee.
Please do not circulate or reproduce without their approval.
Any unauthorized circulation shall be considered breach of copyright and will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
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