FAQ

Who is on the project team?

Opening the entire Palo Corona Regional Park on a no-permit basis to the public is a priority for MPRPD, with various staff members working towards implementation. MPRPD General Manager Rafael Payan is the primary contact for this project, and he can be reached at payan@mprpd.org or 831-372-3196.

The General Development Plan will be produced by Design Workshop, and landscape architecture and land planning firm located in Stateline, Nevada. Design Workshop has many years of experience with master planning for parks and open space, and completed the Camping Feasibility Report for the Whisler-Wilson Ranch (now part of Palo Corona Regional Park) for MPRPD in 2013. Steve Noll is the principal and project lead, and he can be reached at snoll@designworkshop.com or 775-588-5929.

What is the timeline for public contact and opening the park?

The Trust for Public Land will officially transfer the Rancho Cañada property to Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District early next year. Public access to the former Rancho Cañada golf course is still to be determined, but is anticipated in early 2018.

When can I access Palo Corona?

The northern 600 acres of the Palo Corona Regional Park, referred to as the Front Ranch, are currently open for public access by permit only. Day-use permits can be obtained free of charge at MPRPD’s website, at http://www.mprpd.org/parks-preserves/access-permit-application/.

The former Rancho Cañada golf course and Palo Corona’s extensive and remote back country are not currently open to the public, however, the General Development Plan will help MPRPD identify appropriate uses for the park and lay the framework for implementation.

What will the parking and access be like to the park?

The Park can currently be accessed from Highway 1 just south of the Carmel River Bridge, or from the Big Sur Land Trust’s South Bank Trail (pedestrian only). Based on an agreement with Caltrans regarding traffic impact on Highway 1, parking is limited to 13 vehicles adjacent to the main entrance on the shoulder of the highway.

The former Rancho Cañada golf course property includes about 240 existing parking spaces adjacent to the club house. This parking lot will be used as primary entrance into Palo Corona Regional Park and will eliminate the need for permit parking along Highway 1. The Highway 1 entrance to Palo Corona may be closed once the Rancho Cañada property is open to the public, however, this decision will be determined at a later date. MPRPD will address traffic issues in the required CEQA analysis.

How much additional traffic will this new park create on Carmel Valley Road and Highway 1?

As a later phase of the General Development Plan, CEQA documentation will be drafted to further examine traffic impact incurred by park activities.

The Rancho Cañada site was already in place and used for recreational purposes; Palo Corona Regional Park-related activities are not anticipated to have a significant impact on traffic on Carmel Valley Road.

What will happen to the current entrance and the recent parking lot built near the barn?

A 58-space parking lot was recently constructed within the Park near the West Entrance off Highway 1. Before public access is allowed to this parking lot, Caltrans requires the addition of a southbound left turn lane and roadway widening at the intersection. These improvements are to occur as part of the Carmel River Floodplain Restoration and Environmental Enhancement Project (Carmel River FREE) causeway bridge and floodplain improvements, which should see completion of the environmental review, permitting, and final design in 2018, and will begin construction once all funding has been secured for this project.

With the addition of the Rancho Cañada parking lot and primary entrance off Carmel Valley Road, the draft General Development Plan is currently recommending that the parking lot near the barn be used for special events only once the south-bound State Route 1 left turn lane project is completed as part of the Carmel River FREE Project. As mentioned above, MPRPD may decide to close the Highway 1 entrance to the park to the general public after the Rancho Cañada property is opened, except by permit only for large groups or special event parking. Until then, the parking system on Highway 1 will remain the same: 13 daily permits for parking on the shoulder adjacent to the park entrance.

Will a Lower Carmel Valley bike trail be available?

The possibility of this bike trail, as well as other trail connections to and through the park, will be explored as part of this General Development Plan as well as partnerships with local agencies and adjacent open space lands to achieve this vision.

How can user groups advocate for introducing new uses and programming throughout the planning process?

The planning process for Palo Corona Regional Park is being pursued to advance opening of the site and enhance access to the Park as soon as possible. There will be series of public planning sessions throughout the General Development Plan process and everyone is invited to participate and provide their input.

Will MPRPD save the existing paved golf cart paths through Rancho Cañada through the restoration process?

Through the General Development Plan, Design Workshop will evaluate the condition of the existing golf cart paths and propose a trail network that will seek to utilize as much of the existing cart paths as appropriate. The GDP will provide recommendations for improvements, removals, or additions that can be made to ensure equitable access throughout the Rancho Cañada portion of the park.

How does Measure E affect the Palo Corona property?

The funding from Measure E will help MPRPD’s operation of Palo Corona, allowing for cyclical and regular maintenance of park facilities and infrastructure.

Can MPRPD provide adequate services and staffing with more land/users to manage?

MPRPD carefully weighs capacity with user demand and continues to provide excellent service and programming throughout all of its parks. MPRPD also hopes to raise revenue through additional programming efforts to support Palo Corona Regional Park, which could help secure additional funds for the operation and maintenance of this site.

How will the natural resources conservation and restoration work be funded?

Grants and other sources are being explored, as well as partnerships with local environmentally-focused agencies and organizations.

What partnerships are being pursued by the District?

Exploring partnerships with other open space management organizations has been a priority for MPRPD, resulting in a collaborative partnership with Big Sur Land Trust, the Point Lobos Foundation, and California State Parks to create the Lobos-Corona Parklands Project for the purpose of better integrating the planning and management efforts of parklands south of Carmel. MPRPD is also currently partnering with The Trust for Public Land, Coastal Conservancy, Wildlife Conservation Board, Santa Lucia Conservancy, Monterey Peninsula Water Management District, Carmel Area Waste Water District, Monterey County Public Works Department, and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

How does Palo Corona fit into other adjacent open space projects?

Opportunities for integrated planning will be the key to success for this park’s operation, taking into account adjacent lands, their uses, and how Palo Corona Regional Park interfaces with the community and neighbors.

Upcoming Events

  • Public Workshop #1 – Seaside and Marina

    In order to reach a broad range of participation and feedback from the entire District, we will be hosting two repeat presentations of Public Workshop #1 in Marina on Wednesday, November 1st at the Marina Council Chambers and in Seaside on Thursday, November 2nd at the Oldemeyer Center.
  • Public Workshop #2, November 15 & 16

    UPDATE: We will host TWO presentations of Public Workshop #2 in Seaside on Wednesday, November 15th at the Oldemeyer Center and in Carmel Valley on Thursday, November 16th at Rancho Cañada. Please come to review the results of the public survey and provide your feedback on several site plan alternatives.
  • Public Workshop #1, October 5

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