Caspar Headlands and Caspar Creek North Riparian Area
Management Plan

     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.

     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 Creek.
     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 geological surveyor.
     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 this agreement.

     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 Department.

[ the following individuals will be solicited to approve this document: ]

Mike Dell'Ara, President

Caspar Community

Peter Douglas, Executive Director

California Coastal Commission

William Ahern, Executive Officer

Coastal Conservancy

Roger Sternberg, Executive Director

Mendocino Land Trust

Reed Holderman, Regional Director

The Trust for Public Land

Ray Hall, Planning Director

Mendocino County Planning Department

DRAFT DATE: April 2000
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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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