Luffenholtz Beach park property, located near the city of Trinidad, Humboldt County, is a popular public destination to access onshore surf fishing and traditional surf net fishing, exploring tide pools, and view marine wildlife and seabirds from the property’s vistas and trail heads highlighting the CA Coastal National Monument offshore rocks. This public access beach park is currently in need of infrastructure improvements that address public access, visitor use and safety. Existing features in need of repair/replacement include a vista point trail, public parking area, discontinued septic system restroom, and additional public visitor infrastructure improvements.
In March 2019, WCB approved the transfer of the 8-acre Luffenholtz Beach parcel (property) from CDFW to the Trinidad Coastal Land Trust (TCLT); the property transfer was recorded in May 2019. For years prior, the state CDFW had neglected this popular ocean fishing access property, due to lack of budget and staff resources. This property provides unique and valuable public benefits including public access to Luffenholtz Beach for fishing (along the sand or on-shore rocks), as well as a traditional surf net fishery for smelt. In addition, the wildlife viewing is popular. Several seabird species and nests are visible from the CA Coastal National Monument rocks located directly offshore from the beach and vista point. This beach also offers the public an amazing opportunity for tidepooling and viewing intertidal marine wildlife. This property is frequently used by fisher-people, birdwatchers, tidepoolers, beachgoers and families. Local schools and Humboldt State University classes often visit this beach for science studies.
TCLT is the new owner and land manager of the Luffenholtz Beach property, including the beach trail and upper parking lot vista point trail. The 8-acre parcel was transferred by the CA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to TCLT this past June, after the agency approved an internal land acquisition evaluation. The state Wildlife Conservation Board approved the project at their March board meeting in Sacramento. TCLT has already made initial improvements to the property and is currently seeking funding to design, permit and develop additional improvements that will include a wheel chair accessible vista picnic area, ADA portable restroom facility, enhanced parking, interpretive signage, trail safety improvements and ecosystem restoration.
Recent site improvements at the Luffenholtz Beach trail include the installation of 99 new trail steps with help from American Hiking Society Volunteers and a driftwood carved beach sign, designed and produced by local middle school students Malia and Ruby from McKinleyville Girl Scout Troop 90045. TCLT volunteers currently maintain a doggy bag waste station, porta-potty unit and garbage patrol, which all help to provide a much cleaner beach environment.
TCLT has been involved in helping to maintain this site since 2013, when Humboldt County Parks was forced to cancel the long-standing maintenance agreement with the state because of budget restrictions. While public funding was dropped, the beach continued to be a popular destination and felt the impacts of human use. To help maintain the health of the beach and provide public access, TCLT volunteers stepped up to assist with trail repairs and beach clean-ups. In 2016, TCLT made it official and signed an MOU with CDFW to make improvements on the beach park property. In June 2019, after three years of agency review and evaluation, TCLT was deeded legal title to the property at no cost, contingent on a signed agreement to continue the state-mandated management priorities for public access, public recreation, habitat restoration and conservation.
Today, while this land is protected from development, it contains fragile habitat that is being threatened by an increasing number of visitors, as well as invasive plants. The Wolf’s evening primrose (Oenothera wolfii), a California rare plant, occurs in low numbers on the sandy bluffs. The property contains the mouth of Luffenholtz Creek where it empties into the Pacific Ocean, a small reach of stream containing coastal cutthroat trout, stickleback, sculpin and lamprey. This beach is popular with surf and smelt net anglers. The rocky shoreline contains kelp forest and intertidal habitat for marine wildlife. Luffenholtz Beach is an excellent place to view some of the off-shore rocks that are part of the California Coastal National Monument.
Luffenholtz Beach has been a traditional fishing beach for local Native people for thousands of years. Traditional staple foods harvested at this beach include smelt, lamprey and seaweed. The beach lies within the ancestral territory of the Yurok people, which includes coastal lands from Wilson Creek, in Del Norte County, to the Little River, just south of Trinidad. The Trinidad Coastal Land Trust intends to honor cultural values and to be inclusive of traditional land management. “We want to partner with the Trinidad Rancheria and the Yurok Tribe to develop best management practices, and to design habitat protection and restoration projects. This the Yurok people’s ancestral lands where their ancestors lived and depended on the natural resources still being utilized by tribal people today. We want to respect that and work with the Tribes to develop a culturally sensitive land management plan for this beach property as well as adjacent Land Trust holdings at Houda Point, Baker Beach, and for future trails projects,” said Ben Morehead, Director of the Trinidad Coastal Land Trust.
Basic Rules include: No camping No fires Pick up all trash Pick up after your dog No dogs on Tepona Point trail
If this is one of your favorite places in Humboldt County, you can help us to maintain and improve properties along Trinidad's Scenic Drive coast by donating to our Land Stewardship Fund. Click here to learn more.