Campground project to begin at El Moro

Trailer park to make way for public camping and recreation at spectacular Crystal Cove location. 2010 opening seen.

June 30, 2008|By Cindy Frazier

The next phase for El Moro Canyon — where trailers and mobile homes stood since the 1950s — is set to begin soon.

Construction of the long-awaited El Moro Campground at Crystal Cove State Park is expected to begin after the July 4 weekend, Crystal Cove State Park Superintendent Ken Kramer said Monday.

State Parks officials recently awarded a $12 million public works project contract to Los Angeles Engineering, Inc. for the conversion of the former El Morro Village trailer park site to a state park campground, beach, and picnic area. The project is set to begin in mid July and is expected to be open to the public by early 2010.


“This is a project that will provide construction jobs to build the park and tourism visitors to fill the park and spur the Orange Coast economy,” said Ruth Coleman, director of California State Parks.

“This is one example of what the Governor wants in public-private partnerships. We are using public bond funds for a private company to build a visitor destination that is an investment in the future of the local economy.”

The project is approved in the Governor’s 2007/2008 budget and is financed by voter approved Proposition 12 park bond funds. Project highlights include:

a 60-site family campground;

200 day use parking spaces;

park and school entry upgrades;

road and trail improvements;

creek restoration;

picnic areas;

hiking trails;

native plant and habitat restoration;

an outdoor educational amphitheatre;

water quality improvements;

restoration of the beach and shoreline;

interpretive exhibits;

public restroom facilities, and

a lifeguard facility for public safety and protection.

Parks officials are anticipating that the 60 overnight campsites and 200 day use parking spaces will attract more than 100,000 visitors on weekends.

Park use fee revenues from camping, day use, and special events could generate as much as an additional $1 million per year to support California State Parks, parks officials said in a press statement.

The El Moro campground will be the first coastal campground to be added to the state parks system in about 20 years, parks officials said.

With the popularity of coastal park camping, parks officials predict that this park could be sold out on the first day reservations are opened.

The 35-acre project site is located within the 2,791 acre Crystal Cove State Park ,located on one of the last undeveloped stretches of the Orange County coastline.

The park was purchased in 1979 from the The Irvine Company for more than $32 million. While the public approved the park’s plan in 1982, including the conversion plans for the former trailer park, a long-term lease for the 294 trailer homes and legal challenges by the former tenants delayed the start of the project for years.

For more information, contact Kramer at (949) 494-3539.

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