Our Community, Our clean Water

Protect Our Open Space


Developing Threats

We have an opportunity to protect a part of California's most endangered natural heritage.

The Situation

Some of the rarest habitat in the world exists in South Orange County and North San Diego County. This open space is headwaters for one of Southern California's cleanest remaining watersheds and harbors numerous endangered and threatened species. One of California's greatest surfing beaches, Trestles, depends on unspoiled San Mateo Creek. San Onofre State Beach, one of California's most popular state parks, provides affordable camping within walking distance of Trestles beach. The communities of San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano and Dana Point enjoy the amenities and economic benefits provided by this open space, including clean beaches and clean air.

traffic build up San Clemente CA

The Threat

A proposed toll road threatens to degrade the natural and human environment of South Orange County. The Foothill-South toll road extend the current 241 toll-road 16 miles to connect to the I-5.  This $1.3 billion project would cut through the last pristine watershed in Southern California and San Onofre State Beach. The financially risky, bond-funded road depends on controversial non-competition agreements with the state of California that impede improvement of state highways and freeways in the area. The impact of the Foothill-South, would pollute local creeks and surf, congest local streets, increase air pollution, destroy a state park, impede the military training mission of the adjacent Camp Pendleton Marine base, and threaten the recovery of endangered and threatened species.

conservation of our open space

The Opportunity

Stopping the Foothill-South toll road will allow San Onofre State Beach to remain open in its entirety.  The San Mateo Watershed would remain clean, the San Mateo Campground would remain open and millions of campers and surfers would continue to enjoy California's 5th most popular state park.  Threatened and endangered wildlife would have better odds for recovery. Native Americans would be able to continue their religious practices. And a beautiful landscape will have been preserved for future generations.


Robin Everett
Conservation Organizer
Sierra Club/Friends of the Foothills
949-361-7534 / fax: 949-361-6623