Newly Repaired Storm-Damaged Staircase Restores Coastal Access at Manresa Uplands State Beach


 | August 23, 2023

California State Parks Director Armando Quintero and
California Coastal Commission Director Kate Huckelbridge open new stairs

AUG 22, 2023 —LA SELVA BEACH, CA — Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks (Friends) today announced in partnership with California State Parks that storm-damaged stairs at Manresa Uplands State Beach have been rebuilt, reestablishing public access between the bluff-top campground and the beach.

California State Parks Director Armando Quintero and California Coastal Commission Director Dr. Kate Huckelbridge visited the state beach on Tuesday, Aug. 22, to celebrate the repairs. The $1.297 million state-funded project involved completely rebuilding the lower third of the wooden staircase, which was destroyed by El Niño storms in March of 2016.

“Projects like this do not happen without partnerships. Incredible partnerships like this are reflected by the beauty of this new staircase,” Quintero said. “Come down and see it.”

The new stairs, built by Robert Botham Construction, feature improved pilings that were drilled into the ground. Construction began in the spring and lasted about four months. The complex project secured Coastal Commission support and permits due to its location within the coastal zone. The Coastal Commission is committed to protecting and enhancing California’s coast and ocean for present and future generations, including ensuring public access to beaches.

“This project is a great example of two state agencies partnering to ensure public access is available for this area of the California coast,”Huckelbridge said.

The seasonal 64-site campground at Manresa Uplands is about a half-mile south of Manresa State Beach, a popular day-use area. Reconnecting Manresa Uplands’ campground to the beach via the staircase was a priority for State Parks to provide a high-quality visitor experience.

“It’s exciting to see this project finished because it restores vital coastal access for the public. The dedication of State Parks staff to complete this storm repair despite the complexities of building in an ever-changing coastal environment is admirable,” said Santa Cruz District Superintendent Chris Spohrer. “Creating infrastructure that can withstand climate-driven disasters and sea level rise is the new normal on the California coast and we will look to this project as a model for how to proceed moving forward.”

In addition to camping and surfing, Manresa Uplands is popular for birding. Some common birds to spot are red-tailed hawks and white-tailed kites as well as meadowlark and several varieties of sparrows. The coastal sage scrub community along the terrace border provides habitat for wildlife associated with shrubby vegetation, such as Allen’s hummingbird, lesser goldfinch, house finch, white-crowned sparrow, rufus-sided towhee, and brush rabbit.

Day-use parking at either Manresa State Beach and Manresa Uplands is $10 and supports the parks.

Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks is an operational partner with State Parks, supporting Manresa Uplands State Beach and more than 30 other state parks and beaches in Santa Cruz and coastal San Mateo counties.

About California State Parks

The California Department of Parks and Recreation, popularly known as State Parks, and the programs supported by its Office of Historic Preservation and divisions of Boating and Waterways and Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation provides for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation. Learn more at

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About Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks

Established in 1976, Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks (Friends) is a vital partner with California State Parks, creatively working to ensure our cherished local parks and beaches are thriving and available to all. Friends’ innovative and collaborative community partnership provides support and investment for education, equity and inclusion, conservation, facilities improvements, historic preservation and cultural events. Friends currently operates a robust online ParkStore offering nature- and history-themed merchandise for sale to benefit local parks and beaches. Friends also operates ParkStores at Natural Bridges, New Brighton, Santa Cruz Mission, Seacliff and Wilder Ranch. Learn more at or viaFacebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest.

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