Grandview Beach in Leucadia (Encinitas) – Beauty and Tragedy
Grandview Beach in the Leucadia community of Encinitas has always been one of our favorite beaches. It’s the northern-most Encinitas beach, bumping up against South Ponto Beach in Carlsbad, and access – other than walking up or down the beach from other areas – is by a set of steep stairs from Neptune Avenue that runs along the top of the bluff.
I've been up and down those stairs more times that I can count.
The views from the top of the stairs, and from multi-million dollar homes along the bluff are spectacular, and the small parking lot, where Neptune Avenue ends, seems to keep the number of visitors fairly low, at least when I have been there. There are no amenities…just a beautiful beach and ocean.
The beauty of this beach was tragically marred on Friday afternoon August 2 when a portion of the bluff collapsed on to the beach below, killing 3 people and injuring 2 others who were sitting close to the edge of the bluff below just a short distance north of the stairs.
Here's one article from the San Diego Tribune with photo.
The tragedy has been blamed on erosion, common along our coastline, and is a poignant reminder about the instability of many coastal areas, the damage that winds and rain can cause, the constantly shifting sand on the beach due to currents and storms, and rising seas.
While sea walls have been installed they are often prohibited; some say we should not interfere with Mother Nature, and sea walls can cause issues with the sand shifting in new ways.
Sand replenishment measures can help in some areas but there are places, including the area by Grandview, that are deemed marine sensitive and protected, and sand replenishment is not allowed.
We’ve had other bluff failures, although thankfully most have not been as tragic – other areas along Encinitas and Solana Beach, several collapses below the train tracks in Del Mar in the last year (train travel was halted for a period of time), the bluff falling onto Jimmy Durante Boulevard leading out of Del Mar and closing the road in one direction for weeks, and others.
Signs are common, warning beachgoers to stay off of the bluffs (it’s prohibited) and to stay away from the base of the bluff on the beach; it’s recommended that people be at least 20 to 45 feet from the base when waking or sitting on the beach. This can be difficult in some areas where the beaches are narrow, especially when the tide is in.
Despite the warnings, there are those who continue to ignore them. No doubt further collapses will occur, and potentially other deaths. Yes, our coastline is spectacular, but we have to respect it and the inherent nature of constant change.
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