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Questions & Answers About MRCA-Managed Parks and Trails During the COVID-19 Pandemic – Updated January 29, 2021

January 29, 2021

Questions and Answers about Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority Park and Trail Openings During the COVID-19 Pandemic

LOS ANGELES (January 29, 2021) – The Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) has reopened  to the public most of the parks and trails it manages in accordance with the protocols set forth by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and directives by the city of Los Angeles and other jurisdictions within which it operates. According to the health order, the public can use parks and trails but must practice physical distancing (be more than six feet away from other people not of your household), and wear a cloth face covering.

MRCA Masking and Distancing Order

MRCA Ventura County masking and distancing order

Parking lots and many—but not all—restrooms have also been opened at MRCA parks and trails.

This followed an unprecedented period of closure between March 22, 2020 and May 9, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Below are questions and answers about the current status of MRCA parks and trails.

Are all MRCA parks and trails open?
Most MRCA-managed parks and trails are open daily from sunrise to sunset. A list of the MRCA’s most popular parks can be found at this link on its website https://mrca.ca.gov/parks/parklisting/.

Which MRCA parks and facilities are CLOSED

  • All park buildings (with the exception of some outdoor-facing restroom facilities) and offices including those at King Gillette Ranch, Franklin Canyon Park, and Temescal Gateway Park
  • Jerome C. Daniel Overlook above the Hollywood Bowl
  • Los Angeles River Center and Gardens
  • Lewis MacAdams Riverfront Park

Which MRCA-managed beach accessways are OPEN:

  • Dolphin View Coastal Overlook (Big Rock Beach); between 19812 & 19768 Pacific Coast Highway 
  • Maritime Rocks (Big Rock Beach);  between 20516 & 20466 Pacific Coast Highway
  • Miramar Coastal Overlook (Las Tunas Beach); between 19620 & 19562 Pacific Coast Highway 
  • Carbon Beach East (Carbon Beach); 22126 Pacific Coast Highway
  • Carbon Beach West (Carbon Beach); 22500 Pacific Coast Highway
  • Malibu Road East Access (Amarillo Beach); 24038 Malibu Road
  • Lechuza Beach at West Sea Level Drive adjacent to Broad Beach Road; 31885 Sea Level Drive
  • Lechuza Beach at East Sea Level Drive; 31544 Broad Beach Road 

Note: The Bunnie Lane Access to Lechuza Beach is CLOSED

Which Coastal Access Points are CLOSED?

  • Latigo Beach; 26500 Latigo Shore Drive
  • Geoffrey’s Restaurant (Escondido Beach); 27400 Pacific Coast Highway
  • Escondido Beach; 27420-27428 Pacific Coast Highway
  • Lechuza Beach at Bunnie Lane Entrance; 31736 & 31712 Broad Beach Road  

Why are these facilities closed? All closures are to promote the health and safety of the public and MRCA staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What about restrooms? MRCA has opened restrooms that can be used in a manner that promotes the six-foot physical distancing mandated by public health authorities. This means multi-stall restrooms, and those inside park buildings are not open at this time.

Is parking available?
Many MRCA parks and trails have fee-based parking facilities, which are open and patrolled. Don’t forget to pay your parking fee. If you park on a public street, be sure you are in a legal parking spot because you may otherwise receive a parking ticket.

Many local parks and trails operated by other public entities have closed again after experiencing crowding, noncompliance with public health directives, an abundance of trash, and lack of physical distancing. Will all MRCA-managed parks and trails that are currently open remain open?
That depends on park users’ compliance with public health directives. Unfortunately, the pandemic is not over and may get worse. If the public or MRCA staff are at risk because of how the parks and trails are being used, we would have to consider closing the park or trail. This is preventable if the public practices physical distancing in all areas including parking lots and trailheads and wears cloth face coverings.

The MRCA-managed trail in my neighborhood, which I have enjoyed for 25 years, has reopened. We expected crowds but are very disappointed to have observed on a daily basis that the majority of hikers (most in close proximity to each other) are not wearing face coverings to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Isn’t a face covering required?
Yes. A face covering is required and every member of the public (with the exception of small children and those with a disability) is required to wear face coverings when visiting MRCA parks and trails. It is everyone’s responsibility to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and to keep the parks open for everyone.

What kind of enforcement are you doing to ensure the public complies with public health orders?
MRCA rangers and uniformed staff are doing everything they can to keep people safe on the trails so that everyone can continue to enjoy the respite of nature during this unprecedented public health crisis. The rangers are assisted by exemplary volunteers including the Santa Monica Mountains Mountain Bike Unit and the California Emergency Mobile Patrol, a more than 50-year old volunteer suburban search and rescue team serving the Los Angeles region. The goal is to educate park and trail users to practice the public health protocols of six-foot physical distancing and wearing face coverings to help keep everyone safe and the parks open.

What about beach access managed by the MRCA?
Some  MRCA-managed Malibu coastal accessways remain closed. Please see the list above. This includes the Bunnie Lane accessway to Lechuza Beach. These accessways are constrained physically so that they cannot allow for recommended social distancing. Their physical condition makes compliance with safety guidelines difficult for the public as well as for our operations and ranger staff.  We look forward to reopening  Malibu beach accessways as soon as it is safe to do so.

Can I bring my dog on my hike?
The same park rules apply as always. Dogs are allowed on leash and under owner’s immediate control at most (but not all) parks managed by the MRCA. Check for information on the individual park before you visit.

What else should I know?
Trail amenities, like trash cans, might not be available on your hike. Plan to carry out your own trash—Pack it in and Pack it out!

Be sure to follow basic hiking safety rules: only wear sturdy shoes, carry water, use sunscreen, and wear a hat. Be aware of natural hazards of Southern California open space areas: rattlesnakes, poison oak, and ticks.

Is the Los Angeles River Recreation Zone managed by the MRCA open?
No, the two LA River recreation zones managed by the MRCA—in Elysian Valley and in the Sepulveda Basin in Encino are closed for the season.

The Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) is a local government public entity dedicated to the preservation and management of open space and parkland, watershed lands, trails, and wildlife habitat. The MRCA works in cooperation with other government partners to acquire parkland, participate in vital planning processes, provide natural resources and scientific expertise, and complete major park improvement projects. The MRCA manages and provides ranger services and fire protection for almost 75,000 acres of parkland that it owns and that are owned by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy or other agencies and provides comprehensive education and interpretation and leadership programs for youth. It is one of the lead agencies providing for the revitalization of the Los Angeles River.