Individuals who trek across a popular hiking trail on Ontario Ridge between Avila Beach and Shell Beach are finding it harder to make the hike after an area landowner recently erected a locked gate, no trespassing signs and a fence wrapped in barbed wire along a portion of the path. 

The looping trail, also known as the Shell Beach Ridge, Avila Beach Ridge and Upper Bluff trails, runs through county-owned parks land as well as private property, and has been used by the public to access the Pirates Cove area, bluffs and beach below the ridge.

“I have hiked up there for years,” said Shell Beach resident Tarren Collins, who has launched a public effort to save the trail. “It’s a prescriptive easement.”

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