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Historic, beloved pier to be demolished after storm damage

The state will tear down Seacliff Pier in Aptos due to extensive storm damage. | California State Parks

Generations of beachgoers will say “goodbye” to the fishing pier at one of California’s oldest state beaches this weekend. 

The Seacliff Pier in Aptos, just south of Santa Cruz, was condemned today by the State Park Service, which runs the site. 

The pier has survived many storms since its construction in the 1920s, but this winter’s wallop proved too much, causing extensive damage to the end of the pier and buckling its midsection, which left it beyond repair.

Recent storms proved too much for the century-old fishing pier in Seacliff State Beach. | California State Parks

“Seacliff State Beach has been beloved for generations,” said California State Parks District Superintendent Chris Spohrer. “State Parks looks forward to working with the community, scientists and environmental stewards to build resilience to sea-level rise and extreme event impacts so that more generations can continue to fall in love with Seacliff State Beach.”

Seacliff Beach is known for the SS Palo Alto, a concrete freighter scuttled at the end of the pier almost a century ago. A 2017 storm twisted the ship and broke it in half.

The community is invited to a farewell for the pier that is planned in conjunction with the Seacliff State Beach cleanup on Saturday, Feb. 18, from 12-2 p.m.

The State Parks also said that Seacliff’s beachfront campground would remain closed for the remainder of 2023 due to the destruction of its sea wall. 

The state said in a statement that it aims to rework the park to better withstand the impact of severe storms brought on by climate change.

“The historic storms that impacted California’s communities this winter and damaged Seacliff State Beach are evidence of a new reality the state’s shoreline faces as a result of climate change, especially due to sea-level rise and extreme weather," the statement reads. "As State Parks develops plans to restore services and amenities for visitors, providing climate-resilient facilities will be a critical consideration.”

The loss of the Seacliff Pier comes as California senators called on the Biden Administration to fund the replacement of the Aquatic Park Pier in San Francisco, a 1933 structure that was deemed unsafe and closed to the public in November.