The summer is flying by, and schools are preparing for the new school year.  After a very wet winter, and some extreme heat over the summer, I know most of us are looking forward to what normally is a beautiful fall season in our area.  Fall in the North County often brings perfect weather for enjoying outdoor activities.  Fall is usually the season to enjoy the beaches after the summer fog subsides.

Speaking of enjoying local outdoor activities, the San Luis Obispo County Parks and Recreation Commission recently presented their annual report for 2023 to the Board of Supervisors.  In the report they highlighted how many people enjoy our county parks each year, and how the number of visitors has grown over the years.  In 2008, SLO County maintained approximately 13,214 acres of parkland for 1,283,215 visits.  By 2022 the number had risen to 13,630 acres of parkland, with 2,856,363 visits.  The County parks department has done a great job maintaining and growing some wonderful parks. For those of you who haven’t visited all of the parks in the County, you may want to put that on your list for some fun outdoor fun this fall. The County Parks system offers beautiful golf courses at Dairy Creek near San Luis Obispo, Chalk Mountain right here in Atascadero, and Morro Bay. For the dog lovers, Heilmann Park in Atascadero, Vineyard Dog Park in west Templeton, El Chorro north of San Luis Obispo, Nipomo Par, and Norma Rose Park in Cayucos all offer parks for you and your dog to enjoy together.  For anyone who wants to camp, the County has some beautiful camping opportunities for an easy access staycation. Less than a half hour drive from South Atascadero, you can be camping on the gorgeous Santa Margarita Lake under the stars. Other County parks offering camping opportunities include Lopez Lake near Arroyo Grande, Oceano, and El Chorro Parks. There are also some spectacular trails in the County Parks system.  Templeton, San Luis Obispo, Nipomo, Los Osos, Lopez, Santa Margarita Lake, Avila Beach (Bob Jones Trail), and of course the Jim Greene Trail (1.5 miles) right here in Atascadero provide wonderful hiking opportunities.  A trails map can be found on the SLO County Parks website.

Each time the Parks Commission presents the annual Report I am reminded of the vast number of parks, big and small, that the County operates.  If you haven’t had a chance to visit all of these parks, I invite you to check them out.  Each park is different and offers unique recreational opportunities,  Like me, you may have forgotten about some of the parks that are scattered all over the county. If you want to picnic by the beach, try Avila Beach Community Park, with the Central Coast aquarium adjacent to the Park.  Hardy Park is a 4 acre pocket park near the Cayucos Pier with tennis courts and a pool.  Shamel Park in Cambria also has a pool and an ocean view.  Then there is the Paul Andrew Park in Cayucos, the Oceano Memorial Park, and the Los Osos Community Park, all near beach areas.  El Chorro Park, north of San Luis Obispo offers a Botanical Gardens and Ball fields, up north in Shandon, the beautiful tree covered CW Clarke Park offers 11 beautiful acres featuring a pool and a clubhouse.  Biddle Park east of Arroyo Grande is a 47-acre park that includes ball fields.  The towns of Santa Margarita, Nipomo, Templeton, and San Miguel offer beautiful community parks perfect for a picnic. I don’t want to forget the Cuesta Canyon Park, nestled on the north end of San Luis Obispo City near San Luis Creek.   Last but not least is Heilmann Regional Park, located in Atascadero, and boasting 102 acres of natural setting and including lighted tennis courts and disc golf. The parks and trails in the SLO County system are a treasure for all of us to enjoy, and the fall season are a perfect time to do just that!

-Debbie Arnold
(805) 781-1994


5th District Supervisor, Debbie Arnold

Debbie Arnold moved to San Luis Obispo County in 1973 to attend Cal Poly, she fell in love with both her husband, Steve, and the farming and ranching values that had been a part of the Arnold family way of life for more than 5 generations. While raising two children, she owned and operated a small business in Atascadero for more than 17 years. She then had the privilege of advocating for local families as a Legislative Aide at the County Supervisor’s office and as a San Luis Obispo District Representative for the State Senate. During these years, she worked with a broad range of community groups and interests, bringing people together to solve problems. Debbie Arnold now serves as the 5th District Supervisor for San Luis Obispo County.