While the decades from 1980 to 2020 were dominated by controversy and lack of action, there were signs that the community truly cared for West Cliff and wanted to make it a better place.
In 1985, with the support of the Abbott family, who funded the construction of the lighthouse, and Jim Lang, Director of Parks and Recreation at the City, the Santa Cruz Surf Club completed repairs and established the Surf Museum. The first of its type on the West Coast of California in the iconic lighthouse, and quickly became a big success! To this day, it draws visitors from around the world with original surfboards, pictures of the early days, and stories of Monterey Bay and surfing in Santa Cruz.
Opening of the Surf Museum in 1986. Pic: Kim Stoner
On Saturday, May 23, 1992, the Surf Community dedicated an 18-foot-tall bronze sculpture of a surfer on the bluff near West Cliff Drive and Pelton. The artist, Tom Marsh, stated in his presentation, “Santa Cruz has a symbol which combines strength and serenity, the athletic power of the surfer, tempered by reverence for nature.” The idea of a monument to all surfers was first proposed in late 1987 by Bob Rittenhouse and Doug Thorne after the death of their friend and fellow Santa Cruz Surfing Club member Bill Lidderdale.
Surf Statue Installation in 1992. Pic: Kim Stoner.
The migratory Monarch Butterfly loves the large Eucalyptus trees in Lighthouse Field, which provide a buffer from the prevailing West Wind. The community fought hard to protect this area and the butterfly habitat. In 2003, the community, led by Ralph Meyberg and UCSC biologist Ralph Berger, created the Monarch Butterfly Habitat across Pelton Street from the Oblates.
On April 9, 2010 then Mayor of Santa Cruz, Mike Rotkin, proclaimed April 9th as the “Three Princes Day” in the City of Santa Cruz. The dedication to the Three Prices was organized by Dan Young, Hary Mayo, Geoffrey Dunn, Kim Stoner and city staff. The plaque is placed at Lighthouse point.
The woman in the middle of this picture is the Princess Marchesa, granddaughter of one of the 3 Princes in attendance at the dedication. Pic: Howard “Boots” McGhee.
Santa Cruz was approved as the third World Surfing Reserve in February 2011; the Santa Cruz Reserve has approximately 7 miles of coastline, extending from Natural Bridges State Park on the western end to the Opal Cliffs just east of Pleasure Point.
On April 27, 2012, the local and international communities came together to commemorate and celebrate Santa Cruz as a World Surfing Reserve. The official dedication event occurred in front of the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum.
The Santa Cruz World Surfing Reserve aims to protect and steward a stretch of cold-water dream waves along a breathtaking coastline that boasts one of the most robust coastal and marine ecosystems on the planet. The region is characterized by a unique surf culture with a deep-rooted history of surfing, including credit as the birthplace of surfing in North America.
The afternoon ceremony at Steamer Lane. From left to right: Mark Stone, Jane McKenzie, Brian Kilpatrick, Sarah Gerhardt and her children, John Leopold, Dustin MacDonald, Jim Littlefield, Robert “Wingnut” Weaver, Dean LaTourrette, Geoffrey Dunn, Kim Stoner. Photo: Howard “Boots” McGhee
On June 14, 2016, after years of hard work, chef and farmer Fran Grayson opened Steamer Lane Supply across from Steamer Lane stairs. The cafe provides healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner items and hot drinks to surfers and tourists alike. Steamer Lane Supply has become a very popular addition to Lighthouse Point.