Ari Marsh describes his walk down the winding path to Beacon's Beach passionately.
"It's this sort of iconic landmark," he says. "I tread down this trail barefoot at 8 a.m., surfed out here with a pod of dolphins."
Right now, the zig-zagging path is the only way to get down to the beach in Leucadia. Marsh has been walking it for decades. Now, he and many regulars fear Beacon's could lose its charm.
It's because the bluff that holds the trail is eroding. Warning signs are everywhere telling beachgoers to walk it at their own risk.
That's why the Encinitas Planning Commission is considering a roughly $3.5 million project to build a concrete staircase south of the path. It would also reduce the number of parking spots from 25 to about 15. Residents are fighting the project because they say it would ruin the character. They want a smaller project with more community input, even though the city plans to keep the original path.
"If there's a significant rain or there is a small slide on the trail, they might just say, 'hey, we're going to close it off, that's all you got," Marsh said.
Others who surf at the beach say safety comes first.
"It's comfortable, but it's eroding," said Paul Moss, a regular. "It needs to be fixed at some point."
In a statement, the city says the bluff has become increasingly precarious over the years due to erosion. It wants to maximize safety for the nearly 500,000 beachgoers who visit Beacon's each year.