Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Tuesday, December 23rd, Sonoma Coast


Very nice gathering at Bodega Head last night to toast Bill Kortum, a real Coastal Hero.  Special thanks to Paul Judge for taking the photos.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Charging for Coastal Services


As I delivered a solar power generator to Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods yesterday, to be used to bring electrical power to mountain meadows and campgrounds, I had a strange idea on how we might look at another policy decisions affecting the coast.

One of the most controversial issues facing the North Coast is the request from California's Parks and Recreation Department to install fee collection devices in parking areas along the coast to charge for automobile parking.  The fees are necessary because the state general funds  are being cut back by the Legislature, and parks are being required to raise funds locally to pay for operational costs.

Maintenance of restrooms in parking lots generates the bulk of the costs for which the parking fees are being introduced.  Elsewhere in the state, access to the coast is being maximized by installing controllable electronic fees collection devices which encourage turnover and minimize all-day parking.   Installation of these devices on the North Coast is made more difficult because few have electricity onsite.

What if we install solar power generators on top of the restrooms, and charge to use the restrooms?  My wife says the downside of this is that visitors might try to find somewhere else to relieve themselves.  One of the current arguments against charging to park is that visitors will find somewhere else to park.  So the question in my mind is: which is the greater harm?

And we create a mobile phone app which knows you bought a state parks annual pass.  Aim it at the restroom door, and it unlocks.  No onsite collection of fees.  A real incentive for buying a parks pass.  If we standardize the state, regional, and local pass privileges, all parks benefit.  And we can collect lots of good info on who is visiting our parks, and can let them now about all of our park activities in a timely manner.


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Coastal Protection at Torrey Pines in 1929


One of the first battles to save the California coast from the pressures of a development occurred in 1929 when local commercial interests urged building a high-speed highway through Torrey Pines City Park.  The proposed road was designed to bypass a narrow, winding grade which created a bottleneck on the major thoroughfare between San Diego and Los Angeles.  One scheme called for blasting away 1,700 feet of sea cliff for a straight, more gradual right-of-way from the beach to the mesa top.  Debris from the cutting in the new alignment was to be dumped onto the public beach.  One scenic canyon was to be crossed on an embankment of fill, and another spanned by a bridge.

Opposition to this proposal was led by The League to Save Torrey Pines Park.  Its members felt the best solution was to build a new road to the east via Sorrento Valley, skirting Torrey Pines altogether. In a brochure that addressed numerous reasons for preventing the road, the League answered its own rhetorical question, "Is the danger to the Park very pressing?" with the following blast: "So pressing that only an immediate and emphatic expression of public disapprobation can save the heritage of the people from a defilement which will bring upon its perpetrators the condemnation of generations yet unborn."  A compromise was reached in 1930, and a grade (old Highway 101, now North Torrey Pines Road) was cut through the upland instead of along the cliffs.  The region's modern freeway (Interstate 5) was eventually built east of Torrey Pines, following the route favored by the League 40 years earlier.

Follow the current efforts to protect the coast and continued access to it at the following websites:

Act Coastal
Coastwalk California
California Coastal Commission
California Coastal Conservancy

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Coastwalk's New Webpages


Coastwalk California has changed it's webpages, and the look is great.  Registration is now open for the 2014 Coastwalk season, and the re-design makes it even easier to sign up.  Improved mapping to the California Coastal Trail is coming, and be sure to keep an eye out for their assistance to your advocation for protecting access to the California coast.

Kudos to its young staffers, Hannah Faire Scott and Stephanie Picard-Colomb.