Protect Gaviota Coast Public Access

We have good news. In response to overwhelming public support, the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission has agreed to study a near-shore location for the California Coastal Trail on the Gaviota Coast.

However, only part of the job is done. Without inclusion of strong policies, regulations and incentives in the draft Gaviota Plan, the dream of a 20-mile-long near-shore trail along the Gaviota Coast may never be realized. Furthermore, pending developments threaten to close longstanding coastal access points. At any time, no parking signs may be posted (e.g., at Refugio State Beach) or government agencies such as CalTrans may use obstructions (boulders in road right of way) which would threaten traditional access.

The importance of your participation at this point in the planning process cannot be over stated: After the draft Gaviota Plan is approved by the Planning Commission, the Environmental Impact Review process, and approval by Board of Supervisors and Coastal Commission, it will be incorporated into the General Plan and will direct development and land use along Gaviota for the next thirty years.

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How Can I Help?

We need your help to keep pressure on the Planning Commission to make sure they protect and expand public access to and along the Gaviota Coast. Please take a few minutes to write or send an email to the Planning Commission such as the example below. Please personalize your message so that the commissioners will not get too many form letters.

To: David Villalobos:

(Mr. Villalobos' email address is used for messages sent to the County Planning Commission)

cc: Doreen Farr, County Supervisor:

Subject: Protect and Enhance Gaviota Coastal Access

Dear Ms. Joan Hartmann, Chair, Santa Barbara County Planning Commission

I am a strong supporter of protecting and expanding public access to and along the shoreline of the Gaviota Coast. In regard to the draft Gaviota Coast Plan, I would like to make the following comments:

  • Thank you for the initial decision to study a near-shore location for the California Coastal Trail as part of the draft Gaviota Coast Plan.
  • Please take all actions needed to protect the public’s right to use existing informal access points and provide new coastal access points along the Gaviota Coast.
  • I respectfully request that the Commission adopt a comprehensive set of goals, policies, regulations and incentives to facilitate acquisition and development of the California Coastal Trail and new coastal access points.

My understanding is that without a strong set of goals, policies, regulations and incentives, it will be very difficult to bring the dream of a near-shore Gaviota Coastal Trail to reality, or protect and expand public access to and along the shoreline.

Please do everything possible in the draft Gaviota Plan to protect and expand public access to our coast!

[your signature]

Please express your concern in your own words. It is imporant that your correspondence requests that the County Planning Commission include tools and policies in the Draft Gaviota Plan to ensure that the County energetically pursues protection of existing access and acquisition of trails and open space.

In addition to letting the Planning Commission know why nature-based recreational access to the Gaviota Coast is important to you, feel free to comment on this post. Also see guide to Gaviota Coast beach walks.

1 Comment

  1. pkjasper

    Please do all you can do to support our access to a most valuable resource, our coastline. I was born and raised here and hate the thought of being barred from walking, hiking or surfing the coast where I have been able to do so since the 1950’S. Santa Barbara is so precious. Thank you for helping save it for all of us, not just for a few.

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