Can you imagine a four-lane freeway running from Petaluma to Jenner, built to service high-density subdivisions blanketing the scenic blufftops between Bodega Bay and the Russian River, and permanent closure of a swath of shoreline to block off access by the public?
NIMBY surfers despair as exclusive Central Coast beaches open to the public
A few weeks ago, I tried to get into Hollister Ranch, an ultra-exclusive development of multi-million-dollar properties along California’s Central Coast. Each one sits comfortably on tens of acres above an 8.5-mile stretch of white sand beach, various coveted surf breaks and dramatic cliffs. Located just a half-hour north of Santa Barbara, the area is one of the remaining unblemished surf spots on the California coast.
At the front gate, I explained to the guard that I was doing a story on public access finally being realized for Hollister Ranch, but he didn’t allow me in. I left, without incident.
Starting April 1, 2022, Hollister Ranch should be very much open to public access, thanks to Gov. Gavin Newsom, who signed Assembly Bill 1680 into law in October 2019. The bill ostensibly puts an end to a decadeslong battle between those who own property at Hollister Ranch and the public over who is legally allowed to enjoy its rarified shoreline.
Court issues new ruling regarding Hollister Ranch, paving way for public access to the area’s beaches
It’s a win for big win for public access at Hollister Ranch thanks to the continued advocacy and collaborative work of the Gaviota Coastal Trail Alliance (GCTA.) The GCTA is comprised of the following organizations: Coastwalk California Coastal Trail Association; Gaviota Coastal Conservancy; California Coastal Protection Network and Santa Barbara County Trails Alliance.
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – A new chapter was reached in the decades-long legal battle over Hollister Ranch and its 8-mile coastline. The public is one step closer to having access to the private enclave’s exclusive beaches.
Action Alert!! Please Share Widely! The HOLLISTER RANCH COASTAL ACCESS PROGRAM (HRCAP) will be reviewed on THURSDAY, Nov. 18, 2021 by the CALIFORNIA COASTAL COMMISSION!
Dear Coastwalk/CCTA Members and Coastal Trail Advocates,
This California Coastal Commission meeting and Public Workshop to review the Hollister Ranch Coastal Acces Program in Santa Barbara County was postponed due to the Alisal Fire. This meeting has now been rescheduled for Thursday, Nov. 18.
Please Click on the Link Below to access the Coastal Commission Agenda.
Public Comment (Elected/Public Officials, Groups and Individuals) for the Hollister Ranch Coastal Access Program is now open.
YOUR VOICE IS NEEDED AND YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!! Please sign up to comment or send your comments today.
If you wish to speak at the Workshop, you must fill out a speaker slip no later than 8:30 AM on
Thursday November 18 (speaker slips may be submitted anytime, the speaker signup button is
Note: If you signed up to speak at the October Workshop – which was postponed – you must fill
out a new speaker slip for this November Workshop.
Please keep in mind that your time to speak will be limited. For individual speakers, your time
will be limited to 2 minutes, which may be further reduced to 1 minute depending upon the
number of speakers. If you wish to show a visual presentation that does not exceed 2 minutes and
is not more than 25 MB in size, it must be submitted by 5 PM Wednesday November 17, 2021.
Detailed speaker instructions are located here:
Submittal of Written Materials:
To submit written materials, please email [email protected].
Note: If you previously emailed a comment letter for the October Workshop, your letter has
already been re-posted to the Agenda item. Please do not re-send your previous letter.
You can also submit materials by regular mail to the Coastal Commission at 725 Front Street,
Suite 300, Santa Cruz, CA 95060. All mail received by 5 pm on Friday, November 12, 2021 will be distributed to the Commission. Any materials received after this time will be placed in the file but will not be distributed to the
Coastwalk/CCTA and Coastal Advocates all agree that providing access to a trail through Hollister Ranch would further the Statewide vision of a continuous interconnected public trail system along the California Coast.
Coastwalk/CCTA and Coastal Advocates would also like to ensure that planning for a through trail supports safe pedestrian access AND is prioritized in the public access plan and that all solutions put forth reflect Californian’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gases and support efforts to lessen the impact of Climate Change.
As an individual your comments are an important part of the planning process, and it is critical that the California Coastal Commission receive input from the public in favor of opening public access of Hollister Ranch on the Gaviota Coast. Your input will make a difference.
Thank-you for supporting Coastwalk and the other environmental organizations who are members of the Gaviota Coastal Trail Alliance in their efforts to responsibly open this section of the Gaviota Coast to the public.
Coastwalk Advocacy Coordinator
** Special thanks to Doug Kern, Executive Director of Gaviota Coastal Conservancy for this shared content.
The DRAFT Hollister Ranch Coastal Access Program is now available. We are grateful to Senator Monique Limón for her courageous, strong leadership to bring us to this important moment. The California Coastal Commission needs to hear your voice on October 14, 2021, as it reviews the HRCAP. Your participation is urgently requested. The Commissioners need to hear from the public who have fought for fair and equitable coastal access at Hollister Ranch for 40 years!
Click on the link below download a copy of The Hollister Ranch Coastal Access Draft Here:
1. The Commission should expeditiously approve and implement the HRCAP. The DRAFT HRCAP phases in and limits access to prevent damage to natural and cultural resources, and provides details on how to manage equitable access and protect private property rights. The DRAFT HRCAP provides for a reasonable managed access pilot program, allowing up to 100 people a day to access up to six Ranch beaches by land and could be expanded subject to the protection of natural and cultural resources.
2. The Commission and State Agencies should open responsible access to Hollister Ranch promptly. Hollister Ranch owners have benefitted by developing their parcels over many decades with the condition that the Hollister Ranch Owners’ Association (HROA) provides public access through the Ranch to the public beach areas. However, the public has been prevented from safely exercising, without undue burdens, their constitutional right to access the public beach areas at Hollister Ranch for over 40 years.
3. The coastal trail is an important element of the HRCAP. Currently, the California Coastal Trail (CCT) is limited to only 5 miles on the beach between Gaviota State Park and Point Sal Beach State Park. A Coastal Trail through the 11 miles of Hollister Ranch coastline would further the Statewide vision of a continuous interconnected public trail system along the entire California Coast. Coastwalk/CCTA would like to ensure that a thru-trail that supports pedestrian access is prioritized in the initial phases and throughout the public access plan. Your comments are vital to making the Coastal Trail a reality at Hollister Ranch.