In big win for coastal advocates, judge refuses to approve deal that would limit public from reaching Hollister Ranch beaches

Great news in our quest to establish the Coastal Trail at Hollister Ranch “The judge has rejected Hollister’s efforts to remove the Gaviota Coast Trail Alliance from the lawsuit and to marginalize the public.” The Alliance is made up of Coastwalk/CCTA, Gaviota Coastal Conservancy, California Coastal Protection Network, and Santa Barbara Trails Council and is committed to representing the public and securing reasonable public access to all 8.5 miles of the beaches and tidelands adjoining Hollister Ranch.”

“A continuous Coastal Trail from Gaviota State Park to Jalama has been COASTWALK’s goal for many years. Access across Hollister Ranch is an essential element, and this ruling is a step forward.” Stated Cea Higgins, Executive Director of Coastwalk/California Coastal Trail Association (CCTA), and a member of the Alliance Board of Directors.

February 11, 2019, LOS ANGELES TIMES

SANTA BARBARA, CA

In a major victory for coastal advocates, a Santa Barbara judge has refused to approve a deal that would have allowed access to Hollister Ranch’s coastline only to landowners, their guests, visitors with guides, and those who could boat or paddle in from two miles away.

The settlement agreement, struck between the ranch and coastal officials behind closed doors, sparked public outrage last year after The Times published terms of the deal. The outcry became a flashpoint in the mounting pressure on state officials to ensure that California’s beaches are open to everyone — not just to those fortunate enough to own oceanfront property.

Hundreds of people have since lambasted the deal, calling on officials to fight harder against the ranch to open some of California’s most coveted beaches and surf breaks — still behind private gates after decades of legal battles and stalemates.

The backlash culminated in a coalition of advocates challenging the deal in a court intervention — stepping in, they said, to speak up for the public where the state had faltered.  —Rosanna Xia —-Click here to read the full article