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!

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. 

https://www.coastal.ca.gov/meetings/agenda/#/2021/11

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.

Speaker Instructions:
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
active now).

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:
https://documents.coastal.ca.gov/assets/virtualhearing/FINAL_VIRTUAL%20_HEARING_PROCEDURES.pdf

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
Commission. 

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.

Sincerely,
Cea Higgins
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:
https://documents.coastal.ca.gov/reports/2021/10/Th4/Th4-10-2021report.pdf

Discussion Points

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.

 

 

COVID-19’s Climate Impact and the Repercussions We Must Face

COVID-19’s Climate Impact and the Repercussions We Must Face

THE FRANKLIN POST

FRANKLIN HIGH SCHOOL • 5405 SE WOODWARD STREET • PORTLAND, OREGON

At the peak of the COVID-19 lockdown, the world rejoiced as the environment saw a glimpse of improvement. Dolphins swam in the rivers of Venice, air quality improved, water pollution decreased in many parts of the world, and birds and animals alike thrived in their newfound peace. Animals found a home in places previously inhabited by humans, and a world catered to people allowed space for nature and other species. “At the beginning, the world paused and the environment thrived,” Izabella Wayland-Vasquez, a Franklin high school alumni, says.

However, as the pandemic lasted far longer than many of us expected, we watched as something positive quickly shifted to a negative.

With the need for at-home accessibility, constant sanitation, an increase in use of single-use plastics, takeout, Amazon shopping and overall lack of structure and regulations for businesses, we find ourselves at a point that could possibly be detrimental for our earth. As people returned to some sense of normalcy, air and pollution levels bounced back to damaging levels, animals retreated to their safety nets, and water quality quickly reverted back to what it was before. The positive progress made during the lockdown had proven to be temporary. As the world opens back up, we are left with another set of issues that could be even worse for the environment.

Cea Higgins is an environmental activist and advocacy coordinator for Coastwalk California trail beach clean ups and is also their retired executive director. Coastwalk is a state-wide non-profit organization, and they advocate for a balance between experiencing the coast and having stewardship and respect for the nature there. “It’s hard not to be negative because [COVID-19] has not been a positive thing for the environment. At all,” she says.

Higgins has been doing coastal conservation for over 25 years, and she has been doing clean ups, “long before people were really aware of plastic pollution and its detrimental effects on the ocean.” She spends her days at the beach, leading expeditions, recruiting volunteers, working in the office, organizing events for students and adults, and designing campaigns to ensure that the beach is well taken care of. Many of her hours are unpaid.

When COVID-19 hit, beach clean ups and volunteer organizations were severely impacted. Since indoor spaces were off limits because of the pandemic, everyone flocked to the beach and nature preserves. With them, they brought their single use plastics, disposable masks, and other miscellaneous trash, leaving untouched natural spaces covered in debris and popular beaches far worse than before. “There’s lots and lots of trash, PPE, human waste, and then all the single use to-go dining stuff, and I’m finding it in super pristine environments that a lot of people didn’t visit,” Higgins says.

In a time when volunteers were needed most, there were the fewest. Large group gatherings were restricted, so fundraising and recruiting volunteers was near impossible. “It’s been extremely difficult to substitute funding that we would normally get from these types of events… how do we make that shift?” says Higgins.

On top of that, in a time when people were afraid that the virus would spread over surfaces, picking up trash was the last thing anyone wanted to do. Even people who weren’t affiliated with an organization and simply cleaned up the beaches as their gift to the ocean were no longer comfortable risking their health to pick up litter.

With a lack of resources and excess trash, we are faced with a huge issue on the beaches and in natural preserves. “I haven’t seen this much trash on the beach in over 30 years,” Higgins states.

Last year, the United States spent nearly 11 billion dollars on cleaning up trash and debris across the U.S, which is ten times more than spent on trash disposal. An estimated 207 PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) items were littered on US roadways and waterways alone in early fall 2020. There is an increasing demand for PPE, which contributes to a significant amount of waste. In a poll of 104 people, 79% of them said that they consume more plastic now since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.

An excess amount of single use plastics and waste is just one problem we now face because of the pandemic. According to satellite data, in April 2020 alone, 64 percent more land was cleared than the same month the previous year which was the biggest year of deforestation in more than a decade. In 2020, deforestation rates increased by 9.5% from the previous year.

Keeping these forests alive is essential in the fight against climate change. Deforestation affects everything, whether it be the air we all breathe, temperature, thousands upon millions of habitats, or the water in our rivers. Megan Whisnand, the AP Environmental Science and Climate Justice teacher at Franklin says, “Forests are just so important. They clean the air, they clean the water. And you can just experience that by walking into a forest, it just feels cooler and calmer.” Forests create a sanctuary for everyone, whether it be animals or humans, or over 391,000 species of plants that the woods are home to.

Due to decreased monitoring and deregulation of businesses during the lockdown, our already large deforestation problem has grown and will continue to skyrocket unless businesses and organizations alike are monitored. “There’s a balance between individual responsibility, but then also the responsibility of our government, or the responsibility of these big corporations,” Whisnand states.

Just as we began to see progression in the fight against climate change, the pandemic seems to have pushed us back years. However, as we return back to a sense of normalcy in a post-pandemic world, we hold the keys to our future. Finally, the world seems ready to embrace real change, and as knowledge about the climate crisis is increasingly more supported and encouraged, we make space for progress. Although bleak, there is a sense of consciousness that people now understand in regards to the planet. Higgins says, “I think where the hope lies, is in the awareness. And I think people understand that it is critical. I see more and more people who want to be part of the solution.”

https://fhspost.com/covid-19s-climate-impact-and-the-repercussions-we-must-face/

Action Alert!!  Please Share Widely! The HOLLISTER RANCH COASTAL ACCESS PROGRAM (HRCAP) will be reviewed    on THURSDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2021 by the  CALIFORNIA COASTAL COMMISSION!

Action Alert!! Please Share Widely! The HOLLISTER RANCH COASTAL ACCESS PROGRAM (HRCAP) will be reviewed on THURSDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2021 by the CALIFORNIA COASTAL COMMISSION!

Dear Coastwalk/CCTA Members and Coastal Trail Advocates,

The comment period for Hollister Ranch Coastal Access (HRCAP) on the Gaviota Coast is now open. YOUR VOICE IS NEEDED AND YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!

Please write the California Coastal Commission or offer personal comments at the online meeting on Thursday, October 14. (Please review the information on the next page on how to submit comments or speak at the hearing.)

It can be assumed that dozens of individuals from Hollister Ranch have registered to speak against opening public access to Hollister Ranch and the Gaviota Coast.

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.

Actions you can take that will make a difference:
• Sign up to speak at the hearing on Thursday, October 14 at the California Coastal Commission’s online meeting
• Send an email with your comments
• Submit comments via U.S. mail
Please review the information on the next page on how to submit comments and participate in this very important process. 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.

Sincerely,
Cea Higgins
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:
https://documents.coastal.ca.gov/reports/2021/10/Th4/Th4-10-2021report.pdf

Discussion Points

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.

You can either speak at the hearing or submit written comments.

To speak during the Public Comment Period of the California Coastal Commission:

Speaker Instructions:
If you wish to speak to the Coastal Commission, you must fill out a speaker slip no later than 8:30 AM on Thursday, October 14 (speaker slips may be submitted the day before, which will streamline this process). We recommend signing up now for your opportunity to speak.

Please keep in mind that your time to speak will be limited, generally from 2 to 3 minutes, as determined by the Chair of the Coastal Commission. If you wish to show a 2-to-3 minute visual presentation that does not exceed 25 MB in size, it must be submitted by 5 PM Wednesday, October 13. Detailed instructions are located here:

https://documents.coastal.ca.gov/assets/virtual- hearing/FINAL_VIRTUAL%20_HEARING_PROCEDURES.pdf

Submit Written Comments:

To submit written materials, please email [email protected]

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, October 8 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 Commission.

 

Thank-You Coastal Cleanup Day Volunteers & Participants

Thank-You Coastal Cleanup Day Volunteers & Participants

THANK-YOU to the volunteers who came out in the rain to Shell Beach on Saturday, September 18 for Coastal Cleanup Day! And a super big thank-you to all the  Coastal Cleanup Day participants for showing up on such a soggy day to Protect Your Happy Place! Sign up for year-round cleanups with the Coastwalk Cleanup Crew. Check out our resource pages for information on how to safely perform cleanups and learn about the Cleanswell app. and how to record the marine debris you remove from the Coast!

New Beach makeover: How San Mateo County plans to transform Tunitas Creek Beach into a visitor-friendly beachfront park

New Beach makeover: How San Mateo County plans to transform Tunitas Creek Beach into a visitor-friendly beachfront park

Tunitas Creek Beach, situated along the bluffs between Half Moon Bay and San Gregorio on San Mateo County’s coastside, will soon undergo a public-access makeover, if a county parks department-led initiative moves forward as planned.

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors in February approved plans to add a walking path to the beach, restrooms, a ranger residence, a parking lot, and, midway down the bluff, a flexible space with tiered seating that could be used for people to gather for picnics or educational events.

Now the project’s leaders are moving forward with securing environmental documents and permits with plans to begin construction as soon as summer 2022, said representatives from the San Mateo County Parks Department and the Peninsula Open Space Trust at a recent informational event. Those agencies have worked closely with each other and with the community to develop and move the plans forward.

Construction is estimated to cost about $7 million and require $1 million in ongoing operations.

A key part of the project is a pedestrian route from the parking area off of State Route 1 to the beach, which currently would also include a roughly 1,300-foot ADA-accessible pedestrian path to the middle portion of the bluff.

As planned, the pedestrian path will continue all the way to the beach, but it won’t be able to offer fully ADA-compliant wheelchair access, said Taylor Jang, stewardship project manager at the Peninsula Open Space Trust.

read more…

As a child, he sneaked onto a secret Malibu beach. 50 years later, the fence finally came down

As a child, he sneaked onto a secret Malibu beach. 50 years later, the fence finally came down

The signs went up about a half-century ago, but they spring to memory like yesterday. On a white background, in vivid red lettering: “Danger” and “KEEP OUT.”

An unseen hand mounted the warnings around the top and sides of the wide concrete tunnel, an underpass built to allow tiny Coal Creek to flow under Pacific Coast Highway and into Santa Monica Bay. The subtext couldn’t have been clearer: “Stay Off Our Beach.”

That’s not the kind of message anyone wants to read. It was especially unwelcome to us, kids lucky enough to grow up in the sunbaked hills on the other side of the coast highway, in Malibu.

Half a dozen years before the California Coastal Act of 1976 made it official, something primal already assured us that access to the beach should be welcomed, not off-limits like some tycoon’s yacht. So, with a wicked old chain-link fence blocking direct access to the shore, we ignored the signs and plunged under PCH.

read more…

Sonoma County Regional Parks adds another open space jewel along the coast

Sonoma County Regional Parks adds another open space jewel along the coast

The hearty cheer came through the fog late Monday morning, startling Misti Arias and a handful of cows grazing nearby.

Arias, the general manager of the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District was making her way down a fire road on Wright Hill Ranch, high above Highway 1, when a group of 15 or so hikers, coming up the road, shouted in unison, upon seeing her: “Thank you, Ag and Open Space!”

Those grateful hikers were employees of the county’s Regional Parks department. Their cheerful greeting captured the strong, highly productive working relationship shared by the agencies. Later this month, Regional Parks will take over this 1,236-acre coastal property, purchased by the taxpayer-supported open space district in 2007.

Wright Hill Regional Park and Open Space Preserve, as it will be known, won’t be fully operational for another 3 to 5 years, estimated Bert Whitaker, the county’s regional parks director, who joined Arias on Monday morning’s fog-shrouded walkabout.

Inhabited by Coastal Pomo tribes before it was purchased by the Wright family in 1863, the land was most recently owned by the Poff family, who sold it to the open space district 14 years ago for $5.6 million.

The district intended to transfer the land to California State Parks. That plan was abandoned when the Great Recession ushered in a budget crunch. As it has in other collaborations with the open space district, the county’s regional parks department stepped into the void.

“When it became clear that State Parks was not going to be able to work with Ag and Open Space for places like this property, for Carrington Ranch, for Calabazas Creek, that was when the parks in Sonoma County started rising to the occasion,” said Whitaker.

Over the last three decades, the open space district has transferred 7,871 acres of land to county parks — just over half of the department’s total acreage. Nearly 4,400 of those acres have been transferred in the last 3 years alone, leading to the creation of five new parks and open spaces.

The Wright Hill Ranch is different from most of his department’s other holdings, said Whitaker.

“It’s a large coastal preserve, not super accessible,” he noted. While he and Arias had reached the ranch via Wright Hill Road, a gravel byway 3.5 miles south of Jenner off Highway 1, the public will not have access to that route. The most efficient way to access the new preserve will be from the north. Hikers can park at the Pomo Canyon Environmental Campground, off Willow Creek Road, and hike up the Pomo Canyon Trail.

While that ascent is a bit “aggressive” for the first mile or so, Whitaker allowed, the payoff — after rising through thick, second generation redwood stands, then the grasslands above — is a dramatic view of the Pacific.

After emerging from a cathedral-like grove of bay and oak, Whitaker pointed south, extolling the “majestic perspectives” of Mount Tamalpais, some 60 miles distant. That he and Arias could barely make out the half dozen bovines grazing a hillside 50 yards away, so thick was the fog, made the moment only a little less dramatic.

Wright_Hill_Ranch_Transfer_location_map.pdf

Rising temperatures, and the ongoing, extreme drought, have made need for such acquisitions more urgent, said Arias.

While the climate is changing, “we can’t predict exactly what’s going to happen, where it’s going to get dry, where it’s going to get hot,” she said.

Scientists have emphasized to Arias and her staff the importance of protecting a wide variety of lands — “a diversity of microclimates, topographies, and habitats,” she said — to make sure wildlife have ample room for migration and adaptation, in response to warming temperatures, rising sea levels and other changes.

“The more available open land,” she said, “the better.”

First California Coastal Trail Map Will Help Complete the 1,230-Mile-Long Trail

First California Coastal Trail Map Will Help Complete the 1,230-Mile-Long Trail

SAN FRANCISCO _ The Coastal Commission and Coastal Conservancy released a digital map that for the first time shows the existing sections of the California Coastal Trail, a three-year project that will be critical to completing the rest of the trail.

“What a milestone,” said Coastal Commission Executive Director Jack Ainsworth. “There are currently 875 miles of trail and now we can finally see exactly where they are, so we can eventually bridge those gaps and finish the trail.”

The California Coastal Trail, which has been in the planning since 1975, is a network of trails that will eventually allow the public to traverse the length of California’s 1,230-mile-long coast. The varied trail is not a single pathway but a collection of parallel threads and is about 70 percent complete. The trail takes participants through beaches, along blufftops and hillsides, on footpaths, sidewalks and separated bicycle paths maximizing scenic coastal views. Portions of the trail are accessible on foot, bicycle, wheelchair users and on horsebacks as well.

“The California Coastal Trail is one of the only flagship trails in the country that is accessible to almost everyone,” said Coastal Conservancy Executive Officer Sam Schuchat. “Many Californians have walked a segment or two without even realizing it!  With this map, people can find trail segments easily, as well as public access points to get to the shore.”

Read More…

https://scc.ca.gov/2021/05/12/press-release-first-california-coastal-trail-map-will-help-complete-the-1230-mile-long-trail/?fbclid=IwAR2soR9z4t1qgV0YidpiuGAfd7_Ne3oLKxGdBmwMrtP-VmjoqQqJyCzLjKw

New Park and Open Space Preserve Coming to Sonoma Coast Ag + Open Space Transfers 335 Acres of Protected Land to Regional Parks

New Park and Open Space Preserve Coming to Sonoma Coast Ag + Open Space Transfers 335 Acres of Protected Land to Regional Parks

Santa Rosa, CA  –  December 30, 2020  –  The Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District (Ag + Open Space), a special district dedicated to protecting our working and natural lands forever, transferred ownership of a 335-acre coastal property to Sonoma County Regional Parks. This land, known as Carrington Coast Ranch, will eventually open to the public as a regional park and open space preserve just north of Salmon Creek.

“This project has been a long time in the making, so it is extraordinary to see the vision become reality and soon our community will be able to enjoy the rolling grasslands and beautiful vistas that make this property such a gem,” said Sonoma County 5th District Supervisor and Ag + Open Space Director Lynda Hopkins. “The conservation of our working and natural lands, including this new park and preserve, provides so many benefits to Sonoma County’s diverse communities. These include addressing climate change mitigation and adaptation, offering a place for all people to enjoy nature, and showcasing stunning scenic landscapes that define our region.”

Ag + Open Space purchased Carrington Coast Ranch in 2003 for $4.8 million. At the time, it was anticipated that the property would be transferred to and operated by California State Parks. However, due to budgetary constraints, State Parks was unable to accept title to the property. Ag + Open Space then began to work with Regional Parks on a potential park and open space preserve that would protect the ranch’s scenic and natural resources, while also providing for public recreation.

Carrington Coast Ranch hosts a diversity of natural habitats, including coastal prairie, coastal scrub, freshwater and saltwater wetlands, and tidal marsh. Several special-status species, such as the Townsend big-eared bat, California red-legged frog, and American badger have been identified on the property. The ranch is primarily open grassland, which affords spectacular views of the ocean, and sequesters carbon to help mitigate the effects of climate change, ensuring this area will adapt to sea level rise. The future park and open space preserve will provide a critical segment of the 1,200-mile California Coastal Trail and link to public lands to the north and south. read more…

A Continuous Trail Along The Coast From The Oregon Border To Mexico

A Continuous Trail Along The Coast From The Oregon Border To Mexico

Jun 6, 2020 Sonoma County Gazette

Share: https://www.sonomacountygazette.com/sonoma-county-news/the-sonoma-county-coastal-trail

In the effort to create a continuous trail along the coast from the Oregon border to Mexico, the California Coastal Trail, the Coastal Act mandated that each coastal county and city, include the planning and implementation of the California Coastal Trail through their jurisdictions. In our county one of the leading organizations in that effort continues to be, Coastwalk/California Coastal Trail Association, the statewide advocacy group for the Coastal Trail.
By Richard Retecki

The primary goal of the California Coastal Act, approved by voters in 1976, is ensuring and providing for public access to the state’s shoreline and ocean.

One of the dreams imbedded in that goal is the creation of a continuous trail along the coast from the Oregon border to Mexico, the California Coastal Trail.

It’s a breath-taking dream

The California Coastal Trail (CCT), when completed, will rival the famed Appalachian Trail in the eastern U.S. Roughly 1150 miles long, it would encompass 800 miles of coastline with twists and turns, swift rises with equally swift descents, braided together through beaches, bluffs, roadways, stairways and boardwalks. The CCT will provide a ribbon of protection for coastal access and preservation of coastal resources along the California Coast.

View from a section of the California Coastal Trail. Image: unofficialnetworks.com

View from a section of the California Coastal Trail. Image: unofficialnetworks.com

The Coastal Act mandated that each coastal county and city, as part of developing their own Local Coastal Plan, include the planning and implementation of the California Coastal Trail through their jurisdictions.

Sonoma County has done so since the mid-1970’s, with considerable success. About two thirds of the county’s 65 miles of the California Coastal Trail has been completed, and planning for the remaining gaps is included in the current Draft Local Coastal Plan.

Enormous thanks  are due to the local citizens’ groups, regional and state parks agencies, nonprofit organizations and public funding agencies, whose hard work has brought us this far.

One of the leading organizations in that effort was, and continues to be,  Coastwalk/California Coastal Trail Association, the statewide advocacy group for the Coastal Trail, formed in 1980, and  headquartered in Sebastopol.

Morgan (Mo)(very left) and Joce (Jo) second from right, interns at the CA coastal trail association, embarked on an expedition from Oregon to Mexico on the California Coastal Trail in the summer of 2016. Richard Nichols, former Executive Director of Coastwalk California and one of the 1996 CCT thru-hikers and his wife Brenda (second from left) met up with them along the trail and shared their favorite memories of Coastwalk in its heyday and told Jo an Mo about the founder of Coastwalk, Bill Kortum, who was a coastal access activist and environmentalist. Image: coastwalk.org

Morgan (Mo)(very left) and Joce (Jo) second from right, interns at the CA coastal trail association, embarked on an expedition from Oregon to Mexico on the California Coastal Trail in the summer of 2016. Richard Nichols, former Executive Director of Coastwalk California and one of the 1996 CCT thru-hikers and his wife Brenda (second from left) met up with them along the trail and shared their favorite memories of Coastwalk in its heyday and told Jo an Mo about the founder of Coastwalk, Bill Kortum, who was a coastal access activist and environmentalist. Image: coastwalk.org

Read more on the MoJo Coastwalk at  https://coastwalk.org/?s=richard+nichols

Richard Nichols, a former Coastwalk Executive Director, and author of  “Hiking the California Coastal Trail”,   was instrumental in raising CCT awareness, securing planning funds, coordinating coastal county progress and yearly hikes, and two Coastal Trail thru-hikes from Oregon to Mexico.

Una Glass, a Sebastopol City Council member and former Coastwalk Executive Director, pushed and prodded Coastal Trail development through the lean years following the 2008 recession.

Cea Higgins, Executive Director of Coastwalk/California Coastal Trail Association congratulating honoree and co-founder Lucy Kortum May 2018- Image: www.facebook.com/coastwalk/

Cea Higgins, Executive Director of Coastwalk/California Coastal Trail Association congratulating honoree and co-founder Lucy Kortum May 2018- Image: www.facebook.com/coastwalk/

The current   Coastwalk Executive Director, Cea Higgins,   is a coastal resident and avid surfer. Cea is working to address impacts on the CCT such as sea level rise, and create opportunities for underrepresented communities to experience the CCT. Cea is also working to solve the current financial and social problems of Coastal Trail implementation.The 2020 Coastwalk Guided Hikes have been canceled due to the pandemic, which is impacting the financial well-being of the organization. Coastwalk continues to work with state, county and nonprofit organizations to support California Coastal Trail implementation.

You can join or donate to support the organization here: https://coastwalk.org/join-donate/

There are remaining gaps to completing the Coastal Trail in Sonoma County.

Blufftop homes along the Sea Ranch property. On the Sea Ranch property, the public trail dead ends at a “private trail,” which is only accessible to Sea Ranch homeowners and their guests. Today, you can walk through the full length of Sea Ranch if you are staying in the community. Image: coastwalk.org

Blufftop homes along the Sea Ranch property. On the Sea Ranch property, the public trail dead ends at a “private trail,” which is only accessible to Sea Ranch homeowners and their guests. Today, you can walk through the full length of Sea Ranch if you are staying in the community. Image: coastwalk.org

Negotiations with Sea Ranch in the early 1980’s provided five neighborhood trails and beach access, a three-mile-long bluff top trail for public use, and a 120-acre donation to create Gualala Point Regional Park.  Completion of the Coastal Trail would require a through trail 12 miles long (see map) from Gualala Point Regional Park south to connect with the proposed Kashia Coastal Preserve and Stewarts Point Ranch trails. Building this trail would require a considerable change in stance from Sea Ranch, where homeowners are wary of losing their privacy to hikers.

Click on map to view large zoomable and downloadable version. remaining gaps to completing the Coastal Trail in Sonoma County.

Click on map to view large zoomable and downloadable version. remaining gaps to completing the Coastal Trail in Sonoma County.

Another difficult area to implement is the seven-mile-long Highway 1 segment through  Ocean Cove and Fort Ross ( see map). Highway 1, in places, is narrow and winding, and in numerous locations property owners have built into the highway right-of-way, complicating any planning process.A concerted planning effort was undertaken here, but natural and manmade complexities stalled the effort.

For the foreseeable future, Highway 1 will continue to be the Coastal Trail.

The management plan for the  Jenner Headlands property   (see map)  includes a 2.5 mile segment of the Coastal Trail. Enhancement of the property has been underway by the Wildlands Conservancy for a decade. Public parking and restrooms and 15 miles of trails have recently been opened. When completed, the Jenner Headlands CCT segment will run from Russian Gulch to Jenner and connect with the Russian River Trail inland.

Jenner Headlands view. Image: Sonomacounty.com

Jenner Headlands view. Image: Sonomacounty.com

South of the Russian River,  the Carrington property  (see map),  soon to be added to the County Regional Park system, will provide two miles of Coastal Trail east of Highway 1 from Coleman Valley Road to Salmon Creek.

Bodega Bay Trails Plan implementation has been ongoing for more than a decade, with Coastal Trail segments built both south and north of Bodega Bay such as the  Coastal Prairie Trail.

Estero Ranch is riparian to the Estero Americano which meanders through the northern boundary of the ranch for over two miles

Estero Ranch is riparian to the Estero Americano which meanders through the northern boundary of the ranch for over two miles

The recent acquisition of the   Estero Ranch  (see map) and subsequent CCT implementation will connect with the southern boundary of Bodega Harbour and traverse to the county line at the   Estero Americano. Currently, the Coastal Trail south from Bodega Bay is on Highway 1.

A most difficult gap remains:  how to construct a trail through Bodega Bay that will be affordable and provide maximum public safety for all trail users. A vital entity in Coastal Trail maintenance and improvement is CalTrans, especially in difficult areas such as   Bodega Bay   and Ocean Cove-Fort Ross. They are an integral part of Coastal Trail implementation.

Fisherboats at Bodega Harbor. Image: Frank Schulenburg / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

Fisherboats at Bodega Harbor. Image: Frank Schulenburg / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

The dream of a continuous coastal trail has been actively pursued by hundreds of people and organizations for nearly fifty years. In reality, much has been accomplished but much work remains. The future will require the continued hard work of dedicated public agencies, nonprofits and coastal trail enthusiasts.

It’s a worthy, wonderful dream that, when finished, will provide beauty and enjoyment for future generations