Befuddlement Over Beach Closures

An oldie but a goody; and by that I mean I forgot to post this story for the Santa Cruz Weekly when it came out back in August. It addresses the issue of what it means, exactly, to close a state beach. The question is fraught with tension, not least of which being the fact that the California Coastal Commission is determined to keep beaches public -- and maybe prepared to slug it out in the courts.

If it makes you feel any better, the picture has hardly changed since summer: California's experiment in closing a whole lot of state parks (70 out of 278) in order to save not a whole lot of cash (less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the $26 billion budget deficit the state was grappling with earlier this year) remains just that: an experiment. The 70 parks are supposed to be closed by July 2012, and we're still not sure how it all works. (See this recent story in the Sac Bee for an example.)

Anyway, read this, then stay tuned for more. (Warning: The online story is missing line breaks for some reason, making it kind of impossible to read. But by golly, I wanted to post it.)

"Befuddlement Over Beach Closures"

By Nate Seltenrich

Closing a park is hard; closing a beach is even harder. But that’s just what Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed for four local state beaches. The beaches—Twin Lakes and Seabright in Santa Cruz County and Zmudowski and Moss Landing in Monterey County’s northern reaches—are among nine beaches up and down the state set for closure by next July. Due to the unique public access issues posed by beaches, the question of how exactly that will look—or if it will even work—remains entirely unanswered. [continue reading at]