It’s official: Point Sal State Park is once again open to the public, after more than a year of the military denying access due to safety and security concerns.
“As of today,” said Santa Barbara County’s 4th District Supervisor Joni Gray, who fought hard to get access re-opened, “people can use the trail and go to Point Sal.”
The nine-mile access road, which cuts through Vandenberg Air Force Base, was officially closed by the military in January 2007. Cars hadn’t been allowed on it since it was washed out by 1998’s El Ni±o storms, but hearty hikers and bikers continued to use it until the end of 2006. That’s when an ownership dispute between the county and the military came to a head, and Vandenberg decided to close the road and start issuing citations to trespassers. Gray’s office responded and began working with the base on how to bring back public access.
Last Friday, Vandenberg officials sent a letter to the county proposing a plan to re-open the road. This week, the county agreed on the plan, and Point Sal is once again accessible from sunrise to sunset.
As part of the agreement, the military is allowed to close the trail during times of heightened security, much like the arrangements at Jalama, Ocean, and Surf beaches. The county is responsible for improvements, trail marking, and emergency evacuations and also promises to keep looking for alternative access routes, one of which has reportedly been located by 3rd District Supervisor Brooks Firestone.