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No Day at the Beach


On a recent Sunday, my husband and I decided we would love to go to the beach.

Thus, we thought perhaps a day trip to Jalama Beach might be nice. Gas is expensive, and we could not afford to drive to beaches in Santa Barbara. Surf Beach, the beach closest to Lompoc, is closed due to the nesting of the endangered Western snowy plover.

Call us stupid, but we thought Jalama Beach might have a lower day-use fee. We should have checked online, because it costs $10 for the pleasure of visiting the nearest beach to where we live. We cannot afford that $10 right now. Like so many other families, we are on a very tight budget, and struggle to have enough for gas, food, housing, and utilities.

Although I recognize the need for the Santa Barbara County Parks Department to collect revenues, in these difficult economic times I think it would be just to make Jalama Beach free to Lompoc and Santa Ynez Valley residents for day use. Our property and sales tax revenues already support the county’s general fund. Is the only beach suitable for walking, surfing, or swimming really just for people from the Los Angeles area, here camping on weekends? Or will the Board of Supervisors make recreation more affordable and accessible to Santa Barbara County residents?

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