Visible Vagueries

Open Letter to the City of Goleta

For the last five years most of my walks have been at Santa Barbara Shores County Park and McGrath State Beach in the Santa Clara River Estuary area. During this time I’ve learned that equestrians may or may not be allowed at S.B. Shores County Park beaches. I’ve also learned that the City of Goleta is cheap and vague when it comes to noticeable, strategically placed signage with clear messaging of what animals are or are not allowed. The S.B. Shores County Park parking lot sign claims equestrian trails are marked. Except for one vague sign far from the beach, this “marked” claim is bogus. The estuary at McGrath is no better with just one sign showing a “no dogs” symbol.

I recently began to inform violators of these areas’ rules, at least to the best of my knowledge given the absent or vague guidance, but such actions are challenging given the year-after-year signage inaction and tacit support of allowing horse and dog owners to do as they please in our parks and protected areas.

Should I bother with my attempts to protect California’s wildlife? The city doesn’t, and clearly the Coastal Commission does not — over the years, neither even demonstrates the concern or wherewithal to put up a few clear signs.

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