BURNING BRIDGES:

Environmentalists and county employees are pointing fingers at
each other after a plan long in the works to build a new bridge at
Gaviota State Park was denied by the California Coastal Commission.
The proposal called for a $6-million, 250-foot concrete bridge and
approximately 750 feet of raised road at the often washed-out
entrance to the state park, which also provides access to the
Hollister Ranch. Eager to use funds the State Office of Emergency
Services and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) pledged to
the project, the county approved the bridge earlier this year
despite objections from the Gaviota Coast Conservancy, state park
officials, and the Hollister Ranch Homeowners Association, all of
whom felt that the bridge – though much needed – would negatively
impact the nearby creek and surrounding marshland. It remains to be
seen whether a new incarnation of the bridge will be boosted by
FEMA and state money, as the current grants expire in August
2007.

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