A letter to the California Coastal Commission preceding the October 14 public hearing on the proposed draft Hollister Ranch Public Access Plan:
Dear Committee Members,
I was born and spent 37 wonderful years in Santa Barbara and now have lived in Australia for over 30 years. With the exception of the past two pandemic years, I have traveled back to Santa Barbara every year.
I have been going to the Hollister Ranch since 1967 and am a 40-year ranch property owner.
To me and many other people, both owners and non-owners, the ranch is a sacred place. I scattered the ashes of both my parents on the beaches at the ranch.
I am opposed to the current proposed Draft Hollister Ranch Coastal Access Plan.
Over the course of my very fortunate life, I have seen and sadly experienced the trashing and thrashing of many beautiful beaches by the public all around the world. It is not a pretty sight. The beach-visiting public leaves trash, defecates, and totally cleans out all living sea life from exposed low tide reefs. If unmanaged access to the Hollister Ranch beaches is granted to the general public, degradation is guaranteed.
The Hollister Ranch beach cliff faces are constantly losing the battle with the climate change-induced receding shorelines. They crumble all year long, representing a grave threat to the unsuspecting public retreating from the twice per day high tides. These same high tides will push the visiting public back on to privately owned land.
The proposed Hollister Ranch Public Access plan represents a classic Catch-22 scenario: The California Coastal Commission wants to open up the beautiful and relatively untouched beaches of the Hollister Ranch to the general public so they can experience healthy intertidal zones. As a consequence, the public will severely compromise the very reason they are being granted access. The special place they are granted access to will no longer be special.
There needs to be a middle ground compromise in this situation. To maintain the existing beauty of the Hollister Ranch beaches, I believe any public access program needs to be limited, carefully monitored, and strictly chaperoned. The Hollister Ranch Owners Association already has an operational and successful educational and guided access program.
I thank you for your time and consideration.