Yeah, that'll do, cheers. Photo: California Coastal Commission via AP
Californians Just Gained A Few New (Public) Surf Spots
36 acres of Cojo Jalama Ranch's coastal property is now open to the public, thanks to a settlement between the California Coastal Commission and Ranch owners.
Don't you love it when surfers make out well in a political battle? It doesn't happen often, as surfers are perhaps the second-least politically savvy subculture the world has seen (behind only skateboarders, who have for decades failed to legalize the mere act of skateboarding), but sometimes, even without trying, we come out on top.
Take, for instance, a recent settlement between the California Coastal Commission and the owners of Cojo Jalama Ranch. Based off the Ranch-owners unpermitted development projects (included grading land and installing dozens of water wells), the CCC has finagled 36 acres of their land (including 1 mile of coastline), which has been closed to the public for over 100 years, and given it to Santa Barbara County. This land, which, as shown above, demonstrates serious surf potential, will now be accessible to the public through a coastal-access road off Highway-1.
Let's get the rest of the details from The Mercury News.
LOS ANGELES — The California Coastal Commission on Thursday agreed to carve a mile of public beach out of ranch land that has been in private hands for more than a century.
The commission, which oversees coastal development, unanimously approved a deal that calls for the owners to fix damage to land they developed without permission and to transfer 36 acres of coastal property to Santa Barbara County. It will be used to extend a current public park at remote Jalama Beach, 150 miles northwest of Los Angeles.
The area is a rarity on the 21st-century central and southern coast of California — free of urban sprawl, crowds, cookie-cutter developments and freeways.
The settlement is important because “the public has been shut out…for well over a hundred years,” said Susan Jordan, executive director of the California Coastal Protection Network in Santa Barbara.
“You’re getting over a mile of additional coastline (in) one of the richest and most diverse areas in California,” she said.
The land sits between the south end of vast Vandenberg Air Force Base and Point Conception.
Once known as Bixby Ranch and owned by a famous California ranching family, the shoreline is part of what is now the Cojo Jalama Ranches that sprawl over more than 37 square miles, including 11 miles of coastline.
The transfer is part of a settlement negotiated by the Coastal Commission’s enforcement staff to mitigate unpermitted development that included grading land and installing dozens of water wells.
The settlement also includes payment of $500,000 to fund public access and environmental projects.
Reached via a country road off Highway 1, Jalama Beach currently is visited by surfers, fishermen, whale watchers, picnickers and has campsites and a handful of cabins for overnight stays, as well as a small market and grill.
Do you taste that, brothers and sisters of the brine? That's called victory. Make sure you savor it, as history shows we won't get another win like this for a few decades. See you at South Jalama!