WatchSonoma Watch

Critics plot to fight planned North Coast beach fees



Foes of plans to charge the public an $8 day use fee at more than 20 North Coast beaches gathered in Bodega Bay on Thursday night to plot strategy for

Goat Rock Beach (PD FILE, 2010)

killing the idea.

California State Parks has applied for county permits to install self-pay stations at 22 beaches in Sonoma and Mendocino counties as a way of generating more revenue.

But just as happened 20 years ago, opponents are hoping to thwart the proposal by lobbying local and state officials, signing petitions and using other strategies discussed at Thursday’s meeting.

About 35 people gathered in the community room at the Bodega Bay Fire Protection District, including one man who sported what appeared to be an original “Free Our Beaches” T-shirt.

Brenda Nichols of Sebastopol earned the loudest applause of the night after she recounted how beaches were the only outlet for recreation that she and her husband could afford after they moved to the county 30 years ago.

Implementing the fees now would be “like cutting off oxygen,” she said.

The list of beaches included in the state parks proposal include Goat Rock, Bodega Head and Salt Point State Park in Sonoma County, and the Mendocino Headlands, Point Cabrillo Light Station and Van Damme State Park in Mendocino County.

State officials sought exemptions from the California Environmental Quality Act for the self-pay stations and are in the process of applying for coastal permits in both counties.

Thursday’s meeting was facilitated by former county supervisor Ernie Carpenter, who was a leader of the beach protest movement in the 1990s.

Carpenter is now running against incumbent Efren Carrillo for the 5th District seat on the county board. But he insisted Thursday’s meeting was not intended to highlight his campaign.

“I didn’t ask them to bring back the iron rangers. That’s what they’re doing, and that’s why we’re here,” he said.

But Carpenter nevertheless took some digs at Carrillo, including mocking Carrillo’s decision to send a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday that stated Carrillo’s opposition to the fees.

Carpenter told the audience they should demand that Carrillo instead lobby county planners who are deciding whether the state’s fee proposal is exempt from the coastal permit process.

Carrillo was absent from Thursday’s meeting because it conflicted with a campaign event at Spud Point Marina, according to one of his campaign advisors.

In his letter to the governor, Carrillo wrote that it is “absolutely unacceptable” for the state to charge people for access to their beaches.

Last week, Carrillo said in an interview with The Press Democrat that he would support such fees “if it comes down to closing additional parks or not being able to reopen some.”

7 Responses to “Critics plot to fight planned North Coast beach fees”

  1. Steve Klausner says:

    I like having the whole beach to myself. I’ll find someway in, maybe bring my dog, or even build a fire.

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  2. Steveguy says:

    They call it a park or a state beach. I call it the coast. The cost of free is minuscule. There are buildings full of State Park Administrators making well over $150,000 a year in Sacramento. Fire 2 of them, and have money left over. Fire many, and the measly $11 million shortfall can keep all the parks open.

    They close the parks, the libraries, anything to justify their HUGE paychecks and pensions !

    Ocean Anarchy Now !

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  3. Steveguy says:

    The Marconi Conference Center is on Tomales Bay. It is a place that our ‘trusted servants’ gather for ‘workshops’, fine dining, elbow-rubbing, relaxing and partying. On the taxpayer’s dime. ( Not dime, tens of thousands of dollars ! )

    They call it non-profit, but that is laughable.

    Where do we donate sawz-all blades for the iron rangers ?

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  4. Reality Check says:

    Sometime the political left and right unite. In this case, both oppose having park and beach users pay the cost of their recreation. Better, I guess, to make people who don’t use parks to pay for them.

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  5. mike says:

    Maybe everyone should have voted for the DMV fee that would have given all Californians with a car free park entrance!

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  6. Jim Bennett says:

    This is part of UN Agenda 21 Sustainable Development, happening in various guise all over.
    The ultimate ‘Plan’ is to not allow access by humans to the vast majority of America.
    It’s all OK though,’cause they’ll do it incrementally like they implement everything else.
    It’ll be because of financial reasons, or persuant to some contrived ‘preservation’.

    The main thing endangered is our Freedoms and education as to how/why they’re threatened.
    Spend some time looking at this information. It’s very important to our future. Understanding why things are the way they are.
    The ‘Plan’ that your ‘public servants’ have signed up for will have you living in ‘Transit Villages’, like in the PD today.
    Don’t remember voting for that?
    Me either, this isn’t about disclosure.
    This is about oppression.

    Read up. Wake up.

    Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

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  7. The hate the fact that CA can’t get it act together enough to stop the need for the fees in the first place.

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