I recently learned of a plan to subdivide 19 acres to build an 11 parcel subdivision. The parcel is on the coast, literally a stone’s throw from one of my favorite ocean coves. I was deeply alarmed at the news; there are so few places on the California Coast where local people can go and enjoy themselves.
Thinking to stir a little help for those who are trying to stop the development, I called a damn good old friend of mine on the coast.
He was unmoved. "It doesn’t matter," he said, "the beaches are already gone."
He went on to explain that the uses locals had found for the beaches were now prohibited. Driving on the beach at all, riding horses, stump gathering, these are all illegal now. Nude sunbathing is restricted. Most beaches even ban dogs or restrict them to specific areas near the parking lots. "We don’t go to the beaches anymore."
I had been to these beaches just under two years ago, I hadn’t noticed the change.
Still, isn’t it what we’re seeing everywhere? Consider our own forests. It’s always been important to stay on roads, particularly in the wet season. We’ve all been angered by some dipwad from the city in a four-wheel-drive or dirt bike tearing up the virgin soil. Those problems could be solved by locals carrying guns. But now it’s completely against the law to drive off the road, even to get to a favorite deer hunting spot, and the roads you can drive on are getting fewer and fewer. Some old boys used to hike to those places, but have joint issues and can't walk that far anymore. All our "public land" is being protected for theoretical public from somewhere else, and the public actually right here has to suffer over it.
Even in the Lakes Basin, things people used to commonly do are illegal now.
Sure, we all get that there are too many people, and too many of them have SUVs and quads, and we get it that roads kill moss and muddy creeks and so on. But, what the hell are we saving? If we’re trying to save the great out of doors for people to see, we’ve already lost, because you can’t see them.
Old timers I’ve known used to go to the beach, drive on out a ways and set up to fish. They can’t do that anymore. Old timers I’ve known used to head out in the spring to work in damn cold water to find a little gold in the rocks. They can’t do that anymore.
The new users of the wild lands don't view them as useful anymore, they're purely aesthetics now, they want their outdoor experience to be pristine, free of horse turds and old boys drinking beer on the tailgate.
My friend is right, why the hell should local people who’ve lost their rights to traditional use support transplants who want to stop yet more transplants?
To hell with them. Let them build right to the freakin’ beach.
College Cove from Friends of College Cove