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NPR旧事:New Challenges To Californians' Beach Access



In 1976, California's lawmakers passed the California Coastal Act to help protect the state's shoreline and enshrine beach access for all. That landmark law has spawned a nearly five-decade-long tug of war between the state and private property owners.

Now two highly publicized legal fights, including one pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, have coastal advocates worried. Stephanie O'Neill has the story.


STEPHANIE O'NEILL, BYLINE: Santa Barbara native Joshua Brown practically grew up in these ocean waves here in California's picturesque Santa Barbara County.

JOSHUA BROWN: I started surfing when I was about 11 years old. And I spent a lot of time in the water - swimming, kayaking, surfing, being very comfortable in the ocean.

O'NEILL: So he didn't hesitate in 2010 when friends invited him to strap his surfboard to a kayak and paddle more than two miles to the coveted shores of Hollister Ranch, a community renowned for its legendary waves and pristine coastline.

BROWN: It's insanely beautiful. There's otters. There's all kinds of sea life.

O'NEILL: The subdivision of mostly 100-acre lots owned by wealthy surfers and celebrities is private, gated and patrolled by security guards. Beach trails within the ranch are off-limits to the public. And that's the way Hollister landowners want it to stay.

Last December, they and the state quietly crafted a legal settlement that would have California extinguish claims to a disputed easement within the ranch. In exchange, the Hollister owners would open up a narrow strip of beach, but only to those willing to risk the ocean journey by small craft.

SUSAN JORDAN: It's completely unfair. It's unreasonable.

O'NEILL: Susan Jordan is executive director of the California Coastal Protection Network.

JORDAN: The general member of the public would not be able to manage this. And I would advise them not to even try to do it.

O'NEILL: Joshua Brown agrees. He says the afternoon winds during his return paddle from Hollister Ranch flipped his kayak, blew his companions far beyond the shore, where surfers passing in a motorboat helped tow them back safely.

BROWN: We understood the ocean, but it ended up becoming a very dangerous trip.

O'NEILL: In a written statement, the Hollister Ranch Owners' Association says the pending settlement, which also expands some programs for visitors, is fair and reasonable. But coastal advocates and hundreds of Californians who wrote letters to the state call it a bad deal.

A coalition of coastal advocacy groups is now challenging the pending settlement. Marc Chytilo is their attorney. He argues that ocean-only access is tantamount to no access at all. And that, he says, violates California law.

MARC CHYTILO: The California Constitution and the Coastal Act provide that the public's right to access the ocean cannot be denied.

O'NEILL: A local judge will decide whether to approve the settlement after a hearing in September. Meanwhile, near San Francisco, Silicon Valley billionaire Vinod Khosla has been fighting to block the beach-going public from crossing his land. After losing in the state's lower courts, the Sun Microsystems co-founder is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear his challenge to the California Coastal Act.

Richard Frank directs the California Environmental Law and Policy Center at the UC Davis School of Law.

RICHARD FRANK: Well, the U.S. Supreme Court has been very concerned about private property rights, particularly as they bump up against coastal access concerns since the creation of the California Coastal Act.

O'NEILL: If the conservative-leaning high court agrees to hear the case, Frank says, private property rights could win out and limit how California manages its nearly 1,000-mile coastline. For NPR News, I'm Stephanie O'Neill in Santa Barbara County.

来自:千亿国际文娱网页版_千亿国际文娱|www.qy449.com 文章地点: http://www.tingvoa.com/18/08/New-Challenges-To-Californians-Beach-Access.html