Access At Long Last: Dana Point Strands Beach Access Settlement Agreement Affords Ample Public Access and Benefits

Surfrider Foundation celebrates the resolution of a six-year battle for beach access at Dana Point Strands Beach. The City of Dana Point has been embroiled in litigation with Surfrider Foundation and the California Coastal Commission since 2010. The recent Settlement Agreement between the City and the Coastal Commission lifts the restrictive beach access hours and demands unrestricted accessways throughout the property.

The terms of the Settlement Agreement provide the ample beach access that Surfrider has been requesting throughout this battle. In addition, the City has agreed to up to $300,000 worth of mitigation to settle the years of Coastal Act violations that this beach access issue has implicated. Here are a little more specifics about the terms:

First and foremost, the agreement settles the hours and gates on the controversial Central and Mid-Strands access ways. The settlement ensures that there will be access from 5am until 10pm on the Mid-Strand and Central Strand accessways, which were at the heart of the controversy. Also, the gate at the Mid-Strand accessway must be removed. The settlement also guarantees public access on the South Strand Switchback Trail and on the lower Strand Revetment Walkway to be open for 24 hours a day. The Strand Vista Park will be open from 5am to 10pm, as well.

As for other mitigation to settle the years of ongoing Coastal Act violations, while not admitting to the violations, the City agreed to the following:

Construction of two more connector trails, the “Trail Connection to Selva” and the “Trail Loop Connection” for access and a public view overlook platform;

Installation of two new bike racks at the top of the Mid-Strand Accessway and the top of the South Strand Switchback Trail and install six cement-cast benches along the Revetment Trail.

Development of a mobile applications linkage to Coastal Commission beach access and public amenity information, as well as enhancement of the Commission’s web-based application.

The CCC is requiring additional signage, including two informative signs regarding coastal issues, five coastal access signs and four wayfinding signs.

At least $25,000 per year for six years to fund an educational program in conjunction with Surfrider Foundation at the Ocean Institute, with the objective of providing children from Southern California, and in particular from Title 1 schools, with learning opportunities relating to public access and marine conservation at Strands Beach, such as the impacts on coastal resources associated with global warming, sea level rise, and marine debris.

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