Priority Campaigns

Coastal Access

“In 2012, Department of Parks & Recreation (DPR) proposed to install parking fee collection devices at 14 beaches along the Sonoma Coastline. Included in the proposal were Bodega Head, Campbell Cove, Salmon Creek Beach (North and South), Goat Rock, Shell Beach, Portuguese Beach, Schoolhouse Beach and Stump Beach, along with other locations on the Sonoma Coast. All of the beach access points proposed for fees had historically been free and are undeveloped lots with sensitive bluffs adjacent to Highway 1. This proposal would have resulted in an 80% reduction in free access to beaches and had a significant negative impact on coastal resources and pubic access, particularly for low income families.Sonoma Coast Surfrider expressed legitimate concerns about the beach parking fee plan to Sonoma County’s government. Due to the efforts of Sonoma Coast Surfrider working closely with other non-profits and the public, the Sonoma County Board of Zoning Adjustments and Board of Supervisors both rejected DPR’s proposal in 2013. Subsequently, DPR then filed an appeal with the California Coastal Commission (CCC).  In a 2015 CCC hearing and despite our efforts, DPR succeeded in removing jurisdiction from local hands. The Coastal Commission in a close vote approved DPR’s request to have the issue determined at a State level.

Sonoma Coast Surfrider advocated that a stakeholder process be initiated and we worked with DPR, local State Parks staff, the County of Sonoma, the CCC and other stakeholders to provide input. We also advocated that  the Coastal Commission hearing to decide the issue be heard locally so that the people of Sonoma County who would be most impacted by the fee proposal could more readily attend and express their concerns. At the April 2016 Coastal Commission hearing in Santa Rosa, DPR presented a revised proposal that reduced the fee locations to 8 beach parking lots, still including Bodega Head, Shell Beach, Goat Rock and Stump Beach. Sonoma Coast Surfrider fought to stop the revised proposal due to many unresolved issues and was successful in preventing a decision at that meeting to fee a large portion of the Sonoma Coast.
Currently the County, Coastal Commission, and Department of Parks and Recreation are in negotiations to explore further reduction of beach parking fee locations and to address funding challenges for maintaining Sonoma Coast State Beach Parks. Sonoma Coast Surfrider remains vigilant about these negotiations to ensure that public access is protected.  For a history of our effort to preserve public access to our coast including a short film which highlights the issue, please click on the link below.”

If you would like to help keep our Sonoma County Beaches accessible to all, please consider joining our efforts at Sonoma Coast Surfrider.















Priority Campaigns of the Past