Malibu to seek ban on camping in parks

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

To the relief of residents in fire-prone canyon areas, the Malibu City Council voted 5 to 0 Wednesday to ask the California Coastal Commission to certify an amendment to the city's local coastal plan that would prohibit overnight camping in Malibu parks.

The council vote, at a special meeting attended by about 75 opponents of camping, squelched a hard-fought compromise that had been negotiated between the city and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, a state agency charged with increasing recreational use of the hills and canyons.

The compromise would have created more trails and allowed overnight camping at Corral Canyon and Charmlee Wilderness Park, a city-owned park near the Ventura County border, and would have allowed the conservancy to hold events such as weddings and conferences at its Ramirez Canyon Park headquarters .

Council members said they were influenced by the fears of residents, who have endured three wildfires this year.

Many residents contend that overnight camping would raise the risk of more devastating blazes. "I understand that fear," said Councilwoman Sharon Barovsky.

Joseph T. Edmiston, the conservancy's executive director, said he was "disappointed but not surprised" by the council's action.

He vowed to continue to press the case for more camping in publicly owned lands by taking a proposal directly to state coastal commissioners. He accused Malibu residents of using the fear of fires to try to limit low-cost recreational options for nonresidents.

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