To the editor: The residents of Hollister Ranch may object to being characterized as “rich landowners who just want a private beach,” but their actions in keeping out the public from the shoreline it owns show them to be exactly that.
People who graze cattle on the land and then invoke “pristine natural coasts with endangered species” are hypocrites. Cattle destroy the native plant communities and the wildlife habitat. They foul the streams with their waste. True stewards of the environment would get the cattle off of the land and begin the painful process of native habitat restoration.
As to Hollister Ranch landowners James Cameron, Jackson Browne and, especially, Yvon Chouinard, they need to think about the impact on their precious brands. Insulating themselves from the great unwashed does not encourage this consumer to buy what they are selling.
The California Coastal Commission has the duty to provide the public access to its beaches. It is long past time that it does so at Hollister Ranch.
Noel Park, Rancho Palos Verdes
To the editor: One need only look a few miles east of Hollister Ranch to see the devastation that unfettered public access has wrought on our once pristine coastline.
Unsightly power plants, industrial slag piles, overcrowded beach towns, raw sewage and human generated trash crowd the coastline nearby. Wouldn’t the public be better served if our tax dollars were spent reviving, preserving and protecting the coast we already have access to, rather than focusing on open access to beaches in a lightly populated area?
I have never been to Hollister Ranch, but I’m grateful for this aspirational, environmental jewel, which benefits us all by preserving the memory of what California once was.
Jean Anker, Woodland Hills
To the editor: The California Coastal Act guarantees public access to our beaches. Public access should not be equated with trashing the beach.
The ranch residents’ argument that they are the stewards of the environment is questionable. Driving motorized vehicles on the beach belies that claim.
Finally, if those residents prevail and their deal with the Coastal Commission to allow for only extremely limited access stands, public access to many of our state’s other beaches will be imperiled.
Tom Osborne, Laguna Beach
The writer is author of the book “Coastal Sage: Peter Douglas and the Fight to Save California's Shore.”