Readers React: Public access would destroy Hollister Ranch’s ‘Garden of Eden’ beaches

Curato Beach on the Hollister Ranch coastline in Santa Barbara County.
Curato Beach on the Hollister Ranch coastline in Santa Barbara County.
(Tamlorn Chase / For The Times)

To the editor: I am a lifelong surfer whose first trip to Hollister Ranch in Santa Barbara County was in the 1960s. It was like visiting the Garden of Eden, with packs of butterflies so thick you couldn’t see through them and bobcats that roamed freely as if they owned the place. This was the way God created our beaches — untouched by human greed, with only dirt roads, horses, beautiful mountains and fantastic tree growth.

Yes, some wealthy people own property at the ranch, but to their credit they have been exceptional guardians of this exceptional land, managing the property with respect for nature and all its glory.

In principal, it is hard to argue that only the elite can have land access to the beaches along Hollister Ranch. However, there are so many beautiful beaches that the public can access in California, including several that are close to Hollister Ranch. Why not let a small, 8.5-mile stretch remain exempt from parking lots, restrooms, dog excrement, trash and crowds so thick you can smell the sunscreen in the air?

Is it really a sin to keep Hollister Ranch the way it is? Please, preserve this phenomenal place on Earth.

Anthony Friedkin, Santa Monica



To the editor: Like most of what the California Coastal Commission does quietly behind the public’s back, the deal allowing Hollister Ranch property owners to prevent public land access to the beach is outrageous. What really makes this deal worse is the role of Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra in arguing against the public’s right to know.

Your article says that the “state attorney general’s office” made this argument against the public being allowed a say in the deal. Becerra heads that office. The L.A. Times would do a public service by printing the actual names of the people involved in the dealings of the Coastal Commission.

I want to know the names of each commissioner and how he or she voted. Perhaps more important, I want to know who appointed each commissioner. Every billionaire asking for special treatment from the commission gets it, usually as a result of private meetings with commissioners.

Dawn Sharp, Claremont

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