Hollister Ranch Access Program CCC Workshop
By Doug Kern, Executive Director of the Gaviota Coast Conservancy
The California Coastal Commission will hold a workshop on the DRAFT Hollister Ranch Coastal Access Program in a virtual meeting on the morning of Thursday, October 14, 2021. This program was developed by State agencies/commissions and stakeholders under legislation authored by State Senator Monique Limón.
The creation of the Coastal Trail along the entire length of the California coastline is an important objective of the Coastal Commission. Locally, the issue of public access to Hollister Ranch has been festering for many decades. In 1982 the California Coastal Commission produced the Hollister Ranch Access Plan which outlined the general location of the California Coastal Trail and specific beach access points through the 8.5 miles of Hollister Ranch coastline. The County of Santa Barbara, in its 1982 Local Coastal Plan, placed the coastal trail through Hollister Ranch on the beach or proximate to it, a location that was also aspired to in the Santa Barbara County’s 2016 Gaviota Coast Plan. Fast forward almost 40 years and none of this trail has been realized due to the persistent, aggressive opposition of the Hollister Ranch Owners’ Association to public access.
The Draft Hollister Ranch Draft Coastal Access Plan proposes a phased, managed access program that begins with planning, progresses to a maximum of 100 people a day for several years when the impacts and mitigations of the visitations are carefully monitored, and ultimately, over a number of years, could expand, but never beyond 500 people a day. Such an expansion needs to carefully assess the impacts to coastal and cultural resources.
Unfettered and unlimited public access has never been proposed for the Ranch. Trail advocates respect the relatively unspoiled character of the Ranch Coastline and the private property rights of the landowners. However, there is a public sentiment, expressed by both the State and the County of Santa Barbara, to provide appropriate and respectful access to Hollister Ranch. Indeed, the right of citizens to access the shoreline is enshrined in the California State Constitution.
You can download the DRAFT Hollister Ranch Coastal Access Program here: https://documents.coastal.ca.gov/reports/2021/10/Th4/Th4-10-2021report.pdf
The California Coastal Commission invites public comments at the virtual meeting on Thursday, October 14, beginning between 9:30 – 10:00.
Submit Written Comments: Your comments are read by Commissioners and are influential.
Best to submit written comments by email to Hollister@coastal.ca.gov.
You can also submit materials by regular mail to the Coastal Commission at 725 Front Street, Suite 300, Santa Cruz, CA 95060. All mail received by 5 pm on Friday, October 8 will be distributed to the Commission. Any mailed materials received after this time will be placed in the file but will not be distributed to the Commission.
If you wish to speak to the Coastal Commission, you must fill out a speaker slip no later than 8:30 AM on Thursday, October 14 (speaker slips may be submitted the day before, which will streamline this process). We recommend signing up now for your opportunity to speak.
Please keep in mind that your time to speak will be limited, generally from 2 to 3 minutes, as determined by the Chair of the Coastal Commission. If you wish to show a 2-to-3 minute visual presentation that does not exceed 25 MB in size, it must be submitted by 5 PM Wednesday, October 13. Detailed instructions are located here: