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Jenner Jottings -Tim McKusick - April 2016

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Jenner Jottings -Tim McKusick - April 2016

The Iron Ranger debate continues. California State Parks whose plans to charge admission to many of our (currently ‘free’) beaches and parks here in Sonoma County was met with opposition from both our County Board of Supervisors as well as the Public, has appealed to the CA Coastal Commission (CCC) to push forward their ‘pay for play’ agenda. 

The recent firing of CCC executive director Charles Lester (in spite of his overwhelming support by the public) may have a direct effect on negotiations and final outcome of this disagreement between the County and State Parks. As Lester was a vocal proponent of the public’s right to access, some feel that his removal signals a shift in CCC politics leaning more towards the interests of developers, and away from assuring more and continued public access. 

The upcoming CCC meeting where this hot-button topic is scheduled to be discussed will be held in Santa Rosa April 13 at the Veterans Memorial Building; time to be announced later. 

The decision sets State wide precedent. What happens here will subsequently happen from the Oregon to Mexico border where gravel, non-ADA compliant lots with a maximum of pit toilets and seasonal trash collection will be fee’d. The CCC justified their decision to take jurisdiction away from Sonoma County in April 2015 because they claimed the proposal had statewide implication.

Sonoma Coast Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation lays out a comprehensive overview and a good argument of behalf of the Public. The entire 113-page State Parks Proposal that was recently submitted to the CCC “State Parks De Novo Application” can be found through a link on their website sonomacoast.surfrider.org/ 

Many feel that this this proposal is too sweeping to be approved. There is strong sentiment that an approval by the CCC would be a violation of Public Access and Environmental Provisions of the Coastal Act (California Coastal Act of 1976). 

Surfrider Sonoma Coast’s stance that, “We do not support the transition of State Parks into a regressive based pay-to-play business model where those with the least income pay the largest percentage of their income to access public lands. Instead of fees we need some progressive legislation that generates sorely needed revenue for our Parks,” speaks volumes in today’s economy where families are barely hanging on. All children, no matter of family income, deserve the spirit-healing, character-building experience that is our Coast. Please attend this critical meeting April 13 and voice your opinions. 

There is a still time comment via mail:

SonomaStateParksAppeal@Coastal.CA.gov

Or write to:

Nancy Cave, 45 Fremont Street, #2000 SF CA 94105

Our seaside-riverside hamlet of Jenner has finally succeeded in convincing Cal-Trans to install a crosswalk and some basic traffic signage at the bustling area between the Post Office and gas station in an effort to keep control of the vast amount of traffic that is funneled through this Gateway to the North Coast. Kudos to the ‘Jennerians’ and the Jenner Community Center! It took real persistence. Cal-Trans has also agreed to install electronic speed signs (like Rio Nido on the River) but is now back-peddling on the commitment saying they need to raise the funds first. 

In addition handling the crowds heading up to Timber Cove, Sea Ranch, Gualala and points north, this spectacular meeting of River and Ocean at Jenner is a destination itself and draws great crowds, especially on holidays and weekends. A recent dramatic rescue of a family swept out to sea, and rough trail and surf conditions have prompted Rangers to close the popular beach access trail on the north side of River’s mouth. Thanks to our hero-lifeguards patrolling our State beaches and the very capable crew of County Sheriff Chopper Henry 1, what could have been a tragic event was averted. 

The Jenner Community Center mourns the passing of Board member Sonja Flores, a very sweet lady. On May 22, the Jenner Community Center is hosting a thank you bar-b-cue for our Coastal Emergency Responders. 

Happy Spring to all! The hills are brilliant green; the streams are flowing; wildlife everywhere – whales, eagles, so many different varieties of hawks and kites – hummingbirds and butterflies! We are so fortunate! Enjoy our special piece of paradise and stand up for free access for All!