Access to oceans and coastal nature spaces as places of healing, joy, and freedom are paramount to the health and wellbeing of our communities. That is why it’s so important that the Brown Girl Surf community continues to work towards beach equity on all fronts. Below are two updates on recent advocacy work related to equity at the beach.
Last you heard from us, Linda Mar Beach was open to all members of the public, no permit required. Read last year’s update to catch up on the approval of the Community Access Partnership Program (CAPP), and to learn about the violation of equitable access guidelines set by the California Coastal Act that led to the suspension of the antiquated beach permitting system at Linda Mar.
Since then, the California Coastal Commission (CCC) has continued to make it clear that the CAPP recommendations, while a great first step, did not go far enough to prioritize equity and true access to the beach, as detailed in this SF Chronicle article. While compromises were made in creating the new CAPP, including prioritizing for-profit commercial surf schools over non-profit programs, Brown Girl Surf is thankful to the Commission and CCC staff for the many hours of hard work that got us to this point. We look forward to continuing to improve access at Linda Mar.
Excitingly, the Coastal Commission staff has just released their recommendations for a more equitable surf school permitting system, and are planning to vote on the issue at their next monthly meeting on Thursday, May 11th! We know that the outcome of this vote will set a precedent for the entire state. Many non-profit groups along the coast face similar challenges with outdated permitting systems that further the exclusion of groups that have historically lacked access to the coast. And this is why we need your support!
Key Recommendations from the CCC staff:
- Permit system does not prioritize for-profits/commercial schools over non-profits/community-based organizations in terms of scheduling, location, number of spaces, and length of time allowed on beach
- Permit system does not create additional administrative, financial, or logistical barriers for non-profits/community-based organizations
- All surf schools and organizations are required to sign and adhere to community agreements as part of the effort to create a more inclusive and welcoming surf culture
Things BGS community can do:
- Sign our petition, urging the Coastal Commissioners to approve Pacifica’s CDP application, which includes the Coastal Commission’s recommendations for a new, more equitable surf permitting system
- Come with BGS to Sacramento! – We want our physical presence to be felt at the hearing, and would love to have you join us! No speaking required, but let us know if you’d like to join us by filling out this google form before May 10th
- You may also give a public comment at the hearing (in person or virtually)
- Or provide written testimony directly to the California Coastal Commission before May 5th at 5pm
- More instructions on how to get engaged via our google form
We strongly believe that the City of Pacifica will be on board with the Coastal Commission’s recommendations. Should the recommendations be accepted, the new system will go into effect at Linda Mar this summer.