Highlights from our newsletter:

Save Crystal Cove for All Californians and Future Generations
a Publication of the Sierra Club Task Force for Crystal Cove
Vol. 1, number 1
March, 2000

2000:  Three Crucial Hearings

The Sierra Club Task Force for Cystal Cove expects several crucial decisions to be made this year determining the fate of Crystal Cove State Park:

1.  A California Coastal Commission resolution of the issue of drainage into Los Trancos Creek from the Irvine Company's Newport Coast development upstream of Crystal Cove State Park.  A permit granted by County Supervisors allowed the Irvine Company to channel the runoff from its project into Los Trancos Creek, which empties into the ocean near crystal Cove tide pools, a biologically sensitive area.  An appeal of the County's permit was brought by the Coastal Commission itself.  A hearing on this appeal was postponed from January 12th to April (Long Beach) and recently again to June (Santa Barbara).  Our presence is important to identify our Task Force as an interested party in any major decisions affecting the park and Crystal Cove Historic District.  Transportation can be arranged, so pledge yourself to a seat on the bus for Santa Barbara the second week in June.  Contact SAVE CRYSTAL COVE for details.

2.  A State Parks Department-sponsored public workshop on amending the existing Crystal Cove General Plan that was promulgated in 1982.  The proposed new plan would allow a high-end resort developed in the cottages of Crystal Cove Historic District with privale funding, maintained and operated under a 60-year concession agreement.  (The concessionaire now operates the posh and expensive Post Ranch Inn in the Big Sur area.).  The existing (1982) plan provides for stabilization and reuse of the Crysal Cove cottages for moderately priced park-like accomodations for families, groups, and hostellers under continued State Park operation.  We expect workshops to follow the Coastal Commission's resolution of drainiage issues involving Los Trancos Creek.  Pledge to attend now.

3.  A Parks Commission hearing to approve (or reject) the Crystal Cove General Plan changes and associated Environmental Impact Report by the Parks Department.  A public comments hearing will occur prior to the Parks Commission's General Plan and Environmental Impact Report decisions.  The outcome of this hearing will determine the fate of the Historic District for at least three generations, perhaps forever.  It will also set a significant precedent for concessionaire funding and operation of California State Parks and public lands.  THIS IS THE BIG ONE.  If you can do nothing else this year, make this your one-and-only contribution.  Next year may be too late for the reward--but not years of regret.  It is all up to you!

Help notify the public of the upcoming Park hearings!

Karen Schwager is chair of the Phone Tree Committee that mobilizes attendance at hearings.  Are you available to help?  Please call (949) 497-5926.

Park "Visioning" Project

State Parks Director John R. Areias recently convened a number of "visioning" workshops around the state.  The "brainstorming" idea is a step in the right direction for creating interest in future park planning and funding, and deserves praise if not applause.

Murray Rosenthal attended the Los Angeles session for Sierra Club California, and felt that strong sentiments were expressed for providing State Park-type experiences close to home (urban centers) and for making sure those experiences were not compromised by the intrusion of too much development and commercialization.

Upholding of General Plan Sought

The Sierra Club Task Force for Crystal Cove calls for upholding the existing Crystal Cove General Plan.  Using this Plan as a starting point, the public should be given an opportunity for open discussion of ALL alternative plans, their environmental impacts, and funding possibilities BEFORE, NOT AFTER any planning, bidding, or contracting on our behalf.  A reasonable time for the conclusion or resolution of such a General Plan process should be set to encourage the particiation of all interested citizens and organizations.

Instead of the private funding called for in the concessionaire agreement, the Task Force advocates public funding of the publicly conceived plan as anticipated at the time of Crystal Cove Park's acquisition and origianl planning process.  Surely the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Davis administration, in an era of budget surpluses, can find a way to fund the stabilization of the District for "safe and convenient" public use without resorting to an outmoded, budget-deficient alternative that deprives the California voter of any "say" or participation in a decision that denies park-like use of public lands and facilities for 60 or more years to "pay back costs" of infrastructure.

Budget surplus of federal funds, undesignated Prop 12 funds, historic preservation funding from privte, non-profit sources, and promising new federal legislation for saving America's "special places" could be combined.  And, let's not forget the $2 million held by the State Coastal Commission as mitigation in lieu of the "low-cost visitor units",  required of high-end resort developments between Laguna beach and Dana Point.  It was specified for use by State Parks to provide 132 units WITHIN Crystal Cove State Park's 13-acre Historic District (Memo of Understanding, 1991).