Press Release 8/17/99

Save Crystal Cove as a State Park, not a high-priced resort

Southern California environmental and civic groups have joined with the Sierra Club to plan an afternoon on Crystal Cove State Beach, Sunday, September 12th, with environmental exhibits, geological and historic walks, art exhibit, music, refreshments and fun for the public at this beautiful State park located between Corona Del Mar and Laguna Beach on Pacific Coast Highway.

Activities for adults and children are scheduled to start at 1:00 p.m.  Parking for this public event is available for a State fee of $6 per vehicle at Pelican Point, Los Trancos, and Reef Point Parking Lots which are identified by signs on the Highway.  There is a walk from the parking lots down to the beach.

Crystal Cove State Park was established when the land was purchased in 1979 with tax dollars and tax money was used to build the parking lots and restroom facilities on both sides of the Highway with access to the beach below. The intention was to further the preservation of the Historic District and develop interpretive centers for the use of California's public under the supervision of the State Department of Parks and Recreation as set forth in the Development and Public Use Plan dated August, 1982.

In 1997, the Sierra Club became aware that State Park officials had secretly negotiated a precedent-setting 60 year contract to allow a private developer to build an expensive resort on the beach in Crystal Cove's most desirable oceanfront acreage.  This secret deal would permit remodeling of the historic beach cottages, construction of a large restaurant with conference capacity, three (3) swimming pools on the beach, a fitness center, a large private parking lot on the ocean side of Pacific Coast Highway and seawalls "as needed".  Hotel guests would have priority at these facilities and public access would be restricted at the discretion of the resort operator per the proposed contract with the State.

The purpose of Save Crystal Cove is to protect the beautiful beach environment for general public use and to preserve this natural treasure for all Californians.  Save Crystal Cove affiliates believe that Crystal Cove should remain a State Park, not a high-priced resort, and that private commercial development with access only for those who can pay exorbitant rates is not consistent with the Park's purpose.  Only public participation can stop the Parks Department from proceeding to finalize this "giveaway" of taxpayers' beach and park right to such developers.

At 1:15 p.m., Winter Bonnin, Interpretive Specialist at Crystal Cove Park will lead walkers from the boardwalk in Pelican Point Parking Lot #2 along the terrace and down the bluff to the beach with commentary about plant, animal, sea, and bird life of the area.  The walk will lead to the area of the 1920's/1930's beach cottages which are listed on the National Register as a "Historic District".

Also at 1:15, starting from the beach at Crystal Cove, Professor Ivan Colburn of California State University at Los Angeles, will present the history of the cliffs, discuss unique rock formations on the beach, and the 15 million year old Monterey Formation underfoot at Crystal Cove.  The group will meet at Bette Midler's "Beaches" cottage, the last one at the south end of the cove.  Cameras are welcome to record these features.

At 2:30 p.m,. there will be an informational meeting for all at the D.J.'s platform.

An archaeologist and a member of the Juaneno people representing the California Cultural Resources Preservation Alliance will accompany their exhibit to answer questions about Ancient Camp Life in Crystal Cove.  The Orange County Natural History Association also contributed to this display.

Park visitors will have ample time for wandering to music among plein air artists, a fine art photographic collection of Crystal Cove scenes, and the information tables of environmental groups.

Refreshments will be available.

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