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Misguided Moves at Crystal Cove

November 09, 1997

* Whose brilliant idea is this resort at Crystal Cove State Park?

If the state park system is going to finally recover this beach in full, it should seize the opportunity to restore it to a pristine condition, and keep it there. Foot traffic is enough.

The politicians intent upon selling off this state park should be admonished to preserve its sales pitch, i.e., the beautiful beach and clean ocean water.

Their resort would be just as feasible on the portion of the state park east of the Pacific Coast Highway. There, for one thing, the problems of what to do with waste water could be more easily contended with.

H.C. ROCKEY

Laguna Hills

* Purchased in 1979 with $32.6 million in state taxpayer funds, Crystal Cove State Park--any part of it--should not become a refuge only for the rich.

When the state parks agency recently signed an unprecedented and highly controversial 60-year contract to allow a private consortium to develop 23 acres of the wilderness park, including the diminutive 12.3-acre historic area on which some 45 vintage cottages stand, they totally ignored public concerns for this serene and irreplaceable coastal wilderness area. Refurbished accommodations renting at $250 to $400 per night will not permit the average park user to enjoy this area.

Moreover, why, when federal park authorities are scaling back accommodations in national parks such as Yosemite, are our very own state park authorities adding more to one of California's most revered parks?

Long acknowledged but rarely put to use is sound scientific wisdom that says wilderness parks are not enhanced, but rather are degraded, by overdevelopment--the encroachment, by too many buildings, sidewalks, swimming pools, roads and parking lots, would exterminate the very place we seek to preserve.

This state park scheme is not a done deal! Planning must go through many layers of public scrutiny, including review by the California Coastal Commission. A fair question to ask is "Why does this state park proposal go against the sound environmental wisdom today being applied to Yosemite National Park?"

SHAREN HEATH

Laguna Beach

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