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Granting Public Access to a 'National Seashore'

September 28, 2002

Our family owns a partial interest in a parcel in the Hollister Ranch, the "community of large estates" along the Gaviota Coast that you reference in your Sept. 23 editorial as an example of public access denied. We are not rich; we have owned this property for over 15 years and have not been able to afford to even build a habitable structure on it. Not mentioned is the fact that Hollister Ranch does have public access, through its scientific access programs, open to those who apply and follow the rules to preserve what the Hollister Ranch is, a coastline and tide pool preserve that has been used by the scientific community for years to study pristine areas. This access program was set up and is funded by the Hollister Ranch owners and was not forced upon them but done as a community service project.

Also not mentioned is the fact that the 14,000 acres of land that comprises the Hollister Ranch has significant development controls already in place and is therefore already "protected" from continued coastal development. It allows only one main house per 100 acres and is a working cattle ranch. So, the protection you reference that would take place if the Gaviota Coast were designated as the magical "national seashore" is already in place. The only remaining issue would seem to be open public access, and even our state and national parks limit access and usage to protect and preserve their assets. The owners of the Hollister Ranch only desire to do the same.

Beth Shevin

Calabasas

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