California has 1,100 miles of coastline, but currently far too many Californians lack equitable access to the coast. A recent joint study by UCLA and San Francisco State University found that 75 percent of Californians view the high cost of overnight coastal accommodations as a barrier to coastal access.
In the last three decades, nearly 25,000 economy hotel/motel rooms have been eliminated, and today fewer than 5 percent of coastal accommodations can be considered economy. Fees for a developed campsite at a state park on the coast currently range from $40 to $65 per night and the demand for these campsites is so high that they often sell out 6 months in advance.
This combination has created a situation where far too many Californians are unable to visit the coast and receive the health, wellness and recreational benefits that come with those experiences.
The Coastal Act, passed in 1976, mandated that the California work toward “maximum access” to the beach for all. In order to provide coastal access for all California residents, we need to increase our efforts to break down barriers such as prohibitive costs of overnight accommodations, lack of public transportation and affordable parking.
AB 250 (Gonzalez Fletcher), which would require the Coastal Conservancy to establish a program to expand the availability of low coast overnight accommodations on the coast. We strongly support AB 250 for its efforts to break down the economic barriers that are preventing equitable access to California’s coast. In addition to traditional overnight accommodations, including motels/hotels and campgrounds, we also encourage increasing the availability of group campsites within state parks, and expanding innovative alternatives in state parks such as affordable cabins, rustic shelters and yurts.