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State Considering Charging for Beach Access

Wants to install self-pay stations at many Sonoma County beaches to raise revenues for state parks

Facing a $33 million budget shortfall, the state parks department wants to charge visitors at some Sonoma County beaches $8 a day to park their vehicles, prompting a flurry of criticism from those who say that access to the coast should be free and open to all.

The state agency is focusing on Goat Rock in Jenner, Bodega Head, Salt Point State Park, Stump Beach, Portuguese Beach and several others beaches, according to an article in Tuesday’s Press Democrat.

The move is aimed at closing the budget shortfall and generating revenue for park operations and maintenance, according to the Press Democrat.

But opponents, including veterans of the "Free Our Beaches" protests in the early 1990s, argue that charging for parking could limit access to beaches.

"You can't charge people to breathe the ocean air and to see the sunset. It's an unconscionable act," said former Sonoma County Supervisor Ernie Carpenter, who helped lead the effort to defeat the state's plans two decades ago.

Two public meetings will be held to discuss the proposal along with other ways to fund state parks. The meetings will be on Wednesday, June 6 at the Bodega Bay Grange and Monday, June 11 at the Monte Rio Community Center. Both meetings start at 6pm.

To read the full story, click here.

Then tell us, do you support the state charging $8 to access beaches?

Middle Class May 16, 2012 at 07:47 PM
I want our state parks to be areas of wild, untouched natural beauty. They don't need to be maintained, serviced or patrolled by any government agency. Let mother nature do her thing and leave us alone to go enjoy her.
Keri Brenner May 16, 2012 at 08:12 PM
Yes to all. Our beaches are sacred. Thanks for your comments.
mikeg55 May 17, 2012 at 07:17 PM
i went to state beach over the weekend and pulled over to pay the $8.00 at the self-serve envelope thingy. I think at least 8 cars must have passed me by. Not paying. If they put this rule in effect, they'll have to pay someone to enforce it.
Darris May 17, 2012 at 07:28 PM
What a shame. This need not happen with creative thinking we can keep our parks fee-free. If you care about this issue make your voice heard at either or both of the public meetings. You have one chance to be heard . . . this is it!
Yoshi Nanda September 10, 2012 at 10:14 PM
They need to use the 50 million they got caught with in the fraud case. Or maybe the state will want to say, "Listen people, just because you caught us with our hand in the cookie jar, does not mean we were going to eat all the cookies, we were just going to SAMPLE them and put the rest back.........."

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