The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian

The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian

The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian

UCSD seeks to maintain limited public access to Scripps Coastal Reserve

UCSD+seeks+to+maintain+limited+public+access+to+Scripps+Coastal+Reserve
Photo by Mila De La Torre/ UCSD Guardian

UC San Diego filed for a permit from the California Coastal Commission in January 2024 requesting that public access to the Scripps Coastal Reserve Mesa continue to be restricted to non-docent-led tours of the reserve.

The Scripps Coastal Reserve is a one-thousand-acre nature reserve in La Jolla that is managed by UCSD. The reserve is a part of the UC Natural Reserve System in which each UC campus oversees different natural reserves throughout California

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the university imposed a temporary managed access plan, which limited and controlled public access to the reserve. 

Associate Director of University Communications Leslie Sepuka explained the university’s rationale for filing this permit. 

“The university noted an improvement to the natural environment; for example, the reduction of visitors is thought to have allowed sensitive wildlife to return to the reserve and has greatly aided [the] removal of invasive species that had disrupted native vegetation on the site,” she said.

Despite these restrictions that have been in place, there are still multiple ways for people to access the reserve. UCSD plans to continue to have those methods available, as Sepuka explained. 

“The university would continue to offer members of the public docent-led tours at the Scripps Coastal Reserve on the first Saturday of each month from 9–11 a.m. … Beach access would continue to be available via Blacks Beach Way,” Sepuka said. “The university also recommends the Coastal Meander Trail on the campus of Scripps Institution of Oceanography and trails at the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.”

The permit was filed with the California Coastal Commission, the organization responsible for ensuring public access to beaches, as mandated by the California Coast Act of 1976. 

“[The California Coast Act of 1976] emphasizes the importance of the public being able to access the coast, and the preservation of sensitive coastal and marine habitat and biodiversity,” the Coastal Commission’s website reads.

Andrew Willis, enforcement manager for the California Coastal Commission, told The UCSD Guardian that the permit is still under preliminary review and that the Commission expects to ask UCSD for further information to make their decision.                   

“We understand that this site is important ecologically and for public access to the coast, thus we look forward to putting the proposal through the public permitting process to find the right approach to furthering these interests in a manner that is consistent with the Coastal Act,” Willis said.

About the Contributors
Carter Castillo, Senior Staff Writer
I spent three days agonizing over writing this.
Mila De La Torre, Photographer
Lover of Sofia Coppola, Fiona Apple, Pinterest, and an iced americano paired with a blueberry bagel.
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