More Hiking Access Limits Coming?
By Kevin Schlunegger and Al Sattler
As of August 22, 2018, the City of Rancho Palos Verdes has decided to discontinue the night hiking permit for the Sierra Club to access Portuguese Bend Reserve in the Palos Verdes Nature Preserve. The permit allowed us to hike in the reserve after dark once a week during the early-sunset months. Unfortunately, the city apparently has no way to distinguish organized Sierra Club hikes, with trained leaders, from rowdy nighttime partiers. This ends about 50 years of night hiking by the Sierra Club in the area, which we have done without negative impact to neighbors or the reserve. Our quiet, organized hikes exit the reserve before 8:30 p.m. and do not disturb local residents. No reason was given for revoking the permit. We believe regular observation and monitoring of the preserve after dark will reveal the true culprits. Discontinuing the permit will not solve the noise problem. Until late night patrols of the preserve occur, residents will have noise concerns. We strongly encourage the City of RPV to reconsider their decision.
The City of RPV is also actively considering limiting the number of parking spaces to the nature preserve at two main trailheads on Forrestal Drive and Park Place. Restricting parking access to public land violates the spirit of the preserve, which was created with federal, state and local funds as open space for all to enjoy. We implore the city to hear all sides to this proposal and exhibit bold leadership to protect access to the nature preserve. Because public transportation does not service the preserve, ample equal-access parking is needed. The preserve was not created for a few to enjoy.
The city is considering designating a primary trailhead at the RPV City Hall, where there is a large parking lot and restrooms. However, If the RPV City Hall is the primary trailhead, access would be to the 55-acre Alta Vicente Reserve. Heavy usage at the exising trailhead at the end of Crenshaw has had a destructive impact on native plants in the preserve, reducing habitat value for the endangered species the preserve is designed to protect. Alta Vicente Reserve cannot support a large influx of users.
This political situation may be changing rapidly. Please check https://pvsbsc.wordpress.com/ weekly for updates.
Please let your voice be heard by sending polite emails to the City Council at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please participate in the conversation and share your thoughts.
(Monday evening conditioning hikes will meet as scheduled. As long as the night-hiking prohibition is in force, we will exit the preserve by one hour after sunset.)