GUEST COMMENTARY: Providing a welcoming campus is continuing goal for SIO, UCSD

Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego would like to provide clarity with regard to public access to the beach and event operations. Having been fortunate to call the La Jolla coastline home for more than 100 years, Scripps Oceanography recognizes the importance of public access and welcomes all to campus — from morning walkers and evening hikers, to surfers and students on field trips. We have made increasing beach access a priority to ensure our neighbors and visitors are able to enjoy the resource that we cherish and that our researchers study — the ocean.

It was this goal that led UC San Diego to collaborate with the California Coastal Conservancy, adding a new coastal meander trail to the campus in 2015, which was jointly funded by UC San Diego and the Conservancy. The trail provides the public with a way to enjoy La Jolla coastline vistas and learn more about our natural environment. And by the end of this year, with the help of the La Jolla Community Foundation, we will unveil a new patio adjacent to the Old Director’s House. This will provide people with one more place to pause and enjoy the incredible view of the Ellen Browning Scripps Pier as they walk through campus.

As part of our ongoing efforts to ensure public access, Scripps Oceanography worked closely with the California Coastal Commission in 2015 to clarify the conditions of the coastal permit and parking regulations for special events held at the Robert Paine Scripps Forum for Science, Society and the Environment.

Following those discussions, it was outlined that 83 spaces were to remain for public use on weekends and holidays.

Since then, Scripps Oceanography has been in compliance, reserving no more than 16 spaces for private events. This is clearly communicated to event partners in contracts and on our website, so that 83 spaces in lots closest to the beach and Caroline’s Seaside Café remain available to the public on weekends.

Providing a welcoming campus is a continuing goal for UC San Diego, and we hope neighbors and visitors alike will explore, share and learn more about this coastline with us.

Steven Gallagher is assistant vice chancellor for Marine Sciences, and director of finance and operations at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego

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