MPA, Coastal Trails signs to be posted in La Jolla


La Jolla Parks & Beaches, an advisory group with a history of opposition to signs along the coastline (some members call them “visual pollution”) is readying for two organizations to bring more signs to La Jolla. The board discussed the 10 signs on the way — part of educational outreach for La Jolla’s Marine protected Areas (MPA) — and signs to mark the California Coastal Trail at its Oct. 23 meeting at La Jolla Rec Center.

WildCoast conservation director Zach Plopper explained that the new MPA signs will vary between 12-inch by 18-inch “You Are Here” signs with the rules of a MPA, and the larger 24-inch by 36-inch interpretive panels that show the wildlife regulations for that area. He told La Jolla Light that in the “best case scenario,” the signs would be installed by the end of the year.

These ‘You Are Here’ signs will be replaced where needed, and new ones will be posted in La Jolla.

There are four ocean MPAs in La Jolla — from the mean high-tide line and out to sea, the San Diego Scripps Coastal State Marine Conservation Area, the Matlahuyal State Marine Reserve, South La Jolla Conservation Area and State Marine Reserve. The State Marine Reserves are a no-take zone of any living or non-living marine resource. In Marine Conservation Areas, there are varying take restrictions.

“We have to look at how to reach the public and get them on board and aware of what is allowed,” Popper continued. “We’re developing materials like fishing guides and signage. We worked with the Department of Fish & Wildlife to create the content and find the best locations for these signs.”

In 2015, WildCoast installed a “You Are Here” sign at Scripps Pier, an interpretive panel south of Scripps Pier, two interpretive panels at La Jolla Shores (one went missing in the El Nino high-tide event) and a “You Are Here” sign at The Cove. “Now, funding has finally come through for a new round. In addition to any other ‘You Are Here’ signs that are identified as a need, others to replace dated or faded signs will also be installed,” Popper said.

(Learn more about the MPA program by e-mailing or at

The other set of signs discussed would mark the California Coastal Trail portions in La Jolla. LJP&B president Ann Dynes explained that The Pacific Crest Trail runs from Oregon to Mexico, and the 1,200 California Coastal Conservancy’s California Coastal trail is the corollary to that along the coastline.

“The Conservancy is funded by taxpayers and is in the process of identifying the different stretches of coastline that are part of the Coastal Trail. That’s a done deal. The City has agreed,” she said. “I met with (San Diego) Park & Rec representatives to learn about how the signs would be installed so they’re not visual pollution. There are three kinds of signs: a little six-inch one, eight-inch by ten-inch ones, and large interpretive ones.”

Right now there are no interpretive signs in place and Dynes said any larger signs would be affixed to light structures. “Just because we’ve said we don’t want signs, I feel like we need to deal with these in a more comprehensive way. Signs are a constructive way to show what we have here. Proper signage is a public service and maybe (if people are educated) they will treat out coastline better.”

Trustee John Shannon noted that people who do not speak English visit La Jolla and suggested a symbol-based sign, specifically the international red circle with a line through it.

In other Parks & Beaches news:

Skate park in a La Jolla park? After trying and failing to establish a skateboard park at La Jolla Rec Center, proponents of a skate park in La Jolla presented the idea to LJP&B seeking another location. An early suggestion is the end of the Fay Avenue Bike Path.

Supporter Linda Van Zandt told LJP&B the problem might be that there’s an incorrect perception of what she and other proponents would like to see installed. She shared photos of a skate park in Leucadia similar in size and design to what she would like. “People think it’s going to be an intrusive skate park. I don’t think any of us want something (huge) similar to what’s in Ocean Beach. That’s not what we’re talking about. It’ll just be somewhere for kids to come and not have to skateboard in the street.”

She said she would return to next month’s meeting with a specific location for consideration.

Wrack fight continues: Although the City has said it does not have the resources to clean up the wrack (dried seaweed that washes ashore and accumulates on La Jolla’s beaches), and claimed the wrack was never cleaned in an organized way, LJP&B trustee Ken Hunrichs continues his efforts to have it removed. “Whether it was cleaned or not, this notion that we can’t preserve our environment to make it more pleasant, seems a little odd to me. It should be cleaned. If we are concerned about sand flies, there 900 miles of coastline where they can exist. I don’t think Children’s Pool or Marine Street beach will make a difference. There are other areas it can accumulate,” he said.

The argument for the wrack removal is that some consider it unsightly, pungent and overly abundant. Those opposed cite its biological significance for area insects and birds.

LJP&B will combine its November and December meetings 4 p.m. Monday, Dec. 4 at La Jolla Rec Center, 615 Prospect St.