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Anonymous donor to provide funding for La Jolla park ranger at Children’s Pool

First District Councilwoman Sherri Lightner Friday morning announced she’s secured private funding for a proposed park ranger to patrol the Children’s Pool beach.

The annual cost for a Park Ranger beginning in fiscal year 2011 is estimated to be $79,209.

“The ranger will ensure the seals remain safe, ensure people have safe access to the beach without disturbing the seals, and ensure all visitors have a safe, enjoyable, educational experience when visiting the Children’s Pool,” Lightner said in a press release.

A ranger, she added, would “relieve the lifeguards and police of the need to respond to calls for service at this location, which takes valuable time and tax dollars and jeopardizes public safety.”

Lightner thanked the “anonymous donor,” who she said has pledged to fund the ranger’s salary for the first year and agreed “to work with us to raise money for an endowment to ensure the program can continue for many years to come.”

Lightner thanked the anonymous donor and the city’s Recreation Department and the mayor’s office for “all their efforts in working with us to develop the ranger and volunteer docent proposal.”

On Monday in a 6 p.m. meeting in the Sherwood Auditorium at the Museum of Contemporary Art at 700 Prospect St., the City Council will vote on four Children’s Pool management options:

  • Keep the rope barrier up year round at the pool.
  • Close the beach during the seal’s pupping season.
  • Prohibit dogs on the beach at all times.
  • Hire a privately funded ranger to patrol the beach and lead a docent program there.

“Of the proposals that will be considered by the council on Monday night, the ranger is the only option that addresses the ‘people’ problem at the Children’s Pool, which includes the long history of conflict between seal activists who want to protect the seals and citizens who want to access this public beach,” said Lightner. “This is something a rope barrier or a beach closure cannot achieve.”
Lightner added a city park ranger, under the direction of the city’s Park and Recreation Department, will be able to enforce the current joint-use policy that allows both seals and people to be on the beach.

“I call on my Council colleagues to join me in supporting this proposal on Monday night so that we can finally achieve a harmonious, long-term solution for the future management of the Children’s Pool,” Lightner concluded.