Sand Dune set to reopen in one week!

Summary

The dune reopens August 1 for kids, August 2 for adults. You can register here. Read the rules there. Join our Facebook group. Keep your eye on the Sand Dune Park website. Let me know your thoughts. And contact the city council.

On Sunday, August 1, the sand dune will reopen for children 12 & under, and on Monday, August 2,  the sand dune will reopen for teens, adults & seniors for exercise & play.  While CORE (Citizens for Outdoor Recreation & Exercise) considers to the new park rules to be overly restrictive, without the massive show of support from more than 600 Manhattan Beach residents, the dune would have likely been planted. Whether planted or merely subdivided, nearly all exercise & play would have been permanently barred on Sand Dune Park‘s signature feature.

Free the Dune/ Sand Dune Park

Free the Dune

Petition SignersIt’s been nearly one full year since the sand dune was closed by the city. In January, the Manhattan Beach City Council indicated that they intended to ban exercise on the dune & was exploring landscaping options. In the following months, CORE was formed and went about building & demonstrating community support. Eventually, more than 600 residents signed the CORE petition, with the highest concentration in neighborhoods close to the park. CORE held a rally to Free the Dune, where over 150 people joined the rally & signed the petition. Meantime, the word-of-mouth campaign was spreading, as our Facebook group quickly grew from more dozens to thousands in a couple months, all kicked off by dozens of Mira Costa students imploring their friends to join.

April 13 was the big day. Hundreds of residents attended the city council meeting, and the end result was the reopening of the dune with severe restrictions. While originally set to reopen in late June or early July, the reopening of the dune was delayed until August after the discovery of the yellow pincushion flower. In the meantime, the city conducted studies that showed that the dune slope was absolutely safe using the same maintenance procedures that have been followed for forty years. Reports from the park ranger, park attendant & city police stated that the vast majority of dune users respected the park rules and the neighborhood remained as safe as ever as park use increased. We heard from residents that had been climbing on the dune for more than 30 years, a part of a 40 year tradition. Really, much longer, for before the city was developed some dune supporters used to run freely throughout the city on the dunes that were extant at the time.

The sand dune-- 8 months after being closed

Fenced off from its neighborhood, weeds soon began sprouting on the dune following the winter rains. That’s what it looked like just about two months ago. It’s looking better now, but will look best when adults & children are exercising again. This is a long blog entry, so hang in there. First, we’ll review the city rules for the park.

New Sand Dune Park Rules

Manhattan Beach website for Sand Dune Park

  • The fence will remain around the dune as is.
  • Dune hours are now 8 AM – 7 PM during Daylight Savings Time, but will close even earlier during the winter.
  • All patrons age 13 and over must have a reservation to use the dune.
  • Reservation times are for one hour only, per day, per patron.
  • The following reservation hours are only available during daylight hours:
  • Weekdays – 8:00 AM, 9:30 AM, 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM, 4:30 PM and 6:00 PM;
  • Saturdays – 8:00 AM, 9:30 AM and 11:00 AM.
  • No teens, adults or seniors are allowed on the dune on Sunday.
  • Teens, adults & seniors are barred from the dune at all other times.
  • No reservation required for children 12 & under.
  • All children five and under require full time adult supervision and are restricted to the family play area.
  • Adults are not allowed to play on the dune with children six to twelve years old.
  • There is no access to the top of the dune without first climbing.

What You Need To Do

When the dune reopens, there will be heightened enforcement of park rules. How well dune users follow the rules, respect the neighborhood and obey traffic & parking laws will have a huge impact on the future of the dune. More importantly, we want to be respectful of the park, the neighborhood & its residents. After several months, the city council will revisit Sand Dune Park rules. With all that in mind, when the dune reopens remember the following.

  • Obey all traffic laws
  • Follow all parking signs
  • Throw away your trash & recycle your empty water bottles
  • Follow all instructions given by the park attendant
  • Refrain from yelling while at the park
  • Be respectful of your fellow climber and the neighborhood residents

If you have any problems accessing the dune or are subject to any harassment from dune users or neighborhood residents, please let the attendant know while also contacting the city council, the Parks & Recreation Department and CORE.

A Better Alternative

We can work together with the city and other neighborhood residents to create better rules for the park that will ensure neighborhood peace while making the dune welcoming to all residents. I’ll break it down in three four areas.

Expand Hours

  • Hours 7 AM – 8 PM weekdays and 8 AM – 7 PM weekends, year round, will accommodate more residents while spreading out usage and reducing peak demand. There is no safer place to exercise at night than on the dune since there are no potholes, no traffic and it’s a very safe park.
  • Keep the dune constantly during those times. Closing the dune for several hours during off-peak hours merely inconveniences residents without affecting use at more popular times.

Replace Reservations With Permits

  • For dune fans that exercise during peak times, requiring registration at city hall for a nominal fee. When visiting the dune, users exchange their dune permit for a bracelet so the park attendant can easily identify unregistered climbers.
  • If dune use regularly exceeds 50 users at regular times, the city can require reservations at those times & set an appropriate limit (30-50 users).
  • During off peak hours (weekdays 9 AM – 3 PM), allow free access to the dune without requiring reservations or a permit.

Sand Dune Park

37 people exercising on the dune.

The Fence Is Unnecessary

  • The fence is an eyesore and unnecessary.
  • During reservation or permit hours, climbers would wear a visible identifier so the park attendant can identify interlopers.
  • Allow top-of-the-dune residents to once again treat the dune as their backyard.
  • Let kids of all ages play at the top of the dune.
  • Allow residents & others to continue the 40 year tradition of climbing over the dune on the way to or from the beach, or during their daily jog.

Let Parents Play With Their Children of All Ages

  • Allow adults to supervise, play with & exercise alongside their children of all ages, at all times.

Summary

The dune reopens August 1 for kids, August 2 for adults. You can register here. Read the rules there. Join our Facebook group. Keep your eye on the Sand Dune Park website. Let me know your thoughts. And contact the city council.

Jump Nathan!

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