‘Sand Dune Park’ Archive

September Dune Update

Summary
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The sand dune is open and once again being enjoyed by many, with little or no neighborhood problems. CORE suggests the following changes: Expand dune hours, make rules more family friendly, replace reservations w/ an annual permit & remove the fence. Check out CORE’s new website, http://core4you.org/ , for more latest news & information. Contact city council with your ideas & feedback. Sign our new petition, http://core4you.org/sand-dune-park/petition .
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It’s been about 6 weeks since the sand dune reopened, and so far there have been almost no problems during dune use reported by the stellar park staff that are tasked with enforcing the rules. I’ve visited my neighborhood park about a dozen times, and it’s been great to see kids & adults alike enjoying the dune again. One morning I saw a group of a half dozen young children climbing on the dune with their parents then sticking around to play in the tot-lot afterward.

CORE is happy that the dune is open again, but is disappointed that the needlessly restrictive reservation system unfairly excludes many working adults & family members from using the dune. At CORE, we continue to support Manhattan Beach residents and other park users in all our efforts to expand access to the dune. Please sign our petition if you support this effort, http://core4you.org/sand-dune-park/petition . Four top priorities are as follows:

1) Expand dune hours to 7 AM – 8 PM weekdays, 8 AM – 7 PM weekends. This will allow working adults reasonable access to the dune. At the same time, make the dune open for use without reservations during the mid-day period when dune use is low to reintroduce some spontaneous use to the dune.

2) Make the dune more family friendly by allowing all kids & parents on the entire dune without reservations. Right now, teenagers are barred from the dune without reservation, and they have been a rare site in my dozen visits to the dune so far. Parents of children 6-12 years old must watch their kids play from the other side of the fence, which makes them less likely for them to bring their sons & daughters to the dune. And kids 5 and under are not allowed to go to the top of the dune with their moms or dads.

3) Replace the reservation systems with an annual permit. This would eliminate the rigid schedule that is currently used, and let park officials more easily monitor users.

4) Have the city remove the fence. The professional park staff have shown themselves quite capable of managing the park, and the fence is unnecessary since users respect the park rules. Even dune neighbors support removing the fence and instead using other innovative measures to ensure all dune users check in with park staff. This would once again let neighbors living atop the dune plateau use the dune as their backyard.

http://core4you.org/sand-dune-park/petition

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There’s more news too, but this message is long enough. If you have your own ideas, please share them with CORE, here on Facebook, or especially with the city council . Let them know how the new rules work for you, and let them know what the problems are. The best ideas usually come from residents, and it’s important to make your voice heard. You can also find links to contact local media on CORE’s new website at http://core4you.org/core/your-voice .

While CORE has been largely focused on Sand Dune Park during its first year, we are expanding our organization to promote outdoor recreation & exercise in Manhattan Beach & neighboring cities. We strongly support the South Bay Bicycle Coalition ( http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=275185246865 ) in their efforts to improve cycling options in the area. In one small part of that effort, the city installed a bike rack at Sand Dune Park after CORE suggested this to the parks staff.

If there’s an issue you’d like CORE to help with, submit your idea, http://core4you.org/your-issue/submit and we’ll help you organize support and share what we’ve learned. Some residents have noted the end of the after-school program at Sand Dune Park, and that’s an issue that could use some leadership & support from more residents. One simple idea is to have the present park staff organize activities while still monitoring the park. Residents have long sought a skate park in the city and we’ll help with that if leaders step forward. While the 6-man tournament was a big success this year, fees for the tournament were so high that many local teams declined to participate; we’ll again urge the city to lower the fees to encourage more local entrants.

Thanks for your support throughout the effort to Free the Dune. Find out how to contact City Council here, http://citymb.info/Index.aspx?page=721 . As always, contact CORE via email: Jake or Bill. If there’s something you want to share with the dune community– a record number of climbs, a first visit with a child, another memorable moment, some recreation news or a great new idea– just post it on our Facebook wall.

If you’ve read this far, you’re proven that you have the endurance required for dune users. Happy climbing everyone, and we’ll have another update next month.

Bike Rack at Sand Dune Park

While the city council ignored many of our suggestions for Sand Dune Park, they still adopted several. These were some of the simpler ideas, but they still made the park nice. CORE recommended that the city add more trash cans and recycling bins, which they did. And CORE also requested the addition of a bike rack to the park, to make it easier for residents to get to the park and easily secure their bikes. And they did add a bike rack, as seen on the left. It’s nothing fancy, really, but it will get the job done.

So next time you’re headed to Sand Dune Park, why not bike or walk as you get some extra exercise, some fresh air and make our city even greener. See you on the dune!

After one year, Sand Dune to reopen August 2nd for exercise!

Although we are happy that the City Council listened to the majority of Manhattan Beach residents to reopen the Sand Dune to continue a forty-year tradition, these new rules went way overboard and we will require your continued support to hopefully improve upon this environment when the Sand Dune is reviewed in a few months. Here is the link to make a reservation to use the Sand Dune.

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!

Rare flower discovered in Dune proximity

During the past few weeks, there has been some attention drawn to the fact that a rare flower, the Pincushion, has been discovered.  Fortunately for both Dune fans and flower fans, the area of discovery was not on the traditional path of Dune usage and should be no serious cause of alarm or further delay the opening of the Sand Dune.

While I confess ignorance about Pincushions, some pretty good ideas have been suggested to perhaps better promote this flower as it is easily cultivated and could potentially then be planted at various areas in the beach cities such as the gardens along the Strand, the cliffs above Redondo beaches, as well as even South of the Dune that has been planted over by non-native vegetation.

Sand Dune Update – August now is target date for reopening

Well, the more optimistic predictions of opening the Dune by June have now creeped into August.  This will mark a full year that the Dune, a 40+ year tradition for family fun and a 33+ year tradition for exercise, that the Sand Dune has been closed for adults and children alike.  Feel free to contact the City Manager direct, at rthompson@citymb.info for further information.

Local wins Kerri Walsh signed volleyball!

The Sand Dune has been an inspiration for both Kerri Walsh and Casey Jennings as both were hoping for a common sense compromise that would bring peace to the neighborhood while still allowing for adult usage.  In that spirit, Kerri was gracious enough to allow CORE to giveaway a signed volleyball to one lucky supporter of CORE’s advocacy to open the Sand Dune with reasonable limitations during peak-period usage.

While most of you know how great an athelete Kerri it is easy to forget what an incredible role model she remains for the next generation of female athletes. Moreover, Kerri’s Chase the Stars Foundation, is dedicated to improving all children’s desire to reach their dreams! Congratulations to Dylan Caponi of Manhattan Beach as the winner!

See our FACEBOOK page for picture of Dylan holding his prize.

Local Coverage of April 13th meeting

Just in case you would like to see how the local media covered the meeting, here you go:

For the only video coverage of City Council members as well as public comments:

Mayor Ward's questionable decision to limit direct democracy

Knowing that the City Council’s next meeting about the Sand Dune could have a record turn-out, Mayor Mitch Ward should be commended for scheduling a special Manhattan Beach City Council meeting devoted just to the Sand Dune.  Moreover, Mayor Ward should also be recognized for moving the meeting to a special venue to accommodate a potentially record breaking crowd.

This is why such an unorthodox, unilateral decision to limit public comments seem to reverse his good intentions for the democratic process and leave a  majority of residents that were in attendance disappointed. Knowing that a full-house was to be expected, why did Mayor Ward then restrict public input to just one hour?  Furthermore – if you were lucky enough to be called in the “speaking lottery”, your comments were restricted to only one minute – barely enough time to even make one thoughtful point. So what if public comments lasted for two hours – this would still be well within the norm for previous Sand Dune City Council Meetings and certainly expected by all those in attendance. On the one hand you have public officials recommending and encouraging residents to attend these meetings so that their voice can be heard and then  the carpet is pulled right from underneath them by eliminating many from speaking and those who do, to only 60-seconds soundbites.  Perhaps most disappointing, are those who came to participate in the process for the very first time.  It is true that only 70 cards were submitted, but anybody who has been to these type of meetings knows full well that amount of residents that feel like expressing their views, gradually increases throughout the discussion as these very same first-timers have time to listen to others before deciding to speak.

And then the City wonders why many become disengaged by the political process.

Dune is back – partial victory for exercise & common sense

Last night, the City Council agreed to continue 40 years of tradition and to re-open the Sand Dune for exercise. Thanks to a majority of Manhattan Beach residents that signed the petition, wrote letters to City Council, and attended last night’s meeting – one of the most treasured recreational destinations for the past two generations will now be there for the next generation, albeit with far less freedom. Unfortunately, a highly restrictive reservation system will effectively reduce individual usage by 70%.  Moreover, costs are still being debated which could add an additional burden of up to $1,500 annually for a family of four that would regularly use the Sand Dune.

On the one hand, CORE and its thousands of passionate supporters accomplished what looked to be impossible last year when the Dune was shut down with no end in sight – not only has it will it now be opened, but it has opened without being planted and at least a small minority will be able to exercise once again.
On the other hand, what has been the most successful destination for motivating people to better their health and wellness in the entire South Bay for the past four decades has been effectively reduced to a shadow of it’s former self. However, with your continued support, CORE will continue to advocate for increased usage opportunities as the final details are being evaluated during the next two weeks