Richard Retecki and Carol Benfell, Sonoma County Gazette
Public involvement is also essential in tracking coastal plan permits and approvals, plan development and implementation and its local and cumulative impacts throughout the county coastal zone. The 1980 Local Coastal Plan had 95 people serving on nine citizen advisory committees and hundreds more were involved.
It’s taken the efforts of hundreds of people, organizations and government agencies, working together for more than sixty years, to preserve our magnificent, dynamic, and unique Sonoma County coast.
Now the Sonoma County Local Coastal Plan, an integral part of that decades-long preservation effort, is being revisited by county officials, and changes will be made. It will be important to be watchful and mindful that we do not lose what so many have fought to save.
Some of our coastal parks date back 90 years, to the very first days of the State Parks system — the 19-mile-long Sonoma Coast State Beach, one of the most visited state parks in California; Fort Ross Historic State Park, Kruse Rhododendron Reserve and Salt Point State Park.
In 1962, Doran Beach in Bodega Bay became the first county park to be created for public use. Gualala Point, Westside Park and Stillwater Cove followed Doran Beach as county coastal parks.
One of the biggest threats to the coast – and county residents — came when Pacific Gas & Electric in 1958 proposed a nuclear power plant at Bodega Head, right on top of the San Andreas Fault. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodega_Bay_Nuclear_Power_Plant
Bodega Bay residents fought back, led by Rose Gaffney and Hazel Mitchell, joined quickly by brothers Karl and Bill Kortum, and forestry student David Pesonen.
Their efforts launched a four-year-long public and legal battle, joined by The Sierra Club, The UC Marine Lab at Bodega Bay, and others. In 1962, PG&E reluctantly abandoned its plan. Watch Bill Kortum talk about the battle to save Bodega Head https://vimeo.com/47021801
At about the same time, plans were underway for massive housing developments along the coast. In the mid-1960s, the Jenner Bay Corporation proposed a 1,100 acre, 2,000-home project, with condominiums at Goat Rock, a golf course at Shell Beach, and a shopping center and Safeway at the intersection of Highway 1 and Highway 116. A 3,600-acre large lot subdivision was slated for Willow Creek.