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Point La Jolla officially closes year-round after unanimous vote

sea lions rest on part of jagged coast called point La Jolla.

Point La Jolla will remain closed to people year-round, following a unanimous San Diego City Council vote Sept 18.

The City Council’s Environment Committee unanimously approved the year-round closure July 20; the California Coastal Commission gave its full support to the proposal Sept 7.

Point La Jolla is closed seasonally from May 1 to Oct 31, during California sea lion pupping season, to keep people away from the sea lions hauling out to rest on the rocks.

The city of San Diego had proposed the extension to a year-round closure to mitigate conflicts between humans and sea lions outside of pupping season.

“The seasonal closure worked,” said City Councilmember Joe LaCava, whose District 1 includes La Jolla.

The closure would not affect public access to the adjacent La Jolla Cove to the east or Boomer Beach immediately south, the latter of which is accessible via a path.

The year-round closure will mean the installation of a permanent gate at the top of the access stairs at the northeast end of Point La Jolla and an additional sign notifying visitors of the closure.

The seasonal closure currently entails a K-rail barrier barring access to Point La Jolla but creating an open path to Boomer Beach, signage, and a chain at the top of the access stairway at the north end.

The seasonal closure “gave park rangers the enforcement tools they needed to let the public experience the wildlife and our cultural resources from a safe distance,” LaCava said.

sea lions on point La Jolla walk over the rugged rocks with waves crashing

Other measures to keep people away from the sea lions, such as the presence of park rangers and volunteers to offer education, along with extra warning signs, “had an insignificant change to visitors’ behavior,” said Carol Toye, member of the Sierra Club Seal Society.

Toye reiterated Coastal Commission recommendations to strengthen wording on signage to indicate trespassing is prohibited.

“Reducing disturbance with the closure may help support marine wildlife to adjust to [environmental] changes in resources in the future.”

Lesley Handa, ornithologist for the San Diego Audubon Society.

“Birds will also benefit from this closure,” she said, as many nest in the area during breeding.

Members of the public opposed to the year-round closure voiced concerns about sea lion aggression, water pollution and increased presence of sharks.

One commenter urged council members to lean towards increased education without barring human access.

In supporting the year-round closure, City Councilmember Marni von Wilpert emphasized “I would not want to support further closures of beaches, including around the La Jolla Cove area.”

Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto has been reporting on and writing about La Jolla since 2019. With dozens of local and state journalism awards to her name, Elisabeth knows the industry as well as she knows her community. When she’s not covering all things 92037, you’ll find her with coffee in hand staring at the sea.
Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto

Elisabeth Frausto has been reporting on and writing about La Jolla since 2019. With dozens of local and state journalism awards to her name, Elisabeth knows the industry as well as she knows her community. When she’s not covering all things 92037, you’ll find her with coffee in hand staring at the sea.

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