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UPDATE: Coastal Commission unanimously approves year-round closure of Point La Jolla

Posted at 7:27 AM, Sep 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-07 18:34:32-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – The California Coastal Commission has unanimously approved the year-round closure of the Point La Jolla bluffs to protect sea lions.

The area in question is between the Children's Pool and La Jolla Cove, which is mostly occupied by sea lions.

Previously, the area was closed between May 25 and was originally scheduled to be reopened to the public on Sept. 15. That period of time covered sea lion pupping season.

Thursday's unanimous vote approving the new amendment made the seasonal closure a year-round one, and it calls for a permanent gate to be installed at the top of the access as well.

The vote happened around 3 p.m. Thursday after an extended public comment period.

The San Diego City Council is expected to weigh in on this proposal before it moves forward.

This is a developing story. See ABC 10News' preview story on the vote below.

A California Coastal Commission vote could lead to the year-round closure of the Point La Jolla bluffs, an area between the Children’s Pool and La Jolla Cove mostly occupied by sea lions.

On Thursday, the commission is slated to decide on a proposal that would change the section’s closure from several months -- for sea lion pupping season -- to all year.

This year, the area was closed May 25 and is scheduled to be reopened to the public on Sept. 15.

The commission is considering the proposal due to recent incidents in which visitors have been getting too close to the animals. In some instances, visitors have tried to take selfies, attempted to pet or wake the sea lions, or have brought dogs into the area.

One visitor said he understands the desire for some people to go down to the beach and mingle with the sea lions, but he agreed with a year-round closure.

“They were here first; this is their natural habitat. I live in this area and know we have miles and miles of coast to explore and enjoy. So, I'm in favor of preserving these habitats that are crucial to preserving the habitats of the wildlife,” the visitor said.

Another visitor told ABC 10News that he does not agree that the area should be closed, adding, “There's a lot of sea lions. There's plenty of room around the corner where they can jump up on the cliff and nobody goes. Other than that, I enjoy all the wildlife, even the sea lions. It's just I don't see a reason to close a beach that people use.”

The City of San Diego said the temporary closure has been effective, and according to a Coastal Commission report, during the 2022 pupping season closure, there were no incidents reported by park rangers.

If the year-round closure is passed by the commission, the San Diego City Council would be expected to weigh in on the proposal before any final approval.

Under the proposal, if the closure is fully approved, more park rangers would be added and additional signs will be posted to warn visitors to keep out of the specific areas.

Dogs and fireworks would also not be allowed, according to the proposal.