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New Efforts Underway to Reopen Stretch of California Coast Currently Accessible to Only Wealthy Property Owners, Visitors With Guides

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Jeff Kamer, right, of Goleta, shows Debby Kamer,his visiting sister, the view of the ocean at the entrance to Hollister Ranch. Its owners seek to block a public access attempt by the California Coastal Commission to the shoreline of the secluded ranch, which is tucked between the Santa Ynez Mountains and Pacific Ocean in this undated photo. (Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Jeff Kamer, right, of Goleta, shows Debby Kamer,his visiting sister, the view of the ocean at the entrance to Hollister Ranch. Its owners seek to block a public access attempt by the California Coastal Commission to the shoreline of the secluded ranch, which is tucked between the Santa Ynez Mountains and Pacific Ocean in this undated photo. (Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Property owners for decades have fought to keep Hollister Ranch largely to themselves — and earlier this year it seemed they had won.

But mounting public outrage has fueled multiple new efforts to open one of California’s most pristine stretches of coastline.

A Santa Barbara County Superior Court judge this week allowed a coalition of community groups to challenge the controversial settlement granting access to only a set number of supervised tours or those who can paddle two miles in. Coastal officials had failed to represent the public interest, the coalition successfully argued, when they agreed to these terms behind closed doors.

Meanwhile, a California lawmaker introduced legislation that would lay the foundation for more aggressive strategies, such as acquiring private land for public use through eminent domain.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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