California beach-goers will soon have a brand new stretch of seaside to explore thanks to a landmark decision by the state’s coastal commission.
The California Coastal Commission last week unanimously approved an agreement to transfer 36 acres of private coastal property, once known as Bixby Ranch, back to Santa Barbara County, CBS reported.
The land, which is about 150 miles north of Los Angeles, at the south end of the Vandenberg Air Force Base, also comes with a mile-long stretch of beach that has been closed to the public for more than 100 years.
“You’re getting over a mile of additional coastline [in] one of the richest and most diverse areas in California,” Susan Jordan, executive director of the California Coastal Protection Network in Santa Barbara, told reporters.
A settlement was reached after it was discovered that the current landowners installed dozens of water wells throughout the property and made other land developments without the proper permits. Along with giving the land to the county, the owners will also pay $500,000 to cover public access and environmental projects, the Associated Press reported.
The new beach can be reached via a small country road off Highway 1, according to Mercury News. The one-mile piece of isolated sand will be an extension of Jalama Beach, which is an already popular destination for surfers, fisherman and whale watchers alike. It may also be the perfect place for a quick and quiet getaway as the Associated Press noted the area “has campsites and a handful of cabins for overnight stays, as well as a small market and grill.”
No word yet, however, on an exact date when the area will be open to the public.