Source: Channel Islands Outfitters Blog

Channel Islands Outfitters Blog Goleta Beach is Cleared for Launch!

Feeling hope laced with trepidation, I drove out to Goleta Beach on Wednesday morning not knowing what the scene would look like. I had just returned from 5 days in Manhattan and hadn't heard any news updates while out of town. It had been just over a week since the Plains All American oil pipeline spewed forth its toxic black sludge onto Refugio Beach and into the ocean. We had closed the shop down that past Thursday after arriving at the beach to film footage for a new orientation video, only to find a brown looking ocean surface with oily odors wafting on the onshore breeze. Without accurate water quality test results in yet and erring on the side of caution, we did not want to let paddlers out into a potential toxic environment. My hope slowly faded to despair as a I pulled up to the familiar fence in front of our Paddle Sports Rental Shop trailer finding a handwritten sign that read: " CLOSED Due to Oil". But the sun began to peek through the clouds and a spark of hope re-ignited. I called our fearless CEO for an update while walking toward the beach to take a look. I knew that a beach clean-up had been performed over the weekend and was stoked to find a happy beach with no oil (and very little naturally occurring tar either) to be found. I learned from our CEO that we had tried to stay open for Memorial Day Weekend but ended up closing down again after kayakers returned reporting an abundance of oily residue off of Campus Point. But this morning the water looked slick free and even inviting though chilly as it washed over my toes. "Looks pretty good" I said on the phone, "I think we should go for it". With a suggestion to check with the Park Rangers and ask about any beach closures, I got the Green Light to open up shop! I gladly hung the "OPEN" flag on the fence and was ready for action just in time for one of our members to come in for his daily work-break paddle.A short while later I was able to track down one of the county park employees "Big D" and got an update on the craziness of the weekend. Apparently after Gov. Jerry Brown had declared a state of emergency for Goleta, a bevy of state, county and emergency response vehicles and crews had shown up at the beach to perform their respective tests and evaluations. Apart from a small patch of oil and some slick that passed by off Campus Point, Goleta Beach has thankfully been spared from any major impact from the spill. Due to the efforts of the on-site clean up crews at Refugio and with some luck from the wind and currents, areas east of Devereux Point have remained clear, and Goleta Beach park was able to remain open all weekend. However Refugio and El Capitan State Beaches were heavily impacted and teams have been working hard to remove sheets and globs of crude oil from the beach while boats towing booms focus on ocean oil removal. Of major concern is the diversity of marine mammals, fish and invertebrates that inhabit this pristine section of the California coastal waters as well as marine birds and endangered nesting plover and tern shorebird species. With the state of emergency in effect, additional funding and resources have been freed up to aid in cleanup and wildlife protection efforts. As far as planning your visit and ocean activities at Goleta Beach, all systems are GO! Please head on down and come see us, grab a paddle and SUP or kayak and get your fix of ocean fun. We here at Channel Islands Outfitters will stay on top of the Refugio oil spill aftermath and cleanup efforts and do our part to ensure a safe and healthy ocean ecosystem for both our human and animal friends to play in!Links to learn more:

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