Santa Monica Lookout
|Nonprofit Names Santa Monica Best Restored Beach|
By Hector Gonzalez
May 27, 2015 -- Calling it a “dynamic link between the natural and man-made worlds,” a national coastline preservation group has tapped Santa Monica State Beach as winner of its 2015 Best Restored Beach Award.
In announcing the award Tuesday, American Shore and Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA) spokesman Lee Weishar praised the local area’s blending of sandy coastlines -- featuring “an abundance of sand and sweeping views of Santa Monica Bay” -- with popular “people places” such as Chess Park and the historic Santa Monica Pier.
“Up to 50,000 people enjoy the beach on a typical summer day -- with 5 million visits annually -- making it one of the region’s most treasured public assets,” said Weishar.
Not only is Santa Monica “an iconic American beach,” it’s also been the backdrop for countless movies and TV shows over the years that “exemplify the beach life,” said Weishar, who headed the ASBPA’s Best Restored Beach selection committee.
Winners were selected based on the success of local efforts at restoring dwindling beaches by reversing the effects of erosion, said officials at ASBPA, a national nonprofit organization that also provides legal help to communities working to save their local beaches.
Judging was based on three criteria: the economic and environmental benefits a beach brings to its community; the short- and long-term success of the restoration project; and the challenges each community overcame during the course of the project, Weishar said.
In 2008, Santa Monica State Beach’s 3.5 miles from Malibu to Venice was picked as one of the American Planning Association’s 10 Great Public Spaces, Weishar noted.
“The designation stems from the beach’s commitment to accessibility, environmental stewardship and historic preservation, and maintaining its distinctive character,” said Weishar.
Although millions of people visit restored beaches every summer, “few understand what it takes to keep that beach special,” said ASBPA spokeswoman Kate Gooderham.
“Many of America’s most heavily used beaches are restored beaches -- wide and sandy, providing abundant recreational opportunities for beachgoers,” said Gooderham. “ASBPA created the Best Restored Beach award as a way of highlighting the value of restored beaches.
Harry Simmons, president of ASBPA and the mayor of Caswell Beach, North Carolina, said coastal communities have restored more than 370 beaches in the United States.
“As Americans flock to our nation’s coastline during the upcoming beach season, most don’t even realize they may be enjoying a restored beach,” said Simmons.
Along with Santa Monica, other Best Restored Beach award winners included Folly Beach in South Carolina, Galveston, Texas, and Western Destin Beach and South Hutchinson Island/St. Lucie, both in Florida.
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