In 1971, Dana Point Harbor was officially dedicated in Dana Point, Calif. with spaces for 2,500 yachts. Many locals complained they had lost the best surf break in the area as the harbor jetty went in and Killer Dana was lost, but since its opening, the harbor has been the gem of Dana Point. Families and standup paddlers (not to mention outrigger and kayak paddlers) flock to the harbor's Baby Beach to launch watercraft or enjoy the majestic scenery that surrounds Dana Cove. The small beach has become a center for standup in recent years. But this could be changing– and some believe not for the better.

The public will have until 5:00 p.m., Nov. 4 to submit their written concerns about the proposed Subsequent Environmental Impact Report (SEIR), which includes a 20% beach loss to Baby Beach, with dock space increasing from the current 5,437 sq. ft. to a staggering 46,450 sq. ft. The addition of docks in the Educational Basin (the area in front of Baby Beach) would be for the Educational Center, which includes Westwind Sailing, Sea Scouts and Saddleback College sailing programs. If the changes go through, the Educational Center would lose some of their docks on the eastern side of the center for more private slips.

"The proposal is to add docks for the Educational Center to accommodate all of the boats that would be moved from the eastern side of the harbor," said Diane Wenzel, Executive Director of Westwind Sailing. The proposal would limit the launch area, as the southeast end of the beach would be blocked by the addition of docks and a longer gangway.

"Another problem with the proposal is that areas in the Educational Basin are too shallow for some of the boats that are normally docked on the eastern side of the basin, which will cause them to bottom-out in front of Baby Beach," said Wenzel. "Also, there will be an increase in motorized watercraft in the basin if the proposal goes through, which would be even more unsafe for people because the basin size will be decreased," she added.

On the positive, the proposal does include dock and gangway renovation, as well public access improvements in compliance with ADA guidelines. The proposal also states that new dry stack storage in the Embarcadero would be created and security gates to both marina areas would be replaced. But the bottom line is this: if you don't want Baby Beach to change, now's the time to take action. – Shari Coble

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