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Last login: Monday, October 28, 2013
A History of Casa Beach
By virtue of its admission into the Union (i.e. upon becoming a State), California became the owner of all tidelands and all lands lying beneath inland navigable waters. These lands are held in the State’s sovereign capacity and are subject to the common law public trust.
The public trust doctrine restricts uses of sovereign lands to public trust purposes, such as navigation, fisheries, commerce, public access, water-oriented recreation, open space and environmental protection. In 1931, Governor Rolph approved Senate Bill 422, An Act Granting Certain Tide and Submerged Lands of the State of California to the City of San Diego. It has been repeatedly stated that there CPBwas a "trust" created that specifically required Casa Beach (also known as Children's Pool Beach) to be held in "trust” for the use of children. However, there is no specific trust that differs from general public trust lands. Any and all tidelands are held in "trust" throughout the State and if these lands are transferred—even to another public entity—they are transferred to be held in "trust".
This was a tidelands grant not unlike any other tidelands grant. Thus it is misleading to state that there is a "trust". In this case the City of San Diego received the tidelands grant to be used for specific purposes, including for children. This was amended In 2009, when the State of California passed SB428, a bill which gave the City of San Diego the authority to use Casa Beach as a "marine mammal park for the enjoyment and educational benefit of children."
The earliest mapmakers of La Jolla (1887) named two prominent geological features in the immediate vicinity of what is now called Casa Beach: Seal Rock and Seal Rock Point. Historically seals were present along the La Jolla coast, as may be assumed by the names given to the rocks off Casa Beach. However, due to extensive hunting, the population of harbor seals was decimated until none remained in the area. In 1931, Ellen Browning Scripps donated the funds to build the breakwater at Casa Beach. These tidelands were owned by the State of California.
Since the cessation of hunting, the population of harbor seals has increased. Although considerably less than historical levels, the current population of about 40,000 individuals off the coast of California is relatively stable. The population at Casa Beach is about 200 individual seals.
October 28, 2013 at 4:49 p.m.
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