[Note: I'm posting this after consulting with the sbcobirding moderators. In the interest of avoiding a long thread they request that people not reply to the group. I'm happy to get private replies.]
Recently a state park employee contacted birders on the grassy strip west of Carpinteria Creek south of 6th Street to tell them that after the first of the year new fencing would be created blocking access to that area. Among the stated reasons was that there have been thefts and vandalism in the area of the state park employee housing adjacent to that grassy strip on the side opposite the creek.
That grassy strip provides access to the part of the creek to the south, including the embankment bordering the Carpinteria Sanitary District plant. This section of the creek has been actively birded since 1978, so birders objected when told they would lose access to it.
In response to those objections, the state park employee has now clarified that NO fencing is currently being planned. Residents of the employee housing, including families with young children, remain concerned about public access to the grassy strip, which at least some of them view as their private yard. The state park employee would prefer that birdwatchers avoid using that grassy strip.
A number of us held a 45-minute Zoom meeting yesterday to discuss the issue and share ideas; that meeting has been archived and is publicly viewable on YouTube here:
It's up to individual birders how they choose to respond to this issue. For myself, I believe birdwatchers' continued use over the past 42 years has established a public right to bird there, and I intend to keep doing so.
At the same time, I want to be a good ambassador for our activity. I suggest that people birding this location consider avoiding the grassy strip when it's feasible to do so. That can be done by birding that section of the creek from the creekbed itself (at least until water levels rise), or by accessing the embankment next to the sanitary district plant by entering from the state beach campground to the south. When it isn't possible or convenient to avoid using the grassy strip, I encourage birders to do so in a manner that respects residents' privacy as much as possible (e.g., by moving through the area quickly rather than lingering).
Again, I appreciate that people may have strong opinions about this and will want to share their views. In the interest of avoiding a long discussion thread, though, the sbcobirding moderators request that we not discuss this in the group beyond providing information updates (as I've tried to do here). I'm happy to get private replies.
Thank you to everyone who worked to address this issue.