After sitting unused for 35 years, the new Dan Blocker Beach scenic viewpoint, overlooking a stretch of beach named in honor of actor Dan Blocker, was officially unveiled on Friday.
The project, completed just in time for the dedication ceremony, had been on the backburner for decades until it was spearheaded by outgoing LA County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky just before the end of his term.
“Public access to our coastline is about making sure that our beaches and our coastline are for everybody, and so this is a great day,” Yaroslavsky said, sharing how he decided to “sprint to the finish” to make sure the project was completed before he left office. He just made it, with only 17 days to spare.
The beach, which actors Michael Landon and Lorne Greene bought and named after their co-star Blocker, or “Hoss,” on the western-themed television show “Bonanza,” was donated to the state in 1979. The one-mile stretch of beach runs from Latigo Shore Drive east to Corral Canyon Road along Pacific Coast Highway. Greene and Landon intended the land to be used for public recreation. After acquiring a couple of pieces of neighboring land, the state donated Blocker Beach to the county in 1995.
But the area devolved into a rather meager eyesore in the past three decades, as tattered fencing kept out the public while litter from passersby piled up among the brush.
After facing pressure from city officials in 2011, Yaroslavsky began working on pushing the access project through several bureaucratic layers.
“It’s been a real privilege to undertake projects like this,” Yaroslavsky said during Friday’s dedication.
Since the City of Malibu approved the project in January, the LA County Public Works Department and the Department of Beaches and Harbors went into high gear to put together the public viewing area, soliciting bids immediately and finally breaking ground in May.
“As a family, as a whole, we’re very honored,” David Blocker, Dan Blocker’s son, said.
“We are so happy to have it for our kids, to say, ‘This is for your grandpa,’ instead of just a fence,” Blocker added, thanking fans from all over the world who donated funds for the plaque to honor his father.
“It’s been a really long time coming,” said Carol Baker, spokesperson for Beaches and Harbors, adding, “I think it’s just a wonderful place to stop, it’s a great view point.”
The newly landscaped blufftop includes 14 parking spots, with one ADA-compliant space, along with men’s and women’s bathrooms, benches facing the ocean, and two picnic tables that were installed after the dedication. Part of the land was acquired from the Adamson family, members of which attended and spoke at Friday’s ceremony.
Visitors must pay to use the small lot, which raised the ire of some residents, including Kara Knack.
“If you’re going to have a place like this, let people have access to it,” said Knack, who pointed out that street parking is now blocked for hundreds of yards along that stretch of Pacific Coast Highway.
Knack also raised issue with the irrigation system, which, according to her, is a hazard on the edge of the bluff.
“Take down the sprinklers; if there’s a water line break, we could lose the whole thing,” Knack said.
John Kelly, deputy director of County Beaches and Harbors, responded to her concerns in an email shared with The Malibu Times.
“Our contractor inadvertently added a couple too many signs near Latigo Shores which will be removed. The no parking striping and signage along the PCH shoulder area fronting the parking lot is to maintain safe and adequate sight distance for cars exiting the parking lot area,” Kelly wrote in the email. “The remaining PCH shoulder area up to Latigo Shores Drive (approximately 880 feet) will still be available for free public parking.”
He also responded to the concerns over irrigation.
“The landscaping along the bluff top edge is drought-tolerant and the irrigation installed is temporary to allow for establishment of the landscaping, which is typically a year or less,” Kelly wrote.
Melissa Caskey contributed to this report.