Coastal Marathon meeting notes

Observations from Wine & Water Watch Board Member Pamela Singer


On March 31st the Sonoma County Coast MAC (Municipal Advisory Council) met with approximately
80 people from Bodega Bay, Jenner, Occidental and Timber Cove at the Bodega Bay Grange. The
meeting was to inform residents about the coastal marathon that was to be held this year on Sunday,
September 29th.
Originally, Highway One was to be closed from Fort Ross to Bodega Bay. Food trucks
and portable toilets were to be stationed at the Jenner Headlands.
Because of public outcry, it was decided that the race would be a half marathon which would close one
lane of Highway One and begin at Jenner and end in Bodega Bay.  At the meeting many people spoke
vociferously against the race. Residents asked the race officials why the community wasn’t contacted
first about this planned event. Efren Carrillo, the former fifth district supervisor, and Tina Wallis, the
attorney for this event, were supposed to attend this meeting but failed to show up. The points that were
covered were:
Fragile ecosystem: Many spoke about the beauty and fragility of the coast where animals live
along with endangered and rare plants. The coast would be negatively impacted by thousands of
contestants and spectators.
Trash: Race organizers promised that trash would be removed immediately and only 1{5fc40a96f14c4a6aa4c2a32569b0a57dcc67c0b31eb04c341474283f11b6cdd2} would
end up in landfill. A woman said no one wanted any trash in a landfill. Another pointed out that
if the wind blew strongly as it does sometimes, trash could blow onto beaches and then into the
Tourism: One representative for the marathon said she was excited that the race would show off
the beauty of the Sonoma Coast to visitors. A woman from Timber Cove said passionately that
we already have too many tourists due to vineyards, tasting rooms and event centers and that
soon we will have marijuana tourism. More tourism is not acceptable on the coast.
Charities: We were told that money from these races would go to charities. When asked about
which charities, the representatives couldn’t name any but said they would know in three years.
Infrastructure and Traffic: A Bodega Bay resident said that she used to live in Gleason Beach
but had to move because the infrastructure at that point of Highway One is so dangerous. For
many years, houses have fallen into the sea. Residents of Bodega Bay spoke about the dense
traffic in town and traveling north and south on the coast especially on weekends.
Fishing Community and Businesses: Restaurants and businesses would have to close the day of
the race.  A fisherman said if the coast were closed for one day he wouldn’t be able to access his
boat and might lose a lot of money. A charter boat captain said that September is the best month
to take people out on the ocean because that’s when the sea is calmest.
Fire: The Fire Chief of Bodega Bay told us that he’d station more fire fighters from other towns
on Hwy 1 and position them along the race route in case a fire breaks out. A resident stated that
if emergency vehicles wanted to get through, it would be difficult if not impossible.
For now the race is canceled due to lack of necessary permits. However, if this race is permitted
next year, a precedent would be set for years to come.
Pamela Singer, Wine and Watch  April 3rd