YourCoast App Will Make California's Public Beaches More Accessible
A new app called YourCoast will help visitors locate and reach public beaches along the California coastline. Beach access has been a contentious issue, with a number of cases of wealthy beachfront property owners intentionally restricting or preventing public access. Sean Parker, who founded Napster and was Facebook’s first president, tangled with the California Coastal Commission in 2013 right before his wedding in Big Sur, in a redwood grove that had been closed off but was designated a public campground.
Parker paid a $2.5 million fine and also agreed to help the agency develop the app, which includes over 1,500 beach access points. "Click on a particular access point and the app shows photos of the path to the beach — which can often be hard to find — and whether there are amenities such as parking, access for disabled visitors (with information on how to procure a beach wheelchair), restrooms or fishing facilities," report Rosanna Xia and Sam Dean.
The app took five years to complete, largely due to technical and staff limitations on the commission’s end. The commission will maintain and update the database information and photos. Parker’s team is helping with the iOS app rollout, and the commission plans to develop an Android version.