The South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) has proposed amendments to Rule 444 that would result in the removal of all Southern California beach fire rings, which includes rings in the destination known as “Surf City USA.”
One of the coolest things about this place is the fires people can make on the beach at night. It’s truly spectacular to see them in the night and a very old surfer’s tradition. We saw them when we visited Huntington Beach to learn how to surf in 2009.
Beach bonfire rings have been an important part of the Huntington Beach culture and experience for over 60 years. They provide an affordable means of gathering family and friends along the shore to celebrate our outdoor beach lifestyle with s’mores and hotdog roasting under the stars, all while enjoying the glow of a warm fire.
While the fire rings are a low cost activity that is open to the public, the State of California and local cities also earn substantial income from those who enjoy them. The removal of our fire rings in the City of Huntington Beach would significantly decrease the number of annual visitors, and result in a loss of $1 million annually in revenue to the City from direct parking income alone. The negative economic impact on the many hoteliers, restaurateurs, grocery, retail and concessions that rely on visitor spending would be astounding. This does not even include the impact it would have on cities such as Newport Beach, Dana Point, and Los Angeles. The California State Parks of Orange County receive more than 11.9 million visitors annually, resulting in $19 million dollars in revenue. A survey by the State Parks revealed they stand to lose 50% of their camping revenue, should they lose their fire rings. The state and its beach communities cannot afford to lose more revenue in these economic times.
“The removal of our bonfire rings would not only result in a cultural and historical loss for Huntington Beach and Southern California, the economic losses would be far greater than we can even imagine,” said Steve Bone, President and CEO of the Huntington Beach Marketing and Visitors Bureau. “We urge all of those interested in preserving the culture and heritage that these bonfire rings bring, to take action by signing the petition.”
To take immediate action, please sign the petition letting the AQMD know that you want to keep the fire rings on our beaches. To sign the petition, visit http://chn.ge/16Nyx85. If you would like to take additional action, attend the Public Consultation Meeting at AQMD Headquarters on Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 9 am. AQMD Headquarters is located at 21865 Copley Drive, Diamond Bar, CA 91765.
To stay up-to-date on this issue, please like the campaign Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/SaveTheBonfireRings. For additional questions and information, please contact the PR department at the Huntington Beach Marketing and Visitors Bureau.