Broad Beach in Malibu

California state parks have been getting some much needed attention lately — if for rather downer reasons — but Angelenos have yet more public playgrounds to be taking advantage of: Beautiful Malibu public beaches.

Broad Beach in Malibu

Many Angelenos don’t even know we’ve got 27 miles of public beaches in Malibu, much less taken advantage of them. Thanks in part to unfriendly Malibu homeowners and public beach funding issues, these gorgeous beaches can be tough to find for newbies.

Lechuza Beach in Malibu

That’s why a group of activists who call themselves Los Angeles Urban Rangers have taken it upon themselves to take Angelenos out on Malibu Public Beach Safaris — to introduce people to the beaches they own, and to engage them with the many issues and fights over private-public spaces happening in the L.A. area. The safari’s are free, thanks to grant funding.

Lechuza Beach in Malibu

I went on a safari yesterday along with about 30 other SoCalians — and visited Broad and Lechuza beaches in Malibu for the first time! Once there, the Rangers got safari takers involved in funny educational games and activities — like trying to take advantage of the public easements (public areas on the dry sand above the high tide line) on Broad Beach that have been encroached on both by homeowners from the east and beach erosion from the west. Below’s Ranger Ron Milam, explaining public easements. 

L.A. Urban Ranger Ron Milam provides instructions at a Malibu Public Beach Safari

Finding the public accessways to these beaches isn’t easy. For one, the accessways are far and few between — and the ones that exist are often obscured by foliage, marked with confusing “private” and other warning signs, and gated to resemble private property. One game for the safari takers was to locate the three access points to Lechuza Beach — and I wasn’t able to do that without consulting a detailed map put together by the L.A. Urban Rangers! Below is what one of the gates look like.

Gated accessway to Lechuza Beach

That said, not all Malibu homeowners are against people accessing public beaches. At Lechuza, someone had even created a porch area — complete with comfy seats, benches, and cushions — where people could hang out while overlooking the beach. The beaches themselves are beautiful — and clean and quiet, especially compared to the crowded Santa Monica beaches. Below are Rangers (right: Jenny Price), on the move.

Two L.A. Urban Rangers at Broad Beach in Malibu

Yesterday was the last Malibu Public Beach Safari of the summer, but you can download a free Malibu Public Beaches map (PDF) to understand how to enjoy the beaches yourself. And look out for more L.A. Urban Rangers events this year. According to Jenny Price, the next set of events is likely to happen somewhere in downtown L.A.

Lechuza Beach in Malibu

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