Kids protest city’s closure of open space in Bluebird Canyon

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Young mountain bikers protest the city’s closure of a dirt lot they used to ride at. Photo courtesy of Gabe Sullivan.

About 27 children protested Tuesday in front of a new no trespassing sign at a dirt lot in Bluebird Canyon at the top of Rancho Laguna Road.

Children and their families who frequently enjoy this spot for bike riding were appalled to discover the new sign posted there over the weekend with language stating that violators would be subject to prosecution and fines.

“I would like this area to be open to me and my friends, so we can have fun riding our bikes here without feeling like we are trespassing,” Elijah Sullivan, 10, of Laguna Beach wrote in a letter to City Council.

Parents said the closure had nothing to do with COVID-19 and that Mayor Bob Whalen told them the city placed the sign there due to potential liability to the city for any injuries that might occur in that area.

However, numerous residents have taken issue with the closure since the area is designated as open space, which allows recreational uses including biking, hiking, and walking.

A petition to remove the sign and re-open the space was created on Monday by disapproving residents and obtained 499 signatures by Thursday afternoon. Anyone interested in signing and sharing the petition can do so by visiting change.org/letkidsridefree.

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