Influence of social media has increased visitors, litter and jumpers at Sunset Cliffs
by DAVE SCHWAB
Published - 02/01/18 - 03:58 PM | 4505 views | 3 3 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dozens of visitors gather on The Arch at Sunset Cliffs last July to watch and film people jumping or to jump themselves. Jumping from The Arch has become popular on social media.   THOMAS MELVILLE / PENINSULA BEACON
Dozens of visitors gather on The Arch at Sunset Cliffs last July to watch and film people jumping or to jump themselves. Jumping from The Arch has become popular on social media. THOMAS MELVILLE / PENINSULA BEACON
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Graffiti is seen on the side of a bluff at Sunset Cliffs near Point Loma Nazarene University. THOMAS MELVILLE / PENINSULA BEACON
Graffiti is seen on the side of a bluff at Sunset Cliffs near Point Loma Nazarene University. THOMAS MELVILLE / PENINSULA BEACON
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Dozens of visitors gather on The Arch at Sunset Cliffs last July to watch and film people jumping or to jump themselves. Jumping from The Arch has become popular on social media.            THOMAS MELVILLE / PENINSULA BEACON
Dozens of visitors gather on The Arch at Sunset Cliffs last July to watch and film people jumping or to jump themselves. Jumping from The Arch has become popular on social media. THOMAS MELVILLE / PENINSULA BEACON
slideshow
If you ask officials and residents why litter, graffiti and homeless camps are becoming more problematic around Sunset Cliffs, you’ll get a quick answer: social media.

“With social media, there’s been a huge increase in the population down there,” said San Diego Lifeguard Lt. Rick Romero. “The population at some of the favorite spots has just skyrocketed in the past five years.”

A case in point is The Arch at Sunset Cliffs in Ocean Beach, where mostly young people every summer make the 30-foot leap from the arch. 

Despite it’s being illegal, after being alerted to thrill seeking by social media, more and more young people continue to flock to The Arch to test their mettle. “It used to be just locals doing it,” said Romero. “But now, everyone knows about it.”

Gene Berger, chairman of the Sunset Cliffs Natural Park Council, agreed social media is a major “culprit” in the worsening litter, trash, and homelessness situation.

“In the last two years, with social media and the Internet, we’ve seen just a gigantic increase in the amount of people coming to Sunset Cliffs,” Berger said. “And with an increase in people — it’s just going to be more problematic.”

And more dangerous, particularly with people taking cliff selfies. “In taking selfies, people are walking backwards to get the sunset in … they end up walking off the cliff,” Berger said.

Regarding graffiti, Berger noted it’s an ongoing issue. “Graffiti has been happening down there for a long time,” he said. “I’ve heard people go down there after the bars close and party after-hours, and that some of it may be gang activity.”

Concerning the presence of homeless in cliff camps, Berger commented: “People have lived down there. They’re a little hard to get to. There is some homelessness. We tell the police if it happens, and they do their best to help get rid of the problem.”

Berger said people trailblazing is another social and environmental ill plaguing Sunset Cliffs Natural Park.

“The park has a lot of dog walkers and dog activity, which is pretty detrimental,” said Berger. “Off-leash dogs run all over the park, and people go off-road and make their own trails.  Once you’ve worn those new trails, it becomes an erosion problem. It would be better if people used the existing trails to eliminate the ‘spider trails.’ ”

Romero said homelessness continues to be a problem around the cliffs, pointing out “there are lots of nooks and crannies, caves and little places up and down where they set up their little camps. We’ve been able to find a few in conjunction with SDPD, and removed them.”

And Sunset Cliffs, noted Romero, is a victim of its own popularity.

“I’ve worked that area a lot over the past 25 years and the foot traffic … it’s just a much busier spot to go to now. People want to see the sunset views.”

Romero said city parks and recreation’s answer to try and curb more people pioneering new trails at the park has been to “put in hard rails to accommodate more of a buffer between the cliffs and the foot traffic.”

During the peak summer season between Memorial and Labor days, Romero said lifeguards have a five-person crew patrolling the cliffs area. But he added, “We can’t be everywhere all the time.” He added there are a lot of little pocket beaches down below the cliffs that people can get lost in, as well as get in trouble out of sight.

Regarding graffiti, Romero said, “I don’t see much spray painting. Most of the defacing is digging into the cliff using a stick or a knife, initials and stuff. That stuff has been going on for quite awhile. It goes in and out, like waves.”

Referring to policing trash and litter, the lifeguard lieutenant said, “I think park and rec does a great job of cleaning up.” He pointed out, “It’s a really long stretch of cliffs.”

Comments
(3)
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Mike day
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February 01, 2018
I grew up on the Cliffs ,this park has always had Crowds ,this park has always had water passing thru from homes and what ever the why should be simple for water flows Down Hill , the Cliffs always have had DUMBASS FALLING due o well they are dumbass”S , The Cliffs always have had Humans walking their best Friend known as Dogs and their shi!!! AN Piss and let me say Human Garbage known as bums have lived on in under the Cliffs and they create more WASTE THEN ANY CROWDS . Don”t feed the BUMS . THE CLIFFS BELONG TO ALL so shut the Fuc!!! Up for I SEE YOUR WOULD LIKE TO FIND ,CREATE some way to shut this park down so we the people cannot even touch ,walk swim in our own country .
polite person
|
February 04, 2018
No need to be so gross. Please try to make polite comments without vulgarity.

SmarterThanYou21
|
February 06, 2018
Go back to elementary school. You type like an idiot
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