Beach locked down to ‘Floatopia’
SANTA BARBARA – For the second consecutive weekend, Santa Barbara County sheriff’s officials enforced the closure of all public beaches in Isla Vista on April 9–10.
According to Lt. Brian Olmstead of the department’s Isla Vista Foot Patrol, the closure is required “to prevent a repeat of the conditions created by the 2009 Floatopia.”
Floatopia is an impromptu, unregulated college party event involving the arrival of thousands of students on the beach adjacent to the UC Santa Barbara campus. It began in 2007 with an attendance of approximately 700 partygoers. With the aid of social networking sites, however, the 2009 alcohol-fueled beach party attracted in excess of 10,000 revelers from colleges across the country.
The 2009 Floatopia resulted in 13 arrests, nearly 100 citations and the hospitalization of dozens of young people, several of whom suffered life-threatening injuries as a result of falls from the high bluffs surrounding the beach.
“The beaches were left strewn with trash and debris,” Olmstead said, indicating that the $20,000 required for the beach cleanup was imposed upon
“It was really sad and disgusting,” he added in statements to the local media.
Sheriff’s officials are working in concert with the Santa Barbara County Parks Department in this proactive effort to enforce the beach closures.
“We’re increasing weekend beach patrols until further notice,” Olmstead said in statements to the media, “and closely monitoring internet activity involving the event’s public invitation postings.”
Facebook pages have been promoting the event for a series of dates, and law enforcement has logged more than 14,000 “will attend” responses.