An angler and marine education center opened Friday afternoon at the Goleta Pier.
The Goleta Pier and Angler Center is largely the work of Boyd Grant, a longtime pier host, who saw in what was an antiquated, rather iffy two-toilet restroom the opportunity to set up shop with a visitor education center, information displays, loaner fishing rods and the beginnings of an angler’s library. A portable, much more usable restroom is just a short distance away.
“It think it’s just wonderful,” said 2nd District Supervisor Janet Wolf, who was at Friday’s opening ceremony. “This beach is the one beach in the county that is utilized by the most citizens of all socioeconomic levels.” To have an educational center at the pier was “pretty impressive,” said Wolf, who instead of cutting a ribbon, cast the first line.
Goleta Beach Park, which is part of the county, receives upwards of a million visitors a year. There is no license required to fish off the pier, which is open 24 hours a day and is lit at night.
The shack, outfitted with the kind of simplicity and functionality that seasoned pier anglers would appreciate, will be staffed by Grant or another UPSAC member who also will be pier hosts. It will be open six or seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from June to September. For the rest of the year, the center will be open on weekends, holidays, special events and by appointment.
“We’ll be looking for volunteers, maybe Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts that might want to come over the weekend and help out,” said Mike Spence, Santa Barbara County UPSAC coordinator.
The education center will be the first of several, if Grant and UPSAC have their way. First, the focus will be on creating a model pier visitors center, with more education opportunities, an underwater camera and maybe even an oral history series to be provided by longtime locals.
For Grant, the visitors center is also a tribute to his father, who introduced him to fishing and with whom he fished whenever he could. Boyd, who grew up in Santa Barbara, moved back to the area in 1989, leaving life as a social worker in Los Angeles to take care of his ailing father.
“I wanted to do a memorial for my father,” he said. “He loved this pier.”
Those interested in Goleta Pier happenings can click here to visit Grant’s Web site or call him at 805.637.6708.
Noozhawk staff writer Sonia Fernandez can be reached at email@example.com.