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Local News

After a Little Angling, Goleta Pier Opens New Education Center

A longtime pier host's vision becomes reality with a center he hopes will be the first of several.

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Boyd Grant, a longtime pier host, is the man behind the new angler and marine education center at the Goleta Pier. (Sonia Fernandez / Noozhawk photo)

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. 

Grant’s vision came to fruition after about four years of work in the form of a partnership between the county Parks Department and UPSAC, the United Pier & Shore Anglers of California, of which Grant is an active member.

“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.

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County 2nd District Supervisor Janet Wolf, center, was among the friends and supporters in attendance for Friday’s opening ceremony of the education center. (Sonia Fernandez / Noozhawk photo)
It’ll be busy job: Pier hosts and volunteers will be responsible for teaching beginning pier anglers about the best conservation and fishing practices, as well as pier environment and ecology. They’ll also assist other anglers, clean up the pier, keep it free from stray tackle and rescue marine wildlife that might get caught in the lines.

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 protected]

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