Children's Pool Closed for Pupping Season

Violators face misdemeanor charges that carry fines of up to $1,000.

Beginning Dec. 15, the Children's Pool in La Jolla will be closed to the public during harbor seal pupping season.

The beach area will remain closed through May 15, 2015.

While some who frequent the beach are upset about the closure, many came out Monday morning to show their support.

"If everybody behaves themselves the other seven months of the year, I think it's a great compromise," said animal advocate Tamara Morgan.

The sandy base of the bluffs, rocks, breakwater and lower staircase will all be closed to the public through mid-May. The closure is meant to provide special protection for the mother seals during pupping season, when the animals are more vulnerable, and for the safety of the public.

"There's no woman alive that would want a room full of people watching her give birth or having them stand over her and take her picture," Morgan said.

Signs have already been posted and a fence was put up Monday morning barricading the off-limit parts of the Children's Pool. Violators face misdemeanor charges that carry fines of up to $1,000.

Misha Emelyanov was here visiting from Vegas before heading to Oceanside Sunday, the day before the fence went up. Emelyanov said he didn't plan to visit the Children's Pool on his trip, but now that he's here, he doesn't want to leave.

"I feel sad for people who could come here the next day," he said. "This is an amazing place, amazing spot. I believe no one would ever want this place shut down to the public."

Emelyanov said the view from the seawall is better, but "people come to the beach to put their feet in the sand. Especially when you get closer to nature."

The closure comes after the California Coastal Commission approved the City of San Diego's request for closure in August. The city is supposed to monitor the area carefully while it's closed, as well as keep a record of the number of seals, tide and weather conditions and instances of seal harassment by beachgoers. Records of warnings and citations issued during the off season is also required.

Matt Krug, a visitor who grew up in the area, said he understands the closure, but the pool was made for children like his daughter to enjoy.

"I see both sides, but it was kind of designed for the kids to go out and play," he said.

The seawall is still open, as well as the walkway atop the bluff, east of the pool, but construction of the La Jolla Lifeguard Station may cause intermittent disruptions in accessibility.

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