Dockweiler State Beach
Los Angeles, CA
By: Matt Mahoney
Upon examination of numerous options of beaches to explore nearby, there was one beach in particular that came into my head in terms of a place I could easily remember enjoying nearly every time I visited. That beach is Dockweiler State Beach. I felt this would be perfect as I did not feel it would be a beach that many of my classmates had been to, or even had heard of. Dockweiler State Beach is located in Los Angeles, CA, in the Playa Del Rey neighborhood to be exact, and is actually part of the California State Parks system. Even though it is run by the CA state parks system, it is actually managed by the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors. What also makes this beach unique is that planes continuously take off from LAX right over the beach, making for a truly different experience. What always brings me back here is that this is not your normal beach you think of in Southern California, where you bring your beach towels and just lay in the sand and catch some surf. This beach always brought back memories of high school parties on the beach, and bomb fires that go late until the early morning hours; most of which make it a cultural trend for recreational activities not just during the evening hours, but during the day as well.
The lenses I chose to examine this beach through are the community-oriented and cultural lenses, as everyone on this particular beach is part of one big family, and one big party! When I visited this beach during the day, it was actually the first time I had ever visited during the daylight hours. I wanted to see if this was beach that was actually worth visiting in the daytime, or just a beach to go and party at. I could see immediately that hang gliding was something that was so prevalent at this beach, they actually had a hang-gliding center and hang gliding training. This was not something that was easily evident during the evening hours. Everyone on the beach seemed to be congregating together, and were all one big family in essence. Veteran hang gliders helping the newer breeds. I was curious what made this beach such a good beach for hang gliding training and was told by one of the people I met on the beach that Dockweiler is perfect because of how large and flat of a beach it actually is, that goes on for quite some distance, with almost four miles of shoreline! Hang-gliding is not just the only activity that draws beach goers to Dockweiler during the day, but the numerous bicycle trails going along the beach are a great attraction for beach goers as well. To top it all off, this beach is not just for partying at night and outdoor recreation during the day. The endangered snowy plover also can sometimes be seen nesting on the beach. With this in mind, maybe we should indeed limit some of the large amounts of beach for snowy plover repopulation like we have seen other beaches be successful in doing. Dockweiler is a very large beach and there is plenty of room for everyone and all types of wildlife to enjoy what nature offers up as a natural playground. Perhaps if the California State Parks system was actually in control of Dockweiler after all, they could do more in helping the protection of the snowy plover habitat.