Couple ordered to stop blocking access to CA trail

VENTURA, Calif. (AP) — State coastal regulators have voted unanimously to issue a cease-and-desist order to a couple who installed fences, gates and signs that blocked access to a popular hiking trail on the Central Coast.

The California Coastal Commission ordered Robert and Judith McCarthy to remove the barriers at its meeting on Friday, and called their actions "outrageous" and "a flagrant violation of the law."

The San Luis Obispo Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/1tAHLm1) the couple installed fences and gates at their 37-acre property above Avila Beach last year.

They said they were concerned about hikers' safety on a steep section of the Ontario Ridge trail and offered to build two alternative trails for public access.

Commission staff said the fences impede public access to the property and can harm wildlife.