It is obvious that things cannot go on like this anymore.

Due to some serious over-partying and a pronounced lack of communication between students and county officials, we, the residents of Isla Vista, are uncertain whether we can access our own beaches on the weekends.

By now, you likely know the backstory — following an increase in Facebook event attendees to the event, Floatopia 2009 drew nearly 12,000 revelers to the beaches adjacent to Del Playa Drive and campus while costing the county around $20,000 to cleanup and control. The county, university and other local authorities were furious about the economic and environmental toll and Santa Barbara’s Parks & Recreation Dept. acted to blockade beach access last year — prompting the street party that came to be dubbed “Del-topia.”

County officials currently say they are monitoring online event listings for Floatopia 2011 and are prepared to close the beaches again this weekend should its popularity swell.

So where does that leave us? If a few disrespectful people were to keep creating Facebook events every weekend for the rest of Spring Quarter, would the police be asked to shut down Isla Vista’s beaches every weekend? Then what? Would they start shutting down access points on sunny Thursdays in case students want to start the weekend a day early? We’re playing a dumbass game of cat-and-mouse.

Many complain that county officials have overstepped their bounds by banning beach access. The grim truth is that the IVFP has the legal right, per county ordinance. Although it may cost Santa Barbara taxpayers — Isla Vista had nearly 40 additional officers on duty this weekend — the county is willing to keep closing off the beach and say that it’ll cost more in the long run to not do so.

And while this seems like an unfair breach of our right to access public open space, we’re partly to blame for the way things have turned out. Isla Vista and UCSB does not have a group of responsible, intelligent people willing and able to formally (and legally) acquire permission for Floatopia. In the absence of real, organized planning from those who want to be a part of Floatopia, the event will never exist. We need to find a way to communicate with officials and show them we’re responsible adults capable of enjoying ourselves without causing a massive dent to the local environment. Most importantly, before you do anything, ask yourself: is floating for 10 hours in a blackout worth losing your right to visit the beach?

Hope everyone’s looking forward to “No-topia” and a land-locked Spring Quarter.