Oceano Dunes Under Attack – Closures Imminent
According to the Friends of Oceano Dunes, the famous, long-term beach OHV recreation area known as Oceano Dunes (in the past called Pismo Dunes), are under heavy attack for more restrictions and even closures.
The “Friends” were formed in 2001 and have been fighting for dune access with a vengeance, against what many thought were impossible odds. Friends has raised and spent well over $1 million in protecting our right to camp and recreate in the dunes. Unfortunately, now the fight has intensified.
The purpose of the group is to unite the many people who enjoy the Oceano Dunes in a cohesive organization that can promote and reinforce responsible recreation.
Pismo Jeep Fest is an huge event impacted by these changes
ModernJeeper has followed Friends of the Oceano Dunes through issues like dust abatement, dune access, wildlife issues (like the Snowy Plover), noise and more.
A “bump out” like a buffer to protect Snowy Plover habitat
According to the Founder/President, Jim Suty:
“If you have camping reservations for Thanksgiving and/or New Year’s or ANY time after July 11th, 2019 at the ODSVRA they suggest you make a back-up plans. 300 camping reservations will be taken away starting July 11, 2019 if the California Coastal Commission has their way.
Of course, all of this is subject to being able to cross Arroyo Grande Creek. Once the creek is flowing to the ocean, camping will be halted. At least the 700 who make it across the creek will get a quiet night’s sleep since night riding will be prohibited.”
ModernJeeper partners at Cal4Wheel offered this summary of what the Coastal Commission is talking about:
→Increasing enforcement of all vehicular use limits, speed limits and other vehicular requirements; would also call for additional signs, rangers and parameters for verifying that the number of vehicles in the park doesn’t exceed maximum allowances.
→Adding fencing to protect coastal resources.
→Prohibiting night riding from one hour after sunset to one hour before sunrise.
→Stopping OHV and camping operations when the Arroyo Grande Creek flows to prevent creek crossings.
→Reducing vehicular and OHV daily use limits depending on acreage that is available for use that day due to dust control requirements or other exclosures (prohibited areas).
→Eliminating holiday unlimited vehicular and OHV use exceptions on Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day and Thanksgiving.
→Considering entrance modifications that could provide vehicular access to the park while reducing coastal resource impacts.
→Making 300-acre seasonal endangered special exclosure area permanent and restore the area to natural habitat.
→Allowing for future closures for required dust control for all areas specified by the San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District.
DUNE RIDERS PREPARING FOR FIGHT
“It’s time for us to roll up our sleeves and fight,” continues Jim Suty in a video posted to the Friends of the Oceano Dunes Facebook page.
In the above video, Suty said supporters needed to be cautious in their fight, and to not accept even a partial closure of the SVRA.
“It’s still a loss folks,” he said of a partial closure. “It’s a continued loss. It’s death by 1,000 fence posts, and we’re going to lose the park over time unless something drastically changes.”
Suty asked people to write letters, make phone calls and show up to the meeting “in force to make sure our voices are being heard.”
HOW TO COMMENT, ATTEND
The California Coastal Commission meeting will be held July 11, starting at 9 a.m. It will take place at the Embassy Suites Hotel at 333 Madonna Road in San Luis Obispo.
A live stream of the meeting will also be available on the Commission’s website at www.coastal.ca.gov/meetings/agenda/#/2019/7.
Jim reminds us that the time is now to get involved!
1) Attend the Coastal Commission and speak up. —This one is important
Date: Thursday, July 11th
Time: 9 am (show up early)
Location: Embassy Suites Hotel
333 Madonna Road, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405
2) Email your comments to the Commission at OceanoDunesReview@coastal.ca.gov because, according to Jim, “you know they’d LOVE to hear from you. In addition to your thoughts tell them they need to protect your rights for camping AND OHV use via the Coastal Act.”
3) Call them at (831) 427-4863
4) Even send a fax (831) 427-4877
STATE PARKS CONTACT INFO:
Suty says for us to let State Parks know what you think too! “It’s time State Parks stops rolling over and stands their ground.” You can email Parks here:
Lisa Mangat, Director, California State Parks, at 916-653-8380
Dan Canfield, Acting Director CA State Parks OHV Division, at 916-324-4442
Wade Crowfoot, Secretary of Resources, at 916-653-5656
Comments on the report can be submitted at the same link.
Friends of Oceano Dunes President Jim Suty shows us what a dune Jeep looks like!
And finally, Sign the Petition here and comment before July 5th, (here) if you want to protect camping and OHV rights in the Oceano Dunes SVRA.
Visit Friends of Oceano Dunes website here.