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State Parks and County Deal Could End OHV Recreation at Pismo Oceano Dunes SVRA

Posted in News on March 20, 2018
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The California State Parks department and San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District (APCD) are working on a proposed settlement to an issue that began last year with a complaint filed by APCD officer Larry Allen. The settlement requests that action be taken against State Parks for alleged health and environmental impacts to downwind communities caused by particulate dust from OHV activity at the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area, formerly known as the Pismo Dunes OHV area. Essentially what’s happening here is the APCD is requesting the closure of large amounts of acreage in the Oceano Dunes State Vehicle Recreation Area in response to 133 complaints from residents downwind of the park regarding dust from off-road vehicle activity received between May 29, 2012, and October 19, 2017.

Over the last several years environmental activists, concerned local citizens, and even the American Lung Association have complained about the air quality in San Luis Obispo County, blaming OHV activity at the Oceano Dunes SVRA, while OHV recreation enthusiasts counter with their support for the continued use of Oceano Dunes SVRA as a valuable, state-managed family recreation site that brings revenue in to the county, state, and local businesses. OHV recreation non-profit support group Friends of Oceano Dunes issued a 39-page letter to the board members of the SLO County Air Pollution Control District on March 14, 2018, countering arguments made by the Air Pollution Control District about the cause of airborne particulate in San Luis Obispo County, and the results of their overall findings that place the blame for poor air quality tests on OHV activity.

Recently two dates were set for hearings where supporters from both sides will have the opportunity to voice their opinions on the matter. OHV enthusiasts representing groups like the California Four Wheel Drive Association will be in support of more testing to determine the cause and validity of the APCD’s findings, and supporters of the APCD will advocate for the closing of more OHV acreage in the 1500-acre Oceano Dunes OHV park. The first of two hearings will take place this Wednesday, March 21 at 9 a.m. in the San Luis Obispo City Council Chambers at 990 Palm Street. The second will be held at 9 a.m. on Monday, April 30 in the SLO County Board of Supervisors Chambers at 1055 Monterey Street, also in San Luis Obispo. The public is welcome to attend both hearings.

If you have something you’d like to say but can’t make it to the hearings, the Friends of Oceano Dunes have provided a list of email addresses for local officials and Parks Department officials; secretary@resources.ca.gov, Lisa.Mangat@parks.ca.gov, Mat.Fuzie@parks.ca.gov, John.Ainsworth@coastal.ca.gov, info@slocleanair.org, jim@oceanodunes.org.

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