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Oceano (Pismo) Dunes SVRA Closing

Another section of the Oceano Dunes SVRA is closing to OHV use

A section of the Oceano Dunes SVRA (Pismo Dunes) on the central coast of California is closing to off-roading and camping. The decision came down November 18, 2019 from the San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District (APCD), claiming that the area has one of the country's worst air quality. San Luis Obispo County's Air Pollution control officer said major changes are on the way, as the board approved the proposed order of abatement. All this amid conflicting evidence of the levels of and dangers of detectable airborne silica (the "pollutant") from the both sides of the issue.

By January of 2020, a 48-acre area popular for off-roading and camping known as the "fore-dune area" must be closed. Until California State Parks and Recreation can get fencing put up around the closed area, the California Coastal Commission will erect signs to keep off-highway-vehicle use out of the closed dune area.

Does this close the entire Oceano Dunes SVRA to vehicle use and camping? Not for now, but here's the thing. The Coastal Commission is looking at a future in which the 3,600 acres and 6 miles of coastline and dunes would be open to RV and car camping, but would move away from what it calls "high-impact use," begin prohibiting night riding, and fence off more areas of the SVRA. Reservation levels are a big issue too. The Coastal Commission is pushing to drop the number of reservations available by as much as 30 percent.

From our point of view, the future for OHV use at one of the most popular (and only) major coastal areas on the west coast of the United States is not a bright one. Conflicting air-quality reports, a hard push from the APCD to close more areas, and as one local resident we talked to said, "a set of hurdles put it place to keep the SVRA open to OHV use that are not realistically possible" makes it seem that we are in grave danger of losing all of this historic OHV playground.