Hundreds of people are headed to the Oceano Dunes for this Memorial Day weekend and California State Parks is preparing for the crowds.
“In general for holidays we’re gonna have more staff working. Kind of in response to a lot of the activity going on, we’ve had staff from outside the county coming in to help us and that’s the case this weekend,” said California State Parks Sgt. Darren Parker.
State Parks is advocating for people to do their research on the rules and knowing their skill level before heading out to the dunes.
“So our ranger staff is here to make sure people are doing that and to educate the public when we’re out here, but a lot of the onus is on the individual,” Sgt. Parker said.
In the last month, there have been two deadly accidents at the dunes and a shooting that injured six people.
Sgt. Parker says people shouldn’t feel unsafe.
“If our rangers are out here doing their jobs, it kinda stops things from escalating,” he explained.
Many visitors say those recent incidents won’t stop them from coming to the dunes.
“There’s more dangerous things in the ocean I’d say than there are on land here. There’s so many people out here that one person isn’t going to deter very much,” said fisherman Seth Hickox.
“I hope I’m not in the wrong place at the wrong time but that should not stop anybody from having fun so we’re gonna keep having fun,” said Francisco Gonzalez, a tourist visiting from Santa Paula.
On Thursday, Francisco Orozco pleaded not guilty to charges connected to the May 5 shooting. He remains in custody at the San Luis Obispo County Jail.
Friday is also the 10 year anniversary of the death of Chris Meadows, an EMT who was killed in the line of duty while responding to a call at the Oceano Dunes.