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Camping still not allowed at Oceano Dunes due to concerns over creek overflow

It’s been five weeks since camping is not allowed at the Oceano Dunes forcing hundreds of cancellations. Day time use is also limited.
Posted at 6:16 PM, Apr 14, 2023

It’s been five weeks since camping has not been allowed at the Oceano Dunes, forcing hundreds of cancellations. Daytime use is also limited.

Ian Leonard and his family traveled all the way from Vacaville, California to mark a milestone.

“We're having a great time celebrating my 40th birthday,” Leonard said.

Aakash Shakya couldn’t think of a better place to spend his spring break.

“It was just an idea that came up, came to me because we came here two years ago and I had a really nice experience doing ATV rides,” Shakya said. “It was my first time back then, and today I figured we'd just come back and try it once more. ”

Things seem to be slowly getting back to normal after weeks of heavy rain raised water levels at the Arroyo Grande Creek.

“This week opened up for the first time in about a month to day use where we allow people in for the day to come and recreate and then they have to be out before the tides come up and the creek becomes unsafe to cross,” said Ronnie Glick, Oceano Dunes District Superintendent for California State Parks.

Camping is still a no-go.

“We've been closed to camping at Oceano Dunes ever since March 9th, so it's going on five weeks and that started because of the large storms that we had that really made the beach and creek unpassable,” Glick added.

Glick said around 900 reservations have been canceled through April.

Businesses sure miss the campers.

“For me on Pier Avenue, it is pretty much […] 70% of my business, so there is no traffic going back and forth,” said David Patel, manager at Pier Liquor. “Especially during the nighttime, you know, there's hardly anybody that passes by the store, so we've been closing like 8 at nighttime; I mean, that's for the liquor stores, you know, it's pretty early.”

There is still no specific date as to when camping will be allowed again.

“We are still waiting for the right conditions to get the public safely back into the park for camping,” Glick said.

Businesses are hoping Memorial Day weekend gives them that boost they need.

“Every weekend is, you know, anybody's guess right now is it going to be busy or not, so we're just, you know, scraping by this year,” Patel said.

California State Parks recommends checking your email for cancellations and keeping an eye out for updates before visiting the dunes. Those with cancellations will get an email notification and a full refund.