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Christmas camping reservations canceled at Oceano Dunes

oceano dunes entrance.JPG
Posted at 5:26 PM, Dec 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-17 17:10:01-05

A new wave of camping reservations at the Oceano Dunes has been canceled.

Last month, we reported 225 reservations were canceled from November 30 to December 6 due to King Tides. Now, more people are getting cancellation notices.

If you have camping reservations at the dunes anytime between now and December 28, check your email because all reservations are canceled.

This means people who had plans to camp there for Christmas will have to make other plans.

“It's Christmas. How can you do this to people on Christmas?” questioned Heather Allen of Grover Beach.

“It was heartbreaking,” said Josh Agah of Modesto.

Agah just learned that his reservations to stay at the Oceano Dunes from Christmas Eve through New Year's are no longer happening.

It’s been his family tradition for years.

“It's disheartening to really see because of some rain that they're able to close down our parks that belong to us, the people,” Agah said.

With Christmas reservations canceled last year due to COVID-19, many were looking forward to bringing back their annual winter vacation.

“Starting to get our trailers packed because it is Christmas time and we need to still do all of our Christmas stuff and get ready for the dunes and then you know, get on Facebook and see a thing posted that our reservations are going to be canceled,” said Tina Winek of Merced.

Oceano Dunes District-Pismo posted on Facebook that camping reservations at the dunes are canceled due to the recent storm activity and the Arroyo Grande Creek flowing to the ocean.

“That makes nine state park trucks to go across the creek since they've closed it,” Allen said as she recorded State Parks crossing the creek while it was closed off to others on the sand. “I've been coming out here a very long time and even last year when the creek was like three feet deep, the rangers were allowing us to cross it. This morning when I watched them close it, it was only four to six inches deep.”

The sign outside the Grand Avenue entrance reads: “Creek crossing may close suddenly.”

But some say it’s unjustified.

“If the vehicles going through the creek were really that much of a concern, it should be that no vehicles would be allowed through at any given time,” said Bryan Henry, American Sand Association Board of Directors President.

Pismo State Beach is still open to vehicles, leaving some with questions.

“What's the difference between somebody going for day-use crossing the river and a camper going to camp and cross the river?” Winek questioned.

Others have decided to go elsewhere.

“Unfortunately, now this year we'll be going to Glamis which adds about six hours of drive time for us,” Agah said.

State Parks says a total of 585 reservations are affected, and that camping cancellations could also happen beyond December 28.

In a statement to KSBY News, State Parks officials explained, "Recent storms and tidal patterns triggered a new restriction in the park’s coastal development permit that prohibits vehicular crossing in Arroyo Grande Creek when the creek connects hydrologically to the ocean. When triggered, the restriction affects day use and camping areas."

During Friday’s California Coastal Commission meeting, the Oceano Dunes is back on the agenda to discuss dust control and possibly removing more acres that are allowed to be used.