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Public input period for Oceano Dunes plan coming to a close

Posted at 7:28 AM, Jan 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-24 10:53:27-05

The public input period ends Friday for State Parks proposed changes to the Oceano Dunes.

California State Parks is about to close out Step 6 of an 8-step plan for the Dunes. The plan, which was set in motion in 2018, sets long term guidelines for land-use management .

The most controversial change implemented so far is the closure of the fore-Dune area between Post 4.5 and 6 to camping or vehicles.

"It's key that we get this habitat strip in front. Still camp in front of it, still camp behind it, still ride through it," Air Pollution Control District Officer Gary Willey said. "We've got the science designed to keep things balanced so we can have both riding and camping. Maybe there's a reduction in camping or maybe we can do it differently. but the idea is to keep the riding and control the emissions."

The changes upset some off-road enthusiasts who are fighting back against increased riding restrictions.

State Parks is seeking public input on the latest draft of its public works plan , which documents existing conditions, considers projects and management programs, and develops policies for the Dunes.

One of the biggest influences on the plan is air quality control.

"We have to control the sand that keeps moving unabated through the area and without the fore-Dunes to catch it, catch a large portion of it, the dunes are always going to move so there's always going to be sand movement. but when you have a foredune in place, it catches a lot of it and a big reduction happens."

Willey said the plan could include special trails for off road vehicles or, perhaps, a camping site in the interior.

Once it's complete, the plan will include improvements to the Oso Flaco Campground and public access, Grover Beach lodge site, Oceano campground infrastructure, and Pismo State Beach boardwalk.

Based on feedback from the public this period and the California Coastal Commission revised project concepts for the dunes are expected to be available for public review and comment in summer 2020.

Once the final plan is completed and certified, it will go before the Coastal Commission for a final hearing.

You can download the comment card here and send it to . You can also submit your public comment here.