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State Parks warns against buying sold-out Oceano Dunes passes from third parties

Posted at 8:09 PM, Aug 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-29 01:52:35-04

A warning is coming from California State Parks ahead of a busy weekend at the Oceano Dunes.

Camping passes for the three-day weekend are sold out and if you try to buy a pass from a third party, you might not be allowed in.

Only 40 people stayed on the dunes Tuesday night but that number is about to multiply dramatically as all 999 camping passes for the dunes are sold out for this Labor Day weekend. While people may turn to sites like Craigslist to try and get a pass at the last minute, State Parks says the transaction could be breaking the law.

"We had to start about a year ago to make the reservations," said Robert Hudson, visiting from Nevada.

"We started planning in April and we could barely get a spot. I think there was two left when we planned," said Cindy Mundschau, visiting from Bakersfield.

But for those looking for a spot at the last minute, California State Parks Sgt. Darren Parker says be careful who you buy a pass from. If you didn't buy your pass from State Parks directly or make an arrangement at the kiosks, you could get sent back home.

"If we do discover that a reservation is being sold a second time, then we will mark that on our reservation sheet and you won't be able to check in," Sgt. Parker explained.

More than a dozen passes are currently listed on Craigslist, with some people charging more than $200 per pass.

Those looking to make a quick buck could find themselves in trouble with the law.

"That is a misdemeanor violation in the California Code of Regulations, which would be any kind of unauthorized business on State Parks property or using services on park property and that is something we will prosecute," Sgt. Parker said.

Once people buy the camping passes, State Parks employees look for them taped in the windshields.

If someone is found camped on the dunes without a pass, they'll be fined $303.

If you are looking to get out on the dunes to camp this week, Thursday night is likely your best bet as State Parks says there are still passes available.