UPDATE, 3/22/18: From the San Luis Obispo Tribune, it was reported that the proposed settlement between State Parks and APCD was rejected. The original plan was to reduce dust emissions by 30 percent over five years. The hearing board ordered the plan revised to reduce emissions by 50 percent over five years instead, and to present it by April 30, 2018. If a settlement cannot be reached by then, a nuisance abatement trial will begin.
The threat of land closure in off-roading is something we take very seriously here at Off Road Xtreme. Threats come from all sides and at all times. The latest one to come in regards the Oceano Dunes SVRA, also known as Pismo Beach or the Dunes, and it could very well spell the end of the off-road hotspot.
Earlier this week, the California Off-Road Vehicle Association (CORVA) put out a notice that a hearing was happening today, March 21. A decision would be reached today, too. Based on what we know, the hearing was a result of a retiring officer’s proposal that the San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District (APCD) issue a “Nuisance and Abatement Order” on the SVRA, and give the APCD carte blanche to do what they want with the area.
We spoke with CORVA’s Amy Granat to get the full picture. “The fight over the dust has been going on for years,” she said. “Residents of the Nipomo Mesa next to the dunes have alleged that health problems have arisen from the dust from Oceano. There was a study done, but we believe it was conducted in a way that predetermined the outcome.”
That outcome, according to Granat, placed the blame squarely at the off-road crowd. “Naturally occurring aspects of how wind carries dust off of sand dunes was not factored into the study,” she said. “Even the APCD acknowledged that vehicle traffic, even if stopped completely, would not get rid of dust blowing toward Nipomo Mesa.”
At this point, it seems the best possible result will be a settlement. “State Parks and APCD will have to work it out,” said Granat. “The proposed settlement will reduce rideable areas on the SVRA by 30 percent, and will include mitigation measures like plants that will cut down on dust. It also calls for continued collaboration between the APCD and State Parks, and absolves State Parks of responsibility for nuisance or pollution.”
Not the greatest news to hear for the future of off-road parks in California, but hopefully, it will give the residents of Nipomo Mesa and fans of Oceano Dunes what they both want – a way to coexist. What do you think of this situation? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to visit the CORVA website for more updates.