Oceano Dunes closure could cost $100 million a year

November 19, 2019


The director of California State Parks agreed on Monday to permanently shut down approximately half of the camping area and about 5 percent of the riding area at the Oceano Dunes, at an Air Pollution Control District Hearing Board meeting.

State Parks Director Lisa Manga agreed to close down approximately 50 acres near the shoreline to reduce air pollution blowing towards Nipomo. As part of an abatement order, the state will fence off the area by the end of the year.

In the spring, the state agreed to plant native vegetation in the fenced off area.

For years, some Nipomo residents have complained about dust blowing from the dunes, which they blame on vehicles riding on the sand.

On the other side, supporters of driving on the dunes point at the economic impact and question the accuracy of the studies the air board is relying on to shut down the camping area.

The Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreational Area has an economic impact to SLO County of approximately $244 million a year, according to a 2016/2017 economic impact report. Of that, $221 million is related to overnight visitors.


Oceano Dunes closure could cost $100 million a year

How is that amount derived?

Nothing in the article states that the NUMBER OF CAMPERS will be cut in half – just the space they can camp in. It’s a grabby headline with no actual fact to support it in the body of the “staff”-written article.

Please provide the source of the amount of $100 MILLION being reported. Thanks!








But of course it’s all junk science, right? Or is it that your checkbook is more important then facts? I love the dunes along SLO’s coastline and hope they’re still there for my grandkids to enjoy. I guess the fun of tearin’ ’em up with a bunch of overpowered, usually driven by drunk irresponsible idiots not from SLO, paddle tire equipped ATV’s and 4X4’s blastin’ sand every frickin’ where is more important then preserving these beautiful dunes and beaches for those of who just like to walk them, right?

100% of camping should be for those who walk-in, and the 5% they’re closing off to off road idiots isn’t near enough…


Dear “AmericaTheFree,”

The 2nd paragraph of your comments to “shelworth” just below here start with the words: “The residents of Nipomo, that includes old or day old.” I assume that also includes those who live in homes built near the dunes or not? Correct? In the paragraph before that you talk about “natural” and “unnatural forces.” Is the building of tract homes and golf courses on the Nipomo mesa considered by you to be a “natural force?” Or do you just justify “natural” as the more socially acceptable of the two?

The residents of Nipomo who live in homes constructed of finished lumber, man made metal screws and nails, asphalt shingle roofs, and poured concrete walkways and driveways; are just as guilty of inflicting “unnatural forces” (your words, not mine) upon the landscape. Junk science is created when you take legitimate science, and try to bastardize it by making one guilty party seem less responsible than another. There was plenty of scientific evidence in the 1950’s (paid for by the tobacco companies) that “proved” that smoking was healthy.

Wander the dunes naked, perhaps build a rudimentary shelter from unmodified natural materials like brush, fallen tree branches, etc. Your only form of entertainment is enjoying the raw beauty of it all, and hunting/gathering something for dinner. As long as you’re riding a $20,000 off road vehicle, or taking shelter in a $500,000 home; you are both equally as guilty of imposing “unnatural forces” upon the land. Those left-chic Birkenstocks on your feet (which are also unnatural) are clashing with the silver spoon in your mouth.


My chick Birkenstocks? On less then $1,100.00 a month I can afford Birkenstocks? Only out of a thrift store, maybe…

As to the rest of your post? You’re absolutely right, but we’re talking about the dunes now aren’t we. Also my comment on Nipomo was directed at those who would tell those folks, new arrivals or those who’ve lived there for years, to leave it they didn’t like it, pure elitist bullshit.

But thanks anyway! Also, just one other thing; comparing the junk science of the tobacco industry that helped intentionally kill tens of thousand if not millions, to the facts of environmental science that is not intentionally meant to harm anyone is a junk comparison, don’t you think?


Just one other thing? I was born in SLO in 1956, in Atascadero, lived in Santa Margarita until I was taken from my mother because of abuse. My father, who abandoned us when I was one, was from Oklahoma, coming to California as part of the migration of “Okies” during the great depression, who worked the cotton fields of Bakersfield until he was hired as a rough neck in the oil fields, died in 1972 still working as a rough nec at the age of 72. My mother was born in Little Rock, Arkansas and was brought here by my father. They both came from and died in abject poverty; my father living in a single wide in one of the oldest mobile home parks in Monterey, my mother died while living in a single wide in the oldest trailer park in Anderson, CA. My adopted parents were both blue collar workers; my adopted father dying at his 33 anniversary party with PacBell, my adopted mother dying while living in a double wide in a mobile home park in Indio, CA

I worked until I couldn’t because of an injury that occurred at my home that left me totally and permanently disabled and unable to work and now live on disability.

Shit! I haven’t bought a new shirt or a new pair of jeans in years! I’ve bought one pair of new shoes in 12 years (had to, needed a waterproof and insulated pair)! All my furniture is second hand! My car is 14 years old and bought used! After my bills are paid I can sometimes have enough disposable income to afford a meal out!

To even suggest I wear Birkenstocks’ or have come up with a silver spoon stuffed in my mouth is both incorrect and insulting. And to suggest I would have to to form the opinions I have is just plane bullshit!



Your courage is completely commendable. Being fearless is admirable.

I tip my hat to you today kind Sir.


Just curious, when they’ve removed all the vehicles from the beach and the sand still blows to Nipomo, will they reopen the beach to off-roaders? Thought not.


I hope not….

Yes, sand naturally migrates as the wind blows, do you understand that? The natural part? But when you add the unnatural forces that off road vehicles, and irresponsible man provide, then it often becomes not only a problem to what naturally lives in those dunes and on the beach (of course you understand that other life forms do exist on this planet, right? And they have the right to live as well, right?} it becomes a threat to the health and well being of the only species you care to acknowledge as having rights, human beings (I know that’s a stretch too, but just for the sake of argument we’ll assume you do)!

The residents of Nipomo, that includes all residents, old or day old, have the right to air not unnaturally changed by unnatural activities elsewhere, especially those that can be stopped by just gettin’ off a your lazy ass and walkin’ the dunes and beaches!

And that bullshit age old argument that if you don’t like it either don’t move in in the first place or just move, is an elitist attitude that may go over well in Kennebunkport, Maine (even they don’t allow off road vehicles on their beaches) but should find no place in the middle class communities of SLO.



I too am worried about the dunes blowing away so that my grandkids will have to go to Bakersfield to enjoy them. Fortunately, there are sentinels such as yourself safeguarding our freedoms and those of the snowy plover. Maybe another barrage of internet links will help convince folks.


Like I plan to do, I think you would be setting a great example if you convince your kids to have fewer grandkids so that the planet is not as harmed by the growing population.


The planet will take care of itself. As I’ve said on many different occasions it’s absurd to think we can save it as it’s been around for 4.5 or so billion years, of which most of it was without our species, and it will continue. What we can do is prolong our species life span by treating it, and it’s other species, the best way we can, and that is by recognizing how dependent we are on all species, and how dependent they are on our decisions and actions.

I cannot convince my child to do anything; I can suggest, I can be an example, I can empower, I can educate but eventually he or she will have to convince him or her self. I’ve had one child, and my child knows why, that’s my contribution, it’s up to him or her to take my example forward.

I could dump 10’s of 1000’s of science based facts on this sight but the deniers will deny and those who worship money will continue to bow down, nothin’ I can do about that. What could happen though is some new poster with a like mind will join the fight to yell down these deniers and money mongers who’s sole purpose is to quell facts with bullshit, so the truth based on facts will be the predominant conversation. Maybe, just maybe if that was to happen some change will come that better serves all species on this planet…


Lots of European countries have tried that, but their government just imports new people from 3rd world countries to replace them.


“Yes, sand naturally migrates as the wind blows, do you understand that?” I’ll be real conservative here and pretend the earth is only 1,000,000 years old. Based of your thoughts then why isn’t the 101 under sand or for that matter Grover beach? Cause its BS. I dont like the tools of traffic from Bako anymore than anyone else, but at least be honest of the motive to get rid of the vehicles on the beach, and that’s money and property values.And about Disappearing those sand dunes? Just where do you believe they will go? Vaporized into the atmosphere?


Your post is so absurd that it’s not worth my time… But, I never, ever said the dunes, or the beach, or the sand would disappear, not once!

So re-read my post and then address those pertinent facts I posted, without putting words in my mouth!


No, no, Archbishop Ussher used the Bible scientifically to calculate that the earth was created on Oct. 23, 4004 B.C. so the earth is only 6,023 years old.


Wow, insulting and condescending, you must practice constantly. God forbid anyone has an opinion that differs from yours.


Sand will still blow until the trees are replaced on the Mesa. That’s the Science.

There will be losses to revenue. People coming in to town stop to buy stuff. Our US economy is purchase driven. Snacks, beach towels, boogie boards, ice chests, hotel stays, bike rentals, restaurants. We will need some times to see the losses and how it effects real central coast families who are trying to live and work here. Old people who have social security, pensions, and purchased houses for 20k Ike my parents don’t care about the youth.

I wonder if the increased 101 traffic, the fires, the drought, the Conoco Phillips plant near the Mesa have anything to do with the breathing difficulties…….hmmm.


Don’t forget tgat it is the “liquid energy” tgat many seek to snuff out makes it all possible.


It looks like the air pollution extremists at the Board will eventually win every time, and by increments inch by inch, the mesa people will thus terminate a unique-in-California longstanding coastal form of outdoor recreation. Regardless of conflicting studies, or who was there first arguments, etc., it is painful to recognize that the system and bureaucrats will likely soon extinguish a controversial form of recreation that very large numbers of outdoors-types really, really enjoy. A tragedy.


“Economic impact”? The beer, gas, and food are bought in Bakersfield (or wherever in the valley). Maybe top off with gas, ice and beer locally, not much of an economic presence and no 10-12% TOT (transient occupancy tax) for hotels/motels and little sales tax for dining and almost none for retail. These “studies” have no real data. TOT brings a million a month to Pismo and that’s fact, near zero for the weekend redneck rodeo to the south. And consider the costs, rangers, always “law enforcement” in terms of authority, are now beach cops dealing with gangs and shootings. In 1982 and before, you could always drive on the beach, just don’t get stuck, but the off road idiocy did not exist. Drove the length of the beach starting from the Pismo ramp with my parents’ 1948 Willy’s Overland 2wd. That said, I got sandblasted on dune hikes back to about 1970 when the wind was blowing, and it was headed to Nipomo, but I can tell you that anyone driving on wet sand was not a factor.


This makes no sense. If you’ve ever been to the area, it has a special peacefulness to it. The minute you remove off-road vehicles from the area, all flavors of campers, hikers, and equestrians will start bringing their money there.


I totally agree. Amazing the politicians cannot figure that out.


Voters elect stupid politicians.

Politicians are the symptom, not the root cause.


I agree Jimmy_me. For every negative comment, there are historical facts that will disprove them. All one needs to do is look at where Pismo Beach was years and years ago when vehicles were allowed to drive up and down that section of the beach. They disallowed that and VOILA, Pismo Beach is a sought-after destination with hotels, restaurants and more to come. It’s called “ECONOMIC RECOVERY” and that’s what Oceano desperately wants to happen. They are being held hostage by the current situation. I’m not making this up. Do the research yourself.


Who will be responsible for picking up the equine waste? Will there be porta potty rental charges per use?


The State/County will just raise taxes to accommodate the shortfall, they always do.


It’s dusty in Nipomo.. .. and it’s noisy living near an airport. So don’t move there!! And while we’re closing down the recreational activities at the Oceano Dunes, let’s curtail using public streets for bicycle and marathon events. Manga is a pawn.

Jorge Estrada

With no ATV’s the dust will still blow. The County APCD will then have to require that all down wind properties be required to include the dust disclosure on their property title. The APCD will not get a nickel from the property owners and who knows, the home may have to be abated from a poor health corridor by State law? When it comes to health, there is no such thing as grandfathering rights. Simple math: them and you minus them and you equals zero.