State Parks commission meets in SLO County to discuss Oceano Dunes

May 16, 2024


The State’s Off Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Commission is meeting today in Arroyo Grande where they will discuss attempts to phase out off-road vehicle usage at the Oceano Dunes based on controversial allegations dust from the dunes is impacting the health of people on the Nipomo Mesa.

The Oceano Dunes park was established officially during Jerry Brown’s governorship, when the state set aside 1,500 acres for camping and off highway vehicle recreation within the 18,000 acre Guadalupe Nipomo Dunes complex. But now, nearly half the park is gone.

Based on flawed studies and questionable conclusions from the San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District (APCD), State Parks has spent more than $25 million on dust mitigation. However, recent studies show only 14% of dust blowing on the mesa is mineral dust, which could possibly originate at the Oceano Dunes.

In a letter from former San Luis Obispo County administrator Wayne Hall to the commission, he warns that there is very little oversight of the APCD, which appears to be focused on “empire building” and not protecting the public.

“I have seen “projects” where it appeared that all the APCD wanted was money; the statutes were used to leverage as high of a price as they could get as if that was all that was needed (money) to mitigate air pollution,” Hall wrote. “The bottom line is, beware of an agency that was structurally built to serve itself; that builds its’ budget off of fees; that has little accountability; and that its’ board members have been deeply involved in corruption at other regional agency boards they serve on. The mission is often dwarfed by self-serving interests.”

For years, the commission has discussed the origin and composition of airborne particulate matter (PM10) collected on the mesa. And even though the state has spent more than $25 million on mitigation efforts, during windy periods of time particle level violations are frequent on the mesa.

Between this week and last week, there were 14 violations of the state’s PM10 standard on the mesa–14 violations in just 12 days.

The State’s Off Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Commission is meeting on May 16 at 9 a.m. at the South County Regional Center at 800 W Branch Street in Arroyo Grande.


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Adam – There are a lot of folks in Grover , Oceano and Arroyo that have jeeps, quads and bikes and like to use the dunes, as they have since the 1940’s when they used to be able to drive all the way to Point Sal. So its not just one opinion or preference locally.

By the ‘ Locals only” reasoning you offer , the people who live around Tahoe should be able to claim it as theirs too, and chase the rest of us away if they don’t like our presence or activities. All Californians and indeed other Americans , for that matter , are stake holders too – not just locals.

As I stated before, I’ve never been in a dune buggy or ridden on the dunes, but I get it that there has to be some give and take and tolerance for others who lawfully want to pursue their own happiness. We don’t need any more dictators or fashion police.

As for the pristine coastline, I hope to see you out there enjoying the other 995 miles of it like I do. All the best !

Wow, nice. A pleasant response to my argument. Doesn’t happen much in this world anymore.

Anyway, I sincerely believe the people would vote down the dunes. I mean, the business people on Grand, or the guy who owns the market next to Juan’s or Juan himself, love the buggy crowd, but I’m not sure the rest of the citizens do. We’ll have to agree to disagree on that one.

And, yes, I enjoy the coastline with my dog a little farther north where four-footed friends are welcome and combustion engines are not.

All the best to you as well.

State Parks needs to go after the APCD for $21.5 million they spent on mitigating a problem that was 14 percent theirs. 14 percent of $25 million is $3.5 million.

Let me get this straight in my head—

State parks, who blew $25 million tax dollars for a, admittedly, terrifically flawed and error filled “study”, is going to use this, admittedly, terrifically flawed and error filled “study” anyway, to decide if the dunes that have been formed for 100’s of thousands, if not millions, of years by the wind blowing seaborne sand and dust into 22,000 acres of sandy hills, AND the 25 square miles of the Nipomo Mesa, are……. dusty?

I’m no genius, but compared to the people of State Parks and the Coastal Commission, I seem to be on the top of the Mensa list.

Welcome to another episode of “Quest for Dollars” where different government agencies fight among one and other for revenue and relevance..

Locally if it’s not Plovers or Steelhead it’s the dust.

Will the horror ever end?!

I personally lived on the bluff side of the Mesa for 25 years and guess what? The whole thing is a friggin’ sand dune! From Nipomo to Arroyo … and when the wind blows dust moves , no matter what.

The Scripps scientists blew holes in the State’s pitiful study, but the keep coming and coming.

Why? The Sacramento Agenda . Must get rid of all sources of fossil fuel use to advert “ Climate Crisis” the scam of the century.- and pick up some more taxpayer dollars and power on the way.

As many can see , inside and outside local and State government – the writing is on the wall. Every district , municipality and agency is running out of money and pushing big deficits.

I hope I live long enough to see The People take back the power and purse from these heckling and destructive actors. I am not a dune enthusiast, but I hope the Friends of the Dunes don’t half to spend more money to defend their rights and access. Over 1000 miles of coastline , we should be able to leave this little stretch as a playground for our neighbors who like these pursuits.

We have waaaay too much government “ help” these days.

I sincerely believe that if you asked “The People” of Oceano, Nipomo and Grover Beach, the communities that are most affected by recreation on the dunes, I think they would have closed it years ago.

“The Friends of the Dunes” are not local. Rather, they simply come to Oceano to ride their contraptions. In fact, of the eight listed Board Members of the “Friends of the Dunes” only one lives locally.

The “1000 miles of coastline” are among the most pristine areas in the world and should not be treated as a playground for drunks riding emissions spewing death mobiles. There are miles upon miles of desert in California and Nevada that is wide open for these “recreation seekers.”