Major parts of the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area along California’s central coast will remain closed through the end of September.
The California Coastal Commission ordered state parks officials on Wednesday to keep significant portions of the area closed to vehicles and camping in an effort to protect the western snowy plover birds.
Wednesday’s order also directed the California Department of Parks and Recreation to not interfere with the western snowy plover nesting.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the beach was closed to vehicles in March, and the plovers have expanded their nesting and foraging areas since.
Oceano Dunes includes about 1,500 acres of sand dunes where off-road vehicles are driven and six miles of beachfront where vehicles are allowed and where thousands of people camp every year.
Western snowy plovers have been protected under the Endangered Species Act since 1993 and breed at Oceano Dunes between March and September.