Coastal Commission eyes restrictions at Oceano Dunes

Weekend jaunts for Valley residents to the Central Coast could change dramatically if the Coastal Commission approves a plan to restrict camping and off-roading at the Oceano Dunes answering calls from environmentalists seeking to restore the local ecosystem.

A plan being mulled by the commission would reduce the ability to camp at the Oceano Dunes Recreation Area and begin a study to eliminate off-road vehicle activity.

The plan under consideration by the Coastal Commission will cut 30 percent of all RV campers eligible to park at the Oceano Dunes Recreation Area, eliminating 300 spots.

Another element of the plan to be voted upon during the July 11 meeting would also close 450 acres – roughly 40 percent of the recreation area – from the public.

“The closure or continued reduction of the Off-Highway Vehicle riding area at the Oceano Dunes State Park would be extremely detrimental to the local business community,” the South San Luis Obispo County Chamber of Commerce told KSBY. “Many small businesses in South County could not continue without the tourism dollars generated by the OHV riders. The businesses that do not directly serve tourists still benefit from ancillary spending. It is estimated that 3,300 jobs were generated as a result of travel spending related to Oceano Dunes State Park and Pismo State Beach.”

In total, the Oceano Dunes generated $243 million in economic activity, an economic report commissioned by California State Parks said.

Staff reports from The San Joaquin Valley Sun staff.