Here’s one to keep an eye on . . .
The State of California has settled a lawsuit filed by an environmentalist group over the effects of competitive events held at Oceano Dunes SVRA, better know to wheelers everywhere as Pismo.
The suit, filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, claimed that vehicular traffic at the annual Oceano Dunes Beach Race----which attracts upwards of 50,000 people per year---created a threat to endangered species in the dunes. Under the terms of the settlement, the California State Parks Department agreed to revoke the Beach Race’s existing multiyear permit and to complete an environmental impact study before issuing any new permits.
Now, we can see how a reasonable argument could be made that turning 50,000 people and thousands of 4x4s and watercraft loose over a weekend in an environmentally sensitive area such as Pismo might not represent the wisest example of modern-day land management. But we also know from past experience that CBD has tried to ban ORV access outright at places such as Truckhaven Hills, so whether this court challenge is a one-shot deal that only affects the annual Beach Race, or a prelude to additional lawsuits aimed at restricting or even banning 4x4 access to Pismo in toto, we’ll have to wait and see. For now, though, it’s worth keeping an eye on.