December 2021

Additional Restrictions Implemented at Oceano Dunes

Despite pleas from the industry and written comments from MIC and ARRA members, the California Coastal Commission (CCC), without deliberation, unanimously voted in late December to further restrict OHV use at the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area. The amendment proposed by staff calls to shut down 108 acres of riding and driving immediately. Commission staff cited dust control and dune restoration as reasons to propose the shutdown. On December 9, the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) Commission held a workshop where Dr. Lynn Russell of the University of California, San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography provided a detailed and scientific overview of the Scripps Interim Year 3 Report. Her findings revealed that dune-derived mineral dust is more likely to be primarily caused by the wind and dunes themselves, not human activities.

This will obviously further diminish the recreational experience and access for the millions of visitors to Oceano Dunes each year. But we appreciate the 985 ARRA members who responded to our call to action and submitted letters in opposition to the CCC and the OHMVR Commission. More than 20,000 messages were generated to the commissions and to key state officals.

Friends of Oceano Dunes and California State Parks Reach an Agreement

On December 17, 2021 an agreement was reached between Friends of Oceano Dunes and State Parks to temporarily prevent the closure of Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA) and Pier Avenue. The closure of Pier Avenue was expected to take place in July 2022 and is being postponed while the Friends of Oceano Dunes case against the California Coastal Commission is being decided by the San Luis Obispo County Superior Court.

On March 18, 2021, the Coastal Commission ordered the following: change the permit for Oceano Dunes SVRA to require a closure of the SVRA by 2024; closure of the Pier Avenue entrance by July 2022; and closure of the Arroyo Grande Creek when it rains. Friends of Oceano Dunes had been negotiating with Parks and the Commission to “stay” the March 2021 permit conditions during the litigation. This means Pier Avenue will not be closed on July 1, 2022 while the court is deciding the case. State Parks also agreed to immediately allow camping and OHV recreation at the Oceano Dunes SVRA, and to stop crossing at the creek only if water levels in the creek reached 12 inches.

Recent BLM Activity

  • Las Vegas, Nevada— The Las Vegas Field Office announced the temporary closure of certain public lands under its administration from December 11 through December 12, 2021. This action was being taken to minimize the risk of potential collisions between racers and spectators for the 2021 SNORE Laughlin Rage at the River OHV Race.
  • Boise, Idaho – The BLM reminded the public of the annual seasonal road closure of upper 8th Street in the Boise Foothills to prevent road damage during wet conditions. This seasonal closure pertains only to full-sized vehicles and is in effect from December 1 to May 15. The closure begins 2.8 miles from the Jim Hall Foothills Learning Center. The route remains open year-round for off-highway vehicles 50 inches or less in width, motorcycles, mountain bikes, and all other non-motorized use.
  • Susanville, California – The BLM announced a wintertime day use area closure and a temporary construction related closure on parts of the Bizz Johnson National Recreation Trail near Susanville. Vehicle access to the Hobo Camp Day Use Area will be closed from December 1 until the spring.