Bravo to Kelly Devaney (“Change Oceano,” Jan. 22) for advocating a safer and saner Oceano Dunes beach. It’s time to figure out how to manage this stretch of coast intelligently. And mega-phooeys to Bradley Zane (“Get lost, greedy naturalists,” Feb. 12) for his caustic, self-righteous rant against Devaney.
I, too, have enjoyed motorcycle riding at Oceano Dunes. When I started riding there in 1965, there was no state park, no California Coastal Act, and no CEQA. There were few vehicles or pedestrians on the beach. Gas was 29 cents per gallon, and “global warming” was not yet known.
Now, visitation at ODSVRA is 2 million annually. The beach, once a playground for families, is now a noisy, dangerous, trashed-out freeway. One can witness big drinking parties, public urination, dumping of sewage and garbage on the beach, destruction of plant and animal habitats, and vandalism. There are so many speeding drivers that the rangers can’t control them. Over the years, many people have been injured; some have been killed.
Fourteen years ago, when my nephew Shon was three years old, I took him walking on Oceano Dunes beach. Shon was nearly killed when some fool in a huge 4x4 truck roared by, barely missing him, probably not even noticing the small boy. Scenes like that are all too typical.
There are about 106 dedicated public sites in California where off-highway vehicles (OHVs) are permitted. In essentially all of these sites, except at Oceano, pedestrian-vehicle conflicts do not arise. OHVs belong there, not here.