I've lost track of how many times I have written this kind of letter to the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area (ODSVRA) and the California Coastal Commission. It is in opposition to ODSVRA Public Works Plan to develop the area around Oso Flaco Lake for further off-highway vehicle (OHV) activity. The plans are counter to our local coastal plan, the findings of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and recommendations of leading conservation groups. I also believe their plans fly in the face of common sense.
More than 40 years ago, our local Sierra Club's Dune Task Force convinced State Parks to shelve its plans to develop this region as a southern OHV entrance to the dunes. Then, two years ago, State Parks came back with the same plan on steroids. Not only does it plan for an OHV staging area, it also wants to include a campground with permanent facilities, OHV training track, and an OHV trail into the dunes on the windward side of Oso Flaco Lake. Has State Parks learned nothing in this time?
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife indicates that the environs of Oso Flaco Lake have the highest value area of natural resources in California. It is a center of endemism for a number of rare, threatened, and endangered species. The dunes windward of this region have been stabilized at great expense by planting and maintaining native vegetation. If you allow these windward dunes to be destabilized by allowing OHVs to run over them, then it would reverse decades of expense and effort to try and save the area. What were State Parks' planners thinking?
OHV intrusion into fragile dune habitats is destructive to the geological and biological features that stabilize and maintain these sensitive environments. Any plan that fails to recognize this is not worth the paper it is printed on. Write the California Coastal Commission and tell them that you are for the conservation of Oso Flaco Lake and opposed to the ODSVRA Public Works Plan.
Michael C. Bondello