Regarding Nell Langfords’ commentary about Off Highway Vehicles using the Oceano Dunes Recreation Area (“Let’s return to nature,” Dec. 18), there are some general falsehoods and downright misinformation put forth. The camping fee is $20, the day use fee per vehicle is $5. It has been estimated that approximately 1 million people visit the Oceano Dunes area each year. If you have ever visited on a weekend you can see this is a very family-friendly sport.
There is an OHV fund, which comes from the green and red sticker registration of all off road vehicles. For the past several years the General Fund has raided the off highway vehicle funds to pay for deficits, removing funds from the OHV books that could be have been used for improvements and restoration in the dunes, more enforcement, and more safety programs. For Nell to say that the OHV system is a drain on resources is wrong.
As for the statements about the off-roaders not spending money in the Five Cities area, she’s wrong again. On any weekend just drive down Grand Avenue and look into the parking lots of motels, restaurants, gas stations, Wal-Mart, and any of the shops catering to tourists. They are full of pickup trucks, trucks and trailers, vans, and cars with trailers, all packed with off-road vehicles. There is also a population needing vehicle repair while in town.
I’ve noticed that whenever there is a fatality out in the dunes people like Nell Langford come out of the woodwork and start crying for a ban on the off-roaders. This last accident a few months ago was no exception and I saw Nell being interviewed on the news trying to spread her personal vendetta into the media. Since most accidents—not all but quite a few—out there involve alcohol, maybe there should be some sort of sobriety checkpoint, but overall I would say that the accident rates and death rates aren’t any higher than any highways around here. There are a couple of other extremists in this area who would like to see an end to anything that appears to be fun. The arguments range from OHVs causing global warming because they use gas, to draining the state budget (even though they pay for themselves), to causing death and dismemberment, to off-roaders putting businesses on the brink of bankruptcy because they only spend $100 on gas when they come here, to off-road vehicles causing the war because of gasoline use. The comments of the few spoiling it for the many cut both ways. Nell, since you own rental property in Oceano, do you refuse to rent it to OHV users or does their money not spend as well as someone’s who doesn’t off road?