Last week, State Parks disclosed its proposed new general work plan for the management of Pismo State Beach and the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area.
Good news: There are plans for a boardwalk on the foredunes to connect Grand Avenue with the Arroyo Grande Creek and a small structured campground next to Oso Flaco Road with its own access to the off-roading area. This campground will reduce the number of camping sites on the beach south of Arroyo Grande Creek and will relieve some of the congestion on Pier Avenue and Oceano Beach.
Bad news: This southern entrance to the off-roading area would not replace Pier Avenue, and only reduces its camping traffic by 20 percent. Oceano residents and visitors will still be denied a beach that's safe for pedestrians. State Parks' proposal does not resolve the issue of air quality on Pier Avenue or the Mesa, which in my opinion can be resolved only by closing Pier Avenue and fencing off the La Grande Tract, the biggest cause of PM 10 pollution.
Surprisingly, State Parks also wants to improve its own maintenance road from Highway 1 across the Oceano campground to the beach.
Parks' "new" plan ignores county residents' need for safety and clean air. I am convinced that in a conflict, all parties must win. So in this fight over the Oceano beach and dunes, everyone must get something: The Chumash need to have their sites well fenced off and protected. The Arroyo Grande Creek needs to not be crossed. Oceano needs a safe beach. People on the Mesa need good air. Off-roaders need a piece of sand to ride on.
Here is a way to meet everyone's needs: 1,000 street vehicles—not 2,500 like at present—can drive through Parks' improved maintenance road directly from Highway 1 to the beach for day use only of the stretch between Grand Avenue and Pier Avenue Where else would day beach users park? No beach traffic on Pier Avenue nor south of it. The beach between Pier Avenue and the end of the La Grande Tract (and La Grande Tract itself) belong to pedestrians and non-vehicular beach users, like equestrians. The La Grande Tract has been designed as a buffer zone by the county's coastal plan and it's the biggest cause of PM 10 pollution. Off-highway vehicle users could use the southern entrance and campground for their piece of the cake.
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