As my commentary, “Let’s Return to Nature” (Dec. 20) stated, Dean Runyan Associates found that tourism brought a billion dollars to our county in 2006; but all campgrounds here, both state and county, including the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area, brought only $23 million.
Offroader Kevin P. Rice, attempting to convince us that “Offroaders bring prosperity” (Dec. 25)—he said $200 million yearly—claimed that campers at the ODSVRA comprise only 22 percent of visitors, leaving 78 percent of visitors not accounted for. Not so. A 2006 Cal Poly study found that the ODSVRA is the only destination for 87 percent of its visitors; and that offroaders stay in trailers and tents and do not go anywhere else. The study states, “A majority of the subjects indicated that Oceano Dunes SVRA was the only destination for the trip”, and reports that only 8 percent rent hotels. The rest stay in other campgrounds or with friends.
Rice’s outrageous economic statistics were recanted by ODSVRA superintendents when they were caught inventing them. Rice merely repeats the false claims that my commentary exposed. He attempts to justify driving away the more eco-evolved tourists who come to a beach for the beach. Regular tourists, who pay bed tax, are often appalled by the off-roading invasion of our South County beach and dunes and our mentality for allowing it.
Offroader Rice blames the wind for the health-threatening particulate matter endangering residents and raising taxes in Nipomo. However, the sand colored plume we observe on windy days originates where the dune crust is broken and stirred by offroaders.