At the last meeting of the SLO Air Pollution Control District (APCD) hearing board, State Parks committed to close 48 acres of foredunes to reduce dangerous dust emissions from the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area onto the Mesa. However, it is not just about acres, but also about how many vehicles are allowed to drive on those acres. Presently, 1,720 ATVs (all terrain vehicles) are allowed on 3.5 miles of beach and 1,500 dune acres of the park.
Since mitigation efforts started, about 120 dune acres—or 8 percent—have been taken from ATV users to control dust emission. It follows that State Parks should also reduce the number of ATVs allowed on the dunes at least by 8 percent. Even off-roaders complain of how crowded and unsafe it can be. Not surprisingly, the number of accidents and deaths has increased this year.
Furthermore and unfortunately, the hearing board didn't take any measures to relieve Oceano, which is also affected by PM10 pollution. State Parks placed two rubber mats at the Pier Avenue exit trying to catch the 40 tons of sand deposited weekly on Pier Avenue and vicinity. What a joke! To seriously reduce PM10 pollution in Oceano, State Parks needs to decrease the number of cars driving on the beach because they bring back the sand onto Pier Avenue. Presently, 3,580 cars daily are allowed to drive on the beach!
Simply reducing the number of vehicles on our beach and dunes would help Mesa and Oceano residents breathe better.