By CCT STAFF
The director of California State Parks agreed on Monday to permanently shut down approximately half of the camping area and about 5 percent of the riding area at the Oceano Dunes, at an Air Pollution Control District Hearing Board meeting.
State Parks Director Lisa Manga agreed to close down approximately 50 acres near the shoreline to reduce air pollution blowing towards Nipomo. As part of an abatement order, the state will fence off the area by the end of the year.
In the spring, the state agreed to plant native vegetation in the fenced off area.
For years, some Nipomo residents have complained about dust blowing from the dunes, which they blame on vehicles riding on the sand.
On the other side, supporters of driving on the dunes point at the economic impact and question the accuracy of the studies the air board is relying on to shut down the camping area.
The Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreational Area has an economic impact to SLO County of approximately $244 million a year, according to a 2016/2017 economic impact report. Of that, $221 million is related to overnight visitors.