For decades, recreationists and off-roaders have enjoyed riding motorized vehicles, from trucks and SUVs to dune buggies and quads, at California's Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area. However, the California Coastal Commission plans to abolish off-highway vehicle (OHV) access by 2024.
SEMA is fighting this lawsuit and reaffirms its support for off-roaders to have continued access to California's only OHV park.
Modernized recreation at Oceano Dunes is a significant economic driver for the local economy, generating over $200 million yearly from money spent at stores, hotels, restaurants, and gas stations. These restrictions will put an unfair burden on the residents and small business owners who rely on this industry for their livelihood.
The Commission's opposition cites environmental and health arguments against the airborne particulate matter (dust) kicked up by modernized recreation vehicles. SEMA challenges the scientific basis for the claims with a recent study finding that no toxic compounds are associated with the particulate matter at Oceano Dunes.
The move to phase out motorized recreation is also unlawful as the Commission is locked in a jurisdiction debate over the Dunes with the California Department of State Parks and Recreation. SEMA supports the state legislature mandate that California State Parks have the authority to manage the area for OHV use, giving the Commission no authority to make this ruling.
SEMA's joint lawsuit with EcoLogic Partners—a legal collaboration between the Off-Road Business Association (ORBA), American Sand Association, and American Motorcyclist Association District 37—is scheduled for a June 15, 2023 court hearing and it will be a key moment in the fight to protect motorized recreational access around the country.
SEMA, EcoLogic Partner Lawsuit Seeks to Protect Motorized Recreation at Oceano Dunes - Jun 8, 2023 | Vol. 26, No. 23