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SEMA Opposes Efforts by California Coastal Commission to Eliminate OHVs at Oceano Dunes

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By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff

The California Coastal Commission is threatening to abolish off-roading at California’s Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA). The Commission is scheduled to vote March 18 on a measure to phase out off-highway vehicle access within five years. Less than two years ago, the Commission voted 8-2 to reject a similar measure. SEMA and the SEMA Action Network (SAN) have urged the Commission to reject the current proposal.

The Commission is reviewing the permit for OHV use at the Oceano Dunes. Commission staff issued a report that recommends eliminating OHV access over a five-year period. Oceano Dunes is managed by California State Parks, which is currently reviewing public comments to its proposed Public Works Plan for long-range management of the SVRA.

Oceano Dunes SVRA encompasses nearly 3,600 acres along the Pacific Ocean near San Luis Obispo, of which OHV use is now limited to 1,500 acres or less. Oceano Dunes became a state OHV park in the 1980s and is the only such park on California’s coast. It has been enjoyed by outdoor enthusiasts from across the country for decades under a permit first issued by the Commission in 1982.

OHV recreation is an important contributor to the local economy. While bringing pleasure to thousands of enthusiasts, the monies spent at area stores, motels, restaurants and gas stations support jobs and generate tax revenues. The SVRA is especially valued at a time when the pandemic has forced California residents to stay indoors for extended periods of time.  

For more information, contact Christian Robinson at christianr@sema.org.