FOD to its followers, “We are prepared for the legal battle ahead.”

According to SFGate.com on their report of a historic, but not finalized ruling by the California Coastal Commission handed down earlier this week (Mar. 18,2021) the CCC ruled, among other points, that Off-road Highway Vehicles would be to be phased out and outright banned by 2024.

The initial proposal was over five years, but that was cut to three.

Before an official ruling is doled out by the CCC, the FOD spelled out on a Facebook post earlier yesterday they aren’t exactly going out without a fight.

First, they’re calling on California State Parks to assert their authority as a “sister agency” to the CCC, and to reject or take no action on the Commission’s ruling. And, according to SanLuisObispo.com, California State Parks is doing just that with a rebuttal mailed the CCC’s way before the meeting even took place.

 State Parks spokesman Jorge Moreno said shortly after hearing the CCC’s decision,

“State Parks is disappointed with the decision by the Coastal Commission to phase out off-highway vehicle riding at Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area.”

“State Parks remains committed to protect the natural and cultural resources found in Oceano Dunes for future generations, and to ensure that all Californians have equal access to the park and its diverse recreational opportunities,” 

State Parks asserts the CCC has allowed OHV use on this 1,500 acres of dunes and six miles of beachfront for over 40 years and, despite a 2017 piece of legislation that updated a prior ruling by the CCC in 2001 that recognized a balancing act between resource protection and acknowledging the ODSVRA’s enabling legislation to prioritize environmental protection, retracting that permit use is “without adequate basis.”

FOD further points out that OHV activities bring in nearly $100 million into the San Luis Obispo County Economy and attracts upwards of 2 million people every year.

Further closing down businesses that support the OHV community and curtailing vehicular park activities would be a larger blow to the SLO economy already bludgeoned by Covid closures.

According to the New Times,

“The city of San Luis Obispo ranked No. 10 in the nation in permanent and temporary business closures.”

It’s one thing to fight for the rights of endangered shore birds, but killing a local economy to the point there’s no one there to enjoy them is defeating the purpose of having recreational areas to begin with.

Rest assured the CCC’s ruling, however finalized, only marks the opening round of a legal battle that’s finally hit a boiling point.

Additional sources:
Cap Radio

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