CA Coastal Commission to revoke [ALL] OHV access to Pismo Dunes

luthj

Engineer In Residence
Part of the problem is when folks resort too hyperbole to demonize those with differing viewpoints. For example, the patently ridiculous claim that 90% of public lands workers want to close them. Without these agencies, there would be no public lands as we know them. They would be pay-to-play, with much more limited access.

The idea that the government is the enemy is just dumb. And that straw man argument makes it impossible to work with them! I for one am very glad we have BLM, NFS, NPS etc. Without them public lands would be in a much worse state. If you want public resources managed for the public benefit, the only option is government. Private ownership simply won't work, there is no profit in it.

With regards to Pismo, it would be better if it were converted to a national park, monument, or seashore. That prevents state and local governments from arbitrarily whittling it away for special interests (against the public interest). Ideally we could get more ironclad protections from the federal government, but some is better than none! For example Oklahoma ceded huge amounts of public land to the oil/gas companies for operations. Essentially no cleanup requirements, so when the wells are tapped out in 20 years, it becomes a gasfield wasteland.
 

shade

Well-known member
The problem is public perception and indifference. They hear "wilderness" and think it just means "not a mall." Since most people are not directly involved or bothered it doesn't matter to them and who would be against keeping open space?
I agree, and I think naming conventions are part of the problem. There's a big difference between what most people see in a "national park", and what they'll never see within the same boundaries. A visit to Grand Canyon Village for a few hours of rim gazing and a boiled burger has little to do with the hazards (and joys) of hiking along the Colorado. "Park" just isn't the right word, or at least it's used too broadly.

Transportation modes are vastly different now than when the current types of public lands were categorized, but public perception is mired in outdated and flat out erroneous interpretations of what they are and aren't.

Pismo is a motorized recreation area, and there's nothing inherently wrong with motorized recreation. Getting hardcore opponents to agree to that statement would be a huge step in the right direction, but I don't see it happening.
 

shade

Well-known member
So yes, I think the political machine is in motion and without real support from the likes of Jeep, Toyota, Kawasaki, Honda to help push back the monied backing from REI, Patagucchi, Columbia, etc. will get through what Sierra Club want to get through.
OHV manufacturers are scared of the backlash, and as long as they keep selling product, that isn't going to change. Other than a significant sales hit, I don't know what will prompt them to take meaningful, sustained action.
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
Part of the problem is when folks resort too hyperbole to demonize those with differing viewpoints. For example, the patently ridiculous claim that 90% of public lands workers want to close them. Without these agencies, there would be no public lands as we know them. They would be pay-to-play, with much more limited access.

The idea that the government is the enemy is just dumb. And that straw man argument makes it impossible to work with them! I for one am very glad we have BLM, NFS, NPS etc. Without them public lands would be in a much worse state. If you want public resources managed for the public benefit, the only option is government. Private ownership simply won't work, there is no profit in it.

With regards to Pismo, it would be better if it were converted to a national park, monument, or seashore. That prevents state and local governments from arbitrarily whittling it away for special interests (against the public interest). Ideally we could get more ironclad protections from the federal government, but some is better than none! For example Oklahoma ceded huge amounts of public land to the oil/gas companies for operations. Essentially no cleanup requirements, so when the wells are tapped out in 20 years, it becomes a gasfield wasteland.
I dunno about back East but here in western CO, eastern UT between the USFS and BLM there's I think 3 enforcement ranger to cover millions of acres. Making them meter maids by adding more places to be ticketed for the public lands equivalent of jaywalking seems counterproductive.

Basically, there's a ton of empty land that lots of local people currently use and supports businesses in nearby towns. But it's being used in a way that ticks off politically connected people 300 miles away in SLC and Denver. So against the wishes of the people who actually live here they add work to organizations that already unable to manage the land under their care because of one size fits all laws written in Washington, D.C. And when the local groups do compromise and admit that maybe not every mile should be driven on and give an inch, they take a mile.

We're dealing with oil & gas here in Mesa County, western Colorado. They have raped and pillaged for decades. But the money is good and I don't think it's right to fill up my truck with fuel and simultaneously not realize it might be in my backyard. The companies of course could care less, they do whatever they need to do to make money. It is a scorched Earth with them. So it's our (as in the local county and cities) responsibility to steward the land we have to live with.

So just as we're realizing that recreation might be an economically viable alternative the powers to be are telling us what we can and cannot do with the land around us. No, I don't think being managed Federally is better than being managed at a state or local level. Maybe some of it is more appropriate for resources, maybe some that is currently leased for logging, mining or drilling by the BLM or USFS shouldn't be. Who better than the people who live here would know that?

Basically it's come down to we either side with huge corporations or huge bureaucracies. Neither of them really give a crap what the individuals here want. They do what their lobbyists and donors tell them. Outcomes always follow the money.
 

Umbrarian

Observer
Motorized access to public lands is a privilege, not a right.
This is not about privileges or rights.

For decades, many groups/people have been trying to get public lands closed for no valid reason, and this appears to be another example.
 

Umbrarian

Observer
The same argument is used to exclude mountain bikes in many places (such as all designated Wilderness). Oh, too much pressure, too many people. But horses do just as much or more damage and as a user group do much less trail work to repair their damage. Same with hikers, the sheer numbers puts tremendous pressure on trails in popular areas. But no one questions their use and implementing permits is very rare.
Exactly, trash removal is another example. Hikers and equestrians are awful at trash removal. But MVs, make it easy to pack out what you packed in and more.
 

shade

Well-known member
This is not about privileges or rights.

For decades, many groups/people have been trying to get public lands closed for no valid reason, and this appears to be another example.
Do you not believe that noise, dust, and trash at Pismo is a growing problem?
 

shade

Well-known member
Exactly, trash removal is another example. Hikers and equestrians are awful at trash removal. But MVs, make it easy to pack out what you packed in and more.
I think you're falling into the Divide & Conquer trap.

All I can say about equestrians is the few I've seen on the trail were not leaving trash in their wake. Nice fellows, actually.
Of hikers, over the many trails and camp sites I've used, I've seen nothing of the sort.
But people in motorized vehicles have left more garbage in their wake than anything else I've seen.

And I condemn none of them. It's people that make the messes, not necessarily their mode of transportation.
 
Last edited:

Umbrarian

Observer
Do you not believe that noise, dust, and trash at Pismo is a growing problem?
Never been there, looks like I never will.

But if the complaints are legit, then post the Environmental Impact Report showing motorized vehicles are the problem, and banning them will fix it.
 

shade

Well-known member
Never been there, looks like I never will.

But if the complaints are legit, then post the Environmental Impact Report showing motorized vehicles are the problem, and banning them will fix it.
I think they're well on their way to doing just that, but I don't find it hard to believe the place is being overutilized at present. There are published air quality results that suggest that the OHV area is increasingly impacting air quality.

Of course, squeezing the usage area down to 10% of its former size hasn't helped, either.
 

Umbrarian

Observer
I think they're well on their way to doing just that, but I don't find it hard to believe the place is being overutilized at present. There are published air quality results that suggest that the OHV area is increasingly impacting air quality.

Of course, squeezing the usage area down to 10% of its former size hasn't helped, either.
IME, more places have been ruined by overuse, than anything else. Whether it is too many cars, too many hikers, too many horses is not so much the issue as it is too many people.

I cant count the number of times places that were relatively unknown became known and then had to be closed because they could not handle all the traffic (foot, hoof, tire or otherwise).
 

shade

Well-known member
IME, more places have been ruined by overuse, than anything else. Whether it is too many cars, too many hikers, too many horses is not so much the issue as it is too many people.

I cant count the number of times places that were relatively unknown became known and then had to be closed because they could not handle all the traffic (foot, hoof, tire or otherwise).
Agreed, and outright banning use of those areas is often an overreaction. With good management, many things are possible, but that can't happen when it turns into the Hatfield-McCoy Debate Society.
 
Top