Hang on, because there is a lot to talk about today. There is a new lawsuit in Oceano Dunes, action by State Fish and Wildlife, the Desert Advisory Council is taking applications, a fire near Corral Canyon, progress in crossing the railroad tracks by Glamis, a new campground in McCain Valley, SDORC has a radio show, and, oh yeah, there was a national election.
In Oceano Dunes (Pismo Beach) the group Friends of Oceano Dunes is suing the local Air Pollution Control District over the fact that they have not had a “licensed engineer” on the board since 2017, and is asking that all actions since then be voided. The guy who was supposed to be the licensed engineer is a PHD in environmental engineering, but he is not licensed, a fine distinction. Adding to the challenge is the state has an exemption for counties with fewer than 750,000 residents. This allows the APCD to function even if a suitable engineer is not available. San Luis Obispo County has about 230,000 residents. The lawsuit contends that several qualified and licensed engineers have applied to the board and were rejected, therefore, they were functioning unlawfully.
A different and more pressing issue at Oceano Dunes involves the Habitat Conservation Plan. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the availability of a draft habitat conservation plan and associated draft environmental assessment for State Parks activities at Pismo State Beach and Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area, for an incidental take permit. There are ten currently listed federal and state threatened or endangered species in the area, including: California least tern, Tidewater goby, Gambel watercress, La Graciosa, Marsh sandwort, Nipomo Mesa Lupine, Western snowy plover, California red-legged frog, Surf Thistle, and Beach Spectaclepod. This incidental take permit is very important for the area and can define what activities will be allowed there. Fish and Wildlife is accepting comments on their draft plan now. I have looked for it but have been unable to find it
The Desert Advisory Council (DAC), which gives advice to the Bureau of Land Management, is accepting applications now. The DAC has not met in a year for two reasons: the virus, and the fact there is not a quorum since three members termed out late last year. This problem lies squarely on the BLM, as they drag their feet in appointing members. I am a member of the DAC and my personal application took almost a year to process. Click here to read about applying for a position on the DAC.
Corral Canyon is now officially closed due to the Valley Fire. The fire burned across Espinoza Road, way west of the main riding area of Corral Canyon. I can understand closing an area that has been burned, but this closure doesn’t make sense. It would be easy to block off Espinoza Road and leave the rest open. The Forest sent out an email asking for patience and saying they are doing everything possible to get the area open. We have expressed our desire to help in any way we can to reopen the area.
Since the railroad closed the underpass by Wash 10 in the Imperial Sand Dunes years ago, off-roaders have been trying to get legal and safe access to land east of the dunes. The official fee area extends some distance east of the railroad tracks, so it makes sense to allow visitors to have access to either side. The Imperial County Transportation Commission has paid for a feasibility study to determine the best way for off-roaders to cross the railroad tracks. Last month we went over the alternatives and where to read the study. Click here to comment.
We submitted our comments on the McCain Valley Campground Project. No one answered my Facebook posts asking for ideas, so I called my friends who ride there to ask their opinion. Two friends said they should not do anything at all there. I am sort of in this camp, except I don’t mind a restroom. Two other friends said they don’t mind upgrades to the area. The BLM preferred alternative had a number of campsites going around the Day Use Area, each with a table, shade, fire pit and water spigot. I suggested they not make separate camp spots, but instead allow camping in the Day Use Area and only bring water to a spigot by the restroom. My idea to create a four-wheel drive challenge route through the area was shot down. They said it was outside the scope of the project.
SDORC has signed a contract to continue our weekly radio show for six months. The show is on Sundays from 12:00 to 1:00 pm on AM 1170 and FM 96.1 and we sit with Dave Stall in the studio. We reached out to a number of potential advertisers and got some hits. We think we will have Quadstop Rentals, RNR Photo, Chis Wiley at Primary Residential Mortgage, Adventure Bound Off-Road, John Elliot Descanso Real Estate, John Mendez and State Senator Brian Jones advertising with us. If you would like to have your business advertise with us or have some interesting content, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There was a big election recently and one thing we know is it ain’t over till it’s over. It is widely believed that Joe Biden has won the presidency, but Donald Trump has not conceded and is contesting swing states. Keeping Trump in office will make life for off-roaders much better, so we are pulling for Donald. East San Diego County will again be represented in Congress, now by Darrel Issa. I reached out to him a few months ago and got no response, although I started getting invited to Issa fundraisers. I hope that Issa keeps Hunter’s district staffers that we have an established relationship with. The race I have been more interested in than any I have ever watched is between Steve Vaus and Joel Anderson for County Supervisor. This is one of the closest races I have ever seen, and as of yesterday Joel was ahead by 7 votes out of 287,000. Right now, there is no clear leader, but I have my fingers crossed. If Joel wins, he has promised to help us get an off-road park and racing facility near town.
Don’t forget SDORC is a membership organization. We need membership money to fund our activities like our lobbyist, travel, storage, and insurance. Our Lost Lizard Fun Run was canceled this year and we could use a hand. It is easy to join; just click here.