Ocotillo Wells has three issues of interest to users—UPDATE:
First, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) and Desert Protective Council (DPC) have filed suit to stop open use of the park. This is a serious case that could severely impact OHV use there. CORVA, EcoLogic and Tierra Del Sol (TDS) are intervenors and are fighting on our behalf. UPDATE: The recent lawsuit has ended with State Parks and off-roaders winning. The park will remain open as it has been. Events with routes in the park will be under more scrutiny and fewer routes will be allowed to be used.
Second, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) is trying to get the flat-tailed horned lizard on the State’s endangered species list. Because of this, the Park is not accepting permit applications for events. Should it get listed, heavy restrictions will likely come to OW. UPDATE: The listing attempt has fortunately failed again. This means there will be no closures or restrictions due to this lizard. We expect another listing attempt in the coming years (this was the fourth attempt to list it since 1998).
Third, the Park’s general plan is being updated. This, in itself, is not too bad. The draft of the plan would include a few restrictions that are likely to be incorporated, such as a requirement to remain on trails in the area north of Devil’s Slide. The general plan and lawsuit seem to be lagging; we believe they are waiting to see the fate of the flat-tailed horned lizard, as a listing would greatly affect both the lawsuit and the general plan. UPDATE: The general plan is slowly being worked on. We don’t know when to expect the final plan to be published. When it is, we will study it carefully to determine the effect on off-roading and react accordingly.
We are closely watching all three of these issues and are ready to act when needed.