California State Parks on Tuesday announced plans to reopen the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA) and Pismo State Beach to vehicle use.
The three-phased reopening plan goes into effect starting Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. The dates for phases two and three have not yet been decided.
Vehicular access to all state park units was closed in March because of the pandemic. State Parks says the plan to reopen the Dunes to vehicles "is designed to support a safe and healthy environment for employees, visitors and natural resources such as the endangered Western snowy plover and California least tern."
Phase 1 (Oct. 30):
- Day Use Hours: Both park units will be open daily from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. for day use by visitors who can walk, bike or drive in with a "street legal" vehicle (e.g. jeeps or trucks).
- Vehicle Access: "Street legal" vehicles, such as jeeps and trucks, will be allowed on the dunes. "Green Sticker" off-highway vehicles (OHV) will remain temporarily prohibited from entering the park at this time. Staff will monitor conditions and operations to determine when to restore "Green Sticker" OHV activity.
- Visitation: The daily allowed number of "street legal" vehicles will be temporarily limited to 1,000 per day, for both park units.
- Camping: Oceano Dunes SVRA: During the initial reopening phase, no overnight camping opportunities will be provided at Oceano Dunes SVRA (beach camping area). Staff will monitor conditions and operations over the next few weeks to determine when to restore these experiences. The public is advised that when campgrounds reopen, they will do so at a reduced and limited capacity (100 sites) to support a safe and healthy environment for employees, natural resources and visitors. Pismo State Beach: On September 21, developed campgrounds at Pismo State Beach reopened to visitors. Reservations are required.
- Reservations: State Parks will restart the booking process at zero reservations. Reservation cancellations and refunds will be automatic. Affected reservation holders will be contacted by ReserveCalifornia via email. Phase two of the phased-reopening plan will include the date new reservations can be made for Oceano Dunes SVRA.
- Events: Special event applications are not being accepted at this time for both park units.
- Concessions: These services will continue to be temporarily closed.
- Vehicle Access: "Green Sticker" OHVs will be allowed on the dunes.
- Visitation: The daily allowed number of "street legal" vehicles will continue to be temporarily limited to 1,000 per day, for both park units.
- Camping: A total of 100 camping sites at Oceano Dunes SVRA will become available to the public.
State Parks says it "will expand day-use opportunities and camping inventory as environmental conditions allow and in alignment with state and local public health orders."
Parks officials say visitation and physical distancing will be monitored and it's possible access to the parks could be restricted again.
Prior to the parks' reopening, people may notice work being done on wind fence and restoration projects and other facility maintenance and emergency access maintenance that may require the use of heavy equipment.