Home Breaking News Why the Oceano Dunes’ reopening is important to locals

Why the Oceano Dunes’ reopening is important to locals

Flags labeled “SAVE OUR DUNES” at the Oceano Dunes. Photo by Jonathan Apelado

Earlier this year, the California Coastal Community stated they were going to close Oceano Beach to the public, but the Friends of the Oceano Dunes, a non-profit organization whose goal is to promote and save the Oceano/Pismo Beaches, have filed a civil lawsuit challenging it. 

Local residents have taken it upon themselves to present banners and flags showing their efforts to keep the beach open. The Oceano Dunes, located in Oceano, Calif. is a public beach where visitors can drive their cars on the sand. Visitors who don’t have capable vehicles could walk on the beach. 

A truck carrying flags driving on Oceano Beach. Photo by Jonathan Apelado.

The dunes have been closed since March 26 due to shelter-in-place orders and it reopened on Oct. 1. As the gates have reopened, locals and visitors can come while still practicing social distancing. 

There are many activities for the public to participate in at the dunes. Some of these activities include surfing, paragliding, horseback riding, and driving ATVs. 

A family of horseback riders galloping on Oceano Beach. Photo by Jonathan Apelado

“For the five cities area I believe it hit them huge economically because it was during the spring and summer,” said Jamie Juarez, a local of Pismo Beach who occasionally visits the Oceano Beach. “That’s usually when everyone comes to visit.” 

The Oceano Dunes are open to the public. Visit their website for more information. 


  1. This is so sad that Jonathan has bought into the OHV culture. OHV and vehicles on a beach! A beach adjacent to a predominately Hispanic low income community?! What do vehicles really bring to Oceano? Air pollution, noise, trash, and loss of a traditional beach. Threatened/endangered species are at risk. The erosion subjects our town to sea level rise and flooding. Since opening to vehicles we now have trash miles down the beach because a bunch of lazy people are able to drive. Seven months of a vehicle free beach this past summer was HEAVEN and thousands of people – seniors, kids, equestrians, families, enjoyed it – many of them locals. The future is not gas engines and it’s very sad to hear Jonathan ignore the many problems these vehicles bring to our local community. If you truely care about the coast, local people and the environment – join us at peopleforthedunes.org

  2. Agree with bonita. I think we could curate better tourism with other gimmicks that dont hurt the environment.

  3. Hey Bonita! Hope you’re having a great holiday season. First why does race and income have anything to do with the Beach, anyone can use the beach in any way they please. The beach provides a spot for people of all income levels no matter what type of recreation you want to take part in especially if that means driving on it. Most people either have some sort of 4×4 vehicle or are friends with someone who does. I have taken a lot of my friends out to the beach and on the dunes in my truck to enjoy a sunset, campfire, and barbeque and I know many others do the same. I always pack my trash out and pick up any trash I may see on the beach which honestly I don’t see as much as some try to make it seem. The vehicles bring a type of recreation that is quite rare and hard to find these days which better allows for freedom of movement along the beach and in the ODSVRA. The only thing that you list are negatives. Yes some of those are accurate but the beach was never a traditional beach, its been used as in its current matter for 100 years at least. Also the OHV brings a large amount of people and money to the area that would normally never come to Oceano. Most of the people that come from out of town to visit a beach do not go to Oceano for beach use they are more likely to go to Pismo beach and maybe even Grover beach. This leaves the businesses’ of Oceano at a clear disadvantage since the biggest attraction to Oceano is gone if the dunes are not open to OHV. So the seven months of vehicle free beach was heaven to thousands of people. What about the 2.2 million people that visit the beach annually when it is open to OHV. The beach was never intended to be a wildlife sanctuary and not to mention the number of Snowy Plovers are on the rise so how can you argue that the OHV threatens their existence to extinction. There is Plenty of beach and dunes in the area around the ODSVRA for the Snowy Plovers and other species to enjoy like The Guadalupe Dunes preserve or down on Vandenberg AFB which both have a very successful species restoration program. If the future is not gas engines which is looking increasingly true would you be ok for the dunes to driven on by electric trucks and cars. I would love to hear your response to that! The dunes are an inclusive place that are open to all the types of recreation, even if it is something you don’t do or agree on. You and the individuals associated with peopleforthedunes.org are only for the people that see your point of view and want to stop the people who don’t. That is not an inclusive as you make your group seem. The OHV creates a place for all people and a small group of one way thinking elites will have to pry the use of these Dunes from our cold dead hands because I and others will never give up on being able to recreate in the way the dunes were intended. OHV culture is not without its flaws but I’m glad Johnathan has found a supportive group he enjoys to be apart of. Please let him recreate in the way he pleases as we don’t care what way you recreate. Happy new year!

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