Child Endangerment on Pismo State Beach in Oceano California: Cars and Kids Don't Mix

Not commercial, film student and friends trying to make a difference.

This documentary shows children almost getting run over because California State Parks and Recreation is negligently using a public beach, Pismo State Beach in Oceano, as a highway to the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area.

Eleven year old Sara explains how she had to dodge vehicles that came within feet of her. She was afraid big trucks would run over her fingers and hands as she dug in the sand. Her dad, Joseph, states that not acting to prevent this endangerment is also a crime and that something must be done.

Ten year old Courtney, and her sister Kylie state that it is not safe to be here. Their mother, Jill, states that though her family likes to ride dirt bikes on specified trails, public beaches are no place for vehicles.

Courtney is shown at two government meetings reading a letter she wrote to try to get the dangerous vehicles off the beach.

The children in this documentary are not only concerned for their own and other's safety, but are also concerned about the fragile shoreline habitat that the vehicles are destroying.

This video is in memory of Amanda Orme, a child who was run over, drug down the beach, and killed by a vehicle as she ran from the surf to her mother: and Frank Lentz, who is one of the many over the years who stepped up to lead the cause to make the beach safe. He knew the difference between a beach and a highway. Frank's widow gave a banner she made to Courtney and Kiley, who unfurl it in this documentary. They plan to take it and the cause to Sacramento.

Courtney hopes this experience will help her in her future endeavors to do other good things when she gets older.

Oceano Dunes SVRA: Wild Wild West, Part 1

This documentary shows how the ODSVRA is the Wild Wild West. It threatens the health and safety of Oceano and Nipomo. There were 7 deaths in 2008, plus thousands of injuries. The Off-Highway Division (OHV) cannot control the mayhem and pollution which is impacting the adjacent communities

Oceano Dunes SVRA: Wild Wild West, Part 2

Not a professional film crew, still just learning.

This documentary follows Oceano Dunes SVRA The Wild Wild West Part 1: Public Health and Safety

Part 2 shows how the Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Division of California State Parks and Recreation continues to bully and hoodwink regulatory agencies to grab land and jurisdiction. The OHV has invaded Oceano Beach and Dunes with millions of polluting off road vehicles to benefit the multinational off highway vehicle industry at the expense of the environment, the Oceano Beach community's well being, and the health of residents downwind.

Pier Avenue in Oceano is being used as a through highway to the ODSVRA for over 5,000 vehicles a day, continuing all night long. These vehicles consist mostly of huge camping rigs and atv haulers. They drive down Pier Avenue (a three block dead end county road) and down sand ramp onto the Pacific shoreline. At the terminus of Pier Avenue the traffic enters a Buffer Area which includes Pismo State Beach, the Arroyo Grande Creek mouth, the Pismo Dunes Natural Preserve, and La Grande Tract which is mostly county owned land.

This traffic route bisects the natural preserve from its required habitat, and disturbs and interrupts the natural dynamics and ecological interaction protected by state law.

The traffic route further invades a clam preserve on the beach from the north end of La Grande Tract all the way past the ODSVRA.

None of the footage in this documatary was taken in the ODSVRA. The traffic and off-roading shown is in the Buffer Area.

The County of San Luis Obispo gave OHV (for no money) a 25 year operational agreement for La Grande Tract that expired recently and is now month to month. OHV grabbed the land for OHV use, though there was nothing in the agreement that allowed such use.

When the county decided to sell the land to OHV (behind closed doors), a "conformity" agreement had to be reached. Larry Bross filed an appeal to the consistency determination decided by the Planning Department, and the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission agreed that the use was inconsistent with the general plan. The key element in that decision was a certified map showing the buffer area that was not provided to the commissioners by planning staff.

A grand jury investigation report on June 15, 2009 found the exclusion of the map, and further altering of text to delete reference to the buffer designation to be unacceptable. The Board of Supervisors and the Planning and Building Department must report to Superior Court.

On July 10, the California Coastal Commission upheld an appeal by Safe Beach Now that overturned a San Luis Obispo Board of Supervisors decision to allow drive up toilets in the buffer area.

Deception And The Dunes

Additional Credits: Footage of government meetings courtesy of AGP Video

The Off-Highway Vehicular Division (OHV) of California State Parks and Recreation is using a beach to access its landlocked Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area (ODSVRA).

Oso Flaco, to the south of the ODSVRA, was intended to be the entry to the ODSVRA, but it was not acceptable to the Coastal Commission. The OHV was given a certain time period to establish another entry but all entries are environmentally damaging.

The Deception and the Dunes documentary shows how the OHV purchased the ODSVRA and attempts to repair the damage off-roading does to it and the surrounding areas with our gasoline tax; how the OHV overestimated the amount of gasoline tax it supposedly should get by 50%; how the OHV is not containing the nuisance of off-highway vehicles and has spread out on to the beach and neighboring county land; how OHV is trying to make the beach entry be permanent with its studies that do not consider the negative impacts on the beach, marine mammals, other wildlife and the local communities; how OHV claims to be good for our economy without considering what it costs the community using first a study that claimed 200 million a year benefit to the county, then a more recent study that showed that claim to be exaggerated by over 50% (and an independent study showed the true amount to be fraction of either OHV study); and how the OHV does not report to the public the lawlessness in the ODSVRA, concealing that it is out of control with the number of deaths and injuries.

Danger Zone vs Safe Beach

Oceano is no different from any other beach town in that its most valuable asset is its beach. The same is true for Grover Beach and Pismo Beach. Vehicles driving on the beach prevent access to the beach by regular tourists, who do not want a Danger Zone. They want a Safe Beach.

The citizens of Pismo Beach banned vehicles from their beach. This documentary shows how Edith Schrader and the Beachwalkers turned a Danger Zone into a Safe Zone and Play Area for children. In 1979, the citizens of Pismo Beach voted overwhelmingly, by sixty eight percent, to get vehicles off its beach.

There were merchants and others who feared that the local economy would suffer if Pismo did not allow vehicles on its beach. They had no reason to fear, the economy improved significantly.

Grover Beach businesses on Grand Ave are changing. The types of businesses that support regular tourists are failing, and those who are automotive related are succeeding, especially atv rental and sales. Pismo has very few automotive related businesses, and is rather a tourist town. Pier Avenue in Oceano, on the other hand, is almost all automotive related. Both Oceano and Grover Beach recognize their greatest draw for regular tourists, who would support the local economy, is a safe beach. The tourists who shop, eat out, and pay bed tax to hotels and vacation rentals. do not find rows of atv rentals attractive. But mostly, the use of the beach by vehicles is dangerous. If we ban vehicles from Oceano Beach, our economy will improve, as Pismo's did.

This documentary is dedicated to the late Edith Schrader, a beachwalker, who would not stop until the vehicles were banned from Pismo Beach, and to the late Amanda Orme who would be alive today had she been on the beach in Pismo instead of Oceano.

The Deadly Dunes And The Dollar & Letters To The Editor

This 30 minute documentary includes:

Oceano Dunes, off-roaders, and ambulances; a map showing the destruction of the dunes by off-roaders in a buffer area that is a danger zone; a letter to the editor written by Rachel May, MD Arroyo Grande Community Hospital expressing concern for the number of accidents at the dunes and the lack of law enforcement; Andrew Zilke, Superintendent ODSVRA discussing two economic impact studies commissioned by OHV, the first one done in 1992; and the second, with CalPoly, starting around 2005 and just released.

The claim of 94 million from the first study in 1992 has been widely publicized by OHV who extrapolated from that claim an estimated 200 million positive impact on today's local economy. The second study, which pads the economic impact by including gasoline expenditures, claims 76 million; a Dean Runyan study showing the income to San Luis Obispo County in 1992 and 2005 from public campgrounds (all county and state, including the ODSVRA). The figures are only 17.5 and 23.5 million; a New Times Shredder article criticizing the second OHV study; Sherrie Brekke, RN, Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center reading letters to the editor she has written about the tragic injuries in the dunes, questioning the economic impact of those injuries to taxpayers.

Tobias Brekke, Medical Student, Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center commenting on the letters to the editor and the social and economic impacts of dune injuries; letters to the SLO Board of Supervisors from forty members of the Legislature (who quote the 200 million economic impact statistic) and the City of Pismo Beach urging the sale of La Grande Tract to OHV; and a list of companies and organizations who support Off Road Business Association (ORBA) which lobbies Sacramento for the multinational off-road industry.

Music by C.S. Elliott

Children on Dangerous ATVs on Oceano Beach and Dunes

This documentary features Dr. Larry Foreman, Emergency Room Physician at Arroyo Grande Hospital. He became alarmed and concerned at the number of children slaughtered by ATVs on the Oceano Dunes at the Oceano State Vehicular Recreation Area (ODSVRA). While the Off-Highway Vehicle Division of State Parks and Recreation (OHV) minimized the total number of injuries, and reported only 330 per year, Dr. Foreman documented almost a thousand a year treated at one hospital alone, and of these over a hundred are children.

Dr. Foreman wanted to protect children by banning them on ATV's, but met with overwhelming opposition from OHV, the off-highway industry, and Friends of Oceano Dunes, who went so far as to threaten his ability to practice medicine (according to a statement he made on KVEC a few years ago). Getting nowhere with our representatives, Abel Maldonado and Sam Blakesley, Dr. Foreman enlisted a state-wide organization of emergency room physicians to support legislation that would at least make mandatory the safety suggestions of ATV manufacturers.

Abel Maldonado was willing to back Dr. Foreman's bill, Senate Bill 1228 which requires that children take a four hour safety course (children as young as six years old may take the course, without actually having to get on an atv to earn a safety certificate) and ride ATV's appropriate to their size and maturity. The OHV is not happy with the bill, since it would require enforcement.

Dr. Foreman's original position to ban children from riding dangerous ATV's is the unrelenting quest of Concerned Families for ATV Safety. Two of its founders, Sue Rabe and Carolyn Anderson, state that ATV's of any size are inappropriate for children. They warn other parents of the dangers in an attempt to spare them the tragedy they have suffered through the deaths of their children on ATVs. Also featured is Rachel Weintraub, Director and Senior Council of Consumer Federation of America, who challenges the Consumer Product Safety Commission for its failure to stem the alarming death and injury rate of children on ATVs.

Dr. Larry Foreman recognizes the uphill battle to protect children but is determined to see changes. He states "a half a loaf of bread is better than no bread at all".

No Record

Completely submerged vehicle without a driver. An OHV Dept. of Parks and Recreation ranger said the vehicle was "abandoned". She said that there was no driver to cite. OHV claims it is well managed. But it does not keep and share records. The fox guards the hen house... and the endangered species in the creek.