SEMA and EcoLogic Partners sue to protect motorized access at Oceano Dunes SVRA.

SEMA, in collaboration with EcoLogic Partners, a legal alliance comprising the Off-Road Business Association (ORBA), American Sand Association, and American Motorcyclist Association District 37, is filing a joint lawsuit challenging the plans of the California Coastal Commission to ban motorized recreational activities and overnight camping at the Oceano Dunes State Vehicle Recreation Area (SVRA). The lawsuit is scheduled for a hearing on June 15, 2023, at the California Superior Court of San Luis Obispo County.

The objective of SEMA and EcoLogic Partners is to contest the authority of the California Coastal Commission to terminate off-highway vehicle (OHV) use and beach camping at the Oceano Dunes SVRA, a location that is authorized by the state and sanctioned by legislation. This lawsuit is being combined with another suit filed by Friends of Oceano Dunes, which shares similar allegations.

SEMA, ORBA, ASA, and AMA are prominent advocates for motorized recreational activities, and the upcoming hearing holds significant importance in the ongoing endeavor to safeguard access to motorized recreation in California and across the United States.

The Oceano Dunes SVRA is a highly sought-after destination for motorized recreation enthusiasts and tourists due to its unique feature of direct access to the Pacific Ocean. For many years, individuals engaged in various motorized activities, ranging from trucks and SUVs to dune buggies and quads, on the California beach. However, these recreational opportunities are now jeopardized by the amendments made by the Coastal Commission in March 2021 to Coastal Development Permit 4-82-300, which demands the phasing out of OHV access to Oceano Dunes SVRA by 2024.

Mike Spagnola, President and CEO of SEMA, stated the organization’s commitment to advocating for land-use policies that allow responsible motorized recreational access to publicly owned lands while ensuring the protection of natural resources. Spagnola argues that the Coastal Commission’s efforts to curtail off-road access at Oceano Dunes are unreasonable and establish a concerning precedent. With over two million enthusiasts and tourists enjoying Oceano Dunes annually, SEMA is determined to protect their rights to responsibly recreate on California’s coast and public lands throughout the country.

The Honorable Tana Coates will preside over the June 15 hearing, and a final decision is expected in July or August. Depending on the outcome, any further appeals could prolong the litigation for an additional 10-13 months.

The trial court’s decision holds immense significance for SEMA and EcoLogic Partners in their mission to preserve motorized recreational access at Oceano Dunes.


About Ralph Guerra 76 Articles
Ralph Guerra is the associate editor for Ralph grew up in Southern California's car culture and quickly became infatuated with anything and everything V8. Whether it was a 63 Fairlane with a 289 or a Gt500 with a supercharged 5.4, if it was a V8 he wanted to drive it--fast.

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