Pismo Preserve closed until further noticed due to inadequate social distancing

Pismo Preserve closed until further noticed due to inadequate social distancing

The Pismo Preserve is closed until further notice, due to concerns about the recreation area's capacity for adequate social distancing among visitors, the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County announced Monday. 

The preserve has been extremely popular since opening to the public Jan. 25, attracting thousands of bikers, hikers and horseback riders to the 900-acre property that ranges from Shell Beach to Price Canyon east and above Pismo Beach. 

The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County purchased the property for $12 million in 2014 to prevent its development and preserve it in perpetuity for passive recreation and educational uses

After the statewide shelter-at-home order went into place, visitors have continued to crowd the area's parking lot and restrooms and clogged the trails, compromising social distancing requirements. 

"The Land Conservancy has determined that due to the design of the trails, constraints of the parking lot and restrooms, and the numbers of visitors we have seen in the last few days, the Pismo Preserve does not provide adequate opportunity for social distancing," said Kaila Dettman, Land Conservancy executive director. 

The preserve will likely reopen once the shelter-at-home order in San Luis Obsipo County is lifted, Dettman said. 

In the meantime, members of the public are encouraged to continue exercising in other areas outside, while also being considerate of the health of others by practicing social distancing. 

Laura Place covers city government for the Santa Maria Times.

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