Over the years there have been many versions of history about Friends of Oceano.
In the early 1990's I had been working very closely with State Parks, SLO County and the Coastal Commission to bring about positive management at then Pismo SVRA.
Parks wanted a grassroots movement to find a way for visitors and local and regional business to be a part of the management equation for the dunes. Local park support was at a low and this avenue was intended to boost acceptance of the park and the positive contributions visitors make to the area.
Ed Waldheim of CORVA, Jerry Johnson of Parks and I met with the Poly Goats 4x4 Club of Cal Poly SLO to find a way to enhance this effort. It was decided to expand the movement and launch Friends of Pismo!
I dug out some old In Gears to find the history in print. There are two articles from 1993 when I was President of Cal4. One speaks of the founding meeting where Cal4 accepted the leadership role with then natural Resource Consultant Gene Struebing being appointed lead and Suzy Johnson doing the recordkeeping and database. The other is from Gene's article the next month outlining the success of our first effort with a post card campaign. Very little internet in 1993!
Friends of Pismo continued for seven years with success after success, culminating in the three-way acceptance between Parks, SLO County and the California Coastal Commission (CCC) on Carrying Capacity for the Park. This set visitor and camping limits for the Park. During this time, issues around Oso Flaco lake and coastal access to the area south of the Park were settled. The front-page cover shot from 2000 is a Free Admission Day at the Park where Friends led dune tours for locals and the press to showcase the balanced management at the newly renamed park Oceano Dunes SVRA. This was at a time when bird issues were at the top of the list.
Our last success was the establishment of a technical review team that was fashioned after the highly successful ones at Dumont Dunes and Glamis.
With my appointment to the OHV Commission, the conflict of interest caused me to have to hand off the Friends of Oceano to Ed Waldheim. His recruitment of Jim Suty in 2001 opened a new chapter for the organization. The fourth article is about their revitalization of the existing efforts.
It has taken monumental efforts for many people and organizations to keep Oceano open. Cal4 has been at the forefront of these efforts with leadership, volunteers, and funding.