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KCBX News Update: King tides lead to canceled camping reservations at Oceano Dunes, and SLO County urges action amid Omicron news

Randol White - KCBX News

King tides in SLO County lead CA State Parks to cancel camping reservations at Oceano Dunes

Extreme high and low tides known as “king tides” are coming back to the Central Coast this weekend.

The phenomenon has led California State Parks to cancel hundreds of camping reservations until Dec. 6 and possibly restrict day use at the dunes.

On Saturday morning, the high tide is predicted to reach seven feet at Port San Luis.

Jim Suty is president of Friends of Oceano Dunes, which advocates for vehicular access there.

“It’s a knee-jerk reaction out of fear, and it is not appropriate to punish the citizens for whom the state park was established for,” Suty said.

In a statement, California State Parks said it “appreciates visitor understanding of these natural conditions and occurrences and the temporary impacts to park operations” and says all reservation holders have been contacted directly and provided with refunds.

Friends of Oceano Dunes has also filed several lawsuits challenging the California Coastal Commission’s vote to phase out off-highway vehicle access.

Public Information Officer for the California Coastal Commission Noaki Schwartz told KCBX News the agency is unable to comment on the ongoing litigation.

California State Parks will also hold a Facebook livestream event about the king tides on Friday, Dec. 3 from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

That will be available at facebook.com/CaliforniaStateParks.

SLO County Public Health urges vaccination after discovery of Omicron in CA

The Omicron variant of COVID-19 has now been identified in California, and SLO County health officials are encouraging residents to strengthen their protection against COVID-19 in order to avert a potential winter surge.

Dr. Penny Borenstein, County Health Officer said in a press release Thursday: “It’s a matter of time before Omicron reaches our community and while this is not cause for panic, it is cause for action. There’s much we don’t yet know about it but we do know how to protect ourselves.”

Those actions include getting vaccinated, wearing a mask, social distancing and getting tested for COVID-19, according to Borenstein.

More information is available at readyslo.org.

Benjamin Purper was News Director of KCBX from May of 2021 to September of 2023. He came from California’s Inland Empire, where he spent three years as a reporter and Morning Edition host at KVCR in San Bernardino. Dozens of his stories have aired on KQED’s California Report, and his work has broadcast on NPR's news magazines, as well. In addition to radio, Ben has worked as a newspaper reporter and freelance writer.
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