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SLO Land Conservancy says the Pismo Preserve will likely be closed for weeks after winter storm

Pismo Preserve after storm
SLO Land Conservancy
A view of the Pismo Preserve on Thursday, Jan 5.

The San Luis Obispo Land Conservancy has closed the Pismo Preserve after the bomb cyclone that hit the Central Coast this week. The preserve will likely stay closed for a few weeks, until the weather dries up and trails are usable again.

Dylan Theobald is the SLO Land Conservancy’s stewardship manager. He said the preserve is closed to protect public safety and prevent damage to the trails.

“The soil at the Pismo Preserve gets really sticky when it rains, and so the trails aren't even that fun to be on when they're wet. Using them when they're wet can damage the trails and cause erosion," he said.

Theobald said the trails are designed to handle rain, so they aren’t in danger unless trespassers use the trails while they’re wet. That can erode the trail and create a mess.

“We usually do expect some people to trespass, but we encourage people in the community as good stewards to follow the rules," he said.

Randol White
Heavy rain can bring California poppies to the Central Coast in the spring.

The Land Conservancy oversees other preserves like the Santa Rita Ranch in SLO County’s North Coast and the Lower San Luis Obispo Creek Floodplain. Theobald said the floodplain benefits from heavy rain, which restores its wetlands.

“Once that floodwater recedes, you can drive down San Luis Bay Drive and you'll see some ponds. There's usually a lot of birds that hang out in the pond, so it's a good bird watching spot.”

Theobald said rain brings another benefit to the preserves once spring rolls around: wildflowers.

“[It's] still a little early to tell — I think we just exceeded the amount of rain we received last year, so that's good. We still got a couple more months of potential rain, so it should be a good spring," he said.

Theobald said the Pismo Preserve will likely be closed for at least two weeks until the trails are usable again.

The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo’s website is

Benjamin Purper came to KCBX in May of 2021 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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