After closing once again in December due to concerns about visitors not following COVID-19 public health guidelines, SLO County's Pismo Preserve is now reopened, but with limited hours.
Both locals and tourists are once again enjoying the trails at the Pismo Preserve after its reopening Monday, though finding a parking spot is proving tricky for some.
“I’m not surprised, because I think everyone should be out enjoying it," Bay Area vistor Jeannetter Tyler said. "But it is full, it's exciting to see.”
It’s their first time checking out the Pismo Preserve for visitors Jeannette Tyler and Chuck Dobbs, who stopped along the coast after a business trip, looking for something open during the current shutdown.
“The clerk at the hotel told us the nature preserve is open today so we were excited to come check it out,” Tyler said.
For the time being, the Preserve is open Monday through Friday from dawn till dusk, but it’s still closed weekends in an effort to reduce crowds and avoid an influx of visitors, according to the area's manager, the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County.
Dobbs said he believes hiking is one of the few activities people are safely able to do during the pandemic, and he hopes it continues to stay open.
“Being a business owner, I feel for these businesses that are closed," Dobbs said. "I think anything to get people out of the house, since gyms are closed, what other exercise are we getting?”
Kailia Dettman with the Land Conservancy said all hikers must have a mask on them and put it on when passing other hikers.
Complaints of people not wearing masks and gathering in large groups prompted the closure of the Preserve last month, and Dettman said staff will be monitoring to ensure visitors are complying with the rules.
Tyler and Dobbs said they’ve come prepared with masks, and that although the trails are busy, they feel the layout is ideal to avoid getting too close to others.
“The fact they have one way trails, it's working to keep people safe,” Tyler said.
The Land Conservancy encourages people to check out its social media accounts for ongoing updates as the pandemic continues.