In the interest of public health and safety, airborne particulate matter is just one consideration regarding the Oceano Dunes. A recent Tribune dedicated not one but two columns to the subject, due primarily to the State Parks vs. Air Pollution Control District issue. I am happy to see that Dunes-related health topics continue to receive print coverage.
I feel that there is another very important issue that should be up for discussion — the toll in physical injury related to ATV accidents.
Not long ago, there was a paramedic, Christopher Meadows, who lost his life on the Dunes while riding an ATV in an attempt to rescue another rider — a terrible tragedy that was completely avoidable. In 2007, there were 218 Dunes-related ATV accidents, four of which resulted in death. Those are some serious numbers that reflect the dangerous nature of off-roading.
The Tribune regularly reports, by way of the Freedom of Information Act, patient attacks on the nursing staff at Atascadero State Hospital, which is important information for the public to know. I feel that regular reporting of the statistics for personal injury on the Dunes would be equally important.