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Environmentalists Try To Limit Off-Road Vehicle Use At Ocotillo Wells

A Superior Court judge is allowing a challenge to an open-riding policy at Ocotillo Wells off-road vehicle park.

A California judge is allowing a lawsuit to move forward that aims to protect natural and cultural resources in one of the state's largest off-road vehicle parks.

Desert Protective Council

Sign in the sand at Ocotillo Wells asks riders to stay away from area so plants can rehabilitate.

The Desert Protective Council has worked for years to keep vehicles on marked trails at the Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area. The park spans 85,000 acres in the Imperial County desert. The landscape is dry, but has creosote and ambrosia plants and the park has several Native American cultural sites.

The Desert Protective Council's Terry Weiner is among those trying to eliminate the park's open-riding policy. That policy allows off-road vehicles to go anywhere inside the park.

"We have been pointing out to them, their own staff reports saying that this open-riding policy is really degrading the resources out there," Weiner said.

California Department of Parks officials did not return calls seeking comment. State officials had asked the judge to dismiss the case, which the judge refused to do. The case could go to trial this fall.

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