Assemblymen Stand Together on Bump and Grind
There's a heated debate brewing in the Coachella Valley and at the center of it all: Big Horn Sheep.
There's a section of the popular Bump and Grind trail closed off oo protect the big horn sheep in the area, and it's been blocked since the summer of 2011, but hikers have been protesting the clousure ever since. Now they have local legislators on their side.
Assemblymen Brian Nestande and V. Manuel Perez are introducing a bill that would force back open the top of the Bump and Grind trail in Palm Desert, which the Department of Fish and Game closed off to protect big horn sheep in June 2011.
"For the last few months we've been trying to negotiate, trying to get them to listen to this, but they've refused. That's why we've had to come up with legislation," said Nestande.
The legislators say they've recieved hundreds of calls and emails from avid hikers. The question at hand: Do humans even pose a risk to the sheep on the trail?
"What we are saying to the public and the Department of Fish and Game, is if that's the case then show us the evidence. Show us the data that demonstrates that this is a lambing area," said Perez, "Up to this point we have not seen it."
It's unclear how effective the closure has been. Hundreds of people use the trail each and every week and when many get to the top, they ignore the "keep out" sign and go right on past it.
"The number of times we've been here we've never seen big horn sheep there because it's such a busy trail. . .So we kind of reasoned it and I guess we broke the rules," said Dave Fairey, who says he hikes the trail.
But Ashely Sarazya says she has evidence enough to keep out. Pictures of big horn sheep she snapped on her phone.
"The big horn sheep should have their land," said Sarazua."They've been here before us."