CREATED Sep. 25, 2012
Governor Brown signed two bills Tuesday that impact outdoor recreation areas in the Coachella Valley.
One provides funding to keep all state parks open for the next two years, including the Salton Sea State Park.
And another re-opens the top of the popular Bump and Grind Trail for nine months of the year.
Soon hikers will be able to stretch their legs a little longer, the top of the Bump and Grind Trail will re-open.
"I'm thrilled, I mean all of us just come up here to get some exercise and to enjoy the outdoors and I don't think any of us are here to hurt the bighorn sheep," said Palm Desert resident, Diana Weiss.
Endangered bighorn sheep are the reason Fish and Game closed the last half mile of the popular trail over a year ago.
But there was a large public outcry, and even a lawsuit filed against Fish and Game to show the lambing areas.
Local Assemblymen Brian Nestande and Manuel Perez authored the bill to re-open the trail.
"A lot of people were concerned, so when you have that many people concerned about an issue, it's our responsibility as legislators to act, and since I could not get the Fish and Game to change their opinion, the one option I do have is to write legislation to change that," said Assemblyman Brian Nestande.
The top of the trail will officially reopen on January 1st, but it will be closed February, March and April for lambing season.
"I think it should be open all the time, I don't think they need to close it," said Richard, a Palm Desert resident.
But Fish and Game told us those months are important for bighorn lambing, they will also be working with cities to put up fencing and signs to tell people about the seasonal closures and bighorn sheep.
"I think it's really too bad that it took so many different people and lawsuits to get to this point, and I think the people that hike out here and love the desert should make sure that they stay vigilant, make sure public lands are kept open for the public to hike in," said La Quinta resident, Kerry Leavitt.
Some people hiked the last half mile anyways, but not Palm Desert mother and daughter hiking team, Laurie Mallory and Ashley Newton.
"I didn't want to risk it, because I didn't want to get a ticket, but now I think I might do it for that extra mile," said Ashley.
"It's beautiful views, and I think that's what people miss the most, I mean really you can go up and down twice to get the same effect, but the views from the top are spectacular," said Laurie.
And soon the path will again be clear, so people can feast their eyes on the spectacular views.
And co-author of the bill, Assemblyman Manuel Perez said "This compromise strikes a good balance that enables people to use the trail for recreation, while still being respectful of the wildlife..."