Governor Signs Bill to Close Portion of Bump and Grind Trail
Photo: Video by kmir6.com
PALM DESERT - It's a story we've been following for a while now. Fish and Game closed off part of the Bump and Grind Trail because of the endangered Peninsular Bighorn Sheep. Many people spoke against the controversial closure. Local legislators made a bill to re-open it for part of the year and now the bill has been signed by the governor.
Governor Brown signed the bill that will require a portion of the trail in Palm Desert to be closed three months out of the year. Some call it the most beautiful part of the trail. "The top is gorgeous. I mean you can see the entire desert from it. It's just breathtaking,” says Indio resident Kerri Compton.
During February, March and April, the Bighorn migrate through the area. "It doesn't matter weather or not it's closed. People are still going to go to the top,” says Bermuda Dunes resident Vickie Kearney.
If caught, you will be ticketed but resident Kearney says it's worth it. "Me, myself, I have already gotten fined. I don't care. You pay it and you go back up. That’s just how it is,” says Kearney.
Others say they’re not willing to risk it. "As beautiful as it is at the top, I wouldn't risk paying the fine,” says Compton.
The area will be blocked off by the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Compton says she tends to trust the research that says being near the sheep can be harmful to their habitat or can cause disease. "If that's what they're saying and they do all the research behind it then I would tend to believe them and I wouldn't want to endanger them for personal sport,” says Compton.
Still, she says it wouldn't be a problem if the public simply respected the wildlife space. "I usually am in my zone and I don't make a lot of noise, so I really don't see how it's harmful to them,” says Compton.
Perhaps, the most controversial part of the bill is that it calls for spending between $100,000-$500,000 on monitoring the Bighorn as they pass through. "Between $100,000 and $500,000? No, there's no reason for that. Spend it on something else,” says Kearney.
"I think it should be going somewhere else. That doesn’t seem like money well spent,” says Compton.
Money well spent or not, the bill is signed and for some remains a pointless endeavor. "They'll just go somewhere else. I got pictures on my phone of Bighorn Sheep at the top and they could care less about us and there are babies with them,” adds Kearney.