The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) closed down the Bump and Grind Trail in Palm Desert California on June 27, 2011. According to the DFG, the closure is necessary for necessary to encourage endangered peninsular bighorn sheep to return and raise their young.
The Bump and Grind Trail is one of the Coachella Valley’s most popular trails and is known by several different names including Desert Drive Trail, Patton Trail, Desert Mirage Trail and Dog Poop Trail.
More than 200 people use the trail daily and according to the DFG, “human presence is disturbing groups of ewes that are caring for their young nearby.”
“We understand why (the hikers) are unhappy about this (closure), but we’re not going to take any proactive action,” said Andrew Hughan, a spokesman for the DFG in Sacramento. Anyone caught in the closed section of the trail could be cited and could face a misdemeanor and up to a year in jail.
I support the hikers because I don’t believe a handful of hikers are a threat to the sheep. It is more likely due to the hillside development that has made a lot of people very wealthy.
Stephen Thewlis, a hiker who is organizing the protest, said, “Hikers have some rights too. Until they can really show that the high mortality of new-born lambs is due to people rather than disease and predators, until that is made absolutely scientifically clear then the rights of the people should prevail,”
Photo credit: Jessica E. Davis