California Planning Major Dust Control Initiative at Popular State Park

In Dust Control, EK35®, Unpaved Roads by Frank Elswick

Off-roading is a popular pastime at one California State Park, but the surrounding community is fed up with all of the dust it produces.

The idea of a government-protected park may conjure images of the pines at Yosemite or the geysers at Yellowstone, but at the Oceano Dunes, sand is king. Located just outside of San Luis Obispo, the park is a five-and-a-half mile expanse of coastal sand dunes that attracts over two million visitors every year — mostly surfers, horseback riders, and off-road enthusiasts.

Unfortunately, these activities kick up quite a lot of dust. As California’s most popular destination for off-road driving, the Oceano Dunes often produce heavy volumes of fugitive emissions, which tend to float downwind and settle amongst the communities just south of the park. After years of complaints from local residents, the state’s Parks Department finally launched a five-year dust control plan that should dramatically reduce dust emissions throughout the Dunes, in turn ensuring that visitors and locals alike can continue to enjoy them.

Health Concerns and Closures

Dust is a longstanding issue for the towns surrounding the Dunes, the only California State Park that allows visitors to drive on the beach. Indeed, the American Lung Association recently sent a letter to the San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District expressing concern about the problem and urging it to take steps to minimize dust emissions throughout the park.

The implementation of the new plan — which Air Pollution Control District Director Gary Willey promised would result in “the most significant mitigation [of dust] to date” — entails the closure of 20 acres of the park’s off-roading area. Over the course of the project, California State Parks officials and the Air Pollution Control District will together reseed the closed area with native plants that will anchor the sandy dunes, install 40 acres of wind fencing, and close off a three-acre “experimental area.” The first steps of the plan were approved by the Coastal Commission in a unanimous vote in early February.

Why the Park Should Consider Patented Dust Control Products

State parks like the Oceano Dunes aren’t the only places plagued with dust. Mines, wind farms, and rural areas with unpaved roads are just a few of the sites where fugitive particles run amok. While the restorative measures they’re taking represent a step in the right direction, the proper application of industry-leading dust control products would dramatically reduce emissions throughout the park.

For over four decades, Midwest Industrial Supply, Inc. has worked with companies, townships, and public authorities around the world to develop customized application programs backed by our patented dust suppressants. When applied correctly, our industry-leading products EK35® and EnviroKleen® settle into the surface and bind with the aggregate to secure fines in place, capturing dust as soon as it’s generated while reinforcing the roadbed. Designed to withstand regular traffic and foul weather, they eliminate dust for months at a time without requiring reapplication.

Whether you’re managing a popular park or unpaved village roads, Midwest can offer a comprehensive, turnkey solution tailored to address your specific dust-related challenges.

Frank is the sales unit manager of Midwest's road construction and natural paving markets.