Gov. Brown signs bill to close Bump and Grind Trail

Gov. Brown signs bill to close Bump and Grind Trail

PALM DESERT, Calif. - With temperatures back in the double digits, the desert's popular hiking spot, the Bump and Grind Trail, is seeing its fair share of foot traffic.  

"I hike here about three to four times a week," said valley resident Rick Feliciano. 

"I come every week," said Laura Vieyra, another valley resident.

But they will only be able to hike this trail in the cooler weather until February. That's when the park closes to the public for three months.  

Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1097 Saturday, making it an annual closure.  The bill, authored by Brian Nestande, also calls for allocating at least $100,000 to monitoring bighorn sheep in the area.

"If it's closed I believe it's a very good thing for the bighorns, because it would actually make their population bigger for the endangered species," said Jaime Gonzalez-Torres, a first-time hiker at the Bump and Grind Trail. 

We received this statement from Andrew Hughan at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife:

"The department appreciates all efforts by the legislature and the people who use the Bump and Grind Trail to leave these three months to allow the lambs to be born and have a good start at life. These magnificent and endangered sheep are an important and historical part of the Coachella Valley heritage and this bill helps them continue to thrive there."  

Some people we spoke with said they aren't worried about staying active during those three months.

"There are a lot of extracurricular activities you can do.  You can bike around, you can play basketball, there's a lot of stuff out here," Gonzalez-Toress said. 

But some avid hikers say the inconvenience of closing the two-mile trail will far outweigh the potential advantages.

"It is upsetting because a lot of us here, locals, we appreciate our desert landscape and nature. we come out here often," Vieyra said.

"This is a community where everybody is active.  People hike, they hike all over. This is easy, it's quick, it's something easily accessible," said Donna Cooper, a frequent hiker at the trail.

And many are worried about where the $100,000 will come from.

"I think the money can be used in better places," Cooper said. 

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