PALM DESERT, Calif. - A bill to clarify the conditions of opening the upper part of a popular Coachella Valley hiking trail was passed by the state Assembly today.
Assembly Bill 1097 -- which relates to the Mirage Hiking Trail known as the "Bump & Grind" -- unanimously passed, according to Assemblyman Brian Nestande's office.
The legislation states that the trail in the Rancho Mirage-Palm Desert area will be open from May through January and closed for three months from February through April, which is the lambing season for the local Peninsular bighorn sheep.
As part of an agreement in another bill, AB 880, a local entity will manage the signs along the trail, and will put up a gate at the top of the trail so hikers don't go down the back of the mountain, according to Nestande's office.
"While everyone agreed on the months the trail would be open and closed during the lambing season for the bighorn sheep, as we moved through the process, it was determined that we needed to specify the exact months in statute in order to avoid a lengthy and costly (environmental quality) study," said Nestande, R-Palm Desert.
AB 1097 will go to the Senate, where it will be heard in the Natural Resources Committee.
AB 880, which re-opened the upper part of the trail to hikers for nine months of the year, was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in September and took effect in January.
The upper portion of the trail was closed in 2011 by California game officials because it was deemed an important bighorn sheep lambing area.