Dear Ms. Missman:
We were disappointed to read in the Sept. 14 WOW version of Mustang News the “Top 10 Things to Do in San Luis Obispo” article that suggests overnight camping at Bishop Peak Natural Reserve: “If you’re feeling more ambitious than this Mustang News writer ever will, bring a sleeping bag and go camping upon the massive rock which encompasses the peak part of Bishop Peak…”
While this line may have been written in the spirit of adventure and discovery, we’d like to call attention to the fact that this activity is dangerous, impactful and illegal.
A brief search on the Mustang News website using the key words “Bishop Peak” returns the following as top hits: “Two climbers rescued from Bishop Peak. Update: The two young adults rescued from Bishop Peak on Sunday were Cal Poly students… ” (April 4, 2012) and “Update: Woman falls off Bishop Peak. An 18-year-old woman fell 30 feet off Bishop Peak and was transferred to Sierra Vista Hospital via helicopter Monday morning…” (Feb. 16, 2010). Incidents such as these, unfortunately, are not uncommon.
Wildlife species at Bishop Peak such as deer, bobcats, foxes and coyotes are most active at night. Human intrusion into their habitat at night has negative impacts and can result in these animals leaving the area. We know this because a Cal Poly senior project in biological sciences deployed wildlife game cameras at Bishop Peak that documented these species’ activity during the evening. Mountain lions have also been sighted at Bishop Peak. Conservation and protection of wildlife and natural habitat is the fundamental purpose for the City’s open space program.
Because of the dangers and impacts of night-time use, City of San Luis Obispo municipal code prohibits entry into any City open space from one hour after dusk until one hour before dawn. Those found in violation are subject to citation — it’s a $561 ticket — and the City’s Rangers are on patrol.
Robert A. Hill
Natural Resources Manager