Two local lawmakers are pushing a bill in California to keep the practice of closing the top third of the Bump and Grind trail in Rancho Mirage each year from February 1 to April 30. As this is the most popular time of the year for hiking in the Coachella Valley, many residents question why this has to be a thing. Those who are pushing for the closure say it has to be done because it is lambing season for the bighorn sheep – without offering much in the way of evidence.
In a press release about Assembly Bill 661, which he coauthored with Representative Eduardo Garcia, Assemblyman Chad Mayes says that closing the trail for part of the year is a good compromise.
“Hundreds of people each day enjoy the beauty of the Coachella Valley on the Bump and Grind trail,” Mayes says in the release. “This bill preserves access to public lands that Californians expect while maintaining protections for sensitive wildlife.”
Without the new bill by Mayes and Garcia, the Bump and Grind would have to shut down for the entire year. So, yeah, I suppose this bill is better than nothing – and, for anyone who has hiked the Bump and Grind recently, you know that everyone on the trail obeys the closed sign.
But why does the trail have to be shut down at all?
Eddie Konno, senior environmental scientist with the California Fish and Wildlife Bermuda Dunes office told the Desert Sun that his office has documents related to bighorn sheep sightings in the area.
“We have documented sightings of ewes and lambs at the (Bump and Grind) gate area” during that time, Konno told the newspaper.
Should we shut that place down for three months every year too?