Is It Wise to Allow Night Hiking and Biking in SLO?

Photo of a Bicyclist Riding His Bike

The San Luis Obispo City Council is considering opening up Cerro San Luis for nighttime hiking and biking. Is it a good idea?

The council is mulling approval on a pilot program that would allow limited after-dark recreation on the peak. The two-year pilot program would extend Cerro San Luis hours to 8:30 p.m. between November 5 and March 11. All other city open spaces would keep the same hours as usual, opening one hour before sunrise and closing one hour after sunset.

Proponents of the plan say that opening up the trail would allow people to enjoy nature after getting off work, which, during the winter, means getting off as the sun is setting. However, there are plenty of opponents. One argument against opening the peak is that human activity would disturb the native fauna that are active at night, such as owls, deer and mountain lions.

But perhaps the strongest argument against the proposal is the potential for more accidents. People would be more likely at night to suffer injuries while hiking or biking, and this increase in injuries could create unnecessary strain on emergency responders.

As of the most recent reporting, the City Council is split 3-2 in favor of the program. How do you feel about opening up Cerro San Luis for limited nighttime recreation? Or is the disturbance to the environment and wildlife plus the potential for serious accidents more trouble than it’s worth? Sound off in the comments.

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