State reminds drivers to stay on hard sand
State fish and wildlife managers are reminding people who drive on the state’s ocean beaches to stay away from vulnerable species such as razor clams and snowy plovers.
Many ocean beaches are open to motor vehicles, but drivers are required to follow the “rules of the road,” said Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Under state law, all vehicles – and horses – are required to travel along the extreme upper limit of the hard sand, he said. When in doubt, follow the path marked by multiple tire tracks.
Drivers who veer from that path pose a direct threat to fish and wildlife. Tiny razor clams, feeding just below the wet sand close to the surf, can easily be crushed by the weight of passing vehicles. So can snowy plovers, which typically nest in the dry sand farther up the beach.
Drivers who violate state laws on beaches can face a fine of $87, said Mike Cenci, deputy chief of the department’s enforcement program. Fines can be much higher for killing a snowy plover, which are listed by the federal government as threatened and by the state as endangered.