PALM DESERT – A bill calling for the annual closing of the popular Bump and Grind Trail in Palm Desert for three months was signed into law over the weekend by Gov. Jerry Brown.
The legislation the governor signed Saturday would also earmark at least $100,000 to monitor the endangered Peninsular bighorn sheep by 2018.
State Assemblyman Brian Nestande, R-Palm Desert, authored Assembly Bill 1097 that would close the trail, once-known as the Mirage Trail, from February through April and remain open for the rest of the year.
Nestande has said his legislation corrects, or “cleans” up, another bill approved last year that didn’t include the wording about the closure, according to The Desert Sun.
The sheep has been at the center of heated contention by avid hikers, who decried a move in 2011 by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for its installation of a gate atop of the trail west of Highway 111 near the Palm Desert-Rancho Mirage border.
The decision was aimed at protecting the Peninsular bighorn sheep from people in an area where they are know to give birth. Hikers claimed the state agency didn’t have enough evidence regarding sheep populations to justify its decision, the Sun reported.