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