Tips for making weekend in sun and sand more fun
One of the two holidays that bring the largest crowds to the Imperial Sand Dunes west of Yuma is happening this weekend.
According to U.S. Bureau of Land Management surveys, as many as 200,000 people may turn out at the dunes for the three-day Presidents Day weekend.
If you happen to be one of them, Michael Sommer, media affairs chairman for the American Sand Association, has a few reminders to help duners enjoy their fun in the sun and sand.
"It is really important to follow all of the rules," Sommer said. "This weekend is considered one of the more popular three-day weekends."
First and foremost, Sommer said it is important to get a permit, because if you don't have one, the BLM rangers and Imperial County sheriff's deputies will give you a ticket.
Duners can get their permits from any of the vendors along vendor row once they arrive at the dunes.
Sommer suggested picking up a map of the dunes from one of the ranger stations or kiosks once there because they have all the rules and regulations printed on them.
He also wanted to remind duners coming from Arizona to get an out-of-state visitor sticker, which can also be purchased from any of the vendors.
"It will probably prevent you from getting stopped by law enforcement and having your vehicle impounded."
It would also be a good idea, according to Sommer, to carry some sort of proof of ownership for your vehicle. "You can keep it under your seat or in a backpack."
Sommer also said it is important to have a whip antenna with a flag, because it is a safety feature, and not to have any glass containers of any type.
According to the BLM, there were at least 100 calls for medical services during the last year's Presidents Day weekend.
There was also one fatality. A Yuma man was killed in a dunebuggy accident after he drove at a high rate of speed over the edge of a dune in Glamis and dropped about 60 feet to the ground.
Sommer said BLM has asked the ASA to let its members know that they should avoid using the entrance at wash 24 and instead use the entrance at wash 25.
Also, the entrances through the fence at washes 11, 12, 13, and 14 are a little narrow (about 15 feet), so dunes visitors should exercise care if using them.
Finally, access to camping areas in washes 1-7 can be gotten to on BLM land without using the railroad access road at all.
BLM has also changed the message on the electronic sign at Glamis to indicate that the gaps are 15 feet, not 10 feet, and replaced "Warning" with "Use Caution."
BLM is also asking duners to report anyone they see vandalizing the fences put up by the Union Pacific Railroad along Wash Road.
James Gilbert can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6854.