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Dunes weekend numbers down
There were fewer camps at one local recreation spot this holiday weekend, according to a park official.
Attendance was down this past holiday weekend at the Imperial Sand Dunes.
David Briery, spokesman with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management Public Affairs Office, said he thinks it's because of the downturn in the economy.
Briery said there were 165,000 visitors to the dunes during the holiday weekend, compared with 172,000 during the 2008 Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
"We've been running almost 30 percent below last year's numbers," Briery said, "but not as big of a drop as we would have expected."
A good decrease came in the number of injuries when comparing this year to last year.
This year, there were 92 calls for medical attention compared with 102 last year, Briery said. And, he said, there were three fatalities last year during that same period and no fatalities this year.
Briery said one of the reasons in the decrease in injuries and fatalities could be an increased safety campaign by the BLM. That includes measures such as all-terrain vehicle classes and giving people safety information.
But safety is a constant concern, he said. "We're always looking out for people's safety and ensuring that if they do have an accident that they have medical attention quickly. And law enforcement is very keen on making sure everyone follows the rules and is safe."
One of the reasons so many people recreate during the holiday weekend is because they have some extra time off.
"More and more, the Imperial Sand Dunes is for family recreation," said Briery. "And Thanksgiving tends to be a family holiday and people want to do things with their family and friends.
"A lot of duners go year after year and they have a lot of friends in a lot of places ... and have a great four-day weekend."
Overall, Briery said, the holiday weekend went well.
"I think everyone was pleased."