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Imperial Sand Dunes Season Ramps Up With New Road, Increased Emphasis on Safety

The new season for off-highway vehicle enthusiasts at the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area opens with the newly constructed Wash Road and an increased emphasis on safety, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced today.

According to Vicki Wood, BLM El Centro Field Office manager, “The new road allows the public continued access to camping areas via street-legal vehicles south to Wash 25 from State Highway 78.” The new road has a speed limit of 15 mph and parallels a road on Union Pacific Railroad right-of-way that the public will no longer be able to use.

“Camping too close to Gecko Road, continues to be a safety concern,” says Wood. “Along this main transportation artery of the North Dunes, parking or camping within 10 feet of the road is prohibited. BLM rangers and the Imperial County Sheriff’s Office can issue tickets and tow vehicles to achieve compliance.”

“BLM,” Wood said, “will continue its education campaign to increase awareness and compliance of youth all-terrain vehicle (ATV) rider rules in effect since 1988. A rider course is offered throughout California and on-site at the Dunes during winter months. If a child is found to be riding without an ATV Safety Certificate or is unsupervised, the parent or guardian will be ticketed.”

California state law requires that all ATV riders under 18 years of age possess an ATV Safety Certificate issued by the state or be supervised by an adult possessing the certificate. All ATV riders under the age of 14 must be supervised by an adult. More information regarding the ATV RiderCourse, including free enrollment, can be found at or by calling the ATV Safety Institute, (800) 887-2887.

The Imperial Sand Dunes are the largest mass of sand dunes in California. They were formed by windblown sands of ancient Lake Cahuilla and extend more than 40 miles in a dune system averaging five miles in width. More than a million off-highway vehicle enthusiasts recreate annually on the dunes, which can rise more than 300 feet above the desert floor. The dunes also offer unique scenery, as well as opportunities for solitude and viewing rare plants and animals.

More information about the Imperial Sand Dunes can be found at:

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