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News.bytes Extra, issue 498

El Centro’s LTVA and Imperial Sand Dunes season begins!

riders on dirt bikes and ATVs pause at the base of towering sand dunes
OHV enthusiasts dwarfed by the Imperial Sand Dunes. Photo: BLM/Jim Shepard.

A new season begins in September for the El Centro Field Office.  Whether you are a snowbird longing for the temperate climate the desert offers, or a duner pining for the sand hills, the El Centro Field Office has something for you.

Every year, thousands of visitors come to enjoy the natural beauty and recreational opportunities offered at BLM’s Long Term Visitor Areas (LTVA), where visitors may camp for as long as seven months.  The Hot Springs, Pilot Knob and Tamarisk LTVAs open for winter visitors on Thursday, September 15.  Visitors wishing to stay in an LTVA for the entire season (through April 15) are required to purchase a long term permit for $180.  Visitors may also opt for any number of short term (two week) permits for $40.  Permits may be purchased on site or at the El Centro Field Office.

The Imperial Sand Dunes launches the new season when its ranger stations open on Friday, September 30. Both the Cahuilla and Buttercup Ranger Stations (north and south dunes, respectively) will staff park rangers available to provide both information and emergency medical services to dunes’ visitors. Fee permits may be purchased at the ranger stations at the on-site price of $120 for a season, and $40 for a weekly.  Visitors can save money by purchasing fee permits off-site or on-line at $90 for a season, and $25 for a weekly.

When recreating on public lands, please remember that safety is your first priority.  For more information on LTVA camping or the Imperial Sand Dunes, please visit www.blm.gov/ca/elcentro or call 760.337.4400.

Visitors around and in a swimming pool with palm trees in the background
Visitors enjoy the pool at Hot Springs LTVA.

- Joya  Szalwinski, interpretive park ranger, BLM El Centro Field Office, Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area, 8/23/11

BLM-California News.bytes, issue 498 -- To subscribe to News.bytes, send an e-mail to: mailto:Join-Newsbytes@List.ca.blm.gov OR visit our News.bytes subscription page.

Last updated: 09-16-2011