BLM California News.bytes 
News.bytes Extra, issue 549

El Centro’s LTVA and Imperial Sand Dunes Season Begins!

A new season begins in September for the BLM’s 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 opened for winter visitors on Saturday, 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 BLM El Centro Field Office.  Visitors interested in volunteering as on-site campground hosts should contact Dallas Meeks at 760-337-4453 or  A host position is currently available at the Pilot Knob LTVA.

The Imperial Sand Dunes launches the new season when its ranger stations open on Friday, October 12. Both the Cahuilla and Buttercup Ranger Stations (north and south dunes, respectively) will be staffed with park rangers 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.

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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 or call 760.337.4400.

Off-road vehicle riders on a dirt trail through the desert
Winter visitors enjoy off-highway vehicle recreation east of the Imperial Sand Dunes.  Contact the El Centro Field Office for more information on how to obtain a map of “BLM Routes of Travel for Eastern Imperial County.”

off-road riders among towering sand dunes
OHV enthusiasts dwarfed by the Imperial Sand Dunes. Photo: BLM/Jim Shepard.

- Joya Szalwinski, Interpretive Park Ranger, BLM El Centro Field Office / Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area (September 2012)

BLM California News.bytes, issue 549 -- To subscribe to News.bytes, send an e-mail to: OR visit our News.bytes subscription page.