BLM California News.bytes 
News.bytes Extra, issue 561

Imperial Sand Dunes Prepares for New Year’s Holiday

a cart runs across the face of a sand dune
A new California State Law regulating the use of Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles (ROV) will take effect on January 1, 2013.  Visitors are reminded to be prepared for these changes over the New Year's Holiday weekend.  Photo:  BLM/B. Lasell

With another big weekend right around the corner, staff at the Imperial Sand Dunes are preparing for what is typically the second largest holiday of the duning season – New Year’s Eve.  And with a big change in store for operators and passengers of Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles (ROV) about to take effect on January 1, 2013, now is the time to figure out what is needed to stay safe, and legal.

Visitors are reminded that a new California State Law regulating the use of Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles (ROV) becomes effective on the first day of the New Year.  California AB1595 requires all occupants in a ROV (also known as sideXside) to wear a safety harness or shoulder/lap belt, helmets, be 16+ years old or directly supervised in vehicle to operate, and all passengers able to grasp the handhold while properly restrained.

ATV Safety Certification classes will also be offered over the New Year’s holiday weekend.  Two classes will be offered on Saturday, December 29th at the Glamis Flats location (Vendor Row 2), one at 9:00am and another at 1:00pm.    Visitors in the south dunes will find classes at Duner’s Diner (Gordon’s Well) on December 29, 30, and 31st, with classes starting each day at 9:00am. Classes are free to California residents aged 6-17, and attendance satisfies required rider safety training. Visitors are encouraged to register in advance at 800-887-2887 for the class, as they often fill up.  To see a complete list of scheduled ATV classes at the dunes, please visit  The classes are provided through a partnership with the American Desert Foundation (ADF), helping to fulfill objectives of BLM CA’s Strategic Framework, and working towards increasing public safety.

For more information on the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area, please call 760-337-4400 or visit, or .  For more information on California State Laws regulating the use of Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles (ROV) please visit

an instructor raises his arms to direct ATV students
Students line up for instructor at the Thanksgiving ATV class in the south dunes.  Photo:  BLM/J. Szalwinski

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

BLM California News.bytes, issue 561 -- To subscribe to News.bytes, send an e-mail to: OR visit our News.bytes subscription page.