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News Release

For Release: December 20, 2006
Contact: Stephen Razo (951)-697-5217; E-mail: srazo@ca.blm.gov

Safety Remains Focus for New Year's at Dunes

Safety will be a priority during the upcoming New Year's holiday weekend at the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area (ISDRA).

About 198,000 visitors enjoyed the dunes during the recent Thanksgiving holiday weekend, which saw a slight increase in unruly and unlawful behavior compared to the same holiday weekend last year. Although the recent lawlessness is nowhere near the problems of several years past, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Imperial County Sheriff's Office (ICSO) officials are concerned.

The upcoming holiday weekend will see an increased law enforcement presence in the dunes, especially at group "hot spots" such as Oldsmobile Hill in the north and Buttercup's Competition Hill in the south. Emergency Medical Services (EMS) will also be increased to enhance response to medical emergencies. Visitors are asked to comply with all law enforcement direction and to remain attentive to their surroundings.

"It is unfortunate that some visitors choose to be unruly and hostile, which ruins a quality recreation experience for so many who comply," stated Vicki Wood, BLM El Centro Field Office manager. "We will use necessary means to curtail threats to the existing "family-friendly" environment throughout the recreation area this upcoming holiday weekend."

On a more positive note, medical aid remains nearly constant, even with the increase in visitation over the previous year. A safety campaign launched in partnership with the United Desert Gateway (UDG) and the American Sand Association (ASA) appears to be getting its point across. This safety campaign includes signs encouraging safe behavior (located at entrance points), and safety messages found on trash bags handed out to dune visitors.

With visitation expected to approach 140,000 during the New Year's weekend, a safe holiday weekend will translate into a happy and healthy New Year.

For further information contact the El Centro Field Office at: 760-337-4400


Last updated: 04-26-2007