The BLM reminds the public to recreate responsibly in the Imperial Sand Dunes

Leaving camp gear unattended is prohibited on public lands.

Car with citation. (Neil Hamada, BLM)

EL CENTRO, Calif.  – The Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area (ISDRA) is a great place to relax, unwind and enjoy a beautiful, outdoor desert camping experience.  As we head into the busy recreation season, the BLM would like to remind the public this popular destination is a shared space to be actively enjoyed by many and reserving a space or “ghost camping” by leaving camp gear unattended on BLM-managed public land is prohibited. 

“Ghost camping is the prepositioning of motorhomes and equipment by individuals in an effort to reserve a campsite for later use,” explained El Centro Field Office Chief Ranger Camilo Gonzalez. “We are seeing an increase in vacant campsites where people have clearly come days ahead of their planned trip to set up their equipment and leave, to return days later, creating an unfair advantage to those campers and recreators who abide by the rules.” 

To combat this issue and ensure an equitable opportunity for all visitors, BLM Rangers will be increasing proactive patrols throughout the ISDRA to educate recreators and deter reserving campsites by leaving unattended property.  Rangers will also be enforcing the 14-day camping limit, as well as illegal dumping and littering.  Offenders are subject to citations and vehicle towing at the owner’s expense. 

Also remember to adhere to COVID-19 precautions, which include practicing social distancing, using hand sanitizer and wearing a face covering, while visiting ISDRA and all BLM locations.  Always ride safe to prevent unnecessary hospital visits.

For more information, visit the ISDRA webpage and follow us on Facebook to learn more about ISDRA, telephone at (760) 337-4400, or email with questions. 

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.

Release Date


Bureau of Land Management


El Centro Field Office


Michelle Van Der Linden