Off-Highway Vehicle Areas
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The Imperial Sand Dunes Off-Highway Vehicle Area
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Fees & Permits |Rules & Regulations

The Imperial Sand Dunes are the largest mass of sand dunes in California.  This dune system extends for more than 40 miles along the eastern edge of the Imperial Valley agricultural region in a band averaging five miles in width.  It is roughly bordered on the west by the Coachella Canal which delivers Colorado River water to the fertile agricultural valley to the north.  A major east-west route of the Union Pacific railroad skirts the eastern edge.

The dune system is divided into 3 areas.  The northern most area is known as Mammoth Wash.  South of Mammoth Wash is the North Algodones Dunes Wilderness established by the 1994 California Desert Protection Act.  This area is closed to motorized use and access is by hiking and horseback.  The largest and most heavily used area begins at Highway 78 and continues south just past Interstate 8. The expansive dune formations offer picturesque scenery, opportunities for solitude, a chance to view rare plants and animals, and a playground for OHVs.

Directions

Northern Areas - Gecko Rd. & Glamis

From Los Angeles, CA
• Take I-10 EAST toward SAN BERNARDINO(127 mi.)
• Take RIGHT fork onto CA-86-SPUR SOUTH toward BRAWLEY/EL CENTRO (20 mi.)
• Continue on CA-86 SOUTH  (49.4 mi.)
• Continue on MAIN ST[CA-78] (3 mi.)
• Continue to follow CA-78 EAST (5 mi.)
• Continue to follow CA-78/CA-115 EAST (3 mi.)
• Take LEFT fork onto CA-78 EAST
• Continue to follow CA-78 EAST (14 mi.)
 From San Diego, CA
• Take I-8 EAST toward EL CENTRO(104 mi.)
• Take CA-111 NORTH toward BRAWLEY (15 mi.)
• Turn RIGHT on CA-78 (3 mi.)
• Continue to follow CA-78/CA-115 EAST (3 mi.)
• Take LEFT fork onto CA-78 EAST
• Continue to follow CA-78 EAST (14 mi.) 
 
From Phoenix, AZ
• Take I-10 WEST toward LOS ANGELES, CA(152 mi.)
• Take NEIGHBOURS BLVD/CA-78 exit toward BRAWLEY 
• Turn LEFT onto CA-78/S NEIGHBOURS BLVD(7 mi.)
• Turn RIGHT onto CA-78/28TH AVE(3 mi.)
• Turn LEFT onto CA-78/S RANNELLS BLVD(2 mi.)
• Turn RIGHT onto CA-78/32ND AVE(1.5 mi.)
• Turn LEFT onto CA-78. (45 mi.)
From Yuma, AZ
• Take I-8 EAST toward EL CENTRO, CA (12 mi.)
• Take OGILBY RD exit
• Turn RIGHT on OGILBY RD/CR-S34 (24 mi.)
• Turn LEFT onto CA-78 (9 mi.)

Southern Areas - Buttercup & Dunebuggy Flats

From Los Angeles, CA
• Take I-10 EAST torward SAN BERNARDINO(127 mi.)
• Take RIGHT fork onto CA-86-SPUR SOUTH toward BRAWLEY/EL CENTRO (20 mi.)
• Continue on CA-86 SOUTH  (49.4 mi.)
• Continue on MAIN ST[CA-78] (3 mi.)
• Turn RIGHT onto CA-111 SOUTH (15 mi.)
• Take I-8 EAST toward YUMA, AZ (35 mi.)
• Dunebuggy Flats: Take the Gordons Well Exit North 
• Buttercup: Take the Greys Well Exit South

From San Diego, CA
• Take I-8 EAST toward YUMA, AZ (160 mi.)
• Dunebuggy Flats: Take the Gordons Well Exit North
• Buttercup: Take the Greys Well Exit South.
 
From Phoenix/Yuma, AZ
• Take I-10 WEST toward LOS ANGELES, CA (31 mi.)
• Merge onto AZ-85 SOUTH toward I-8/YUMA, AZ (37 mi.)
• Continue on I-8 BL WEST (1 mi.)
• Continue on PIMA ST (1 mi.)
• Take I-8 WEST toward SAN DIEGO, CA (128 mi.) 
• Buttercup: Take Greys Well Rd. Exit South
• Dunebuggy Flats: Take Gordons Well Exit North

2007 Imperial Sand Dunes Map

Fee & Permit Information

Fee & Permit Information

Who needs a permit?
One permit is needed per primary vehicle. A primary vehicle is any street legal vehicle used for transportation to the recreation site. A permit is required at all times while in the fee area and may be required to exit the area. Please keep your permit until you exit the fee area.

How long do I have to purchase a permit?
The permit is required immediately upon arrival to the recreation area.

What are my permit options?
There will be two major changes to the ISDRA fee program for the upcoming 2009/2010 season. For more details, visit the CA BLM newsroom.

Offsite (outside Imperial Sand Dunes fee boundary.)
Season permit $90 - valid from October 1 to September 30
Weekly permit $25 - valid for seven consecutive days upon entry.

Onsite (within Imperial Sand Dunes fee boundary.)
Season permit $120 - valid from October 1 to September 30
Weekly permit $40 - valid for seven consecutive days upon entry.

Where does it apply?
The entire Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area and its 1 mile planning area boundary. This includes, but is not limited to, Buttercup, Gecko Rd, Glamis, Gordons Well/Dunebuggy Flats, Mammoth Wash, Ogilby, Osborne, along both sides of the Coachella Canal and Ted Kipf Rd. See map.

Does my America the Beautiful (Golden Access/Age/Eagle passports) pass reduce the fees?
No. America the Beautiful passes only apply to "entry" and "use" fees. America the Beautiful program discounts do not apply to the "non commercial special recreation permit fees" which are charged in this off-highway vehicle area. Please see the back of your America the Beautiful pass for more details.

Where can I purchase a 7-day or season pass ?
2009/2010 are available now.

* Offsite
o Over the phone: 1-800-832-7664
o www.imperialsanddunes.net
o Various vendors located throughout CA and AZ.
* Onsite
o Fee collection stations
o Various dune-area vendors

Can I convert my weekly permit(s) into a season permit.
No.

Can I still replace my permit if it is lost or stolen?
No. A non-commercial special recreation permit has a value. When a permit is carelessly lost, forgotten or misplaced the price of having to buy another one or receiving a citation becomes an unwanted expense. It is important (and the visitor's responsibility) to secure the permit inside the vehicle making sure it is properly displayed at the same time.

Hint: keep vehicle windows rolled up and doors locked at all times.

Please Remember...

* Purchasing a permit does not give you the right to break the law. Under certain circumstances, a law enforcement officer may revoke your permit, evict parties temporarily or for the season, if warranted. To avoid such actions, adherence to all laws are vital to have a safe and successful weekend. If your permit has been revoked, you will not be refunded.

Please Remember...

• Purchasing a permit does not give you the right to break the law. Under certain circumstances, a law enforcement officer may revoke your permit, evict parties temporarily or for the season, if warranted. To avoid such actions, adherence to all laws are vital to have a safe and successful weekend. If your permit has been revoked, you will not be refunded.

Rules & Regulations

Rules are designed to promote public safety in the Imperial Sand Dunes and have been in effect since 1983.  PLEASE REMEMBER, IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO KNOW THE LAW.  These rules apply to public lands within the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area.

RECREATION PERMIT. A permit is required for all primary vehicles; a primary vehicle is a street legal vehicle used for transportation to the recreation site. Permits must be purchased on arrival and visibly displayed in the windshield of the primary vehicle with the date side facing out.

SAFETY FLAGS ARE REQUIRED ON ALL VEHICLES IN THE IMPERIAL SAND DUNES RECREATION AREA (This includes two-wheeled motorcycles.)  All vehicles shall be equipped with a whip mast and a 6x12 inch red/orange flag.  Flags may be of pennant, triangle, square, or rectangular shape.  Masts must be securely mounted on the vehicle and extend 8 feet from the ground to the mast tip.  Safety flags must be attached within 10 inches of the tip of the whip mast with club or other flags mounted below safety flag or on another whip.

A 15 MPH SPEED RULE EXISTS ON THE SAND HIGHWAYS.  No person shall operate an OHV in excess of 15 mph on public lands within 500 feet of Highway 78, Grays Well Road, Gecko Road and access roads within the Gecko and Roadrunner recreation sites.

NO SAVING SPACES. Reserving of camping spaces is prohibited; sites are allocated on a first come/first serve basis.

FIRES  The burning of potentially hazardous materials e.g.(but not limited to) gas, oil, plastic and magnesium is prohibited.

NO GLASS BEVERAGE CONTAINERS ARE ALLOWED.  Possession or use of any glass, cup or bottle, empty or not, used for carrying any liquid for drinking purposes is prohibited.  Persons may pick up glass beverage containers discarded by others to remove for deposit in approved trash receptacles.

NO ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES ALLOWED WHILE RIDING ON BLM LANDS.  No person shall drink an alcoholic beverage, have in their possession or on their person any open container that contains an alcoholic beverage while operating in or on a motor vehicle or OHV on public lands administered by BLM within California.  NO PERSON UNDER AGE 21 SHALL BE IN POSSESSION OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES.

USE OF AUDIO DEVICES.  No person shall operate or use any audio, such as a radio, television, musical instrument, or other noise producing device or motorized equipment between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am in a manner that makes unreasonable noise that disturbs other visitors;  or operate or use a public address system without written authorization from BLM.

PUBLIC NUDITY.Public nudity is prohibited in the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area.

UNAUTHORIZED ORGANIZED EVENT. No person shall participate in or sponsor an unauthorized organized event (Example bands, videos, movies etc ).

RIDING IN PICKUP BEDS AND OTHER UNSAFE ACTIVITIES. No person shall ride in the bed of a pick up truck or any part of a motor vehicle not designed for passengers on or off road.

AIRCRAFT. Taking off or landing of aircraft, including ultralights, is prohibited within 1 mile of Gecko Road.

DUMPING. Dumping of sewage (black) and/or gray water is prohibited.

CAMPING LIMITATIONS. A 14 day camping limit is in effect in the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area.

PARKING RESTRICTIONS. No parking or camping within 10 feet of pavement on Gecko Road.

SHOOTING. Shooting is prohibited within 1/2 mile of formal campgrounds and should be conducted well away from other concentrations of people and property.

LEASH LAW. Animals must be kept on a leash not longer than six feet and secured to a fixed object or under the control of a person, or otherwise physically restricted at all times. (43 CFR 87365.2-1{c})

BLM supplementary rules reestablished under authority of 43 CFR 8365.1-6.  Violations of the rules are punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000 and/or imprisonment not to exceed 12 months (43 CFR 8360.0-7).  Also, all OHVs must be operated in accordance with State laws and regulations relating to use, registration, operation, and inspection of OHVs(43 CFR 8341.1{d}).

Source: BLM Web Site


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