Another season has wrapped up at the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area. More than one million riders visited the area, although this is down by 10% from the previous year. Emergency medical calls were down by 20%. Of seven reported fatalities, four were off-highway vehicle related.
A total of 484 youngsters attended the ATV Safety Certification courses sponsored by the American Desert Foundation sponsored. That is a significant increase over last year’s 180 children. Training locations added in the South Dunes and at Superstition Mountain OHV Open Area accounted for this increase in attendance. Offered free to CA residents age 6-17 years old, the program had its start in 2009. Since then, 664 young riders have received this important and required training.
A focus on safety education introduced a new children’s program, “Dune Guard.” This program recognized young riders for responsible and safe riding and rewarded them with a T-shirt. Additionally, thousands of Frisbees tossed to visitors during camp contacts and at popular hill locations shared safety messages and helped get the word out.
While the Imperial Sand Dunes remain open for recreation the entire year, summer visitors should be aware of the extreme heat and take precautions. Please note the Cahuilla and Buttercup Ranger Stations have closed for the season — dial 9-1-1 during any emergency. Visitors will still need to purchase a permit — visit www.imperialsanddunes.net to purchase online or find a location along your route of travel to the dunes. More on the Imperial Sand Dunes
There are numerous opportunities for recreation in the deserts of California. Travel on foot or in a vehicle can be an exciting and rewarding experience. No one plans on getting lost, breaking down, or experiencing other mishaps. Being prepared will keep you safe and make for a memorable trip.
Always be sure that someone knows where you are going and when you expect to return.
Never travel alone on foot or by vehicle. Flash floods do occur. Avoid camping in washes when there is a threat of rain. Do not attempt to cross washes if there is water in them. It is probably deeper and faster than you think.
DEHYDRATION: The only way to avoid dehydration is to drink water. Don’t rely on your thirst to determine when to drink. Make a habit of drinking water at frequent intervals. Don’t ration your water.
One gallon of water or more per person per day is the minimum amount of water you should carry. In hot weather, two gallons or more is strongly recommended. The amount of water someone needs varies from person to person. Remember, it is better to carry too much water, than to run out.
Make sure to wear clothing that is light in color and loose fitting. A wide brimmed hat, long sleeved shirt, and long pants will hold perspiration rather than exposing it to the dry desert air. Conserve sweat, not water.