News from the American Sand Association‏

News from the American Sand Association‏

Help Keep Essential Dune Services


The public review and comment period for the California Department of Parks and Recreation Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation 2011/2012 Grants and Cooperative Agreements Program is currently underway and will end Monday, April 2, 2012. This provides an opportunity for the public to review and provide comments to the preliminary applications submitted to the OHMVR Division for consideration during the 2011/2012 grant cycle. Public comments should be submitted to both the applicant and the OHMVR Division by emailing the contact person listed on the preliminary application and copying the OHMVR Division at


The Division’s On-Line Grants Application (OLGA) database allows the public to view preliminary applications in a centralized location. Please download the instructions on accessing the preliminary applications.


Please note that the deadline to submit your comments is April 2, 2012.

In addition to the permit fees you pay to recreate in the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area (ISDRA), local agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management, Imperial County Sheriff’s Office and the ASA’s sister organization, the American Desert Foundation rely on this grant funding to provide ISDRA services. Such services include, but are not limited to: ATV Safety training, EMS services & supplies, educational outreach, law enforcement, sand removal, toilet maintenance and trash removal. Please take a moment to participate in this important process.

Because of the decrease in the amount of grant funding currently available, the process has become extremely competitive.  Your comments and letters of support are strongly encouraged. 




Beltway to Sand Highway (at the Imperial Sand Dunes)

Three members of the Washington Office Division of Education, Interpretation, and Partnerships visited the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area on Friday, March 9, 2012.  The trio had just completed attending the Association of Partners for Public Lands conference in Las Vegas, and traveled to the dunes for a site visit.  Brianna Candelaria (Interpretation Lead), Trevor Needham (Partnership Lead), and Betsy Wooster (Youth Programs Lead) were interested in learning more about this dynamic area and its related programs.  “With back to back Silver Awards in 2010 and 2011 for Excellence in Interpretation or Education, the El Centro Field Office is doing something right, and we had to visit,” commented Interpretation Lead Brianna Candelaria.

While at the dunes, the Washington party was given a brief overview of the area, which included updates on the various outreach, interpretive, and safety programs provided to the public, many of them possible through an extensive network of partners.  A buggy ride through the dunes afforded them with hands-on experience illustrating exactly why the area attracts 1.5 million visitors each year.  The group ended their visit with sand in their teeth, smiles on their faces, and an appreciation of the challenges and opportunities found only at the Imperial Sand Dunes. 

 2011-12 ISDRA Permit

   The group heads out under a blue sky. Dunes Manager Neil Hamada provided the ride. Photo: BLM

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Avoiding Blasts from the Past

The El Centro Field Office participated in training designed to inform and educate staff to the presence and danger of unexploded ordnance (UXO) left over from military training activities during WWII.  With a good deal of the resource area located in the former California-Arizona Maneuver Area (C-AMA), the odds of finding munitions and munitions debris from these training activities remains high.  The BLM-California Desert District manages the majority of the former C-AMA in southeastern California.

The training was provided by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the agency responsible for the clean-up and environmental restoration of these areas.  Instructor Sonny Franks provided hands-on examples of the seven general types of munitions that may be found on BLM’s public lands.  These include small arms ammunition, projectiles, mortars, land mines, rockets, grenades and smoke pots. (Readers may remember a 40mm grenade found by a camper in the Dune Buggy Flats area of the Imperial Sand Dunes in November, 2011.)

Visitors to BLM public lands, and other Imperial Valley desert locations, are reminded that unexploded ordnances (UXO) are often very unstable and dangerous.  Because not every bomb looks like a bomb, keep away from strange looking devices and contact authorities immediately.  Here are some guidelines to follow should you encounter a UXO.

  • If you see UXO, STOP, do not move closer.
  • Do NOT transmit radio frequencies near UXO (this includes cell phones, two-way radios or citizen’s band radio.  Keep at least 100 ft. away).
  • NEVER touch, move, or disturb UXO.
  • NEVER remove anything near UXO.
  • Call 911 and report UXO. Move 100 ft. away before using cell phone or radio.
  • Avoid any area where UXO is located.

Remember:  Recognize.  Retreat.  Report.

For more information on the history of C-AMA, contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Public Affairs Office at 213-452-3921. For more information on lands managed by the BLM in the El Centro area, contact 760-337-4400, or visit our web page at

 2011-12 ISDRA Permit

El Centro BLM staff gets a hands on with replicas of unexploded ordinance (UXO) they may encounter in the field.





Help Support Your Right to Recreate On Public Lands

 Raffle Flyer

 Unfortunately, California law does not permit online sales of raffle tickets.


You can can purchase raffle tickets by calling the ASA office at 888-540-7263. Or, email Nicole Gilles, our executive director. You can also make an in-person visit to one of our many events listed here and our our site.