Thursday, September 25, 2014

Additional Restroom added at Imperial Sand Dunes

Working together with the local community the BLM partnered with the United Desert Gateway to provide an additional restroom in the Imperial Sand Dunes. The restroom was installed in September at the popular Osborne Overlook. Osborne Overlook receives almost 90,000 visitors annually!

BLM Photos- M.Gibson

Friday, May 2, 2014

More Reasons to visit the Imperial Sand Dunes

Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area
Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area
The Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area is the largest stretch of sand dunes in California. A large swath of the dunes is open for dune buggies, ATVs, UTVs and dirt bikes,  to carve in and out of the dunes that can reach upward of 300 feet. These dunes attract hundreds of thousands of off-highway vehicles annually during the peak riding season, from late October to April.
Riders will soon have another reason to visit, as 40,000 acres of the dunes are being reopened to OHV's. With the added 40,000 acres, the dunes now stretch for more than 40 miles into Mexico and average at about 5 to 8 miles wide.
If flying over sand dunes in an OHV isn't your cup of tea, the entirety of the Algodones Dunes system is open to hikers and horses. The best area for this is north of CA 78 in the North Algodones Dunes Wilderness. There you can find the tallest dunes, and since OHVs are restricted from entering, there are an abundance of unusual plants and wildlife.
The beauty of the dunes is that there is a variety of experiences to have while you're here. And just like the harsh, desert landscape, those experiences can be unpredictable, dangerous or, in my case, incredibly rewarding. You can spend the day with thousands of OHVs, or you can sprawl out on a dune at night and stargaze in isolation.
To experience the Imperial Sand Dunes, you don't need a tricked-out dune buggy to have a great time, but it probably wouldn't hurt if you did.
For a map, brochure and more information, visit the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management site at (search for Imperial Sand Dunes).
If you plan to visit these dunes, here are some recommend locations:
North Algodones Dunes Wilderness: This protected wilderness area has the largest dunes, withan abundant variety of plant and wildlife. OHVs are restricted here, but it's open to hikers and horses. 
Osborne Overlook: Popular with day visitors, the overlook offers scenic views of the dunes in Glamis. They are easily accessible from the parking lot for short hiking sessions.
Plank Road: A 1,500-foot stretch of decaying wooden planks is all that remains of the first attempt to lay a road across the Imperial Sand Dunes, in 1916.
Glamis Beach Store: If your OHV is in need of repair after a long day of riding in Glamis, this is basically your only option. The store, at 5775 E. U.S. 78 in Brawley, offers parts and other supplies. Be prepared to pay a premium for pretty much everything in the store, because it's the only one for miles.
U.S.-Mexico border fence: If you're driving past Buttercup Valley on I-8, you can catch a glimpse of the towering border fence. It's about a mile south of the Buttercup campgrounds and can be easily accessed by OHV. Legally, you can go right up to the fence, but don't be surprised if Border Patrol agents on ATVs question you as you get close.
Sand Drags: OHV enthusiasts gather for impromptu "sand drags" on Friday and Saturday afternoons along Gecko Road in Glamis and also in Gordons Well during the riding season.
Imperial Sand Dunes
Imperial Sand Dunes

More resources:


Dunes Management Plan Implementation to Begin This Weekend

Imperial Sand Dunes
Imperial Sand Dunes
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will begin implementation of the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Management Plan this weekend with the help of volunteers who will collect existing closure boundary signs and assist with signing the re-designated Pierson’s Milk-vetch critical habitat closure area.

According to BLM officials, the field work needed to re-designate open and closed areas, printing revised recreation area maps, as well as general education and outreach, means recreation area users will enjoy the additional acres of riding at the beginning of next dunning season in October 2014.

Implementing the RAMP is consistent with the BLM California strategic framework. The RAMP addresses sustainability of natural resources by protecting critical habitat for Pierson's Milk-vetch, while providing new opportunities for family-friendly OHV recreation. Implementing the RAMP also ensures continued economic benefits for our local communities who provide goods and services to the families that visit the dunes. In addition, the RAMP creates opportunities for BLM to partner with groups like the American Sand Association (ASA) to help the BLM promote public safety and environmental education to visitors.

“The BLM is excited to work together with the local community, partners, and visitors who will assist us in the signing project,” said Thomas Zale, El Centro Field Manager. “Participating also educates the OHV community about BLM’s multiple use mission. The closure changes will bring about new opportunities to explore parts of the dunes that were not accessible before.”

Detailed volunteer information can be found at: You may also contact Nicole Gilles, BLM Volunteer and ASA Executive Director at . Camping at the dunes is free from April 16 – Sept. 30 so no permits are required for this weekend.

The RAMP Record of Decision (ROD) was issued in June 2013 and provides guidance of management to over 160,000 acres in the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area and over 50,000 acres of public lands in the surrounding area. The ROD is located at the following website:

Monday, April 28, 2014

What to know before riding at the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area

Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area
Off-Roading at the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area
The Imperial Sand Dunes are the largest sand dunes open to off-highway vehicle use in the United States. The dunes begin 10 miles southeast of Niland and stretch all the way into Mexico, over 40 miles away. The Dunes vary in width from about a quarter mile at the top end of the Mammoth Wash area, to about 5 miles in width below Highway 78. The Algodones Sand Dune system covers 1,000 square miles, making it one of the largest dune complexes in North America


Entry into the recreation area requires a permit, seven-day permits cost $50 at an on-site ranger station, but they can be found for $35 at a number of off-site locations in Yuma, Ariz., El Centro, and Brawley. If you want to purchase permits before your trip, you can order them at and if you choose to visit the dunes frequently, the seasonal permits cost $150.

ATV / UTV Rentals

OHV rentals are available in Yuma, El Centro and even in the vendor area in Glami Flats. Prices start at around $25 hourly for a small ATV and can cost upward of $80 an hour for a four-seater dune buggy. Day rates are also available for those planning on camping at the dunes. Rentals are pretty easy to find now, as the peak season comes to an end, but if you want to make a trip late in the year, when it's cooler (summer highs can reach over 110 degrees), it's best to make a reservation.

Camping Areas

Most  popular riding area is along highway 78 which is the Glamis area.  Camping is available along Gecko Road, Osborne Overlook, Glamis Flats and the Washes.  To the south, there is Gordons Well which is on the north side of Interstate 8 and Buttercup with is on the south side.  On the southeast side there is Olgibly, and if you want to get away from the crowds, you can head to the northern end of the dunes and ride at Mammoth Wash.


The large area in between highway 78 and Mammoth Wash is set aside as a Wilderness Area and no OHVs are allowed. The North Algodones Dunes Wilderness area is 25,895 acres. The wilderness is divided into two distinct zones. On the west side are the primary dunes, the largest and tallest dunes composed of relatively coarse sand. On the east are the secondary dunes, smaller and composed of generally finer sands carried further east by prevailing winds.

In the News

Read more here:

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Adding LED Lights to your UTV for Dune Riding

LED Accent Lights
LED Accent Lights from Vision X
We have taken our 2012 Arctic Cat Wildcat to the next level with this build. Increasing power with a turbo setup from MCX-USA. Fine tuning the suspension with new top-of-the-line FOX shocks. Brand new 14" single beadlock Sindwinder wheels from HiPer Racing and STU sand tires from Fullerton Sand Sports. Super sharp custom full wrap from ProLineWraps and great color-matched seats from Beard.

2012 Turbocharged Arctic Cat Wildcat
2012 Turbocharged Arctic Cat Wildcat
This Wildcat has the power to match the incredible suspension and was built to take on the dunes like a sand car. And for those night runs in the dunes, we have some incredible LED headlights and to increase the cool factor, we have awesome accent lights.

LED Light Cannons shine up to 1000 feet

LED Driving Lights

The first-ever Light Cannon LED light by Vision X Lighting, takes automotive lighting technology to extraordinary lengths by shining over 1000 feet of usable light from a single LED. The intense 10 degree spot pattern Light Cannon is also like having 12 lights in 1! It enables optional Snap on polycarbonate cover filters to quickly change the beam pattern from Spot to Euro or Flood, while the colored filters (Clear, Blue, Amber, or Red) can improve visibility in various conditions. The universal single bolt mounting accompanied by an available wiring harness, provides a quick, traditional installation on a multitude of applications.
Light Cannon LED
Light Cannon LED

The Xmitter Prime XP Bar achieves the farthest lighting distance and brightest output in the Vision X Light Bar lineup. This is due to the 5-watt LEDs that are placed much closer together on the circuit board than 10-watt LEDs allowing for greater optical control and therefore greatest distance. The Xmitter Prime also makes use of Prime Drive Technology which manages heat levels to prolong the life of the LEDs. We used a 40" bar.
Vision X Xmitter Prime LED Bar
Xmitter Prime XP LED Bar

LED Accent Lights

Vision X Tantrum kits are the ultimate strobe system on the market, featuring one of a kind LED pods that have lead the Tantrum kits to become popular for way more than just LED strobe kits for your car.  Vision X Tantrum LED Strobe and Rock Lights are designed to be easy to use and powerful. Each Tantrum kit consists of eight 1 watt pods, each with 15 LEDs, with a life span of 50,000 hours. The Tantrum pods are weatherproof to perform in adverse weather conditions. Whether on the dunes, on the rocks, or anywhere in between.
Vision X Tantrum LED Strobe
Vision X Tantrum LED Strobe

Vision X Flex-Motion Miniatures are completely flexible LED bars that even able to bend into complete circles and with Vision X's advanced LED technology they are sure to be the best LED bars you've seen. The flexible 6" and 12" bars are designed to fit in the smallest of areas, even heater vents. Each kit includes to bars which are ready to be wired directly to 12 volts with easy 2 wire hookup.
Vision X Flex-Motion Miniatures
Vision X Flex-Motion Miniatures

Vision X LED Lights
LED Accent Lights
Vision X Lighting, located in Seattle, Washington, was established in 1997 with the mission to revolutionize the lighting industry. Since that time, Vision X Lighting has created one of the largest premium lighting offerings in the world with hundreds of products and applications. The military, border patrol, and even NASA have trusted Vision X Lighting on vehicles that cannot work with second best. Vision X Lighting has lead the lighting industry growing 759% in the past 3 years which placed them on the 2012 INC 5000 list at 503, 10th overall in manufacturing and 10th in the Seattle Washington area. Vision X Lighting's commitment to its customers, dealers and product is unsurpassed.

Lighted Whips has the LED Whips figured out.  Quick disconnect and multiple color and sequence options make these whips stand out like no other.

Turbocharged RZR XPs Take on Sand Mountain

Turbocharged RZR XP 900
Turbocharged RZR XP 900
Although the build on "The Beast" was completed for the 2013 Sand Sports Super Show, I have been so busy with press intros, King of the Hammers and other projects that I haven't been able to spend some quality time duning with it. Well, that all changed in March 2014 when I planned a trip to do some video work with the Copter Kids at Sand Mountain and invited Tim from SDR Motorsports to bring "Betsy" up to play.

The Copter Kids use compact unmanned aerial platforms and a RZR XP 1000 to get shots from angles that really show off their subjects. I met them at Sand Mountain on a trip after Christmas and was impressed with the test video they put together (see Copter Kids test video at Sand Mountain). I figured my turbo RZR would be a perfect vehicle to for their next subject. Having the other SDR car along made it all the more fun.

More details on our build can be found at: Polaris RZR XP 900 Jagged X Build Project

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

GLAMIS: Judge rejects lawsuit, opening new areas to vehicles

Source: Press Enterprise


Ending a 14-year closure, about 40,000 acres of the popular Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area will be opened to off-road vehicles this fall after a federal court judge overruled environmentalists’ objections.

The land had been placed off limits to protect the Peirson’s milk vetch, a perennial herb listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act.

The 250-square-mile recreation site in Imperial County is one of the most popular off-roading areas in Southern California, drawing an estimated 1.2 million visitors a year. It’s commonly known as Glamis for the small town there — the name popularized on T-shirts, decals and bumper stickers.

Off-road enthusiasts celebrated the decision by U.S. District Judge Susan Illston of the Northern District Court of California in San Francisco. Her ruling last week upholds a 2013 management plan adopted by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management that includes lifting most of the milk-vetch closure.

“It’s an excellent riding area,” said Jim Bramham, a board member of the American Sand Association, on Monday. “It’s been historically some of the best open dunes for people who like to do long, lineal rides and explore the desert.”

Bramham’s group was one of 10 that helped fight the lawsuit challenging the BLM’s plan. The American Sand Association’s website urges riders to stay out of closed areas until the BLM removes red off-limits stakes.

The largest area that will reopen is in the center of the dunes, with a small portion south of Interstate 8 and another in the northern section near Highway 78, Bramham said.

The dunes are the largest such formation in North America, covering almost 200,000 acres in southeast Imperial County, near the U.S.-Mexico border. The area also is known as the Algodones Dunes.

Officials with the Center for Biological Diversity, which filed the lawsuit, said they are considering whether to appeal the decision.

In her ruling, Illston found that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is overdue in issuing a recovery plan for the Peirson’s milk vetch, and ordered one done by 2019.

The court order maintains closure of 9,261 acres of critical habitat deemed necessary for plant’s survival, as well as 26,000 acres of the North Algodones Dunes Wilderness that is permanently closed to vehicles.

The remainder, more than 127,000 acres, will be open to sand rails, motorcycles, four-wheelers and other off-highway vehicles.

Ileene Anderson, a biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity, worries about enforcement of the closures.

“The critical habitat follows the geography of the dunes. It looks like a big comb. I don’t know how they’ll be able to enforce keeping trespassing from happening in these areas that look like fingers going out from the backbone of the comb,” she said.

Terry Weiner, conservation coordinator for the Desert Protective Council in San Diego, said she has seen evidence of traffic in a closure area she regularly visits off Interstate 8 near the Buttercup Campground.

“People weren’t respecting that closure. They were riding through there,” said Weiner, who noticed many of the red stakes buried in sand or ridden over when she was there last month.

“That is the only place that the Peirson’s milk vetch lives on the entire planet,” she said. “The seeds can stay alive in sand for up to 20 years, but that requires the sand not being constantly turned up by tires, which dries them out.”

The Bureau of Land Management will work with off-roading groups to educate the public and develop new maps and signs to direct riders away from closures.