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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Floating fence through sand dunes helps border patrol


In the ongoing battle to secure the country, a new border fence now sits in the Imperial County sand dunes. Border patrol says it cost nearly $40 million to build. But unlike other fences this one can actually "float."
It's called a floating fence and border patrol says the design ensures that the barrier isn't swallowed up by the desert. At 15 feet high and stretching nearly 7 miles long, the steal fence separates the U.S. from Mexico. But, Agent Michael Espinoza said unlike other border fences, this one moves.
"It's just amazing, the concept of a floating fence here in the sand dunes that can just be picked up and settled back down," Espinoza said.
It's known as the floating fence, and it sits along a stretch of border in California's Imperial County sand dunes. The concept is simple. As sand builds up along its edges, sections of fence can be lifted by a machine and placed back on top of the sand, so the fence never loses its height.
"I personally have never seen a fence like this before," Espinoza said.
Agent Espinoza says the floating fence is the only one of its kind in the Yuma sector. To build, border patrol says the fence cost $6 million per mile. Since it was complete about three months ago, border patrol's reports a drop drug smuggling attempts and illegal immigrants, and agents credit that to the new fence.
"It would be very hectic for our agents to handle that traffic, and now that the fence is up, they have more time," Espinoza said.
Border patrol says there is a similar floating fence in the El Centro sector

Buttercup Sand Dune Guide:

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Annual Dunes Cleanup a Success - Imperial Sand Dunes

Annual Dunes Cleanup a Success
By Charla Teeters, United Desert Gateway Project Manager
On Saturday, January 17th, the United Desert Gateway (UDG) held their 12th annual Dunes Cleanup in the north and south regions of the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area. This event was a great success! Duners from all over California and Arizona, and from many other locations in the US and Canada, donated over 5,000 hours of their time to cleaning up the dunes. These volunteers are to be commended for their altruistic spirit.
Another group of people we would like to thank is the event sponsors. Without them the UDG would not be able to put on this premier event. This year's presenting sponsors were: Duner's Diner, RideNow Powersports, Monster Energy Drink, Quad Magazine, Sand Sport Magazine and the Bureau of Land Management.
We would also like to thank our Supercharged level sponsors: KD Cycle, Gilmore Off-Road, Take Pride In America, Sand Style, MGM Design, San Diego Off-Road Magazine, the El Centro Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau, the Brawley Chamber of Commerce, Mesquite Regional Landfill,, Extreme Performance, the American Sand Association, Gibson Performance Exhaust and Yuma Duners.
This year's Nitrous level sponsors were Alford Distributing, SoCo Group, the Sand Sport Super Show, De Anza Search and Rescue, Kawasaki Motors Corporation, RATV/MX Warehouse, Mendeola Transaxles, Rancho Performance Transaxles, Crazy Keven's, RBP and Sidewinder Shell.
High Octane level sponsors were The Brawley Inn, Cochise Motorsports, Dave Folts Transmissions, F&L Racing Fuel, Luv2Camp, ACRO Lights,, Imperial Valley Cycle Center, IMS Products Inc., Sand Posse Dune & Desert Apparel, Off-Roader's Outreach, OMF Performance Products, Raw Motorsports, San Diego Off-Road Coalition, Sweet Marie's, True Excitement, Trail Tech Inc., Axia Alloys, Superstition Services and Gold Cross Ambulance Services.
The UDG would like to extend our genuine thanks to all of our event sponsors, those companies who graciously donated products to the prize drawing and to all of the thousands of volunteers who gave of their time to keep the dunes clean and open for all to enjoy.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Dunes to welcome thousands of volunteers for Saturday cleanup


January 14, 2009 - 6:14 PM
Thousands of people are hitting the Imperial Sand Dunes this weekend and declaring war on litter. The 12th annual Dunes Cleanup is expected to gather up truckloads of trash from the popular recreation site. The Saturday event begins at 8 a.m. Organizers say the sight of such an impressive army of cleaners scouring the hills of golden sand truly inspires the heart. "It's just a wonderful feeling to see everyone out there working so hard to keep the dunes clean and open for recreational use," said event organizer Charla Teeters. "Duners just love the dunes and love having the area for recreation. They don't want it to be a trash dump." The annual cleanup is sponsored by United Desert Gateway, Duner's Diner, RideNow Powersports, Monster Energy Drink, Quad Magazine, Sand Sports Magazine and the Bureau of Land Management. Each year's event draws up to 4,000 people. "We get people from all over, from Phoenix to Yuma and Riverside, Los Angeles and the San Diego area," Teeters said. "The cleanup is just fun for the whole family. "Anyone can come out, too. You don't have to be duners or be out there camping to participate. The dunes are important to the whole area, both Yuma and Imperial Valley. The dunes are important to our economic development and economy." Registration sites will be located in both the south and north sides of the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area. North dune registration areas are Glamis Flats (north end main staging area, event area of the Glamis Beach Store, near vendor row), Wash Road (No. Four), Gecko Road (across from the BLM ranger station) and Oldsmobile Hill. South dune registration sites will be Gordon's Well (at the south end main staging area), Buttercup (vendor row), Ogilby Camp (past the tower toward the south) and Midway. Registration starts at 8 a.m. Participants are asked to register and pick up their free trash bags. The first 3,000 volunteers will also receive a free T-shirt. Lunch will be served at the main staging areas from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Prize drawings will be held directly after lunch. For more information, go to on the Web or call Teeters at 1-760-337-4155.

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Friday, January 2, 2009

Union Pacific Builds Sand Fence to Address Safety Issues in Glamis Area

Residents Urged to Ride the Sand and not the Rails

December 2008 – Sand and Off-Highway Vehicles (OHVs) may go hand in hand; however, those same recreational vehicles mixed with railroad tracks can be an equation for disaster. Every year, more than 1,800 people in the United States are killed or injured on or near railroad tracks. The recent fatalities in the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area are a sad reminder that tracks are for trains not people.
"As sand enthusiasts are heading outdoors, we want to remind them that walking or driving on or near railroad tracks is extremely dangerous because you never know when a train will come along," said Dennis Jenson, Union Pacific assistant vice president - chief of police.
"It can take a mile or more to stop a train and by the time a locomotive engineer sees you on the track, it would be too late," said Dale Bray, Union Pacific director - public safety.
"Locomotives and rail cars overhang the tracks by at least three feet on either side of the rail and loose straps hanging from rail cars may extend even further. If you are next to the tracks, you can be hit by the locomotive, a rail car or anything that may be hanging loose from the car," Bray said.
Another safety issue is excessive sand being deposited on the tracks. This has led Union Pacific to build a sand fence on its property.
"Although sand doesn't seem like it should be a big issue, in recent years we have noticed that sand has caused increased track degradation, which can lead to an unstable track," said David Wickersham, Union Pacific chief engineer - Western Region.
Union Pacific has worked closely with the Bureau of Land Management to make sure that access is not severely impacted for enthusiasts. Also, special attention has been taken to protect the local wildlife. The fence will leave natural gaps for the Desert Tortoise to migrate naturally throughout its habitat.
In an effort to educate the public about pedestrian and grade crossing safety, Union Pacific works closely with Operation Lifesaver. Operation Lifesaver is a national, nonprofit education and awareness program dedicated to ending tragic collisions, fatalities and injuries at highway-rail grade crossings and on railroad tracks. To accomplish its mission, Operation Lifesaver promotes education, enforcement and engineering. More information about Operation Lifesaver can be found at

Do not become a railroad statistic; stay away from railroad tracks.

About Union Pacific
Union Pacific Corporation owns one of America's leading transportation companies. Its principal operating company, Union Pacific Railroad, links 23 states in the western two-thirds of the country and serves the fastest-growing U.S. population centers. Union Pacific's diversified business mix includes Agricultural Products, Automotive, Chemicals, Energy, Industrial Products and Intermodal. The railroad offers competitive long-haul routes from all major West Coast and Gulf Coast ports to eastern gateways. Union Pacific connects with Canada's rail systems and is the only railroad serving all six major gateways to Mexico, making it North America's premier rail franchise.

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12th Annual ISDRA MLK Weekend Cleanup - January 17, 2009

12th Annual Imperial Sand Dunes Cleanup

Date: Saturday, January 17th, 2009
Registration: Is at 8:00am
Lunch: 11:30am-12:30pm
- North Dunes, Glamis Flats
- South Dunes, Gordon's Well
Prize Giveaway: 12:30pm until done

  • North Dunes:Glamis Flats (main stage area, Gecko Road, Oldsmobile Hill, Roadrunner, Wash Road
  • South Dunes:Gordon's Well (main stage area), Buttercup (vendor row), Midway, Ogilby Camp (Past the tower towards the south)

About UDG - United Desert Gateway:
The United Desert Gateway, a nonprofit public benefit corporation comprised of the Brawley, El Centro Yuma Chambers of Commerce, works hand-in-hand, through an Assistance Agreement, with the Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management, California Desert District (BLM) and other partners to enhance the recreational experience at the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area (ISDRA) and other BLM managed lands in the area.

UDG Website:

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Border Patrol Busts Drug Smuggling Attempt on Dunes

Polaris Ranger
Monday, December 22, 2008
Yuma, Ariz. - Yuma Sector agents arrested drug smugglers posing as off-road enthusiasts, Sunday afternoon.
About 3 p.m., Border Patrol agents patrolling the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreational Area noticed two individuals on the Mexican side of the international boundary fence scouting out the immediate area. Later agents observed a Polaris Ranger off-road vehicle, on the U.S. side of the fence, drive to meet up with the two scouts. The scouts threw four bundles of marijuana over the fence to the driver of the vehicle; the driver placed the bundles into the back of the Polaris Ranger.
Agents maintained constant surveillance of the vehicle as it drove north to the Midway Campground and stopped at a motor home parked at the campsite. The driver exited the vehicle, entered the motor home briefly, then exited and resumed driving the Polaris Ranger – at this point Border Patrol agents stopped the driver, arrested him and seized the marijuana.
Border Patrol agents and a detection K-9 searched the motor home for other illicit narcotics but were unable to locate any. Agents discovered a male and female occupant with extensive criminal history involving narcotics in the motor home; Jonathan Berry and Jeannine Landreneaux. Landreneaux’s records checks also revealed an active warrant for her arrest for narcotics originating from California.
The driver of the vehicle, Russell Carter, also had extensive criminal history involving narcotics.
The marijuana weighed 93 pounds with an estimated value of $74,000 and was turned over to the Imperial County Sheriff’s Office. Carter and Landreneaux were taken into custody by ICSO. The Polaris Ranger was seized by ICSO.
The general public is reminded to observe a 100-foot enforcement zone from the international boundary fence in order to avoid hazardous and sometimes violent illegal cross-border activity, and to allow to Border Patrol to conduct operations within the area.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area


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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Golf cart cited for lack of seat belts in dunes

Golf cart cited for lack of seat belts in dunes
December 16, 2008

Recently while recreating at the Imperial Sand Dunes my group was cited for no seat belts on our golf cart. We were traveling at 15 mph headed to the restrooms with three people. An Imperial County Sheriffs pickup was about a half mile away from us.
He noticed the golf cart and activated his lights and siren and began traveling toward us at a high rate of speed. He conducted a traffic stop on our golf cart and the officer advised us that he had stopped us because he "noticed" we had no seat belts on our vehicle.
When I began questioning the officer about when this seat belt rule took effect he said he didn't know but they were starting to enforce it this year. I began asking more questions about if I needed seat belts in the front, back seats or all seats or what we needed to be compliant and the officer advised me "he wasn't there to argue, take this up in court."
He went back to his truck to run my info and write the citation and when he returned with my ticket I again asked what I needed to do to be compliant as I have never heard of this before. He again responded the same way.
I find this troubling as the ICSO officers writing citations should be able to explain to me how to correct the infraction I have been cited for. Clearly this officer had no idea what he was enforcing and from what I can tell was told by his superiors to start writing tickets for this and that was it.
Not to mention the fact he performed an illegal vehicle stop on us since he had no way of seeing if we had seat belts from a half a mile away. He just saw the golf cart and made the stop. I will be seeing the officer in court about this issue, as this is ridiculous.
Did anyone else have the same issues in the dunes this season?


Opinion can be found at:

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Imperial Sand Dunes - Trash Dumpsters

"Supes oppose trash service removal in dunes"
Imperial Valley Press, 12/16/08

"The Imperial County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to formally oppose the removal of trash service in the dunes. A letter will be sent to the state director of the Bureau of Land Management requesting trash service in the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area be maintained."

"Trash collection at Dunes to end Feb. 1"
Imperial Valley Living, 12/16/08

"In an action that could drastically change off-road activity at the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area (ISDRA), the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has announced it will remove trash dumpsters, and not collect trash at the site after Feb. 1 ... That announcement has local civic leaders and elected officials very concerned."

BLM to Phase Out Trash Collection at Imperial Sand Dunes
Asks Visitors to "Pack it Home"

A new slogan will greet visitors to the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area (ISDRA) this season, asking everyone to "Pack it Home," as trash collection service will be phased out as a necessary cost-cutting measure by the end of January.
BLM District Manager Steve Borchard said with costs rising and available funding declining, trash collection "simply became a luxury we could no longer afford for our visitors," he said. "We want to provide a safe, quality recreation experience," Borchard added, "so we're asking our visitors to take home their trash so our available funding can be used elsewhere in the Dunes."
To provide time for visitors "to get the word," Borchard said dumpsters will be available when the season opens October 15, but will be phased out no later than the end of January 2009.
"We need that transition time to educate visitors about the change and gain their cooperation. We're already gratified to see key user groups getting the information out, as the more education we can all do, the easier it will be to gain understanding and compliance," he said.
Beginning October 15, dumpsters will be located at Gecko Road, Glamis, Dunebuggy Flats, Buttercup, Midway Wells, and near the Plank Road. The service will be phased out and those dumpsters sites closed after the January deadline. On behalf of surrounding communities, Borchard reminded visitors that trash cannot be dumped in those towns either, but must be taken home.

The updated ISDRA website at contains more information, including fines for littering and a new "Trash Talk" information page listing the "Top Ten Good Reasons for Taking Your Trash Home," among them:
· Helps keep recreation fees down and visitor services up.
· Protects wildlife and natural resources.
· Encourages recycling, at the dunes and at home.
- BLM -

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Polaris RZR S Dune Review

2009 Polaris RZR S 2009 Polaris RZR S at the top of hill near Patton Valley

Sand Addiction Magazine I recently tested a 2009 Polaris RZR S during the Sand Addiction Dune Tour at Gordons Well the full review made it into the February 2008 Sand Addiction Magazine (now online).

Jon Crowley,
With factory long travel, Fox shocks and a higher output engine, the Polaris RZR S is King of the Dunes

I had the opportunity to put about 50 miles on a Polaris RZR S during the Sand Addiction Dune Tour near Gordons Well in October. Although I have lots of dune time with standard and long travel RZRs, this was the first opportunity I had to really put a RZR S through its paces.
The first thing you will notice about the RZR S is stance wider stance, but the upgrades don’t stop there. In addition to the +5” long travel suspension, here are the other ways the RZR S differs from the standard RZR:

  • Chrome-Moly upper front A-arms
  • Fox Podium X Shocks with reservoirs. Compression and preload adjustable
  • Upgraded 800 H.O. EFI Polaris twin engine that churns out 55 HP and a 63 MPH top speed (55 mph for the RZR)
  • 26-inch Maxxis Big-Horn tires with 12 inch, eight-spoke aluminum rims
  • Increased ground clearance (long travel + larger tires)
  • Exhaust - Performance headers and turn down tip
  • RZR S does not have a front sway bar
  • Fender Flares
  • Additional rear roll cage section with whip flag tab
  • Improved transmission shifting and upgraded CVT belt
  • Dry weight is 1000 lbs. vs. 945 lbs
  • MSRP is $13,999 vs. $10,799

The wider stance of the RZR S adds quite a bit of stability for carving bowls or power sliding in the dunes. And the combination of the long travel Fox shocks, wider a-arms and 12” of front and rear travel make running over the whoops much more comfortable and safe as compared to a standard RZR. The ride is smooth over small chop, but firm enough to handle typical g-out situations that you find in the dunes.

The low ground clearance of the standard RZR was a big deal for my style of riding, but I found the 12.5” of ground clearance found on the RZR S is about perfect. It is just enough to allow you to transition ridges without dragging the skid plate as much. And if you do ride on rocky terrain, the added clearance is really appreciated.
The Polaris RZR is unique in all side x sides in that the engine sits sideways behind the seats. This design greatly affects how low the seats can be placed which in turn lowers the center of gravity. Although the RZR S does sit a few inches higher than the standard RZR, the seat height of the RZR S is still several inches lower than you will find in a Rhino, Teryx or Prowler. Combine the lower center of gravity with the wider stance and more suspension travel and this directly translates to a vehicle that is well designed for aggressive dune use.

The RZR S is about 55 lbs, heavier than a RZR, but Polaris squeezed a little more output out of the 760cc twin cylinder engine that makes up for the difference.
In completely stock form, and without even dropping air pressure in the 26" Maxxis Bighorns, I was able to climb the hill at Patton Valley and Test Hill. Both of these hills are the steepest that you will find in the south part of the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area.
For pure hilling climbing in the dunes, the RZR S definitely has more power out of the box the Yamaha Rhino or Kawasaki Teryx. We will soon find out how it fares against the Arctic Cat Prowler 1000.

I also made a few runs down the Gordons Well Sand Drags to check top speed on the GPS. The top speed of the RZR S is advertised as 63 mph. Sand sucks up a lot of horsepower so I wasn’t expecting to get near that. After about four passes, I was consistently topping out at 51 mph.
Throttle response is quick and unless you are climbing a long steep hill, the RZR S has enough power to get you around in the dunes with ease. Overall, I was impressed with the power that the RZR S puts out, but f you wanted a little more performance in the sand, the first thing I would do is swap out the heavy Bighorns for a buffed paddle tire.

There are just a few things that I don’t like about the 2009 RZR S. The first is the new heel pocket. Although it does help give you more control of the throttle at low speeds, it was uncomfortable for me at full throttle. And in the dunes, I am in the throttle all the time.
The second thing I don’t like is the side nets. They are a little easier to use than the 2008 model, but they were too close to my left hand while driving. In my opinion, the nets will just be removed by the majority of users because of this. It is sad that manufacturers need to add something like these side nets to cover themselves from frivolous lawsuits.

But overall, I have got to say without a doubt that the Polaris RZR S hits it out of the park. Polaris quickly made adjustments to fix issues with the base 2008 RZR, and then added a +5" long travel kit that performs quite well right out of the box. I can honestly say that the RZR S handles better than some of the aftermarket long travel kits I have driven.
If you are looking for a stock UTV that can really perform well in the dunes without much modification, then I would highly recommend looking at the Polaris RZR S.

What’s new for all 2009 Polaris RZRs:

  • Increased roll cage strength
  • Heel pocket for more controlled operation of the gas pedal
  • Improved air filter setup
  • New Frame Gussets
  • Upper Shock Mounts are made from thicker material
  • Reinforced front frame
  • Voltage Regulator has been relocated up by radiator for improved cooling
  • New tie down points in bed area
  • Safety nets have changed a bit and the area next to your shoulder is now plastic
  • Covered, under-seat storage

Full Review can be found at: 2009 Polaris RZR S Review or in the February 2009 issue of Sand Addiction Magazine.

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