FAQ

What are the fees for the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area?

Visitors will pay $25/week or $90/season per primary vehicle, when purchased before heading to the dunes. If you wait to purchase your permit at the dunes the cost will be $40/week or $120/season. A primary vehicle is defined as a street legal vehicle used for transportation to the site. The season pass is valid from October 1 to September 30.

Where can I purchase a season pass?

Over the Phone, 800-832-7664 Ext. 138, M-f, 8-4 (toll Free)

Onsite, WEP personnel will be available near the recreation area's major entry points.

Online, at http://www.imperialsanddunes.net/

Other, purchase your 7 day or season pass at participating dune-area merchants (View list of vendors)

Why is there a need for fees in the Imperial Sand Dunes?

As funding becomes more challenging, alternate sources of funding are needed in order to maintain quality recreation experiences at the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area. The costs of managing the Dunes have increased substantially in the last two years. During the same time, the amount and reliability of funds to pay for these increased costs have dropped considerably. While those costs have been temporarily covered by recreation funds from other areas in California and even nationally, that cannot continue and the Dunes must become more self-sufficient.

Isn't management of public lands already paid for through my taxes?

BLM manages about 261 million acres nationwide and about 15 million acres here in California. Congress generally gives the BLM enough funding to manage these lands for primitive dispersed recreation. The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993, Public Law 103-66, amended the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act expanding the BLM's authority to collect recreation use fees. The amount and type of services and facilities required for intensively used areas such as the Imperial Sand Dunes far exceed the availability of federal funds, thus requiring collection of user fees.

Is this Business Plan a recent development?

In 1998, an overall Business Plan was developed for the entire California Desert District. The plan called for the development of 'micro-business plans' specifically analyzing future fee sites. The El Centro Field Office contracted a business consultant to develop the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area Business Plan. The contractor was hired to look at all sources of income, current and future expenses, and compliance rates, then determine what the BLM needs to charge in order to recover costs.

How was the recreating public involved in the development of the Business Plan?

The contractor and the BLM consulted with vendors, visitors and Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) groups, including a local citizen's advisory group called the Technical Review Team (TRT), and incorporated their comments and suggestions into a draft Business Plan. The draft Business Plan was then reviewed by OHV groups to allow for additional comments and suggestions which were then incorporated into the final Business Plan recommendations.

How were these fees arrived at?

Because BLM is not driven by profit margin objectives, it must attempt to 'break even' on expenditures no longer funded through other sources and also consider prices charged by other recreation providers. The contractor for the Business Plan did conduct a Fair Market Value analysis to ensure that resulting prices were within a competitive and fair market range.

Has the BLM considered a 'speed pass' or 'FasTrak' system for collection and processing of fees?

Such a system was suggested by the public, but it was determined that the start-up expense makes it cost prohibitive.

How will the BLM ensure that fee compliance increases?

The BLM will be increasing its fee compliance enforcement efforts in the Dunes. In order to keep fees as low as possible, there must be an increase in fee compliance. If the recreating public cooperates with fee compliance, fees will remain low and the BLM can continue to provide facility maintenance, law enforcement, emergency medical services, and plant and animal habitat monitoring that is needed at the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area.

What do my fees pay for?

After the cost of collection, all the revenues generated in the Dunes are returned to the Dunes. Many aspects of the regular operations and maintenance of the recreation area are paid for out of the fees. Specifically fees pay for law enforcement, labor and equipment, emergency medical services, labor and supplies, maintenance of the roads and facilities, trash collection, outhouse cleaning and pumping, the construction of future camping pads and toilets.

Where can I obtain vendor information?

Visit our Vendor Program web page or contact Marisa Williams at 760-337-4457.