FYI for sand dune guys.
Over the past 2 1/2 years the aSa has been providing comments and recommendations for every Business Plan draft the BLM has released. Additionally, the aSa has spearheaded meetings with BLM State Director, California Desert District Manager and El Centro Field Office Manager seeking a higher level of financial detail in order to justify the BLM's ISDRA permit fee increase. Out of those discussions, the initial season permit proposal was decreased to $150 and was also reinstated when the BLM wanted to do away with the season permit altogether. All of this hard work culminated with the Desert Advisory Council (DAC) convening as the Recreation Resource Advisory Committee on Saturday, August 17th in Riverside, CA.
Several people were on hand to provide their comments regarding the fee proposal. Among those in attendance was aSa Executive Director Nicole Nicholas Gilles. She reiterated comments that were sent to the DAC in advance of the meeting which consisted of the aSa's conditional support as long as BLM addressed and revised the following items in the fee proposal derivation:
Reduction of the amount of the fees collected that are used for administering the fee collection program. The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA) specifies that the agencies are to only use a maximum of 15% of the fees for administration, overhead, and indirect costs.
Address and correct the derivation of the ISDRA visitation values used to determine and administer the fees. Visitation numbers reported are a major component in the derivation of the amount of fees needed to operate the ISDRA and are also the basis for the fee collection compliance value.
The annual fee increase should not exceed the government's published inflation rate, since the last time the fees were raised in 2003.
A task force must be created to address second vehicle and one day passes with findings to be reported within one year to the ISDRA DAC Subgroup and DAC for action.
After hearing comments from concerned citizens and other OHV groups, the DAC voted unanimously to recommend that the BLM adopt the fee proposal as written. Additionally, the DAC recommended that the BLM continue to work with the ISDRA DAC Subgroup to explore ways to improve and expand the single day visitors permit, 2nd vehicle permit, and how to arrive at a solution to replace a permit sticker if the vehicle is sold or totaled in an accident.
What does all of this mean for you?
As of October 1st, the new fee program will be implemented and you will need to pay higher rates in order to recreate at the ISDRA.
Notable changes for this upcoming season:
Shortening of fee period. Permits would be required between October 1st and April 15th annually instead of 365 days per year.
No permit would be needed for short-term visitation at Osborne Overlook, the Plank Road Cultural Resource Site, the Cahuilla and Buttercup Ranger Stations, or the Watchable Wildlife Area.
The BLM proposes to include season permit sales, at the same price as off-site season permits, at both Cahuilla and Buttercup Ranger Stations only.
The season permit will be a sticker affixed to the vehicle instead of a hangtag.
BLM's official website would offer a discount of $10 on a 2nd weekly permit purchased at the same time. One discounted permit could be purchased for every full-priced permit sold in the same transaction. For example, a visitor purchasing two weekly permits through the website would pay a total of $60 (one permit for $35 and one for $25), or a visitor purchasing four weekly permits through the website would pay a total of $120 (two permits for $35 and two for $25). The weekly permits purchased could be purchased for the same period of time, or different weekly periods throughout the season.
BLM to Implement New Fee Schedule for the Imperial Sand Dunes
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced a decision to implement a new fee schedule that would increase fees for the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area (ISDRA) starting in the 2013-2014 season. The new fee schedule received extensive public review and input from stakeholders and partner organizations, including a unanimous recommendation by the California Desert Advisory Committee (DAC) to proceed with a fee increase for the ISDRA.
Thomas Zale, BLM El Centro Field Manager, said, "Our BLM staff and partners work hard to maintain the Dunes as a world class off-highway vehicle recreation destination and a safe place to experience America's Great Outdoors. The fees we collect go towards visitor services and allow us to maintain a clean, safe, family friendly recreation area. Imperial County, our partners and our stakeholders, helped in the development of a new fee schedule that works."
The new fee schedule includes several changes to the fee program that will be implemented during the 2013-2014 season, including:
The fee season will be reduced to October 1 through April 15 each year;
Off-site weekly permits will be available for $35;
On-site weekly permits will be available for $50; and
Season permits will be available for $150, and will be a sticker to be applied to the vehicle.
The Desert Advisory Committee (DAC) provided additional recommendations related to the overall fee program. These recommendations will be addressed through continuing collaboration with the public through the DAC ISDRA subgroup. The council recently met under the authority of the Federal Land Recreation Enhancement Act.
More information about the fee proposal can be found at http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/elcen...s/isdrabp.html
or on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BLMimperialsanddunes
Located in the southeast corner of California, the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area is the largest mass of dunes in the state. Formed by windblown sands of ancient Lake Cahuilla, the dune system extends for more than 40 miles in a band averaging 5 miles wide. Also known as "Glamis" and a favorite location for OHV enthusiasts, the dunes also offer fabulous scenery, opportunities for solitude, and a home to rare plants and animals.
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