Law & Order

Appeals Court Rules in Favor of Expanded Off-Road Access at Imperial Sand Dunes

By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff

A federal appeals court approved a 2013 plan by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to expand off-highway vehicle (OHV) access in Southern California’s Imperial Sand Dunes. The plan had been challenged by environmentalists looking to protect the Peirson’s milkvetch—a threatened plant species under the Endangered Species Act. 

The BLM and the Fish and Wildlife Service issued a biological opinion, which concluded that expanded OHV access was not a significant threat to the plant or to the Mojave Desert turtle population. As a result of the appeals court ruling, the BLM may now implement its plan to expand OHV access at the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreational Area by 49,3000 acres for a combined total of more than 127,000 acres at the recreation area. 

For more information, contact Eric Snyder at