The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) ruled that 12,000 acres of the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area in California must be closed to the public so as to protect the Peirson’s milk-vetch plant. The agency excluded 10,000 acres of dunes where most off-road activities take place. The plant was placed on the endangered species list in 1998 and the FWS was required to designate critical habitat to protect the plant on land which is managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
Also known as the Algodones Dunes, the recreation area is a favorite destination for off-roaders using desert dune buggies and other all-terrain vehicles. The off-road community demonstrated that there would be disproportionate economic harm if the critical habitat designation included the Gecko and Glamis Management Areas encompassing the 10,000 acres.
SEMA is reviewing the rule. The association generally supports a balanced approach between land access and conservation which includes advice from the local community. Many SEMA members produce parts and equipment used by off-road enthusiasts.
For details, contact Jason Tolleson at firstname.lastname@example.org.