Safford, Ariz. Due, in part, to increasing use and the need to ensure visitor safety at the Hot Well Dunes (HWD) Recreation Area, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has some new rules for the 2000-acre recreation site southeast of Safford.
The rules, called supplementary rules, relate to vehicle rider capacity, clinging to or being towed by a vehicle, safety flags, vehicle use, public nudity, firearms, pets, speed limit, camping, waste disposal and length of stay. Only the first three rules are new. The other eight incorporate existing BLM rules and regulations.
The BLM Safford Field Office proposed the new rules in October 2008 and solicited comments during a 60-day public comment period that ended on December 15. After reviewing the comments received, the BLM concluded that the proposed rules should be adopted. The BLM anticipates that the new rules will be a positive step toward protecting the health and safety of visitors that enjoy the popular recreation area.
The final rules were published in the Federal Register on July 9 and become effective on August 10. “We realize that it will take some time for everyone to learn about the new rules, said Gila District Law Enforcement Ranger Larry Ramirez. “We will spend the coming weeks trying to inform Hot Well Dunes users about them.” BLM law enforcement rangers and recreation staff will visit with those enjoying the dunes to inform them about the upcoming changes.
The rules will also be posted on the kiosk near the restrooms and tubs at the recreation site. Printed copies of the rules are available at the BLM Safford Field Office located at 711 14th Avenue in Safford. Copies have also been provided to Gila Valley off-highway vehicle dealerships and the Graham County Chamber of Commerce. The rules are also posted on the BLM’s Hot Well Dunes website at http://www.blm.gov/az/st/en/prog/recreation/camping/hot_well.html.
For the purpose of the supplementary rules, off-highway recreation vehicle is defined as a motor vehicle that is operated for recreational, non-highway, all-terrain travel. It may include all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), motorcycles, motorized carts, dune buggies, sand rails, or any other motor vehicle that is being operated for play.
The new supplementary rules for the Hot Well Dunes Recreation Area are:
1.) Vehicle Rider Capacity
A person operating an off-road vehicle within the HWD Recreation Area shall ride only on the permanent, regular seat attached to the off-road vehicle. The operator of an off-road vehicle shall not carry any additional person(s) on an off-road vehicle unless the vehicle is designed and manufactured to carry such additional person(s). No person shall ride an off-road vehicle unless the vehicle is designed and manufactured to carry that person.
The BLM manages more land - 256 million acres - than any other Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The Bureau, with a budget of about $1 billion, also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public lands.