We have long hoped that the relationship between Imperial County and Yuma could be more one of friends and less one of rivals.
We have much in common. We are 50 miles apart with little between but interstate freeway. We are both agricultural communities. We share a television market. We share the Colorado River. We share the economic boon of recreation and movie filming from the area's sand dunes. We are both looked upon at times as ugly stepsisters by the big city brothers of our states.
Yes, we do compete for some retailers, some shoppers and some film crews, but all in all we should be natural allies. Now the federal government is forcing us into an alliance, which over the long term will be a good thing.
The feds have proposed and even moved forward with closures of huge portions of the sand dunes and desert that lie between Imperial County and Yuma. The dunes attract thousands of visitors each weekend and tens of thousands of visitors on holiday weekends. The economies of Yuma and Imperial counties swell from the visits. The prospect that many fewer people could be visiting the dunes because of the new restrictions is an ominous one for Yuma and Imperial County.