South Dunes cleanup this weekend

March 01, 2002|By LAURA MITCHELL, Staff Writer

There might be treasure in the sand at the Imperial Sand Dunes, depending on your idea of treasure.

Volunteers will have a chance to find out this weekend at the third annual South Dunes cleanup.

People find ammunition in the dunes, said Lynne Howard, owner of Pair-A-Dice, a restaurant/store in the South Dunes area.

Gen. George Patton used the desert area from Mexico to Las Vegas during World War II as a bombing range and training area, he said.

There are all kinds of things out there, such as old buses the military used for target practice, Howard said. He said he's heard there are tanks and ammunition buried all over the dunes.

"Patton never took anything out. He left it all here," he said.

If a cleanup volunteer finds something that looks dangerous or looks like old ordnance, the person needs to tell a U.S. Bureau of Land Management ranger, Howard said.


A grenade was found over the Presidents Day weekend, BLM Assistant Dunes Manager Tom Sharkey said.

If one is found, don't touch it and don't use a cell phone or two-way radio. Electronics may detonate some types of bombs, Sharkey said.

A few volunteers will walk away with treasures after an American Sand Association raffle with giveaways such as a Yamaha Raptor all-terrain vehicle and a desktop computer, Howard said.

The ATV, with every imaginable accessory, is worth about $16,000. The Raptor is the largest single prize ever raffled for a dunes cleanup, he said.

The South Dunes cleanup is the second-largest cleanup at the dunes. The event is sponsored by Pair-A-Dice, which is at Interstate 8 and Gordons Well Road, and KD Enterprises of Yuma.

About 300 people volunteered last year, Howard said. He expects more this year. Volunteers will receive a free hamburger lunch and drink.

The cleanup starts at 7 a.m. and will end at noon. The raffle will start about 1 p.m.

More information is available on the Web at

>> Staff Writer Laura Mitchell can be reached at 337-3452 or

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