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New Glamis road designation may allow off-highway vehicles

September 19, 2009|By ELIZABETH VARIN, Staff Writer
  • IMPERIAL VALLEY PRESS FILE PHOTO Off-road vehicles speed along the dunes on a holiday weekend in this file photo.|||2009_09_19_local_news_news02-4c002811e41f01.87844033-news02-main.jpg
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Dollar bills cover the ceiling and walls at the Boardmanville Trading Post near the Glamis Sand Dunes as a sign of the establishment’s many visitors.

There are times during the off-road season, from October to May, that the combination restaurant, bar and supply store is standing-room only, owner Jeannie Boardman said in an interview in April.

That has changed since the enforcement of a regulation not allowing off-highway vehicles on the 1.7-mile road leading to the well-known establishment.

However, recent action from the Imperial County Board of Supervisors may allow off-highway vehicles to ride the roads again.

Supervisor Wally Leimgruber plans to meet with officers from the California Highway Patrol’s El Centro sector Tuesday to discuss making Ted Kipf Road a combined-use road, he said.

As a combined-use road, off-highway vehicles would be allowed to drive on it, wrote public works Director William Brunet in a letter to the local Highway Patrol captain.

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There would be regulations, Brunet continued. Off-highway vehicles could only be used in daylight hours and must have lights and rubber tires. In addition, the driver would have to have a valid driver’s license and liability insurance.

“Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of all the OHVs are in compliance with those regulations,” Leimgruber said.

The county Board of Supervisors passed a resolution July 7 to designate Ted Kipf Road as a combined-use highway, according to a past board agenda.

The board chose to make the resolution in part because of camping located on the road and because of Boardmanville Trading Post, he said. In addition, it is important that the road receive the designation because of the economic impact of the Glamis visitors, he said.

“Winter visitors bring tourist money into our area,” Leimgruber said. “They eat at our restaurants and they utilize the services in our county, whether it be the am/pm or local medical service.”

Visitors to the dunes spent about $415 million between October 2005 and May 2006, according to an economic analysis made by United Desert Gateway.

The final decision will be made by the Highway Patrol commissioner’s office in Sacramento, and the board would like to have a decision by the end of September, Leimgruber said.

“We are optimistic that this road will have the designation,” he said.

Much of the dispute started when, for one day, off-highway vehicles were ticketed on the road.

People had been traveling down the road for 29 years, said Boardman, owner of the trading post in an interview in April. However, on President’s Day weekend, one of the major four-day weekends for the area, off-highway vehicles were being ticketed.

“I was down 60 percent that weekend, and not because of the economy,” Boardman said.

Despite how popular the trading post is, people were scared to drive down the road because of the ticketing, she said.

“I feel that they are land-locking me,” Boardman said.

>> Staff Writer Elizabeth Varin can be reached at 337-3441 or evarin@ivpressonline.com

>> Digital Media News Editor Brooke Ruth contributed to this article.

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