Sand Mountain draws 5,000 over Labor Day Weekend |
Nevada Appeal News Service

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Sand Mountain draws 5,000 over Labor Day Weekend

Sand Mountain drew a crowd of 5,000 people this Labor Day weekend, according to the Bureau of Land Management, up from last year’s Labor Day crowd of only 1,500.

Stan Zuber, lead law enforcement ranger for the BLM Carson City district, said he believes last year’s below-average crowd was due to after effects of Hurricane Katrina and gas prices that spiked shortly thereafter.

“This year was probably more in line to what we should have had,” Zuber said. “Five thousand for a Labor Day is big.”

Zuber said the crowd was more family-oriented and well behaved. “For the number of people we had, they were all pretty good,” he said.

The Churchill County Sheriff’s Department assisted in law enforcement by providing deputies to patrol through campsites at night.

Churchill County Sheriff Rich Ingram said the county entered into an agreement with the BLM earlier this year to provide supplemental law enforcement at Sand Mountain for holiday weekends.

“We have been able to provide them with four deputies each night on Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” Ingram said. The BLM reimburses the county for personnel and pays a time-and-a-half rate.

Ingram said the deputies working Sand Mountain are in addition to other deputies already assigned to work the holiday weekend.

“It works out well for a number of reasons. It allows the sheriff’s office to have a presence at Sand Mountain and eliminates, during that shift, deputies having to respond from town. It also gives local law enforcement the ability to enforce state and local laws, whereas otherwise the BLM and federal enforcement does not have jurisdiction.”

Zuber said only a few citations were issued by BLM rangers for off-roaders riding in closed areas like the Pony Express Station. Five BLM rangers were working the recreation area over the long holiday weekend.

Zuber said the BLM brought two emergency medical technicians up from the Imperial Sand Dunes in El Centro, Calif., to work last weekend. He said the EMTs, who have their own rescue dune buggy, responded to 11 medical calls with three being major injuries. One rider had a shoulder and chest injury, another suffered a back injury and one with a neck injury was flown to Reno by Careflight.

Ingram said in years past the attendance at Sand Mountain was confined to holiday weekends.

“Anymore, you can pretty much find several hundred to several thousand people on any given weekend. Depending upon the weather, we could see larger than normal crowds on the Nevada Day weekend and Thanksgiving. Some folks that go out there are very passionate about their hobby,” he said.