Holiday at Sand Mountain marred by accidents
May 30, 2005
SAND MOUNTAIN – While authorities continued to search Monday at Lake Lahontan for two bodies involved in separate alleged drownings, Sand Mountain avoided deaths, but not accidents, during Memorial Day weekend.
According to Banner Churchill Community Hospital ambulance services, 13 people were reported injured at Sand Mountain between Friday and Sunday. Ten people with reported injuries were taken by Care Flight to hospitals in Washoe County.
Representatives for Banner Churchill Community Hospital declined to release the names of those injured or their conditions, but did say the majority of reported injuries were related to dirt bike and all-terrain vehicle accidents at Sand Mountain.
The hospital’s ambulance department had one call Friday to Sand Mountain. That person was taken by Care Flight to Washoe County.
On Saturday, the ambulance department received two calls to Sand Mountain.
There were a total of four patients between those two calls – one was treated at Banner Churchill Community Hospital, and three were flown to Washoe County.
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The hospital’s ambulance service dispatchers received six calls to Sand Mountain on Sunday. Six people were taken by Care Flight to Washoe County, one was treated at Banner Churchill Community Hospital, and one left the hospital against medical advice.
Dispatchers and representatives from the Bureau of Land Management declined to comment Monday on the reported accidents at Sand Mountain during the holiday weekend.
An estimated 7,800 people flocked between Saturday and Sunday to the massive sand dune off Highway 50 about 70 miles east of Carson City. Previous holiday weekends like Memorial Day and Labor Day had drawn closer to 5,000 people at Sand Mountain.
BLM officials have explored the idea of raising fees to camp at Sand Mountain and possibly limiting the number of people who camp there next year.
Currently, campers pay $20 to stay up to a week. A $45 annual pass is also available.
BLM officials said the fees collected to camp at Sand Mountain are not nearly enough to provide enough law enforcement, road grading, restrooms, trash service and medical emergency services.
n Contact reporter Burke Wasson at email@example.com