Press Staff Writer
For 14-year-old Austin Clews of
Northern California, participating in all-terrain vehicle safety classes was
something he didn't expect during his time in the dunes this holiday weekend,
but it was something he felt he had to do.
"I just found out yesterday and I thought I had to get it done," Austin said.
In a group effort by the local office of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and
American Desert Foundation, children and parents alike learned about new and
old regulations to live by.
Held outside Dune's Diner near the south side of the Imperial Sand Dunes
Recreation Area, instructor Kevin Fantom held the free sessions for a packed class.
"We've pretty much have had a full class with a good mix of adults and kids,
some grandmas and grandpas too," Fantom said.
In the hopes of assisting individuals in fulfilling the state-required riders'
safety training certification courses needed for any rider under 13 years old,
Fantom encourages riders and parents to join the fun.
"I've got kids of my own; it's a family sport and this just gives them a good
perspective on where their skill level is and how to operate the ATVs safely
together," Fantom said.
Another state law officials plan to crack down on in the new year will be the
parental supervision law, explained Joya Szalwinski, interpretative park ranger
for the El Centro Bureau of Land Management field office.
"This has always been in effect; we are just really enforcing it now mostly
because we've seen many people supervise their children from a far distance,"
"There's always something people can teach you and offering these classes to
the kids means they don't have to figure everything out the hard way," she
For more information on the training course, riders are encouraged to contact
the El Centro Bureau of Land Management park ranger station at (760) 344-3919.
Staff writer Celeste Alvarez can be reached at (760) 337-3442 or at