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#6 - The first time I volunteered

#6 - The first time I volunteered

| Bryan Henry, ASA President

Some people believe standing up for what you believe in is hard. For me, it was very easy. When I first heard about Glamis being closed down in 2000, it hit me like the death of an old friend. I had been driving equipment around in the company van, and a colleague and fellow duner told me about it when I stopped at his location. My first reaction was to take duct tape (green, as I recall) and spell out SAVE GLAMIS on the back doors. I don’t remember how my boss reacted, although I do recall removing the tape at the end of the day. What I do remember is seeking out ways I could fight to keep the dunes open. The internet was in its infancy, pagers were still far more common than cell phones, and communication was done the old-fashioned way: face to face. I found Sanjay, who ran an ATV rental place in Orange, California; he was coordinating efforts to let people know what was going on in the dunes.

The biggest challenge with the judgement for injunctive relief that temporarily closed 49,000 acres at the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area was in the timing. The closures were to be implemented immediately, and the Bureau of Land Management did not have the resources to mark out the closed area, and the judgement was issued just weeks before the Thanksgiving holiday. The call went out, and I drove out to the dunes on Thanksgiving Day to set up a small information kiosk at the Gecko campground along with two other volunteers to inform people that there were closed areas, and that we needed to stay out of those areas or risk losing the entire recreation area. I was able to ride out to the large closure area south of Roadrunner campground, and did see some closure markers, but certainly not enough for people to know what was open and what was closed. Thankfully, after the busiest weekend of the season, the judge did not expand the closure to the entire dune area, and we were able to keep enjoying a portion of the dunes while we fought to reopen the rest.

I have continued to volunteer for the ASA for the past 20 years because of how much the dunes mean to me. For me, the dunes are my center, and the closest place to what I feel as “home”. I have been going to dune riding areas since I was 3 years old, and how far of a drive it is to the dunes has been a major consideration for every move I have made. I have served in many different roles from California Events Coordinator to Forum Moderator/Administrator, to Board Member, Board President and now interim Executive Director. The victory of the reopening of 40,000 acres has been tempered by the unbalanced impact to the south dunes along with the loss of an OHV “legal” crossing to the east side of the dunes. The next battle is against the efforts of the California Coastal Commission to shut down Oceano Dunes SVRA. As long as there is a need to stand up for our riding areas, I will continue to serve my fellow duners in whatever capacity I am able to do so. Please join me in supporting the ASA, whether through a Supporting Membership, a Business Sponsorship or by volunteering. Every contribution is vital to our efforts to keep fighting for OUR sand dune recreation areas!

Bryan Henry

Bryan is a lifelong duner, making his first trip to Dumont Dunes at 3 years old back in 1974.  He has ridden all kinds of vehicles across the dunes, including an ATC 90, Yamaha Banshee and YFZ450 as well as a VW powered sand rail.  He has visited dune areas throughout the western US including Glamis, Dumont, Oceano, Oregon Dunes and St Anthony’s Dunes.  Bryan has been volunteering for the ASA since Thanksgiving weekend 2000, and continues to support the efforts of the organization as the current Board President.