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#17 - Boardmanville: History and Access

#17 - Boardmanville: History and Access

| Lance Ricota, Owner, Boardmanville

Boardmanville started in the late 1970s by Chuck Boardman. He started by selling water to OHV riders and expanded fast to selling camping goods to visitors. Boardmanville became a fun destination ride for users of the Imperial Sand Dunes.  Jeanne Boardman kept it running after Chuck passed away in 1999. In October 2009 Union Pacific Railroad surveyed the 17 mile stretch of tracks between Ogilby RD and Highway 78 and decided to close 3 AT Grade Crossings and the underpass at Wash 10 that had been cleaned out for 40 years by permission from Southern Pacific Railroad. Unfortunately BLM refused to see the safety issues by closing these crossings and forcing Union Pacific Railroad to reopen the crossings. The land under the Railroad Tracks is owned by the Federal Government and Union Pacific Railroad has an easement thru the Imperial Sand Dunes. Ultimately the safety problems in the Imperial Sand Dunes caused by these Public Access points being closed falls on BLM and UPRR.

Environmental concern has also risen as thru research the trestles are supposed to be clean out to 6 feet. Years of sediment and failure to maintain the easement has caused flooding of Ted Kipf road which is a County Maintained road that connects Highway 78 to Ogilby Rd. This road because of the failure to maintain the train tracks trestles has made Ted Kipf rd impassable unless you have 4 wheel drive. No matter how many times the residents complain the problems don’t get fixed.

Access points were closed in 2009 that allowed users in the main camping area called the Washes to the riding trails east of the train tracks that go all the way to the Colorado River. The area east of the tracks is also a camping area but to use the restrooms you have to drive back to the highway in a street legal vehicle. So for most it’s to difficult to camp east of the tracks.

It is legal to cross at Highway 78 or Ogilby Rd per California Vehicle Code 38027. This means you can parallel a highway to access riding trails under “non mechanical means” (PUSH YOUR OHV ACROSS THE RR TRACKS). I have watched hundreds of users get stopped by BLM trying to access public lands and being told by BLM the area is closed trying to discourage people from using the trails east of the train tracks. Education is key to keeping the area open.

There has been huge progress to regaining access to these trails and destinations such as Boardmanville and Gold Rock Ranch since Caltrans funded a Study that was conducted by County of Imperial. The year long study was completed in January 2021 and designated the most feasible area for a crossing would be near highway 78. Lots of factors including finding a public agency to share responsibility of a structure came into account. We hope to have a path forward from CPUC to having a structure build in the next couple months.

People ask why can’t we use Wash 10 it worked great for years. Here is the short answer. The BLM refuses to engage and see this was Public Access and refuses to take responsibility for a crossing for Public Safety. We have asked while a permanent structure is being built that Wash 10 be reopened in the interest of safety.

Lance Ricota 

Lance's primary business is general aviation. He was born and raised in San Diego and has been going to Glamis since 1985. He purchased the Boardmanville Trading Post in 2011 from Jeannie Boardman. Lance has been a long-standing ASA Business Sponsor.