About Utah: Biggest weekend of the year at the Little Sahara

Published: Wednesday, April 16 2014 4:05 p.m. MDT

Every year, the biggest crowds show up at Sand Mountain, a 700-foot tower of sand that challenges every form of motorized sand vehicle to go up, as well as sandboarders to go down.

Getting ready for the Easter masses is a full-time job in and of itself. “It takes months of preparing to gear up for a weekend of this magnitude,” says Lisa Reid, public affairs specialist for the Fillmore BLM office.

Jay, Mike, Lisa and crew have been busy making sure the campgrounds are ready, the water taps are all turned on and working, shifting sand is removed from the campsites, signs are all in place warning children to not tunnel in the sand (tunnel collapses have resulted in deaths), and that all support services are ready and waiting in the wings — including dozens of law enforcement officers coordinated by the Juab County Sheriff’s Office.

This year, the newest additions are two concrete helipads to make helicopter landings safer and easier.

Also, they’re tuning up the sandbulance — the high-torque sand buggy with a Corvette engine that is on call day and night to respond to accidents.

“What you dread most is to hear the radio tone for emergency,” says Jay, “because you know that’s going to happen.”

Still, he notes that injuries are about a third of what they were 30 years ago.

Not only are people driving safer, but they know they can and will be cited for a DUI if they drink and drive in the sand.

“We like it to be a party, but a party the whole family can attend,” says Jay. “Easter is when Little Sahara fills up with what you could call neighborhoods, full of people they only know from here.”

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