Estimates of about 50,000 people for this year’s Halloween opener show a drop from last year, said Stephen Razo, spokesman for the bureau’s California Desert District. Last year there were about 60,000 attendees.
The expectation is that there will be fewer all season, he said.
“We are anticipating lesser crowds this year due to the economy,” he said.
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The slow economy has affected the dunes season in the past, according to the American Sand Association. It was anticipated to continue its visible impact on the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area again.
Fewer visitors means less money collected from permit sales, according to a press release from the American Sand Association. Those funds pay for emergency medical personnel, pit toilet maintenance and trash collection service.
El Centro bureau field office manager Margaret Goodro had estimated last week that about 50,000 to 65,000 people would attend the Halloween weekend opener. However, higher numbers are expected at future holiday weekends, like Thanksgiving.
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