Infrastructure project will improve public access at popular recreation area
SAFFORD, Ariz. – The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Safford Field Office is planning a road improvement project this summer that will improve public access to the 2,000 acre BLM managed Hot Well Dunes Recreation Area, an extremely popular off-road utility vehicle riding area. The work will begin as early as June 12 and continue through Oct., during the recreation area’s low-use season. The work will improve portions of Haekel Road after monsoon rains caused damage. Haekel Road is the main route in and out of the Hot Well Dunes.
“Flooding at the San Simon crossing during heavy rain events has been a long-standing issue,” said Safford Field Manager Scott Cooke. “Once complete, the work will make it much easier for people with motor homes and UTV trailers to get in and out of Hot Well Dunes at any time of the year.”
The project includes the buildup of San Simon crossing to a height of seven feet to allow for sediment and water to pass underneath and prevent water from pooling in the crossing. The work also includes two miles of pothole repair near the crossing.
During the upcoming work, there will be periods when public access will be re-routed to a by-pass road near the problem area, but emergency vehicles and law enforcement will be permitted access. Haekel Road will be closed to all traffic traveling from Safford for up to three weeks during the pothole repair. During this time, signs will be posted at the Bowie and Safford entrances, the public will be alerted of the closure through radio public service announcements and public access to the Hot Well Dunes will be available from Bowie.
The sands at the Hot Well Dunes Recreation Area were a beach surrounding a lake approximately two million years ago. What remains today is one of the most unique recreation spots in Arizona. Hot Well Dunes provides the opportunity to ride 2,000 acres of sand dunes, set up a camp, and then soak in relaxing hot tubs, all in the same location.