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February 14, 2020

Borrego Sandman - and other Borrego misc.

I do not have enough to make a single subject post this week.  So this post will be a potpourri of a few topics that might be of interest around Borrego Springs.

Borrego Sandman

Since the first arrivals of Europeans in the Borrego Valley, reports of “Hairy Beasts” have been recorded.

Reliable reports continued well into the 20th century when US Marine Victor Stonayow discovered 14” tracks in the Borrego Sink.  Photos and plaster casts were recorded and sent for evaluation, but have since been lost.

I’ve talked to the Ranchita Store owner who displays the “Ranchita Yeti” and asked if that was the “Sandman”.  I was told originally yes, but they decided to call him Yeti to distinguish themselves. 
The last report of the Borrego Sandman was in Badlands in the 1970s as reported by Mysterious Universe.

But the Travel Channel is not convinced, and was filming an update to their 2019 Borrego Sandman segment for their Mysteries in the Museum series.  Filming was taking place in the badlands and Ranchita.

 Check the Travel Channel in your area for a segment on the Borrego Sandman.

Gypsum Mine Expansion

The BLM has approved the request of US Gypsum to expand its mining operation.  Plaster City in Ocotillo, is the processing plant for the drywall, while the quarry for US Gypsum Mine is off Split Mountain Road in Ocotillo Wells.  Altho the processing plant will be granted more water, the mine quarry will be granted more area.

I'm seldom in favor of public lands being given to for-profit private entities.  Arg!  And I'm even less in favor of strip mining!

Borrego Springs Resort

To be clear this is Borrego Springs Resort off Tilting-T road south of town, NOT the Springs at Borrego. 

Borrego Springs Resort and their adjacent Club Circle has closed their golf courses … permanently! 

Fran has played tennis at Borrego Springs Resort, and those courts will remain open. 
We’ve played golf at Club Circle several times.  It had an honor system 9-hole where we’d place the green fees ($5 ea) in their iron ranger, borrow their clubs, balls and a pull cart.  It was inexpensive, fun and informal ... Alas no more ...
 The crappy pull carts are still here but the Iron Ranger has been taped up.  Does that mean play free???

There are other golf courses, however this closure also includes the loss of the only Disc Golf Course in Borrego Springs.

I’ve written the mayor and Chamber of Commerce to see if they would consider the creation of a public Disc Golf Course, but have received no reply.

Rockhouse Road/Clark Lake

As I have previously mentioned boondocking at Clark Lake is no longer permitted.
But is Rockhouse Road still passable?  At the time of my last post it was.  But now I’ve heard the road is closed, no longer travel to the ‘Rock House’, the Kumeyaay home site nor the petroglyphs is allowed.
Today the road was passable, but the cones would indicate it can again be blocked,

Day Use Fees

California State Parks have had ‘Day Use Fees’ for some time.  The Anza Borrego Desert State Park is a California State Park.  The developed campgrounds, Borrego Palm Canyon and Tamarisk Grove, have employed fees for some time.  Nearby Cuyamaca State Park has iron rangers and charges the $10 day use fee at trailheads. 

 However, the Visitor Center now also requires a $10 Day Use Fee.  A Borrego Sun article says the fee will be required Friday-Sunday and Holidays. 

Apparently no weekday fee is required at the VC and access to Palm Canyon trailhead from there ... yet!

I chatted with the rangerette today and was told the fee would be applied by season and demand, but always on weekends and holidays.  With wildflower season approaching the fee is charged every day,

The water faucet at the VC has also been turned off. ARG! 
It’s a nice center, but not worth 10 bucks IMHO, if you need water also dump the tanks at the campground and enjoy the 
VC after.

Santa Ysabel Nature Center

The Nature Center opened Dec 2019, making it the newest addition to the San Diego County Parks system.  It is also unique within the system, being the only 'Nature Center'. 
Somewhat like a local Natural History Museum it provides connection to local history, wildlife and preservation efforts … and it’s FREE!

The center also offer FREE WiFi

It's a small local display but with some good info and fun modern exhibits


Stop by for a visit when you're in the area

While we were parked there enjoying lunch, out our window was a California Department of Corrections crew working on trail improvement.

SoCal is not just a biodiverse hot spot, but also geological and cultural.  Reasons I like to live here!


  1. They are making harder and costlier to have fun... Sad to hear about the closure of the Disc Golf Course in Borrego Springs.

    1. We too were looking forward to looking forward to play Disc Golf alas changes happen

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, I'll have more specific topic for next weeks post.

  3. Seems like a lot of bad news on these fronts. Less places to go, more destructive land use, more fees, less options. Blech. I'm glad you ended on a good note with San Diego's incredible biodiversity and the free nature center. And I guess if these new fees are being used to improve the parks, it's not so bad. I'm sure the endless increase in visitorship at these places has to have a negative impact. Hopefully the money will be used to offset some of that, or provide additional improvements.

    1. I’m ok with pay per use when the fees make for a better experience

  4. I like these "little bit of this, little bit of that" posts, although some of these tidbits are disturbing. It is odd that Rockhouse road is sometimes open, sometimes blocked....I wish they'd make up their minds or give us a more definitive sign - road open, no trespassing on the surrounding land? Everything closed, what is it! I, for one, think that a taped up iron ranger definitely means its free!

    1. The VC also is sometimes pay sometimes free depends on the season and demand.
      I do not see Rockhouse Road closed to travel to the native sites. Even tho it’s a crazy bumpy drive

  5. I didn't realize Bigfoot, aka Yeti, was found so far south. I'm sorry to read most of this and sadly not enticed to hurry back to AB.

    1. Don't despair Gaelyn!, BS is a town that is land-locked inside the ABDSP. It cannot grow any larger in land area and caters to a lot of interested folks. AB is still a great destination, but it is a CA State Park, but with more freedom than most.


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