Petition started to allow "Duners" at Monahans Sandhills

Petition started to allow "Duners" at Monahans Sandhills

MIDLAND-ODESSA, TX (KWES) - The Kermit sand dunes shut down completely back in December. Now with nowhere to go, local sand dune enthusiasts are banding together to find a new place to ride.

Right now the Monahans Sandhills are used for family events. But the local group wants to add something a little more extreme to the park.

The sound of an engine.  Anyone with an ATV can hear it with just a turn of the key, but it's not the same as it was a month ago.

"But you know, it was really nice having dunes in my back yard where I could just drive out there on a weekend, set up camp, ride all weekend long and then come back to work," said Family Powersports GM Mike Ruhnke.

Now that Kermit stopped allowing ATVs, the next closest place for John and his friends is all the way up in Oklahoma. So they had the idea to start a petition to bring it to the park.

Within days, they had hundreds of supporters and the petition, which has only been up for since Friday, has nearly 1,200 signatures as of Thursday.

The group said they can't believe it.

"It has taken off faster than anyone could have ever expected," said John Christopher, who started the petition. "But that just shows the interest in the Sandhills and the interest in your family time. You know, and the interest for the love in the sport."

Christopher added there's more than just fun with the family to be gained from an opportunity like this. 
"The economic impact it's going to have on the City of Monahans, on the City of Odessa, on the City of Midland and Winkler County," said Christopher. "It's not just the local community that we're trying to get here to come use the Sandhills."

But Monahans Sandhills Superintendent Michael Smith said it's not about the money for any state park.

"They're not established to provide money for the government," said Smith. "They're established to provide habitat, they're established to preserve natural cultural resources and provide a place for people to recreate."

The group will meet with Smith sometime next week. If you want to learn more about the petition you can find the Facebook group at this link or sign the petition here.

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