WASHINGTON – The things that go bump in the night aren’t what they use to be. Throughout the desert areas surrounding St. George parties are popping up everywhere. This new subculture is gaining popularity with young adults and, although a concern for some, is a unique solution for others.
Regulations restricting dancing in St. George venues, and the heavy patrolling of law enforcement in college housing areas, have pushed party-goers out into the desert in areas such as Warner Valley and the Arizona Strip. Although there are some who choose the refuge of the desert as a false sense of security for nefarious activities, there are many people who choose the desert to simply avoid annoying other residents.
In defiance of people who claim there is nothing to do in St. George, one of these groups pooled their resources, rented PA speakers, found a disc jockey, and forked out a good amount of their own money to provide gas generators, lights, cables and other equipment to throw a dance party in the desert. This group has now grown, and will often times draw crowds numbering in the hundreds.
Isaac Hermosillo, one of the original organizers of the largest and longest running groups, said. “We wanted more than just a bonfire, so we rented PA speakers, got our friends together, and it just grew from there.”
Despite the advances in modern social networking, this particular group avoids using Facebook to tell people about upcoming parties, but resorts to word of mouth in order to filter out unwanted attendees. The intent is not to be overly exclusive, but to be able to have a good time without the presence of underage drinkers, illicit drugs, and other illegal activities that often come with younger crowds.
The displacing of these parties to the desert, rather than somewhere in town has dropped a lot of the social bounds that accompany house parties, and tends to bring together people of all backgrounds.
Organizers of these desert parties stress the importance of not littering, which is usually the reason why law enforcement personnel regulate or bar such events.
“It’s hard to say what we see on the ground. We don’t have any quantifiable numbers,” Rachel Tueller, Public Affairs for the Arizona Strip District, said. “I know that it does happen. You need to be cognizant of what the fire restrictions are.”
There are a few different places online where citizens can go to read up on the regulations that apply to their specific plans. The BLM has outlined the rules of target shooting on their website, and Tread Lightly has put out guidelines and rules about off-road travel. The important thing is to know what the regulations are, and abide by them to stay safe.
“A lot of the problems we see are with people who are out there burning pallets, or shooting guns in different areas, and also cross-country travel in areas where they need to be sticking to the roads.” Tueller said. “It’s just a matter of education on the different areas where you’re going to be recreating.”
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