YUMA, Ariz. – Canadian tourist Dustin Meyerhoffer and his family came out to the Yuma Proving Ground for a quick look. “I mean we simply came out because we had an hour a free hour so it was convenient for us to do it and we could do it on a whim,” said Meyerhoffer.
But new protocol implemented this year says foreign visitors aren’t able to come onto an army base on a whim anymore. This new regulation was initiated by the department of the army which means all army bases across the U.S. must now abide by this policy.
Non-U.S. national now have to schedule a visit and have a Y.P.G official escort. Public Affairs Officer Chuck Wullenjohn with Y.P.G said, “So it’s not like we have an army of your guides here, so if somebody came to the gate and said, ‘Hey we want to go to the Cactus Cafe for lunch, we’re from Canada,’ well we don’t have people to take them to lunch.”
A new $600,000 center will serve as a hub that will process all tourists who wish to get onto the military base. Everyone will require a background check. Lieutenant Sean Underhill with Y.P.G.’s Directorate Emergency Services said, “So we get history of any criminal activity. Felonies, sex offenders, anybody that shouldn’t be allowed on the installation. And we’ll deny them access based off of that.”
The issue is, only information on U.S. national can be pulled up on the system. Which is why foreigners have to request a visit in advance. “I would think that you would probably see less people come out, yeah, if it’s structured that way,” said Meyerhoffer.
Historical military displays beside the Visitor’s Center are still open to the public.