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SolarSamTara

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Posts: 1
 #1 
Referring to the 200 foot limit of campsite distances from water sources, specifically Lower Warm Springs: The prime campsites that are just to the north across the road from the host campsite, above and behind the bushes, are 150 feet from the Source. The campsite on and just across the road, just below the burro springs and close to the Sunrise pool, is 120 feet from the Source. It could be removed. Another, currently designated as a non-car site, on the road just across from the Sunrise Pool is about 125 feet. I'm not considering the cold water burro pool in this assessment. What we are suggesting in our comments is to consider campsites on a case-by-case basis and to definitely keep the ones that are 150 feet away.
dplum

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Posts: 10
 #2 

Camping restrictions...

Being a fan of the holiday traditions, I'm a staunch supporter of flexible camping at the springs. I'd go as far as saying that it's required. The walk-in overflow concept is fundamentally flawed. One has to consider the infrastructure it takes to stand up to the winds and the sun, plus a kitchen that can produce something to be shared for the tradition-central potlucks. Take all this into account and you've got car camping or nesting in a comfy camper.

I have no problem with keeping the open camping within the Wilderness Boundary, now that I’ve seen it. That boundary grants us a lot of liberty! Seems we can free camp in a lot of places that a truck just won't go. I suppose it was easier to draw the boundary with a ruler. I like it!

I am concerned about the 200 ft boundary around water sources. I don’t really understand why this applies. There is no danger of contaminated drainage making it's way into the source pools, so cooking and cleaning processes don’t threaten the pools. We use the water for utilitarian human-centric purposes and that appears to be largely acceptable, so why must we treat the pools like a lake or stream? Habit? Or are we protecting the life cycle within the source pools? I could support better protection for the source pools though I’m not sure it’s needed. I personally don’t care about aesthetic concerns on that issue.

I do understand that folks might support this zone for other reasons, but I expect that there are a lot of traditional and quality camping spaces that will be lost to this restriction, pushing folks into the areas where I camp… and I like y’all where you are! Seriously, this pushes people out of the protection of the limited vegetation and will put more pressure on the other areas of the camping area. We need a map of just how many potential camping areas will be lost. Does the boundary just center on the source pools? Will all camping be lost along the veg protected zone along the creek?

Outside of the particular experience of the holiday weekend I love the camping situation at the springs. There's something freeing about not being confined within a border. The springs are my favorite campground in the park, and that’s not just because of the tubs or the communal areas. The camping just feels right, far better than any other campground I’ve experienced in DV. I think this is largely because the borders are natural: a rise, a ridge of rocks, a road.

Fire rings and ash...

I personally am no fan of park service campfire rings. They seldom get them right. Usually they are too high to produce heat or visual stimulation and they cast a shadow that is dangerous to the position of my beer. I expect given the winds in the Valley that’s what would be offered up. Here once again I argue for flexibility. Fire pit location is key. The pit belongs in a different locations depending on the type of camping you’re doing, snugged up and maybe walled for a small group, out in the open flat for a large group. I often have a large camp at Thanksgiving and I always move the pit, sometimes I combine two into one, using the extra rocks to build a wide barrier that keeps greedy folks from hugging too close to the fire. I always use the pans and try to haul out my ash, as Garbage Mike has taught me.

Educating everyone to take out their ashes is key and I'm a big proponent of signage or an educational wall in each john. Perhaps a piece of rugged technology could help out on this front. An ash bucket, a shovel and some sort of large funnel with a screen might be helpful. This could be kept with the camp hosts. It might sound silly to some, but I suspect that a lot of folks don’t know how to wrap their head around the idea of hauling out ash. A system might make the process more approachable.

The problem with excess fire pits must be largely confined to the holiday weekends. If we have a limited number of pans/fire pits, some folks are going to end up building a traditional ring of rocks. One way of dealing with this problem could be to offer up portable fire pits. Keep a stash of them with each camp host. I'm talking pans that have a full compliment of sides to fully contain ash and don’t require a rock ring, like cut metal barrels, market variety fire pans or washing machine tubs. Anytime there are that many folks at the springs there’s a number of active citizens and they can help spread the word that these are available.

 

 

SYNCRO

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Posts: 18
 #3 
For those of us who come from a long way away (Colorado) to enjoy the springs, and maybe can only come once a year, We would not like to be limited to 14 days. Thanks
Salt Peter

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Posts: 534
 #4 
I always clean out the pit when I arrive and make sure to take those ashes just in case it is too hot on my day of departure.
Major Tom

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 #5 

This is a copy of the latest of the direct emails sent out to SPA members. If you want to be on that receiving list, send a request to: membership@salinepreservation.org

Greetings friends,

Had a wonderful hiatus to the Saline Valley Warm Springs for President's Day, enjoyed seeing many friends and reveling in warm weather, and now it is time to get back to the task at hand and unraveling the DEVA Management Plain/EIS document. Once again, the full set of elements and alternatives along with opportunity to comment can be found at: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=297&projectID=39438&documentID=56823 and I am including a PDF file of the alternatives as an attachment to this email.

I will cover the first three elements of the EIS in this email: Camping areas, camp fires, and length of stay.  Within this discussion I will also clarify the questions raised about the 2012 Superintendent's Compendium, which is cited in several of the alternatives.

I want to qualify this communication by saying that these are my personal thoughts as a 34-year member of the Saline community, and do not reflect an official SPA position.  As SPA works toward crafting a position paper, your comments and feedback on these discussions are a valuable asset that allow SPA to speak for you!

Camping Areas: This looks like a good area for mixing and matching aspects of alternatives.  I do not believe the NPS will give us carte blanche to camp wherever we want, though the No Action Alternative sounds reasonable. I believe we do want to:

 ·         Maintain dispersed camping, allowed in the No Action, Minimum Action, and Community Engagement alternatives. This includes car camping remaining unrestricted in non-wilderness areas

  •   Wilderness camping (tents, non-motorized) in wilderness areas (No Action)
  • ·         Continue to use designated camp areas defined by delineation of roadways (very ephemeral features) with signage at wilderness boundaries.  A rough map showing the unrestricted area (Warm Springs) and Wilderness lands can be found on page three of the Alternatives Newsletter linked earlier. This seems like a very reasonable approach, and the more we find a reasonable middle-of-the-road, the less likely we will be subject to extremes at the wrong end of the alternatives, such as designated camp sites defined by signposts.
  • ·         With respect to the "No camping within 200 feet of the water sources", the Park could not answer my question as to whether the camp host compound is within that radius, or if his compound or solar array count as "camping."
  • ·         I have no idea what would constitute "overflow camping" (Community engagement Alternative) and I do not think it belongs in the CE-Alternative, personally.

 

 

Camp fires: I do know one of the Park's biggest concerns is the proliferation of ash.  One of the best places to find common ground here is to concede to use existing fire rings, supported by user-supplied fire pans, and voluntary removal of ash from fire pits.  If your fire pit is still hot when it is time to leave, clean up a neighboring fire pit.  Bring in some heavy duty trash bags in addition to some of the other supplies on occasion!

Length of Stay: Both the ash removal and the current 30-day camping limit per calendar year are part of the 2012 Superintendent's Compendium.  Folks have asked about what is this Compendium? The Compendium is a park-specific set of regulations, enforceable by Park Law Enforcement Rangers. It is updated at least once per year, generally. It is available on the park website at

 http://www.nps.gov/deva/parkmgmt/upload/Compendium_2013_Signed.pdf  This gives the Superintendent the opportunity to define such things as Length of Stay at the springs.

Several of the Board members of SPA believe the 30-day camping limit per year is arbitrary, and not conducive to establishing or promoting the traditional stewardship offered by the volunteer community that cares for and maintains the Springs.  Part of the Park's rationale for specifying a 30-day limit is to allow equal opportunity for all people to enjoy the environment at the Springs. The reality is, the Springs are often close to empty (with the exception of holiday weekends) and thirty days can go by rather quickly for campers who like to frequent the springs regularly.  We propose returning to the BLM convention of a 14-day camping limit, whereupon campers must move a specified distance away and remain out of the area for a subsequent 14 days.

Please remember to give us your feedback as we work toward the Position Paper many of you have asked about. We are continuing to pursue a 30-day extension on the comment period, but must proceed currently on the assumption that such a paper should be drawn up in the next few weeks for member review. If we speak with one voice, our voice will carry further!

 

Stay tuned, more to come.

 

Major Tom

 

 

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