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Salt Peter

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 #1 
Great and hilarious info all in one thread.
[rofl]
Thunder58

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 #2 
peneumbra

It was not my question but Trailriders (hence the bold type) however I thoroughly enjoyed your description!
Trailrider

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 #3 
Wait! There’s more to Wendel Moyer’s fantastic art installation than we know? How plebeian of me to think it was just a goof on a poorly named coordinate.

Perhaps I can bribe an Igorian order member for deeper esoteric meaning behind that, and why there are mirrors placed exactly at 46 and 2 degrees west along an igneous rock face that shine back at the springs around mid morning. It took me a very long time to hike out there and I was left more confused than before I arrived.

On the other hand, I found some killer geocache hidden below a rock pile on the way that helped spur my excitement.

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peneumbra

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 #4 
Thunder58  asks, "How long does it take for someone to become educated about The Springs?"

This issue is addressed on page 26, paragraph six, of the first volume of "Operations Manual For Saline Valley Warm Springs And Surrounding Area," published by InHotWater, Incorpulated, and unavailable to the public at large at this time:

"For the first six (6) years of visitation to Saline Valley Warm Springs, a person shall be considered to be a Probationary Soaker. As a PS, such visitors shall be given access to general knowledge about the Springs, including history, geology, geography, and the customs and traditions of the culture of SVWS. Included in this knowledge will be information about desert driving, local climate, and the precepts of sharing supplies, particularly food, water, and various adult beverages.

"After one has successfully completed the Probationary period, a visitor shall be deemed a Soaker Second Class (SSC). At this time, more specific and esoteric information about SVWS will be provided, including technical knowledge regarding the internal workings of various elements of the High Council Of Learned Soakers, the organization responsible for the establishment and continuing operation of SVWS. 

"After four (4) years of serving as a SSC, said person shall be advanced to the rank of Soaker First Class (SFC). At this point, the SFC shall be initiated into the Order Of Igor, and will be provided additional information regarding the history and operation of SVWS. The true meanings of The Fish Pond, The Chicken Strip, and The Marble Bath will be shared with the new SFC upon advancement to the rank."

As you can discern, Thunder58, the answer to your question is complicated and sometimes opaque. There are numerous other ratings on the ziggurat to the esteemed position of Learned Soaker; this is neither the time nor place for some colloquy. 

Welcome to Saline Valley Warm Springs!

"
Trailrider

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 #5 
Thunder58, Thank you for your input and experience!, it absolutely helps.  You have proven it doesn't take a lot of time, it takes a sincere sense of community, guardianship, and willingness to help when help is needed.  In the case of the springs, it takes people understanding that without donations and care, the springs as you know them today don't exist.  

My first trip out there I was amazed at the willingness of the community to communicate and express joy that we were there.  The first woman I met at the community fire ring not only showed me how the pools worked, but also walked me around to the pond and made me feel welcomed and a part of the community.  I spent a few days in the area, hiking some Inyo canyons (Mcelvoy Canyon is just fantastic!!), driving out to see the dunes, and just relaxing.  It was so crowded that I never actually got in any of the pools.  I did however, take a couple showers.  I knew that when I came back I was going to come in during the week, and between major holidays to escape the crowds.  And it worked out perfectly.

My second trip out there, I reached out to Sam to see what was needed, and brought as much as I could to restock the bathrooms and kitchen area, as well as a load of batteries for Lee.  We stayed only one night, but we had great conversation with some birders who were out there.  

I too was fascinated with the area, particularly Steel Pass, my wife is an avid rock collector and I certainly enjoy the geological history of the basin and range area, especially the local native petroglyphs.  

I hope to find, as you have, more to love and appreciate each time I come back.  I'm not one for revisiting sites unless I feel I have more to contribute to, or learn from.  I feel drawn to the springs,  and signing up on this forum so as to learn the nature of some of the people that are actively part of the culture is important.  

It's very interesting that I sense so much more rigidity and frustration on here than I ever felt while talking to people who I met out in Saline.  But I understand that this is the place for the passionate to convene and voice opinions and worries.

I enjoy reading both the unabashed love and sharing of good experiences on here as well as the frustration and venting.  The humor is not lost on me either.  Sometimes I have to take a step back and realize that valid points are made between barbed words, and I try hard not to lose the message just because the messenger is frustrated.  

Since this is a thread on Commercial use, I'll stay a little on topic and mention that while I would love to do another guided tour through DV, I'm not planning any more com trips to the springs any time soon.  I struggle with the idea of exclusion, but I also understand how overpopulation of an area can break down even the most welcoming of communities.  

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Salt Peter

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 #6 
Thunder I do hope you're not removing said rocks from DVNP.
[wink]
Thunder58

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 #7 
A very bold statement.  I would love to hear more about how long you believe it actually takes and what an individual would have to bring to the table in order to succeed in becoming educated about the culture of warm springs.  

In answer to this let me give my experience. My husband and I discovered the Springs a few years ago in our search for places to Rockhound. Seeing the description of The Springs on the internet we felt it would be the perfect home base to explore the surrounding area for crystal and other rocks. SO we packed up and set out on an adventure. We arrived and found a welcoming place with so many amazing and yet simple amenities! Who knew such a jewel existed! The restrooms were well stocked, the grass and pond was well kept and the pools were clean and inviting! It wasn't until we went a few times that we discovered this forum and realized these things didn't just magically appear. But that volunteers spent both their time and money to keep the Springs beautiful and well stocked.

Now I make it my mission to learn how to care for some new part of the Springs each time we come. I check the Camp Needs and bring as much as I can afford. This time I wanted to help Lee and shoveled Burrow poop and raked that beautiful pristine lawn. I scrubbed the crystals at the Crystal Pool and learned how to Empty the tub at the Koi pond. 

Next time I am going to clean the bathroom and one of the pools. And do what ever it takes to keep this place like it is for as long as I can. 

SO I ask you, how long does it take for someone to become educated about the Springs? What can they bring to the table? I am still learning about the Springs and all I can bring to the table is a desire to see it continue and give as much as I can. Does that help answer your question Trailrider?
peneumbra

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 #8 
One of the factors that has always fostered a sense of community amongst longtime Stalinists - whoops, make that Salinists - is that one had to take some risks to get there and back home. Years ago, people used to leave glass bottles of water every quarter mile of so along Saline Valley Rd, should someone run out of fluids, particularly in the summer.

And so I think the idea of making the Springs (relatively) easy to get to, via organized trips et.al., doesn't sit well with some of us - aside from the issue of too many visitors, which is a real problem. So maybe you could set up your trips such that, instead of having passengers ride in air-conditioned comfortable 4x4s, you turn it into a real adventure:

A sort of Forced Death March is what I have in mind. Make the passengers walk (in mid-summer, naturally) all the way in from either pass, carrying all their belongings, water, food, etc. with them. Think of what this will do for their character - well for the character of the survivors, anyway. At the conclusion of their visit, they can return to civilization the same way.

I believe this approach will assuage any feelings the old-timers might harbor about "newcomers" having it far too easy.

Another incentive, of course, is the money we'll make from folks who will bribe us to haul them in and out. A "Win-Win" if there ever was one...




Sam D.

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 #9 
Yes, I meant "side". English is my 4th language. Stop running commercial ops, mate.
Trailrider

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 #10 
Sam, did you mean "side with" speakeasy on most points?  I tried looking up "cite with" and couldn't find an explanation.  

It may sound contradictory on the surface, but I am personally against large commercial tours of most places unless that's the absolute only way people can visit an area, such as the Big and Little petroglyphs on China Lake Navel base.

I took two people in their 70's who, despite traveling around the globe, had never experienced beauty of our Mojave and basin and range California deserts before.  I took them out for 2 weeks  through Death Valley, Mojave Preserve, and some BLM land.  They were amazed by the sheer beauty, gazing up at mountain ranges whose exposed geological history started before the Precambrian era.  They marveled at the uncovered Jurrasic era pluton granitite boulders that spread across Hunter Mountain, a seemingly singular anomaly, build upon a slip fault cutting through Saline Valley and separating it from Panamint Valley. 

We stayed in Warm Springs for one night of our trip, and they fell in love with the heart and soul that built an oasis.  While my friends (and clients) enjoyed good conversation with a couple regulars at the sunrise pool,  I had the absolute pleasure (I don't know if I could ever be so lucky again) of having the crystal pool alone while teaching my 7 year old daughter why we respect what others have built and created for all who come to find peace and solace.  Why we shower before we enter the springs.  Why, even when we have showered, it's important to take time to wash our feet one last time before entering.  And why sometimes when there is so much to see and take in, we close our eyes and listen to the wind, the birds, the subtle nuances that we block out so frequently.  

And isn't that what this is about?  Introducing people of like mind to the beauty and culture of warm springs?  

I do understand the disdain of large groups descending and being rude and unwilling to adjust to what is culturally acceptable here.  But that is not what all guided tours are about.  Guides are traditionally supposed to help people understand and relate to the native culture of a place.  They drive in the same vehicle as the people they are guiding.  They take them to special areas with the clear intent of education and immersion of the culture, not to act as a buffer between, but as a tool to blend in.  There should be a designation difference between a guided tour and someone who brings 10 rigs with intent to party hard, use the resources and split.  

Going back to permitting.  I called DV NPS and told them exactly what our plan was, and after a 30 minute conversationI was told that I did not need a permit for what I was doing. Because these clients were friends, were paying out of pocket for the trip, including RV rental, food, gas, etc.,  and were not solicited for my services, I was not labeled as a "tour operator".  According to them, my clients would have had to sign up online, been solicited by myself for services, signed a document relating to the trip, and/or I would have had to be proactively seeking clients for the purpose of creating income.  This being my first shot at guiding, what I was proposing did not fall under an act that required a permit.  They asked me some questions regarding a safety plan, and that was that.

Yes, this is something that I would like to do, but it's obviously a very touchy subject here on this forum.  And honestly, I can respect that.  I may not have to agree with many people's opinions, but it does make a difference in the way I would approach my service.  

My friend Rich told me that before he took a guided tour in Bhutan, he had to fill out a questionnaire, basically assuring the guide that he was serious about visiting and becoming immersed in the culture there, that he was not going to simply be a tourist, but someone who wanted to learn and participate.  If only all guided tours were as sensitive.  

I sincerely think the springs is a wonderful and magical place.  I would never bring anyone there that I didn't feel would appreciate it for what it is, and what it means to so many.  I apologize if I can't agree that not bringing any more people out there is going to solve the problem.  I think that bringing people who love the springs and the culture for what it is is actually the key to it's success.  

Anyway, sorry for rambling on 

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Sam D.

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 #11 
I think you do need a permit for any commercial operations within the park. I also tend to cite with speakeasy on most of his/her points. You're loving the springs to death, mate.
Stop running commercial tours there.
James Sel

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 #12 
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peneumbra

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 #13 
Anyone who goes to Saline Valley, alone or in a group, should be willing to stay there forever. It's simply a matter of commitment.
Trailrider

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 #14 
Speakeasy,  with this being a public forum, you have every right to comment.  I will try my best to reply.

why are you bringing more people? 

I brought people who appreciate nature, love seeing and experiencing new things, and at the ages of 74 and 73, would probably never get to experience something like warm springs, see the unmolested beauty of white cliffs, or get a glimpse into the geological past of Marble and Titus Canyon.  I enjoy allowing others who think and feel the same way I do about our beautiful parks see them from a perspective they might otherwise never get to see.  

When I said "large groups of people", I meant more than just our small party on a nondescript Tuesday, more like a group of 10-20.   When I said "large groups of people....at one time", I should have been more specific and mentioned holidays and long weekends.  It seems as though most of the complaints I've been reading reference long weekends, holidays, and 4x4 groups.  

keep bringing more people and it will happen soon. 

Eh, I would have to respectfully disagree.  Someone bringing like minded people who understand the culture and respect the hard work involved in maintenance is hardly adding to the problem.

you think you took some time to educate yourself but I doubt you succeeded. It takes more than one visit IMHO.

A very bold statement.  I would love to hear more about how long you believe it actually takes and what an individual would have to bring to the table in order to succeed in becoming educated about the culture of warm springs.  

I brought respectful people with me.  I contributed to the upkeep of the springs by bringing supplies with me.  I left no trace when I departed.  I visited this forum a week before I arrived and asked what I could bring that would be appreciated.  Although I wasn't there long enough to help clean the pools (we arrived just as crystal pool was being filled), I would have gladly lent a hand.

Is there anything more I could have done?  Obviously, since you've made it plainly clear you would not like to see any new faces visit warm springs, let's just leave that one out. 

regular patrols will not help with overcrowded pools, dust, filled up outhouses and noise.

Overcrowded pools.  You are correct.  No amount of patrolling will help with that.  Dust is a way of life out in the desert.  Patrols and more signage may help in keeping dust caused by vehicular traffic to a minimum.  Outhouses would need to be pumped more regularly, not sure who is responsible (Lee?) for contacting NPS about that or what their contract is in regards to the springs.  Noise can be limited with regular patrols.  It works in other NP campgrounds (it is the host's responsibility to confront offending parties), and it can work at the springs.  Patrols are not fun, often confrontational, and most times thankless.
 
if you want to help, stop bringing people

yes yes, I understand, no new people at the springs, got it. 

By the way, may I inquire about your business license? Are you registered in whatever state you come from as a business? Do you pay taxes? Have you obtained the NPS permit required to lead groups? Do you have insurance? Do you have a 1st aid kit and a satellite phone? Are you equipped to provide help to your clients?

I am a California licensed contractor.  This trip was insured through Philadelphia.  I will be paying taxes for the compensation I received less expenses incurred.  I keep several first aid kits at base camp and deploy them depending on the daily activities.  I have 2 Iridium 9555 sat phones, one in our vehicle, and one at base camp.  

I'm not really sure what you mean by providing help to my clients.  I was not required to have a special use permit due to the nature of the trip and our group size.  Trip plans that involve national parks always go through NPS for permit verification.




Call me crazy, but I think that by people bringing folks out to the springs personally and educating them as you experience the beauty of Saline Valley is a heck of a lot better than just going home and telling people to go out there and see for themselves.

Or I guess we can keep our mouths shut and let Yelp and Youtube bring the next group of people out there?

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speakeasy

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 #15 

Trailrider, please allow me to comment on your post:

"I don't think the springs are designed (or were designed from the beginning) and set up to accommodate large quantities of people descending upon them at one time.  There are simply not enough resources for such.  There are not enough pools or bathrooms." - why are you bringing more people?

"Something will give, and it will give sooner rather than later." - keep bringing more people and it will happen soon.

“On my second trip out there this past March, which was in fact, a guided tour of DV led by myself” – you think you took some time to educate yourself but I doubt you succeeded. It takes more than one visit IMHO.

 “But realistically speaking, if there are going to be full on group tours, 4x4 clubs, and multi-family sized groups becoming the norm rather than the exception, the time is approaching when there will need more than just one person out there full time…” – regular patrols will not help with overcrowded pools, dust, filled up outhouses and noise.

“Groups that plan on going out there (at least the one's who have a calendar open to the public) should be contacted and advised of the rules, or at least sent a link to this site so they can plan accordingly. “ – I agree with you 100%. I am not sure why we cannot have a sticky thread here in this very forum. Still, knowing the rules will not help the springs in terms of overcrowding.

 “I plan to come back and help in any way I can.  I have very much enjoyed my experiences at the springs and would love to have my children come to love them as well.  I plan on leading more guided tours through DV and the springs” – if you want to help, stop bringing people. By the way, may I inquire about your business license? Are you registered in whatever state you come from as a business? Do you pay taxes? Have you obtained the NPS permit required to lead groups? Do you have insurance? Do you have a 1st aid kit and a satellite phone? Are you equipped to provide help to your clients?

https://www.nps.gov/deva/learn/management/rules-and-regulations.htm

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