Saline Preservation Association

The voice of Saline Valley

 
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P3Tacco

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 #16 
Trailrider, I think that was a very thoughtful post. And it sounds like you are truly a positive asset to the caring of and for this special place. Things will change somehow, someway, eventually. I figure the numbers visiting will be limited in some manner in the future.
Trailrider

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 #17 
All this is very much personal opinion.........

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.  

Something will give, and it will give sooner rather than later.  There will be an incident, or the Park service will receive so many complaints that they will intervene.  

Whether or not the NPS soon to-be-announced master plan addresses these issues has yet to be seen.  I'm new to the springs, but even before my first visit, I researched and educated myself enough about the culture to not be another newbie who leeches off the hard work of others.  

On my second trip out there this past March, which was in fact, a guided tour of DV led by myself (only 5 people total), I brought a fair amount of restock for the bathrooms, some kitchen items, and a load of fresh batteries for Lee.  Before we arrived, I made sure that my clients knew, in full, the written, and unwritten rules of the springs.  My daughter and I had the pleasure of having crystal pool to ourselves for a good 45 minutes following Lee's afternoon soak, and were treated to the bats flying in and taking drinks from the pool as we soaked.  It was a magical experience to be there, in almost total quiet, which was a stark contrast to my first trip there.  

I would rather see the springs operate in autonomy with donations and hard work going into maintenance over the alternative. 

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 for the majority of the "pleasant weather season" to help spread the word and rules of the spring and be an active patrol force for the uninitiated and large groups of people who paid a good amount of money to be taken to a free and unique place (referencing a previous comment about individuals feeling entitled to not follow the rules simply because they paid to be taken there).  Or, it could be a small group of people who take multiple day "shifts", canvasing the season with people who are dedicated to patrolling (in between relaxing), and helping spread the culture.  

It actually sounds like a lot of people are there when these groups are here and DO speak up, and DO make a difference, which is great.  I know I would say something if I saw someone who was new and obviously didn't care to read any signs before entering the tubs, or driving off road. 

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.  

The only other alternative is to have proper law and order (NPS) step in and make sure it happens, which will undoubtedly mark the end of the utopia most have come to enjoy, and turn the springs into a designated campground, possibly prohibiting the public use of the springs, or severely limiting it's access.

With the advent and popularity of social media, it's easy for the springs to become a very real vacation destination for people and families who 10 years ago would never have thought to look at Saline Valley twice.  It's also an invitation for the people and families that call the springs their home and safe place to have a voice and reclaim stewardship of this very unique place.  This web page and forum are a great way to become educated about the springs, and yet if you do a Google search for Saline Valley hot springs, it doesn't even crack the top page for me.  That makes me wonder how many people come out there with absolutely no idea about the culture or courtesies that are asked of visitors, let alone the donations that help keep it running.  

Bottom line is, while I have only visited the springs a couple times, 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, and I think it's CRITICAL that anyone leading a tour ANYWHERE would go over etiquette and expected behavior before and during the trip, and make themselves responsible for their group's behavior.  





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knockknock

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 #18 
I agree W/SAM
trigger

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 #19 
LOL!!!
peneumbra

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 #20 
This is why, years ago, we prepared the mass graves. We knew that at some point, there would be an overload of visitors who would refuse to comply with our modest requests to keep the Springs maintained, etc.

This MAY be the time to consider taking the actions we (The High Council Of Learned Soakers) laid out many years ago...
trigger

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 #21 
Hopefully they won’t be as bad as the group I was next to over Easter weekend. My god! HUGE GROUP! At first not too bad but everyday the group grew into a small city. Used all the donated supplies, never cleaned the tubs, dogs everywhere barking and coming into our camp, drones and RC cars. Frisbees, footballs and soccer balls constantly flying into our camp as well. Wouldn’t have camped there had the group been that size in the first place. Anyway, I doubt the offroad group will be as bad as my neighbors were but if anyone is out there when they are there it would be good to talk to the guide that’s bringing them. My neighbors didn’t like me telling them to stop doing some of the crap they were doing. Apparently they saw nothing wrong with bathing their dog in Volcano right after we cleaned it and it was refilling. I stopped that quickly.
XPBC

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 #22 
Not many people are into paying money to do work. It cost's money to participate in this group so I would think the attitude would be more like "I paid for this" so we're good. These recourse's are not for sale.   
Sam D.

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 #23 
Badlands Off-Road Adventures Inc. http://www.4x4training.com/ is scheduled to grace the springs with its presence this weekend. I am curious whether the group will adapt a restroom to clean, organize a massive cleanup effort stretching from the Bat pole to the natural springs picking up whatever the winds might have blown or simply does the donkey poo duties?
harpster

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 #24 
I, too, have received driver training from Tom. This guy is golden. He is all about safety, treading lightly, and protecting our investment. I've gone to Hell and back, returning unscathed, thanks to his wisdom. (Have not participated in his trips because would rather go out with 2 or 3 vehicles, or by myself.) Know this, though: he is a worthy cat, who gives his all to any who would like to explore 'Back of Beyond' in a responsible manner. Am sorry to hear of this bad experience, but am sure that Tom will work with Saliners in the future to ensure a better outcome. Sam, your worries are valid. I urge you to open a dialogue w/Tom. All will benefit.
Sam D.

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 #25 
Tom's responsibility should be to conduct post checkout inspections before his group departs. Obviously he failed despite all the fantastic qualities Russ mentioned.

Ignorance or "I told them so" do really not help.
peneumbra

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 #26 
Perhaps, "James Sel," you ought to learn to read English before you grace us with your wisdom.
Russ Chung

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 #27 
I've known Tom Severin since 2005 when I took his 4x4 training course. Since then I have been on several club runs with him to Baja, Tierra del Sol Desert Safari, Death Valley and the Rubicon but I have never been on any of his commercial runs which required a SUP. He has always impressed me as a professional whose concern for safety and Tread Lightly are a role model for others. He is a Tread Lightly Trainer. I cannot accept Sam D's characterization of Tom and Badlands Off-Road. Unless it can be shown that he was aware of the bad behavior and chose not to take appropriate action, I do not believe he should be blamed just because he charged a fee for his service.
And to answer Sam D's original question, I think it's great to provide a service to enable people to share the wonders of Death Valley National Park.
peneumbra

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 #28 
FIREARMS

Due to law changes, firearms are no longer prohibited in National Parks.

Shooting said firearms in a National Park remains unlawful.
Sam D.

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 #29 
Nothing in Tom Severin's manifesto tells people how to use the springs - like foot washing, showering, leashed dogs, collecting campfire ashes etc. He brings people who do not maintain the springs to the visitors maintained springs. How about his group adapts a pool and a restroom for the duration of the stay or asks the host for a project or two?
By the way, is it true that he's licensed for 12 people only ? During his visit he brought 2 groups well larger than 12 ? Should we call it an attempt to circumvent?
It's not enough to tell people how to behave at the springs. Tom has the responsibility to inspect the campsite and the springs before his group departs and address any issues found. Hiding behind "I told them so" does not really work.
lighthawk

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 #30 
Thanks for telling us and so many others about how your group uses Saline Valley.  
I hope you noted comments about the condition your group left the area, the bathrooms, and the springs.  

I'm not clear.  Are you charging for your services to bring these large groups into the Valley?

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