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Poll Results
 
 Should the NPS extend the public comment period
 Yes, extend the comment period 62 98%
 No, let the comment period expire on 3/28 1 1%
Total votes: 63. This poll has been closed.


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Route 66

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 #46 
I too was at the Ridgecrest open-house meeting on Thursday evening.  I was told that the selection of the "Preferred Alternative" on which to base the Management Plan would be made by Park Staff which means the Park Superintendent with final sign-off by the "Regional Director" in San Francisco.  No mention was made to me about outside groups participating in the "final
selection" but certainly if outside groups are to be involved including the Timbisha Shoshone and Inyo County, then the Saline Preservation Association should also be included.  This is especially true as many of the "Alternatives" call for activities to be undertaken by "user groups."  Given the lack of knowledge of the public on this planning process by the NPS, I strongly support requesting an extension of the March 28th deadline for comment.  If nothing else, it would provide additional time to get the word out to the users and lovers of the Springs that
things may be changing.
Major Tom

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 #47 
The poll regarding asking for an extension of the comment period is located at the top of every page of this topic. Only one vote per member allowed. The superintendent requested that SPA make the request on behalf of our members rather than inundating them with emails, so please vote and give me a number I can point to.
timothy_sutherland

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 #48 
Just let me know what these posters or whatever should say. I can make the file and then if someone is going out there can print and post, that would be great!

FYI: If Nike looked like a third rate company, everyone would think their product was as well. Don't ever underestimate the power of visual presentation in everything!
Major Tom

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 #49 
Jukebox Mark, as you likely know, the Bill of Rights does not apply and is suspended in national parks. SPA has been specifically instructed to not hold public meetings or distribute materials or post information at the springs. As such, I do not see your suggestion as an option. What we can do is what I have been doing: passing along information via emails to our membership (sign up for mailings if you haven't gotten them at: membership@salinepreservation.org )and re-posting those mailings here on the forum. I was encouraged by what I heard at the meeting last night, speaking at length with the park administrators, and will pass along a lot of that information shortly. SPA will be putting together a position paper as we gather input from our members, and this may serve to consolidate the troops. 

Meanwhile, first thing I would like to suggest is that we ask for a 30-day extension on this comment period. The park authorities believe this is a reasonable request and I am about to put up a poll on the forum to ask our community who all believes this to be a good idea.

All we can do is all we can do.
paul belanger

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 #50 
Tim

Honestly that stuff is not what is needed for presentation to the government.  They want substance, not style.  But those types of things may be very helpful for posting at the springs to inform the people in Saline Valley about what is going on in Furnace Creek.  My understanding is that nothing can be posted on the bulletin boards without Lee's approval, in the minimum, and likely DVNP's approval.  That could take a while to get.  Maybe some printed information in a snazzy format for distribution would be good.  We have to drum up support for SPA.  As stated before, they are the only entity poised to negotiate on our behalf at this point.  Point people that direction.

There is usually a crowd for President's Day weekend.  Hopefully word will be spread at that time.  We would love to go but likely cannot make it.  We'll be there for Spring Break, but that's not until April 14th, after the comment period.  We need to get some type of position paper prepared for inspection and approval by users and SPA members.  We should have an online vote, here in this forum, using the polling function.  Then we could present it to the DVNP as our position and official response to the current scoping phase.  This should likely be all done before the end of the comments period.
Jukebox Mark
 #51 

Here is the provisional list I started on this morning. I intend to provide comments on each element on the list, either from the five alternatives, or from my own thoughts. Feel free to use.[smile]

Alternative-specific comments.

  1. Camping areas

  2. Campfires

  3. Length of Stay

  4. Camping Permits

  5. Fees

  6. Off Road Use

  7. Maintenance of Tubs and Infrastructure

  8. Dishwashing Stations

  9. Continued Modifications

  10. Airstrip

  11. Clothing Optional

  12. NPS Staff

  13. Law Enforcement

  14. Camp Hosts

  15. Stewardship of Recreational Assets-why is the Tribe only mentioned in Alternative 5

    a. Chicken Strip

    b. Water Sampling

    c. Tub maintainance-

  16. Resource Management

  17. Cooperative Management

  18. Toilet Management

  19. HazMat Storage

  20. Recreational Water usage

  21. Auto Repair

  22. Settling Pond

  23. Non-native Species-plants

  24. Non-native Species-wildlife

  25. Habituated Species-

  26. Cultural Landscapes

  27. Archeological Resources

  28. Ethnographic Resources

  29. Bat Pole and Other Art

  30. Commercial Use

Jukebox Mark
 #52 
paul belanger, your post could not be more timely. President's weekend is upon us. IMO, there is no better bellwether for what SPA can or cannot do to 'rally' the troops than what it can accomplish over this very significant 'traditional' weekend of high attendance. I was in the Springs last week, and unfortunately will not be back again until March or April, or I would volunteer in person.

A single large 4x8' sign saying "SALINE'S FUTURE?" should be enough to get people's attention. Plan a meeting. At the chance of upsetting some 'old timers' I might even suggest  forgoing the softball game in favor of a meeting. This would be a real good litmus test for which folks would just as soon play the fiddle while Rome is burning.

The meeting [or meetings] need to be focused, not just a gripe session. To maintain focus, I suggest that handouts be prepared for distribution. As I am working on my own response, I currently have 33 areas listed for discussion, just following the NPS comparison chart. I suggest SPA prepare [and I will help with this] a multi-page handout, giving room for each of these 33 points, along with several open lines of space under each one, so that folks can put down their own thoughts on EACH AND EVERY one of these points. IF they just want to say AGREE or DISAGREE with Alt 1-5 and state a REASON for it, that's OK. If they have something unique to add to the discussion, then they can include that, or append it to the end

D T

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 #53 
we dont need profesional photographers.Major Tom ,and JackFreer have some amazing shots of the springs and surrounding areas,and I assume they would gladly help!
timothy_sutherland

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 #54 
Paul, thank you for these comments. You speak truth. Now's the time. I'm a graphic designer. The role of a graphic designer is to make people/products look good visually. If we need posters, or to make the final report or anything look good, please let me know. I want to save this place and keep it as is.

Visually it would be great also if a professional photographer had amazing images to accompany this report and could provide us with those images.

Also you are absolutely right, the SPA NEEDS to be apart of the final decision making process as we are the ones who actually go out there!

I'm willing to step up. Who else is?

Thanks.
paul belanger

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 #55 

I was at the Ridgecrest meeting.  It was honestly a lot to digest.  Here is my first impression.

I spoke with Kathy Billings at length.  We spoke about all the various issues, including dish washing stations (black water versus gray water and food particles), ash disposal, car repair facilities, coyotes and burros, the Timbusha-Shoshone tribe's desires, the cultural heritage of the springs themselves, and SPA'a possible involvement in the final decisions.

When I asked her WHO makes the final decisions after all the various parties give input, she directed me to one of her staff members named Lucy, saying she knew more about that particular issue.  (I should have written down Lucy's last name.)  Lucy said that the DVNP, Inyo County, BLM, and Timbusha Shoshone tribe would be the ones making the final decisions.  I asked would it not be absolutely apropos to have SPA participating at that time?  I told her it was our belief that SPA is the dominant representative of the citizen user group that the NPS says should be in integral part of the decision making process.  She seemed to agree that would be appropriate, but was, of course, non-committal.

I would have to say that if "the NPS has already decided the outcome and this public comments period is a dog and pony show required by law," as many have insinuated on this forum, then they are sure holding their cards close to the vest.  I did not get that impression AT ALL.  I was given the impression that no decisions have been made and all input will be considered.  I was told alternate #5 was "highly unlikely" and would be prohibitively expensive.  But that doesn't mean it can't or won't happen.

Major Tom was there and told him that I believe we, SPA, need to get a formal position paper filed with the DVNP and have strong backing from SPA member and the Saline community at large.  It was said here that many persons recently camping at the springs had no idea what was going on with the scoping process and it's possible dire consequences for the average Saline Valley visitor.  That needs to change.  Now is the time for action.  If SPA doesn't step up and represent the Saline community, I don't know who is in a position to.  Who else has the historical presence at the springs to validate representation at a decision making meeting with government officials?

I have been attending the springs for 25 years.  From those years, I will make an honest observation about SPA and the old time Saline community in general.  There has always been an "insider" mentality amongst some SPA members and some of the community in general.  Some think they are the cool guys and all others are just newbies to be looked down on.  There once was a schism and SPA broke apart temporarily. (Anyone remember SOAKS?)  That was 20 years ago.  Some will chastise me for bringing this up now, but am trying to make what I think is a very important point.  We lovers of the Saline Valley are a diverse group and not everyone is going to want to camp out together and be great buddies.  Some of us might not even like each other.  BUT, IT'S TIME WE ALL BURY OUR DIFFERENCES AND GET ON THE SAME PAGE.  NOW.  IT DOESN'T MATTER HOW LONG YOU HAVE BEEN GOING, OR HOW RIGHTEOUS YOU THINK YOU ARE.  99% OF THE PEOPLE READING THIS FORUM WANT THE SAME THINGS.  Let's not dissolve into infighting about the particulars or personalities.  Many persons will have to spend a large portion of their personal time to get this position paper written, approved by SPA members, presented to the NPS, and then vehemently defended when the time comes.  TIME IS RUNNING OUT.  DECISIONS ARE TO BE MADE WITHIN THE YEAR.

SPA is a legitimate 501C tax exempt organization.  We should expect to incur some expenses in the pursuit of this endeavor.  We are up against entities such as the Sierra Club and others with full time lawyers and documentarians on staff.  Don't you think the Timbusha Shoshone tribe has lawyers? Should we probably hire a lawyer or some other qualified person to represent us?  Or course we should, we should have done it years ago.  But this group could never agree on who to do it and how much to pay them.  We don't have that kind of money anyway.  One disgruntled individual on this forum said that SPA's past inactions have led us to this point.  He's right.  But we are all SPA.  We should have seen this coming and been far better prepared.  But that is water under the bridge at this point.  Whatever you might think about SPA, now is not the time to tear it down on this forum or anywhere else.  It is now the eleventh hour, there is no other organization is a position to do this.  It may be too late already. God help us at this point. 

Jukebox Mark
 #56 
I think that TeleFunKen has touched on something very important, and that is the fact that the NPS in several instances is drafting alternatives to deal with POTENTIAL issues, not real ones. We should all free to co-opt the same logic in making responses.

In this instance, it means giving the NPS the flexibility to deal with issues IF AND WHEN they become REAL issues, while in the meantime, trying to preserve as much of the status quo as makes sense.

So I think we should be looking to make comments suggesting that something like the no-action alternative be modified to give the NPS the option to scope, screen and implement specific changes in specific areas down the road if actual problems in these areas become real.

Mark A.
Major Tom

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 #57 
There is an option for this under the Cultural (Historic) Landscapes element. I plan on asking for a definition of exactly what "cultural landscape" means, and about their reference to "Determination of Eligibility for National Register of Historic Places."
TeleFunKen

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 #58 
I went to the Lone Pine meeting with Tiff, Minor Tom, Justin, and Trish... Like PahrumpGeorge mentioned earlier, it was an informal open house style gathering, with display cards set up which outline everything we can see in the documents posted online. A number of Park Service reps, including Kathy Billings, the Park Superintendent, where there to answer any questions one-on-one, as well as accept any input and alternative ideas.

I found everyone there to not only be quite friendly, but also very open to our ideas and input. They stressed that none of the plans presented are set in stone... And mixing and matching of alternatives, as Major Tom has suggested above, is a very likely option. I asked about the dish washing stations, and the key issue with them seems to be twofold... The water out of the tap is technically non potable, and the runoff is therefore black water instead of grey water?... Not so much about food scraps. But please do not quote me on that, for I may not have understood correctly... But they were open to discussing ways to deal with it. I feel we definitely need to present as many alternatives as we can if we want to keep them.

They were taking notes on key points while we discussed things, and we could write down any thoughts we had as well on these large pads of paper. I am choosing to write my thoughts in a document and mailing them directly. But overall, I found the meeting to be very constructive.

Also, I should point out that some of the options presented were being made in consideration of POTENTIAL issues, not necessarily ones that are in fact a problem now. A good example is the fences to keep burros and other wildlife from drinking out of the sources... This is only because the water quality consultant (or someone in a similar capacity) raised the concern that a burro drinking from the water might possibly introduce some harmful bacteria or other element in the water... But no one really knows if that is truly something to be concerned with. But my understanding of the process is they have environmental consultants and others visit the springs and conduct a survey to flag any potential issues that might become a problem within a certain number of years, not only based on current uses, but also in the future. And then they have to present various solutions to deal with these potential issues. I personally don't have a problem with burro spit getting in the source, but I also know that "so what?" isn't exactly the response that they are hoping for.

If anyone has a chance to go to the Ridgecrest meeting this afternoon, I highly encourage it. You don't need to show up at exactly 4... It isn't a formal meeting type thing. You will actually have a chance to talk one on one with the people who are presenting the alternatives. But make the most of it... Ask questions... Then, if you can, constructively present any thoughts and alternatives you might have in writing.
paul belanger

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 #59 
Some thought on user due diligence at the springs.....

I have thought that we could unilaterally begin to alleviate the NPS's concerns on two issues.  If these things could someday be formalized in some kind of MOU, it might be part of a final plan.  If we prove it workable right now, our credibility goes up, no?

1)  Dish water.  Could we not install a volunteer serviced system of filtering the dish water?  I have quite extensive plumbing experience.  I have thought about how we could install an easily serviced strainer or filter on the discharge of the kitchens.  How about something that each user could empty out, taking the contents to their trash or fire ring?  This would be better than removing the kitchens and hoping each campsite's occupants filter on their own, no?

2)  Ash removal.  I have been taking out more than my share of ash for years.  What I do is take a large trash bag and use it as a liner for one or two of my dead ice chests, and fill with ash.  As previously stated somewhere in this forum, if your own fire pit's ashes are just too hot for this on your early morning departure, feel free to leave the hot ones, BUT...go around and remove ashes from other fire rings.  Always feel free to empty ashes from other fire pits than your own, and of course, from communal fire pits.  How about we try to provide more fire pits?  Let's also get some donations into SPA (they're tax deductible) for this?  Nice fire pits of good steel are pricey.  And let's try not to run them over, huh?

Why not just start doing this right now.  It's the right thing to do anyway and would show that we are proactive about the NPS's concerns

And lastly, I believe it was HDW who suggested getting the Saline Valley Warm Springs listed as a California Historical Place?  Does anyone know about this?  Who and how can get the ball rolling on this??
timothy_sutherland

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 #60 
George,
If three of the five alternatives deal with revising the dress code, how is that not of real concern? Also what are the other national parks that have limited nudity? Thanks.
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