Saline Preservation Association

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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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TeleFunKen

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 #61 
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 But please do not quote me on that, for I may not have understood correctly...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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 #62 
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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 #63 
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.
Major Tom

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 #64 
I am going to make a point of asking about the dish-washing.  It would greatly impact the area to remove the stations. I would like to identify what their concern is, and then perhaps we can address it. 
SunMan

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 #65 

"Any ideas why they want to get rid of the dish washing stations?"

I suspect it has to do with the use of non biodegradable soaps and the food scraps.
Major Tom

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 #66 

Today, in anticipation of the Ridgecrest based public meeting on the DEVA Saline Valley Warm Springs EIS Preliminary Alternatives review, I have been sitting down and looking closely at the table that compares the alternatives. If you haven't seen it yet, I am including it as an attachment for your review.

Short of the NPS adopting the No Action Alternative, which seems overall unlikely, what strikes me is the need to suggest some mixing and matching of alternatives. This is an option for us, as stated in their ALTERNATIVES NEWSLETTER:

 

"Your review and comments on the preliminary alternatives will help us refine them and guide the planning team in developing alternatives to be analyzed in the Plan/EIS. Once fully developed, one of the alternatives could be selected as the NPS's preferred alternative or a new alternative could emerge that combines elements from some or all of the preliminary alternatives."

 

A good case in point might be that by selecting the No Action Alternative is attractive on many of the Management Elements, but might not be practical or reasonable or the best course on all Elements, and as someone who has worked long and hard on representing the public interest through SPA, the No Action Alternative precludes the NPS establishing any MOU with SPA toward helping to define future policies and projects. The Community Engagement Alternative does allow for and MOU and agreements with user group, which might mean SPA.

 

 

I have a long list of questions for tomorrow night that may help shed some light on what many aspects of the alternatives means. It is not necessarily clear to me at the moment. For instance, with respect to the Auto Repair Support Services, what do they mean by "not meeting CA code"? Pardon the expression, but seems there is a lot of Lee-way here, perhaps.  Be assured I will share what I find.

And I am sure there will be opportunities to respond and comment more than once, as information comes to light.

 

MEANWHILE …. I have had quite a few folks asking me what SPA thinks, or what they should say. Organizations such as the Sierra Club and the AARP make it their common practice to think for their constituents, and direct their actions. In my opinion, that is not what SPA is about.  We are here to help represent you, not you represent SPA. We want to know what you think, in crafting our Position Statement to the Park. Once that is crafted and shared, you might want to get behind it or not, but it will likely be toward the tail end of the comment period, once we have as much input as we can gather. If you support the idea of SPA, share YOUR thoughts with us!

 

Comments can be made on the Park Website at: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=297&projectID=39438&documentID=56823

 

I will ask about the proper mailing address and pass that along.

Major Tom

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 #67 
The settling pond would be the goldfish pond. I am seriously hoping we can mix and match alternatives to categories, and plan on making that my very first question tomorrow night.

SYNCRO

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 #68 
Having just re read the NPS plan I support the no action alternative. It refers to a "settling pond". Where is that?
When I was at the springs in October I was surprised how many regulars I spoke with that didn't respond to the first survey. I hope we get more people responding this time!
Any ideas why they want to get rid of the dish washing stations?
timothy_sutherland

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 #69 
I support the No Action Alternative.

Saline.jpg

PahrumpGeorge

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 #70 
Maybe I was not real clear on a couple points.
Those which I talked to and invited to visit the springs, did not refuse to do so. We must remain aware that they are employees doing a job to which they were assigned; this is not a labor of love for them. As employees, they are acting within the framework of their assignments and time constraints, thus we should expect that most activities will occur during their normal work schedules. If their work assignment required them to go camping, they probably would; they are not going camping at Saline for a few days on their own time and expense. If the government would pay for such activities, then I want their job. I do believe that if some of us were to go camping for a few days and invite them to join us, if even for a day, they might do so.

Just supporting or rejecting an alternative in total, does not provide NPS with any real useful information.  Also, I do not believe that NPS or their consultant are addressing any issues wherein there has been serious complaints or a history non-compliance issues. As mentioned in the above post, the dishwashing station serves a real beneficial purpose, if there is a real problem, them let us identify and resolve it. The same applies to auto repair, very necessary, but maybe there could be improvements. Each "element needs to be addressed in a similar manner. Clothing optional did not appear to be of real concern as there are a few other national parks with limited nudity. 

Hope this helps. Ge.
Hi Desert Warrior

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 #71 
Looking at the alternatives- I support #1.  and #2 except removal of dishwashing stations and most important not to remove all auto repair support services.  I don't see where it does not meet CA code.  As Lee doesn't have a sign saying auto repair service and doesn't do engine overhaul.  He helps people get their broken down car running to get back to the highway for service.  Just I would help someone without water and give them water to make it back to the city without dying of thrust.  Lee doesn't repair cars as a business.  Sounds like someone complained to the Park service that Lee is running a business.  It couldn't be undead, could it? naaaa.
timothy_sutherland

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 #72 
If an invite to those on the committee to come to the springs as a user were not well received, that means that they don't understand the culture of the springs or probably the significance of the cultural history over the past fifty years and are uncomfortable with it. Is anyone educating them on this? I don't know all of it or most of it for that matter, all I know is I've been coming with the family for the past seven years and it's been amazing! I have also come to understand that nudity and sexuality are two very different things. I've traveled the world and nudity isn't an issue in many places because people don't make it an issue. I find that culturally in Saline Valley there is no issue if one chooses to use the springs any way they like. Sounds like the America I want to live in, the home of the free. We get one life, I hope that those government officials let US live it.

At any rate I thought it would be good to point out the past fifty years historically/culturally and why this should be celebrated and preserved. Thanks.
paul belanger

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 #73 
The Furnace Creek meeting figured to be the last well attended, being where it was. Lone Pine and Ridgecrest should be better attended. I'll be at the Ridgecrest meeting.
Spider

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 #74 
First off, thank you so much for taking the time to attend the meeting as well as to write up your observations.

I had a feeling that the numbers of Salineers showing up would be small, in part because the meetings are in the middle of the work week, and because the driving distance is just too much for some.

Your suggestion to propose a meeting out at the Springs makes sense to me. 

I really hope this will have some decent outcome for us.... 
PahrumpGeorge

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 #75 
Kathy and I attended the NPS/Saline meeting last night at Furnace Creek along with only a very few other Salineers. The meeting was not a formal structured presentation, but was formatted for one-on-one discussion of the issues; there were approx. 3 NPS rep's. (including their environmental consultants) per attendee. Obviously the NPS had expected and prepared for a much larger turn out. If I were the NPS, I would interpret the poor attendance as possible sign of indifference on the part of Salineers. I truly hope that our attendance at the next two meetings will be  substantially greater and in keeping with our concerns and the magnitude of the potential impact of the issues being considered.

The NPS is required to prepare a management plan for the springs area; this is a reasonable requirement for any Gov. agency. Based upon my discussions at the meeting with both NPS personnel and their environmental consultants, I believe they are trying to act in good faith and that the final outcome has not yet been pre-determined. It appears that their environmental consultants are doing most of the gathering of information and preparation of the matrix of potential issues. It is my belief that the NPS and their rep's. are receptive to meaningful and objective dialog, but that may be difficult without much better attendance that meetings. I believe that our written responses to the issues may not be as effective as personal contact.

The decisions for the preliminary impact report will be determined by a "Team" which is made up of several NPS personnel from different departments, their environmental consultants and someone from Inyo County; conspicuous by their absence is anyone from the public users group. Further, I was unable to identify any member of their Team with experience  actually using the springs or intimately interacting with those of us which do. It appears that most, if not all, of the Team Members have only been to the springs as part of one day trips where they were only able to observe activities on very limited and arms length basis. This lack of hands on experience of the Team Members at Saline, is a serious shortfall and may well lead to un-necessary and invalid conclusions on the issues by the Team.

This shortfall is why it is so important the we Salineers provide objective input, both pros and cons, on each and every "element" contained within the "Comparison of Preliminary Alternatives" matrix. At the meeting, I encouraged the NPS rep's to go to the springs as a user, this was not well received. Possibly we Salineers should invite them to the springs on a day trip and personally, on-site, discuss each and every "Potential Issue". I believe we can make a positive difference.

Happy soaking. Geo.
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