Registered: 1355848803 Posts: 50
Peneumbra, great post! I agree. And also about Hot Creek. Those were fun times!
Registered: 1483183755 Posts: 121
All of this leads back to one person...
JOHN MILLER! For years - no, decades! - John Miller has headed a conspiracy to convince more and more unprepared and unaware people to travel to Saline Valley. Involved in this sinister cabal are the Park Service, Inyo County Road Dept, Forest Service, BLM, and, uh... the Russian Mafia. John Miller was living in the SAME STATE as O.J. Simpson when Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman were murdered (possibly with a sharpened tire tool), and then there's this: both the names "Miller" and "Sirhan" consist of six letters! Coincidence? HAH! And, if that's not enough evidence to show that Miller is the leader of this evil mob, consider: That pile of crumpled aluminum behind the Miller Towing shop in Lone Pine is THE VERY SAME METAL that the missing Malaysian airliner is made of! CASE CLOSED! OK, back to reality (for just a moment). I am not in favor of enhanced publicity for The Springs - especially when it attracts people who are unprepared for road and weather conditions, and who don't bring premium beer and smoked oysters to share with longtime soakers - but the reality is that we cannot shut the door to the place to newcomers. I suppose that the Park Service could do that - close off access to SV when someone has decided that "capacity" has been reached (which is done in other overvisited places such as Yosemite Valley), but would anybody really want to see that happen? Remember Hot Creek back in the '70s? A great party spot: always open, relatively easy to get to, lots of fun. On Saturday nights, buses full of ski bunnies would arrive fresh from the slopes of Mammoth Mountain. For the single males waiting in the hot water and the steam, it was like tossing raw meat into a school of sharks. Much splashing and foaming, followed by a carnal feeding frenzy that remains imprinted on my memory, some 45 years later. But that all came to an end after several people died from exposure (to the cold, not the carnality). The Forest Service closed Hot Creek to all soaking, and it remains so today. Too much of a good thing, I suppose. No one has died (lately) at The Springs, but one can envision a time when, due to too many visitors - which, let's face it, means more accidents and other unpleasantries - the Park Service might simply put a lid on the place and be done with it. I'm sure there are NPS people who wish that SV hadn't been included in the New And Improved Death Valley National Park, but they're stuck with it now. I agree that additional publicity is just asking for trouble, and I hope they reconsider their decision. About the only way I can see to keep word from spreading is to demand that every visitor be compelled to sign - in blood - a pledge that they will not tell anyone about The Springs, on penalty of severe flogging (or, for the kinky who might enjoy that, having to eat brussel sprouts five days a week for life...)
Registered: 1426626960 Posts: 32
Let's use an example of an extremely photogenic alpine lake. Five years ago this lake was relatively unknown, except to locals or those who were trusted with its knowledge in the understanding that they would be good stewards. When the location was shared, so was important information such as the importance of using established campsites, LNT principles, packing out all trash (including TP!), ect. On weekends maybe 3 or 4 groups would camp around the lake if the weather was perfect. If you saw a picture, the person(s) entrusted with this information understood how special the location was and, having been there themselves, or were trusted with the information because they met the standards of the collective stewardship of the lake, they would only share it if you were of like-mind and could steward the location. Fast forward to today. There are over 50k highly filtered pictures of this lake tagged on IG. Everyone has seen the photos, especially the ones that some very popular influencers have posted. Everyone wants to go get the same pics, and with tagging, and geotagging they can find out the exact location without doing any research. They can buy some gear online, find the trail with an app, and get to the lake without knowing a single thing about it. This often results in people unknowingly causing permanent damage. In the case of this lake, parked cars were blocking the road & emergency access. Trash was being left behind. Trees were being cut down for campfires. New campsites were being created too close to the lake, impacting water quality. Those are all reasons that access to our public gets restricted. It's not that people shouldn't enjoy beautiful natural places. EVERYONE should! But posting, tagging, and geotagging AND sending people to these locations uninformed is having an enormous negative impact, as I’ve seen at this lake. Share ethically taken photos and omit details of how to find critical areas. Share important information about how to treat the place with respect. Share what people can do to improve the place. A picture captioned with a John Muir quote doesn’t cut it. I can direct appropriate like-minded individuals to some incredible places in and around the Sierras, Southern California, and remote Nevada. I have seen what hoards of people do to pristine places - even after a photo has been innocently posted. I have a wonderful website with awe-inspiring photos - but to wit, no locations mentioned, no directions given. DVNPS social media reposted an individual's post; they shouldn't have. @t.loop on instagram maybe should not have posted anything on the springs; as an influencer with 15.5k followers they leave a footprint on places. The nice thing is/was that he didn't dox the location to anyone publicly as far as I can see; so the location may have remained quietly undisturbed. I'm assuming he understands how special it is out there and is a responsible steward. That's 15.5K more people that likely didn't need immediate exposure to the springs. DVNPS has 227K followers... SPA, it's time to step up and ask DVNPS to remove the post. It's time you represented us on this one. You worked hard getting the Management Plan in place. The springs strain at the 3-4 holiday weeks with 200 visitors. And that's with people who know, respect, and maintain the springs - stewards. Other times, it's the un-permitted Meetup groups, Bandit 4x4 "guides", and Jeepers who are do some questionable things and we've all picked up after them in some respect in some way at some point. Again, I'm not saying that people are not allowed to enjoy this beautiful place, I'm certainly for responsibly introducing people to the springs. Should they hear about it, research it, ask around, and eventually find their way in we need to embrace them and educate them on the history and culture of the springs, and equally important introduce them to what it takes to keep the springs in the condition and shape they are in. Stop dragging the Bat Road?
Registered: 1336869293 Posts: 362
I've already said, goodbye, to the way things were and am thankful for the experience.
Registered: 1347014451 Posts: 631
Unfortunately the posts didn't share the remoteness, type of road conditions, or any of the preparation necessary to visit the springs.
Registered: 1565893639 Posts: 7
I don’t use any social media except some Reddit, so haven’t noticed. Hopefully the ads make clear the importance of preparation for *any* trip into DVNP. Many don’t realize how important route planning and gas conservation is out there, much less the other water/food and 4x4 preparedness issues.
Registered: 1347014451 Posts: 631
Some of you may already know and some may not know that the Park Service has made social media posts on Facebook and Instagram showing and promoting the warm springs. Please discuss thoughts and constructive criticism of these recent events. I personally am not a fan of the promotion and know Miller's Towing will be getting a lot of business from the ill prepared.