Saline Preservation Association

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Posts: 145
We ought to plant more palm trees...
Lyrically Driven

Posts: 9
Nice summary Red Molly, but you missed one important part that most of those attending seemed to miss as well. The footprint of what we currently use is going to shrink. During the meetings last year the NPS referenced an aerial photograph from quite some time ago, this photo was included on the poster board displays along with an aerial photo of the current footprint. The giggling out of control ranger was the one that told us the footprint will be shrinking a 'teensy weensy tiny little bit' giggle giggle.

They can't deny backcountry camping, but they can deny the use of your vehicle where we typically camp with our vehicles now.

Mike Reynolds did mention that they have to provide parking and then we can walk out to our camp sites.

This should greatly concern all of us IMHO.

Jukebox Mark

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Posts: 71
Silver Bob nailed it. If you look at things like the ‘bright line’ 50 year rule for protecting cultural assets, and how NPS came through with an initial offer to consider ‘contributing ‘ elements for much less time, and a final decision to leave in place art work up to January 19 of this year, there is no clearer indication to me that Mr. Reynolds is actively working to create a sustainable, enforceable long-term plan. My hat has always been off for government partners who can get their head out of a code book and actually think about ‘what will work.’

And I have increasing confidence that SPA will offer the NPS solutions that will work.

Perhaps what we hold most in awe about nature is its majestic indifference to humanity.- Mark Algazy 

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Posts: 425
Thanks George, for the kudos, but we are no more deserving of them than all those who have been fighting this battle for longer than most of us remember. 

SPA was actually founded 36 years ago by Sherri Cosgrove and Glenn Young with the intention of preventing Saline Valley from being absorbed into the proposed Death Valley National Park.  As we know, that didn't work.  Once the Desert Protection Act passed, SPA's mission changed to doing whatever it could to prevent drastic change and harm to the Springs Community. 

Three previous Superintendents chose to just "kick this can down the road".  Mike Reynolds decided  to do what was right and end all the uncertainty.  He and his staff have spent countless hours weaving through entire libraries of federal laws and regulations to find a way to keep Saline Valley Warm Springs as close to what it was when they took over as possible.  Here we are, 25 years after the Act passed, and we finally have a Management Plan that addresses our concerns as well as the legal requirements put forth by the NPS.  I can't really express how lucky we are to finally have a Superintendent who "gets it"!


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Posts: 34
Thank you for the detailed report! I'm so happy about the outcome versus what it could have been! Thank you to all who voiced their concern on all our behalf to keep things as they are. 

Posts: 68
I agree, this is probably the best outcomes we could expect. I further believe, that this outcomes is the direct product of a lot of effort on the part of dedicated people. SPA rep's have spent a lot of personal time and energy, over several years, dealing with this Mgm't plan, but that is why they get the big bucks. 

A special thanks to Silver Bob and Michel (Red Molly) they, along with the board-of-directors and many others, always go the extra  mile in working on behalf of the springs community. But, I think we may be overlooking a working partner in this entire process, the NPS-DV, Mike Reynolds and his crew; without their cooperation and willingness, there would be no agreement. I believe we all owe them a thanks-of-gratitude. 

Happy soak'n; may the springs always remain unchanged.
James Sel

Posts: 379

$50,000,000? I must wonder what the FMV is of that Castle, $27,000,000?

thanks for the update


Red Molly

Posts: 12
I believe outside of the Park Service leaving us alone, this is the best scenario that we could have hoped for.  I want to thank all who attended and all who wrote letters to the NPS.  And after Thanksgiving I'll be sending them a Christmas card. [wink]

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Posts: 43
Thank you Red Molly for your update, I appreciate those who made the trip out there for this, and even more so your reportage for those of us who could not.
Salt Peter

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Posts: 669
Yes thank you for the clear breakdown for those of us who weren't able to make it.

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Posts: 204
Thank you Red Molly for what I believe is good news. 

Posts: 51
Thank you for that. 75 people? Sounds like we were well represented. 
Red Molly

Posts: 12

Preliminary Report:  Death Valley National Park Meeting, November 17, 2019

Mike Reynolds, Death Valley Park Superintendent spoke for about 20 minutes.  He told a group of about 75 on the lawn a brief history leading to the creation and completion of the Management Plan and what will happen now that it has been approved.  His presentation was followed announcing the five-year Memorandum of Understanding between SPA and the Park Service. He called us up and wanted to make it clear the park service wants to work with the existing community with the help of SPA.  This was followed by NPS staff that served in the various areas tasked with implementing aspects of the Management Plan. 

At this point it should be emphasized this is a plan, this is not a step by step blueprint.  NPS and the user community do need to meet items within the Management Plan but these will be done by planning and community input. Other than the vehicle service, none of the below items has specific deadlines.


  • Camping is 100’ or more from the Source.  If an area by the developed tubs is not marked no camping the 100’ does not need to be met. You must be 100’ from the Source pools.
  • The lawn will remain in its existing footprint.  If lawn were to grow elsewhere in Saline Valley it should be removed.
  • All existing developed tubs with the exception the Upper Upper Springs have been given historical status and are part of the cultural resources of Death Valley National Park. The tubs are not going anywhere. 
  • The Upper Upper Springs will be returned to its natural state. The palm trees will be removed and there will be discussion between the NPS and the Timbisha Tribe to remove or replace the fencing.
  • Saline Valley will continue to be a clothing optional area.
  • Mature Palm Trees will remain, but young palm sprouts will be removed through coordination with SPA and volunteers. As mature palm trees die, they will not be replaced with other palms. The NPS plans to replace them with native trees to provide shade but are not sure what type of tree. It should be noted the average life of a palm tree is about 80 to 90 years.
  • Entrance fees are required and available at the Lone Pine Visitor Center. There is no camping fee, but you are required to have an Entrance Fee.  Lifetime Senior Passes, an Annual Park Pass $80, an Annual Death Valley Park Pass $55, and weekly passes all meet that requirement.
  • Burro removal will continue Spring of 2020. 
  • The Vehicle Service at the Lower Springs will be completely removed over three years.  In three years, there will be no vehicle repair.  The NPS is working with Lee the current camp host to remove it.  Since tire repair is most critical it will be the last to go but go it will.  There needs to be no expectation of a vehicle repair shop when you drive to Saline Valley. 

Future requirements:

  • The sinks and showers need to be plumbed separately to meet health requirements.  The NPS does not have a specific blueprint of how that will happen, but this must happen at some time in the future.
  • The NPS recognizes the need for another toilet at the Upper Springs.  The NPS is considering other toilet options that do not require regular pumping such as dehydration toilets. The NPS does not have the budget to provide this currently.
  • The source pools need to be fenced again sometime in the future.

Future camping and fire pans:

This subject brought about the most questions. Here is SPA’s take.  In the next three to five years NPS plans to conduct what they are calling “use plan studies” to determine the camping use in Saline Valley.  This will NOT be done in a vacuum.  The NPS wants to establish back-country camping.  Mike Reynolds was quick to jump in and let us know that we are the users of Saline Valley and the best source to help them plan how it is going to look. 

Back-country camping does not have assigned camp spaces.  The goal is to reduce vehicle erosion to the area.  For example, the NPS does not want vehicles driving out where there is no road and build a rock fire ring and leave their campfire ashes in the wilderness. 

SPA and the user community will need to identify where to put permanent fire pits and determine if there is a need for what is commonly called walk in camping. We can also show what areas should be reserved for larger camping areas. 

Other Topics:

  • Restoration of Scotty’s Castle is expected to be completed Oct. 2021.  The repair costs are approximately $50 million.  All entrance fees and available fees to Death Valley National Park have and will continue to be dedicated to the restoration.

Posts: 169
the good news I got out of the meeting is the implementation should be mellow and spread out over significant time
and the palm springs crowd got heard asking for another out house (just need to find 500k ? for it)
bob from tahoe

Posts: 14
My apologies. Sarcastic venting is your department only.
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