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Major Tom

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 #1 
A good and fair question, Dan. I personally do not see SPA (or whatever community group gets recognized through a mutual agreement with the Park) as coming by any authority or power within an MOU. An MOU would allow for a recognized point of contact between the visitor community and the park administration, wherein SPA (for instance) can disseminate information from the Park to the community, and conversely, bring questions, concerns, ideas and such that are offered up by the community to the park administration. It would define a working relationship that would allow for the continuation of public stewardship of the Springs, and utilize the talent and manpower (or woman power) of the community.

As our mission statement reads: SPA is a non-profit organization providing an informational conduit both between and among governing agencies and a widely dispersed community who visit the Saline Valley and its Warm Springs. SPA's goal is protection, preservation and conservation of the valley to include geology, wildlife habitat, archaeology, and a traditional human presence that emphasizes responsible individual freedom of choice. ( http://www.salinepreservation.org). SPA has been functioning for several decades now, has over 1000 members in its database. Through the years, SPA has approached the NPS with the greeting, "We are from the public; we are here to help."


Jukebox Mark

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 #2 
Dan and all

With regards to haz mat storage, keep in mind that cabinets often become their own problems. Things heat up inside cabinets, becoming more volatile. Vapors can become more noxious, and sometimes catalyze with heat, damaging the vessels meant to contain them. IOW, just the simple act of choosing containers creates a new need to explain WHY a particular container was chosen, and what steps must be taken to ensure the materials AND the container remain safe.

Anecdotal evidence of this issue can be found in the accumulation of empty bleach bottles mentioned earlier. People shy away from hauling the empty bottles because on a simplistic level they have acknowledged that the empty bottles are stinkier than when they were full, and especially so after they've been in the sun.

There is a certain amount of risk (read: liability) in allowing the general public to implement safety measures. So with each individual safety measure promulgated, there would most likely have to be an oversight protocol as well, with different materials requiring different protocols.

It's too early to label this a slippery slope, but it sure bears some resemblance.

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dplum

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 #3 
I support a more formal role for SPA in the management of the springs, over that of the park service, at least in the items you put forward. An obvious question is should SPA be formally granted a little authority (power), what keeps them in check?

Tom, I expect you can speak to this quite eloquently. Perhaps a few words should be put out there as to how SPA functions, how open it is to the community it serves and if you believe that in it's current incarnation, it can actually accomplish what you've outlined as potential projects in the queue. What would SPA's relationship be with the camp host? It appears that you envision it's role as a mediator with the park service, and other agencies, a monitoring agent and a sourcing agent for volunteers for maintenance and modifications.
Jukebox Mark

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 #4 
There is no doubt that yours is the voice of experience.
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Major Tom

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 #5 
There are a number of reasons based on experiences that caused me to express this concern, none of which I am going to go into on this forum at the moment. I will say that phrasing the position as I did was with the hope of rallying the community toward a unified position on this topic. It might not have been the most delicate way of putting forward the thought, but it is an honest apprehension that I believe people will relate to. (Sorry for ending my sentence with a preposition.)
Jukebox Mark

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 #6 
If I read you right Tom, it sounds like it would make more sense if everyone took the opportunity in commenting on the Stewardship program to make a unified push for formally engaging a specific user group in a partnership thru an MOU, rather than in piecemeal programs for individual assets. In that respect, your point makes a lot of sense.

That said, I don't think the NPS' reluctance to accept an idea like this would be solely based on a desire to keep users fragmented. If YOU were an agency considering an outreach for the first time, would YOU want to prematurely 'put all your eggs in one basket' and tie your hands with ONE group for all your needs, or would you proceed slowly, and test the merits of the group with one or two, or a handful of projects.

Just one of many ways to look at both sides of the coin. If you're gonna negotiate to change the status quo, it's a good skill to have.[smile]

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Major Tom

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 #7 

Dear friends,

 

This discussion of the Stewardship elements of the Saline Valley Warm Springs Management Plan/EIS will wrap up my near-endless stream of discussions. My thanks to those who have been patiently wading through the great volume of issues facing our community. (If it  has been difficult for you, imagine how it has been for me!)

 

Within the Stewardship of Recreation Assets there are multiple components to various alternatives, resembling how legislation is passed in Congress, by bundling bills within other bills. I think we need to mix and match here.

 

SPA has long sought a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Park Service. I believe it is critical to establish an MOU with the Saline Valley visitor-community, be it SPA, or some other entity. Why? Such a document will help to clearly define a relationship between the visitor-community and the Park administration that would allow for the identification and resolution or execution of issues and projects that could be mutually beneficial to the Park and the visitor-community. An MOU can give the visitor-community a voice through representatives that have an established relationship with Park personnel. An MOU can save the Park money and resources by having a point of contact to utilize the broad talent and capable man-power that the visitor-community can offer. An MOU would go far in facilitating and empowering the visitor-community toward continuing to maintain and direct the future of their use of the Warm Springs area, as has been the historic convention of public involvement in Saline Valley.

 

Examples of issues and projects that may need to be addressed as presented in the current Alternatives document, which would be well served by an MOU:

·         Placing of signage at wilderness boundaries; campsite management

·         Establishment of fire rings

·         Remediation of fire pits and/or off-road usage

·         Maintenance of tubs and infrastructure

·         Transportation of water samples

·         Installation of grease traps at dishwashing stations; ongoing maintenance of traps

·         Covering source pools to protect them from inadvertent pollution by wildlife or human accident

·         Identification of continued modifications

·         Creation of volunteer banks

·         Possible use of portable vault toilets for heavy use weekends; Task force for the exploration of use of green composting toilets

·         Creation of OSHA approved storage containers for hazardous materials

·         Coordination of volunteer-based monitoring program to control exotic plant propagation

·         Coordination of site steward/NPS partnership toward the preservation of archeological resources

 

Without an MOU, there would be no clear coordination between the Park Service and the visitor-community for these suggested projects.  Without an MOU, the volunteer-community's voice would fractious. I fear that the NPS would prefer to not establish an MOU with the visitor-community, for a fragmented group is much easier to manage to accept whatever management options  the Park deems necessary or beneficial to their agenda. I believe it is critical that we establish an MOU which goes beyond the suggested: MOU with user group for minimal maintenance of pools

 

On the Stewardship of Recreation Assets element, I recommend:

·         MOU with RAF for the Chicken Strip

·         MOU with the user group (what I prefer to call the visitor-community) to identify and execute projects of benefit to the Saline Valley Warm Springs. (That would work both ways, and in the current wording, I only see the MOU benefiting the Park's need for volunteers)

·         I do not think we should support the "Cooperative management with the Tribe" as currently embedded within the Community Engagement Alternative. Therefore I think it is important to comment specifically about what we DO want in this element.

 

On the Resource Stewardship element, an MOU should be necessary for the Park's "collaboration with the user groups to establish thresholds for use and overuse of the area."  Honestly, this Alternative just makes me nervous, and I would recommend the No Additional action under the Minimum Action Alternative.

 


In closing:

 

Please remember to give us your feedback as we work toward the Position Paper many of you have asked about. We are continuing to pursue a 30-day extension on the comment period, but must proceed currently on the assumption that such a paper should be drawn up in the next few weeks for member review. If we speak with one voice, our voice will carry further!

 

Now is the last call for comment and feedback!

 

Major Tom

 

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