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paul belanger

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Posts: 268
 #1 

This is the section of the California Desert Protection Act that I assert is to be correctly interpreted as saying that the Saline Valley Warm Springs are to be protected as being part of the culture of the California desert associated with "patterns of western development and exploration". The springs are an "historic" and "archeological" site, part of the history of the Saline Valley and should be protected as such. Additionally, they obviously "provide opportunities for compatible outdoor public recreation". 

Quoting verbatim, pasted directly from the DPA. Italics are added by myself:

In order to secure for the American people of this and future generations an enduring heritage of wilderness, national parks, and public land values in the California desert, it is hereby declared to be the policy of the Congress that—appropriate public lands in the California desert shall be included within the National Park System and the National Wilderness Preservation System, in order to—

(A) preserve unrivaled scenic, geologic, and wildlife values associated with these unique natural landscapes;

(B) perpetuate in their natural state significant and diverse ecosystems of the California desert;

(C) protect and preserve historical and cultural values of the California desert associated with ancient Indian cultures, patterns of western exploration and settlement, and sites exemplifying the mining, ranching and railroading history of the Old West;

(D) provide opportunities for compatible outdoor public recreation, protect and interpret ecological and geological features and historic, paleontological, and archeological sites, maintain wilderness resource values, and promote public understanding and appreciation of the California desert; and

(E) retain and enhance opportunities for scientific research in undisturbed ecosystems.

paul belanger

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Posts: 268
 #2 
Red Jeep

When you reposted my words you put them in quotation marks.  You were quoting me accurately, but I did not intend to insinuate that I was quoting directly from the Desert Protection Act (DPA), although I can see how it could have been taken that way.  My knowledge of the DPA stems from my involvement in the 90's when the Timbusha/Shoshone Indian tribe were attempting to legally assert their right to be sole guardians of the Salley Valley Warm Springs (SVWS) area.  I was participating in a letter writing campaign in support of the SVWS not falling under control of the tribe.   

I believe the DPA says the lands covered by the DPA are to be protected from development and are to remain (be conserved) as they were on January 1st, 1994, the day the DPA became law.  The interpretation I was promoting was that this means the SVWS themselves are in intrinsic part of the valley's history, and are therefore protected from removal by the act.  It would be like removing Indian artifacts, would it not?  While the DPA does not specifically state it as such, this is obviously the interpretation that is most favorable to SPA's cause and the one I was meaning to assert in the previous post.  I firmly believe the law (the DPA) is on our side.  I believe this is the legal justification for the strict policy against building new hot pools, which is expressly prohibited by the DPA.  But usage and maintenance of existing pools should be considered to be protected by the DPA.

I have not read the DPA in years.  I cannot provide the link you requested.  But, I will graciously accept your inquiry/response as a call to being able to back up what I say on this forum.  At the time in the 90's, everything was not out on the internet for perusal.  But I should go find it, read it, and be certain that what I believe to be in the wording is actually there before presenting it here as factual evidence of my positions.
Sparky of SoCal

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Posts: 90
 #3 

You can see from my post count I don't say much, but read this forum every weekday. I use the information to plan my trips to the area which is really quite often but I also don't post that. I don't camp or visit the springs because of the crowd, more than one camp to me is a crowd. I am very lucky and get to spend what I consider more time in the back country visiting than most people. I am closer to 60 than to 50 in age and was blessed to have parents that were very active in teaching me this lifelong activity. I only bring this up to provide a background of where I come from and to help convince you I am not some fly by night internet flake.

I see that you people who have come to love the Saline Valley have come to a crossroads of sort. You love your independence and I respect and understand. You are possessive of the valley, for good reasons. You honestly want what is good for the valley. You as a group are not only possessive of the valley but protective of the area which is great. Time and big government is catching up with you. That and the increase in crowds are changing things. Things are going to change, like it or not. It will never be the way it was back in the good old’ days. I hope you or better yet we can have some input with the ongoing study but like many of you I am somewhat suspicious and not too trusting of the government process. We can only hope and do the right thing.

The opening post did make sense to me, to a point, about airing of the dirty laundry. Those dirty little issues understandably would seem better left in the closet, but in this time of age with the internet it isn’t going to happen. How as a group they are handled is just as important as the problems. If not handled with class and dignity can be as detrimental as the problems themselves as far as the governing authorities are concerned. I have seen too many areas closed down because the government does not have the money or the politically correct means to deal with the problem and I see the signs starting to show here. This long winded post is starting to wind down now with an observation that seems so obvious to me I am surprised it is still happening. Posters like this unauthorized has a right to say what he wants, again sign of the times. I don’t agree with how or his reasons. It is stirring up trouble that is harmful to the overall goals of the friends of the valley. Why in this day in age is he allowed to post without registering? I follow a few different forms and this is the only one that allows this? In closing sorry about the long post but, and I do want the valley to stay open and hope some compromise is found.  
Merry Christmas

ltlredjeep

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Posts: 26
 #4 
Paul...It is obvious to us all that you are well versed on the Springs.  Myself, I'm still trying to understanding the dynamics of how the NPS will develop the "Saline Valley Management Plan".  In one of your recent posts you stated that:
    
" Included in the written language of The Desert Protection Act is that the areas covered by the act, specifically including the entire Saline Valley, are to remain as they were on January 1st, 1994.  This means the warm springs and access to them shall remain as they always have been.  The "hippie" style hot springs are a protected historical presense whose existence is protected by the Desert Protection Act."
 
I think this is a very important point you have brought up.  I look up the "Desert Protection Act of 1994" and read thru what I assume is the Act and couldn't find the area you make reference to.  Could you please direct us to a link to that portion the Act that relates to the Warm Springs and their protection.  Thanks in advance......... 
paul belanger

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Posts: 268
 #5 

I did not intend to insinuate it was a common occurance.  

After pondering comments made to me by various parties, all of whom I respect, let me say that if we all communicate like adults, the community will continue to thrive and survive.  Possibly with a little regulation, but as Tom suggests, we should all be active in letting the NPS know how we feel.
Hi Desert Warrior

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Posts: 209
 #6 
In reference to sex at the springs.  I have been going to the springs for over six years at various times of the year, staying a week each time.  I have camped at the lower and middle springs and soak at different times of the day and night.  During that time I have never seen sex in the pools or around in any open areas.  That also goes for petting and passionate kissing.  I am sure that sex goes on at the springs, only in the privacy of their tent, camper, or RV.  Those that have said they have seen such acts, I think is a very rear occasion and not the norm.
paul belanger

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Posts: 268
 #7 
Tom

Point taken on "vagrants."  I remember Chili Bob, every bit the legendary positive valley presense you indicate, and of course, a truer vagrant the world has never known. 

This vagrant thief is a horse of another color.  The point is not his vagrancy, but his thieving nature.  After considering your post, I would modify my position.  It is, as you suggest, up to us to identify and confront the person, strongly suggesting that his or her wisest course of action would be to leave the valley.  As you said, in the past this has usually succeeded.  If further trouble did ensue, I believe the right course of action MIGHT then be to request assistance from the NPS.  But I do see your point that it would be better if we could handle it ourselves.  (Without poisoning him.)

   
Major Tom

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 #8 
I agree Paul. A very thoughtful and considerate posting, thank you!

I would add a few thoughts. I am a member of the Saline community for over thirty years now. (Lord I remember when I was the new comer!) One of the things we always prided ourselves on was that the community took care of things in-house, without needing to bother the BLM or other official agencies (Inyo County Sheriff). Of course, there was more of a core and cohesive community back then, when people could/would spend longer periods at the springs, and there was something to be said for it, despite varying opinions on how much better it is since the residential trailers are gone, but I digress. The term "vagrant" can have a rather wide range of interpretation. Part of the color and magic of the springs were the "characters" that were drawn to the remote region. Chili Bob is a hero of legend. A vagrant if there ever was one. I myself am careful about judging despite natural human tendency, lest I be judged (certainly deserving at times! ) Again, I digress. Certainly there have been characters who show up who do not belong: the total indigent who freeloads on the camp "gravy train", the predetor who stalks and victimizes to name a few. Point being: these people were always told to leave by the community, and always did. Hopefully the camphost, having the authority of tenure in the community, will take the initiative to have a quiet sit-down with our problem people (few and far between anymore) and inform them of the better choice to find a way out of the valley, without over involving the NPS. Actually, anyone could do this, and I have seen it done.  Sometimes it is necessary to involve the authorities, but the less often the better, surely. Sorry to be long winded.

Second point. In my thirty-plus years, the fear of bulldozers has always loomed. It is a time-worn favorite topic of conversation as to how long the springs will last before the dozers arrive to take away our treasure. It has never happened, and it never will happen. There is too much momentum behind the Springs. SPA has had a few sit-downs with the Park Service administration, and we have been assured that there is no pre-conceived notion about what the Management Plan will be. There is no issue with the clothing-optional policy at the springs. They are mandated at this time (through funding by Congress) to finally (after all these years) develop the Management Plan for the Springs, which will be unique and seperate from other Management Plans in the park, due to the very unique nature of the Springs. For better or worse, I like taking people at face value and believing they are telling me the truth  until proven otherwise. Old axiom: Those who do not trust will not be trusted. I trust what I am hearing, and that is all we can do at the moment aside from rolling up our sleeves, pitching in, and helping the Park to shape the Management Plan.

And finally, from the conversations I have had with park officials, I dont think they spend a lot of time reading the forum, but I think it is adviseable to conduct ourselves as if they are, and conduct ourselves in a way that brings honor to our house ... seems like a very basic and fundamental code!

Cheers!
paul belanger

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Posts: 268
 #9 
Red Jeep, Tom, I respect your thoughtful responses.  The purpose of this forum is to inform, educate, entertain.  Of course, persons from the DV-NPS are reading.  While there is some "dirty laundry" being aired here, if we succeed in getting people to modify their behaviors, then that purpose is fulfilled.  The NPS should know that we understand the remoteness at Saline and issues arising there from.  And that the vast majority of Saliners do care about responsible behavior and are advocating that here.  

Examples to actively stay alert to:  

Don't feed coyotes and burros, intentionally or inadvertantly, which is strict park law anyway.

No fireworks of any kind.  No Burning Man style pyrotechnic displays of burning hoops, etc.

Zero tolerance of off-color sexual behavior.  Such things should be kept in a tent or trailer.  This is just plain common courtesy and also park policy.  This should not be construed as being intolerant of anyone in the LGBT community.  Gay or straight, alone or with another or others, no sexual behavior should be on public display. 

A vagrant causing trouble should be reported to the NPS.  They are best equipped for the task of removing this type of individual.  (Editing note: I modified this opinion in a later post. Read on in this thread, please.)  Again, there are strict NPS policies against overstaying.  We can assist by keeping food locked up to discourage this behavior.  If a vagrant starves, just like the coyotes, they will leave the area to forage elsewhere.  

One xenophobic comment about foreign nationals being camp hosts, while totally tolerated as free speech in this type of forum, can be repudiated quite vocally and shown to be a miniscule minority opinion. 

Again, this forum's purpose should expressly include providing guidance concerning appropriate behavior in Saline Valley. I believed the NPS would bulldoze the Saline hot pools in the spring of '94.  Instead, they built vault toilets.  Included in the written language of The Desert Protection Act is that the areas covered by the act, specifically including the entire Saline Valley, are to remain as they were on January 1st, 1994.  This means the warm springs and access to them shall remain as they always have been.  The "hippie" style hot springs are a protected historical presense whose existence is protected by the Desert Protection Act.  Continued access usage is what we are demanding from the NPS and their future plans.  This does not mean there will be no regulation of that protected usage.  As long as access remains as it is, I just don't think the behavior the NPS wants is much different than the behavior we want.  No matter what, these issues that can be called "dirty laundry" need discussion.  If not here, where?
Mr.T

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Posts: 39
 #10 

There's always some percentage in any population that are problems, and some small percentage will be downright dangerous.  However, the vast majority of people are civilized and try to get along.

The wife and I would hate to see the springs closed.  We've been camping, hiking, and exploring DV off-road for decades.  Even though we live about a thousand miles away, we still go about twice a year and keep an annual pass.

Major Tom

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 #11 
I am not sure about the statement: "...few if any activities at the Springs are in compliance with NPS rules." I would say the user community is by and large staying within NPS rules. Those of us who have been around a few decades can certainly attest to the changes that we have seen at the Springs with the onset of more government, first with the BLM and then with the NPS. Certainly clothing optional practices are not considered a problem by the NPS (based on my conversations with the Park administration), camping limits are established and sometimes enforced, vehicle codes and boundaries are respected, recreational use of firearms no longer occurs, firewood is no longer collected locally, to name a few. I think we are doing pretty well for a bunch of anarchists!
ltlredjeep

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Posts: 26
 #12 
Paul.........The point I'm trying to make is take a moment and think before we start hanging our "dirty laundry" in public.  The "Saline Valley Management Plan" is in the works and currently there are few if any actives at the Springs that are in compliance with NPS rules.  Logic tells me the purpose of the plan is to bring the Springs into compliance with NPS rules.  The big question in my mind are all Park rules to be applied to the plan or can they pick and choose what is included.  I certainly don't like the first answer to this question that comes to mind.  Do I personally think the Springs will be "Dozed" no, but I do think major changes are coming.
Salt Peter

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 #13 
No I wouldn't go to a special olympics event to laugh at people. That being said the picture has been on the net for years and what it communicates is true regardless if you find it humorous or not. I fully support special olympics because it does provide goals and sense of achievement for those who participate. It isn't a choice to be retarded. I can tend to be too honest at times and call it like I see it. Insensitive? I don't think so. Our world has been dumbed down and made so politically correct to the point of ludicracy.

My father is blind from macular degeneration and I have a brother who is a paraplegic so aside from a career in healthcare I have firsthand knowledge of these types of issues.
paul belanger

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Posts: 268
 #14 
Red Jeep, to reply to the Boxcarcabin analogy: 
Those buildings in those photos look unmaintained and dangerous.  Rat feces can collect in this type of unmaintained structure and manifest in hantavirus in persons staying in and/or around such structures.  I can understand their demolition in the scheme of things.  The structures at the Saline Valley Warm Springs are meticulously maintained and actively in use.  I think you are talking apples and oranges here.  Removing the hot pools at Saline would be a completely different situation. 
BigDave

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Posts: 19
 #15 
I am sorry I got upset. That troll is really messing things up. I worry about the future of the Springs. I think the NPS is looking for any excuse to close the Springs down. The Springs represent a American way of life that is disappearing under increasing government regulations for the "betterment" of this and that (in all aspects of our lives).   
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