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Old 08-10-2013, 09:51 AM   #1
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New rules for Death Valley

This is going to impact how you utilize Death valley National Park. Its a negative declaration page stating that the NPS is going to implement a new Back Country Stewardship Plan as soon as practicable. There are some definite changes (most I support, a few I have concerns that they are an open door for much stricter control).

This report 94 pages but the main body is the first 34. Worth a read for those who use the Park.
http://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cf ... ntID=54623

I would suspect the new rules will start showing up on the Park's website soon.
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Old 08-13-2013, 07:45 PM   #2
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Re: New rules for Death Valley

Well I just skimmed over it Charlie and my quick impression is I see trouble with it. No camping along the Darwin trail? China Gardens Springs is one of my favorite places to stay at and I hope it's out of their jurisdiction. I saw some of this coming when they started this requirement of camping only a certain distance off the trail at specific locations. I started seeing more and more of these signs, then last year it really hit home in Echo when they added a sign to a spot I frequent. I don't understand why they would place a marker closing off 30 feet of a 60 foot spot. All I can think of is you'll bypass that spot because today your off the road no more than 20 feet and continually get blasted by dust as others drive by. The max party of 4 vehicle rule is probably welcome by loners but will put a dent in the overnight group runs. DV has always been vehicle friendly and I fear a lot of our driving privileges are going to be limited in the near future. I have seen some brain dead off roaders destroy areas that people need to stay out of, but for the most part DV is fairly clean. I like the remoteness of DV and would rather not see tables, fire rings, and bathrooms plus there just is something about seeing a lousy sign when dispersed camping that gets my goat. Even if they added a bunch of sites all spaced out from each other, I won't like driving by and seeing florescent signs here and there. I understand the fire/BBQ thing though. People make a mess and leave it, something that really bugs me. But I'm sure the park service will pick out the most scenic spots for us to camp at Once I'm corralled into ugly sardine can spaces or they make it difficult to grab a site because they've limited the number of spots you can camp at, I'll probably say adios to DV. Maybe they'll make it better for off roaders.
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Old 08-14-2013, 03:51 PM   #3
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Re: New rules for Death Valley

They're rather lame in DVNP. The campgrounds they do run could be refugee camps in the third world (I guess I'm exaggerating, but they really are dumps). I don't mind being prohibited from camping on roads where people are sightseeing, but there are lots of other spots where you see no one but other offroaders. Sheesh.

Having said that, the DV bureaucrats are pretty thin on the ground west of the Panamints. Stay down near Ballarat, or at Panamint Springs, or even in Saline somewhere and you don't encounter as much gruff as in DV proper. And by Darwin Falls Trail I think they mean just that, the trail to the falls. Not the road up above. I seem to recall that the border is very close to it, but just downstream towards the falls. The park map shows the little spur road being outside the park.
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Old 08-16-2013, 11:48 AM   #4
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Re: New rules for Death Valley

Dave

To bad about your "spot" in Echo Canyon. That was a nice campsite.

Looks like you are most concerned with the DRCC (Designated Roadside Camping Corridors) system. Thats what I have the most objection to as well. It looks like an open invitation for them to really clamp down on back county camping. Hopefully they will limit it to high use areas and leave the good stuff alone.

Its the yahoos that spoil it for the rest of us. When they trash an area, what choice does the Park have but to protect it.
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Old 08-16-2013, 03:13 PM   #5
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Re: New rules for Death Valley

Quote:
Originally Posted by charlie56
Its the yahoos that spoil it for the rest of us. When they trash an area, what choice does the Park have but to protect it.
Do you think those yahoos will follow the rules? If they were that responsible there wouldn't be any problems.

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Old 08-16-2013, 03:48 PM   #6
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Re: New rules for Death Valley

When I camp, I prefer to pick a spot with a little character, not some desolate spot in the middle of nothing. A lot of DV is the latter and while I've seen plenty of people camping in such spots, I tend to prefer to camp at a spot with some kind of cover. The top of a mountain, a canyon, maybe some brush...something for cryin out loud. I completely understand cutting off vehicle use to something like Marble Canyon, but if they start killing things like camping in Cottonwood, Monarch, Echo, or Hole in the wall, my days will probably be coming to an end as far as DV goes. The main lure pushing me to DV is #1-off roading, but a strong #2 is camping in something cool (as in unique). There are plenty Desolation Blvd type places throughout the state to camp at if I want such a thing.

Now I can understand if the place is being trashed, but as I posted, rarely have I've seen heavy trash there and most was from a long time ago. Maybe I've just missed it or maybe the rangers actively remove it. I don't know. My gut feeling is there is a movement to limit road use. Hope I'm wrong but when inquiring about the hidden valley road the county said DV would not let the road be repaired as it had been in the past. Hum? I have seen those who go off trail and tear things up and I hate it. It does scare certain areas but not the majority of the park. The next year and it looks like nobody has been there since the 1800's.
As far as trash, it's common in the sierra's and usually all it takes is somebody like me and a few freinds to clean it up...I just got back from such a trip. To close off the area because of what was on the ground is BS. Even 4x4 trails cut off to use are returned to a state where it's difficult to tell if there was even a trail was there in the first place. The desert is different. Trails from the 30's look like they were used W/I the last couple of years so to stop that type of destruction is important. But to close off the area by hamstringing the rest of the good folks who obey the law is something I'm afraid of. The jerks out there just drive over the signs that say stay out, so obvoiusly signs don't work.
Hopefully I'm over addressing the proposal and like I posted, maybe the Park service can pull their heads out and do something right for a change. Some of what I read I like and agree with. Some is vague.
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Old 08-20-2013, 10:53 PM   #7
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Re: New rules for Death Valley

I came across this old newspaper story.
It was written not long after DV became a national park.
It points out similarities of concerens they had then, that we share now.
http://www.hcn.org/issues/155/5004
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