Re: Surprise Canyon, my two cents worth.

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Posted by Rick on October 29, 2002 at 11:11:10:

In Reply to: Surprise Canyon, my two cents worth. posted by Gene Rubin on August 04, 2002 at 11:41:47:

I first heard about Surprise Canyon about 10 years ago. A friend of mine asked if I wanted to take a jeep ride. We set up camp just outside of Balarat and met up with 3 or 4 other jeeps. Early the next morning we all set off to Panamint City, I still did not know what I was in for. We drove through Balarat and eventually got to the bottom of Surprise Canyon. I thought to myself, "we are going up there!?!" Before any jeeps started up the falls, everyone walked around and picked up any trash that was in the area. We did this all the way to the top of the falls. After reaching the top, we started for the City. Along the way, we picked up more trash and cleared the road of over grown brush and low branches. After a while the vegetation disappeared and we went up to Panamint City. I will never forget my trips up the canyon. I have several hundred pictures of the Canyon, Panamint City, and the valley below. It is a truly beautiful place that anyone with an appreciation for nature should see. It is also a place of historical significance that should be seen as well. Panamint City has been around since 1873. Last I heard, the old smelting tower was still standing. The area should be open to anyone with the desire to see it. Now, the big debate is how we get there. Do we walk or winch our jeeps through the Canyon? Environmentalists are worried that vehicles going through the Canyon are destroying the indigenous plants and animals. While this might be happening, I have yet to see any documentation showing that this is the case. If there is evidence that plants and animals are facing extinction due to the jeep traffic, then the BLM has done the right thing by closing the Canyon to vehicles. Like I said though, I have seen no documents proving any permanent damage. Until then, I believe that the Canyon should be reopened on a limited basis, supervised by the BLM and relevant agencies so a study can be conducted that can put closure on the debate. I would gladly pay a reasonable fee to go up the Canyon in a jeep again. These fees could help pay for the study so to offset the taxpayer burden. I really believe that there is a solution to this that all sides can live with. We simply have to work together to get it.

My 2 cents…

Rick Corgiat
Waukesha, Wisconsin

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