Editor's Note: The following is a Letter to the Editor published by the Antelope Valley Press on August 1, 2007.
On Saturday, July 28, 2007, the Antelope Valley Press ran an Associated Press article on the dismissal of a lawsuit brought by private property owners seeking motorized access to Surprise Canyon Road in the Death Valley region. The article contained errors that require correction.
First, the headline erred by declaring the matter an "off-roading rights case" when it was not. Fortunately, the article itself clearly stated that the suit was actually one of private property ownership rights. That the property owners are off-roaders was 100% immaterial in the case and was never considered by the court. The ruling was procedural and dealt only with jurisdiction and standing.
Earlier I warned our readers that the Bureau of Land Management's Barstow Field Office was preparing a proposal to increase user access fees at the popular Dumont Dunes motorized recreation area. We wondered aloud if we'd see any opposition to "another $15 or $20" on top of the current $60 annual fee.
Well, have I got a surprise for you. How about another $80?
The proposal currently on the table would raise cost of an annual pass to $140.
If you want a good opportunity to say something about this, it would be Tuesday, March 6, at 10:00 am, at the BLM Barstow Field Office during the meeting of the Dumont Dunes Technical Review Team.
DeathValley.com would like to help Inyo County by finding readers who traveled three long-time Death Valley area roads at least twenty-one years ago: Petro Road (also known as Greenwater Road), Lost Section Road and Last Chance Road.
Ten well informed Dumont Dunes users attended the March 6, 2007, meeting of the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) Dumont Dunes Technical Review Team (TRT), and put forth what turned out to be the advisory group's preferred alternative regarding the proposed user fee increase at Dumont Dunes. Without their participation, we might have missed the winning idea altogether.
The point that I'd like to get across is that users absolutely can make the difference when they participate. I recognize that not everyone can get a weekday off to travel to Barstow for a meeting, which is partially why advisory committees exist in the first place. And not always do participants feel that was worth it, as often such meetings product no real tangible results, and not always are visitors' comments well heeded.
But on Tuesday, our guests made all the difference.
When visiting Death Valley National Park your pets must remain in your vehicle except at campgrounds and public facilities. And don't forget your leash!
We regularly hear of citations being issued in some of the more popular Park destinations for leash violations. Areas particularly reported are Darwin Falls, Saline Hot Springs and the Racetrack. If you are going to bring your pet to Death Valley National Park make sure to review the rules first.