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I join California Senator Dianne Feinstein in applauding BrightSource Energy's decision to scrap plans to build a massive, 5,130-acre, 500-megawatt solar energy power production plan at Broadwell Lake. The Senator is considering introducing legislation that would include the area within a new national monument and preclude alternate energy and other development.

Broadwell Lake is a regular destination for many of's readers. This unique recreational treasure is a high-point destination along the 85 mile long Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad birm, the last north-south, multiday, expedition-quality, motorized backcountry route in the California desert.

Numerous recreation enthusiasts frequent the Broadwell Lake to enjoy a number of backcountry activities, such as gem & mineral collecting, hunting, OHV and 4x4 touring, history seeking, wildlife watching, equestrian riding and more.

I also agree with Senator Feinstein when she said "there is enough in the California desert for both" conservation and renewable energy.  However, while Broadwell Lake may have been one of BrightSource's most economically profitable sites, it is also one of the least appropriate.

Today I was filing away some of the old emails that had built up in my in box and I came across a Bakersfield Californian article from February 5, 2003.  OK, so some of the emails in my in box are VERY old, and its original sender has been long deceased.  But, I digress.  My point is that re-reading quotes and predictions from five years ago can yield great insight on people's credibility today.

The article, entitled "Road rules concern activists", reported on a rule adopted by the Bush administration Interior Department that was to "make it easier for states and local governments to claim title to roads on federal lands."  Motorized access advocates often refer to such roads as RS2477 routes, a name reflecting the intent of a 1972 federal law which protects historic, established routes of travel from being closed.

Let's look at two quotes from this article of five years ago and see which prediction was more accurate.

Read more: Editorial - Predictions and Credibility

Within the boundary of Death Valley National Park pets must remain within 100 feet of a road, picnic area or campground, and they must remain on a leash at all times.  I've written on this subject before.  But outside Park boundaries, on lands regulated by the Bureau of Land Management, pets are allowed as long as they remain under your control.

Therefore, bringing the family dog along on desert camping trips and adventures is popular.  Especially during upland game bird season it is actually common to come across parties in the backcountry with their dogs. Our dog seems to enjoy camping and exploring in the desert as much as we do.  But it is possible to loose track of your pup, particularly the younger dogs, or the more scent oriented breeds. Nobody wants to loose their dog in the backcountry.

Read more: Keeping Track of Pooch

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. 

Read more: Just the Beginning

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