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Furnace Creek Comments Needed

PLEASE HELP US KEEP THIS VERY IMPORTANT BACKCOUNTRY ROAD OPEN

(Received from Ron Schiller, High Desert Multiple-Use Coalition)

     It was recently learned that the Center for Biodiversity, Sierra Club, and others are flooding BLM and Forest Service fax machines with comment letters requesting the total closure of Furnace Creek to motorized access.

 Yesterday alone, the BLM received 500 letters supporting the closure. This is NOT the Furnace Creek located within Death Valley but another Furnace Creek in the White Mountains between Bishop, CA and Dyer, NV.

     Thanks to Randy Banis of Death Valley Dot Com we now have our ownInternet fax software to easily send faxes to the BLM and Forest Service to support a modified version of Alternative #6 which would keep the long existing road open for public use.  The comment period is open until February 17 so we have enough time to offset the closure advocates mass faxes.

     Please help us keep this fabulous backcountry experience open to thepublic.  Go to http://www.deathvalley.com/action/furnace_creek.shtml, fill in the appropriate blanks, scroll down the page, review the letter, and click on the "send my fax" button.  A fully customized letter with your name and address will be automatically faxed to the BLM and Forest Service and a copy returned to you via e-mail for your records.

     The Furnace Creek Road is an incredible 8.5 mile road on the eastern

side of the White Mountains that begins near Dyer Nevada.  The road was

originally built at the turn of the last century for ranching and mining.

 It was improved with heavy equipment in the early 1950s.  The road passes

old mines, old corrals, an elaborate old cow camp, and many points with

breathtaking vistas.  Up until the CBD lawsuit, it was one of the best kept

secrets and used almost exclusively by locals.  Roger Mitchell, in his 1969

book, "Inyo Mono Jeep Trails", states, " Furnace Creek Road undoubtedly

offers one of the most interesting jeep trips in the county.  Mitchell goes

on to say, "Unlike many canyon roads, the jeep trail up Furnace Creek did

not just happen.  As you will soon see, the route has been carefully

constructed.  In places where the canyon bottom was impassible, a-road was bulldozed out of the canyon wall".  The road, at least the two-track

portion, ends at Tres Plumas Flat, a most beautiful aspen dotted flat

situated at 9200 ft. elevation.  There are several deer hunter's camps

dispersed in the aspen groves.  The view from Tres Plumas Flat is

astounding and makes one think of a calendar quality photo.

     The Inyo National Forest Land Use and Management Plan designated the entire Furnace Creek Road corridor to Tres Plumas Flat as "Semi-Primitive Motorized Recreation".  The environmentalist have fought for 20 years to close the road because it would be a corridor into their proposed

wilderness legislation, however,  there has never been adequate resource

concerns to justify closure.  There are no Threatened or Endangered flora

or fauna, no fishery, or any other identifiable significant issues.  The

riparian issue is associated with only a very tiny portion of the road.  In

fact, there really isn't any creek as there is no water flow except during

spring runoff and heavy rains.

PLEASE PASS THIS MESSAGE ON TO ANY FRIENDS OR ASSOCIATES THAT SUPPORT

PUBLIC ACCESS TO PUBLIC LANDS.



This information is provided by Ron Schiller, Chairman, High Desert
Multiple Use Coalition.  As usual, please feel free to pass this information on to any other interested parties.  Anyone wishing to receive future information regarding issues related to the management of public lands in the California Desert should send an e-mail to schiller@ridgecrest.ca.us and request to be placed on the distribution list.  Please print "PLEASE ADD TO LIST" in the subject line.

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