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bware


May 3, 2010, 10:23 PM
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New Jack City BLM camping improvements
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BLM Announces Public Scoping for Sawtooth Camping Area Improvements

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announces its intent to write an environmental assessment to consider improvements of the camping area in the Sawtooth Limited Use area of Stoddard Valley about eight miles south of Barstow. This proposed project would enhance the existing recreation opportunities for rock climbers and remote campers with the addition of 12 camp sites, one new restroom, a new kiosk, a picnic area and a host site. Each camp site would have a shade ramada, picnic table, fire pit and grill, and a barbeque.

Community members and interested parties are invited to participate in the environmental assessment by providing written comments by the close of business May 16, 2010. Only written comments will be accepted regarding the proposed camping-area improvements. Please submit your comments to the BLM Barstow Field Office, Attn: Sawtooth, John Kavanaugh, 2601 Barstow Road, Barstow CA 92311, or by email to John_Kavanaugh@ca.blm.gov. For further information about the project, please contact John Kavanaugh at (760) 252-6037.

_________________________________________________


I spoke to John Kavanaugh today and asked him some questions about the proposed camping improvements at Sawtooth Canyon, AKA New Jack City. I want to thank John for calling me back and taking the time to answer my questions.

Here's what I found out about the proposed improvements.

Four campsites will be near Boy Scout wall, just north of the concrete pad. There will also be a vault toilet and kiosk here. There will be a shade pavilion by the parking area underneath the Crossfire Crag. There will be three campsites on the other side of the canyon from Boy Scout Wall, closer to the existing kiosk. These campsites will be walk-in, in the sense that they'll be 50 feet from the parking area and will have a post and cable fence delimiting the parking area.

Five campsites will be by the White Face Wall, near the existing vault toilet.
The host site will be to the northeast of the White Face, on the other side of the main road into the climbing area, and south of the existing kiosk.

The idea is to encourage campers to congregate in these areas.

An environmental assessment has not yet been filed; the BLM is waiting for the result of the scoping process to start that. Visual impact has been considered, not least because films are often shot there and the BLM doesn't want to affect that.

The BLM is not proposing any changes to the current situation regarding climbing, OHV use, shooting, hunting, and other uses of the area.

The BLM doesn't know yet if these sites will be pay sites, but there are no proposals currently to restrict camping elsewhere in the area.

Hopefully the BLM will work with climbers so that none of the campsites will be directly in front of a climbing area or boulder problem, so that people won't have to hike through someone's campsite to get to a climb.

Mr. Kavanaugh wants to hear your thoughts and comments on the proposed plan. Email is fine. You can email him at John_Kavanaugh@ca.blm.gov, and see the scoping announcement at

http://www.blm.gov/...awtooth_scoping.html

I'm going to write a scoping response in the next day or so and I'll post it here when I send it off.

(This post was edited by bware on May 10, 2010, 7:50 AM)


bware


May 9, 2010, 9:22 PM
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Re: [bware] New Jack City BLM camping improvements [In reply to]
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We spoke to John Kavanaugh on Saturday. A summary: 12 campsites plus a host site. Five sites near the existing toilet, four near the concrete pad along with a toilet and maybe a climbers kiosk/message board, and three sites around the corner in a semi-walk-in campground, along with a new parking area and fence. Currently this area is grassy and unused. The toilet will sit in or very near an obvious wash. It will not be composting. There will be a shade pavilion and two tables by the parking area below Crossfire Crag. Each campsite will have a fixed concrete picnic table, a fire ring, and a barbecue pit.

The BLM hopes to have a continuous host, at least during the main season (Sept-May). The host will have no enforcement powers. Since there are very few rules, there are very few that someone could enforce anyway - shooting, paintball, off-roading, and partying are not prohibited. There are no quiet hours. The hosts' duties will be up to the hosts. They may choose to greet every new arrival, or keep a low profile.

One of the White Face sites was sited in such a way that climbers would have to hike through the site in order to climb there. We tried to convince Mr. Kavanaugh to move this site around the corner on the theory that if there was a table there, there would <em>always</em> be someone camping there; whereas if the table was around the corner, there might not always be someone camped there. If you write a scoping letter, you might mention this. The other sites are away from climbing and bouldering and are where people usually camp.

Frankly, this seems to be a done deal. The BLM has already ordered the materials and scheduled the bulldozers for May 17, the day after the comment period ends. The Environmental Assessment, something that the USFS told us would take months and require a donation of $50k for Williamson, is going to be done on the evening of the 16th, and the bulldozers roll Monday morning.

More worrisome is that this whole area is being considered as a possible site for windfarms and solar arrays. A windfarm is being proposed just south, atop Granite Mountain. This is a much more serious threat to the entire area.


granite_grrl


May 10, 2010, 5:18 AM
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Re: [bware] New Jack City BLM camping improvements [In reply to]
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The whole camp site thing is really too bad. Sounds like you're one step away from another pay area.


jcrew


May 10, 2010, 7:06 AM
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Re: [bware] New Jack City BLM camping improvements [In reply to]
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bware wrote:
(Should it be called No Jack City now that Jack is dead?).


WTF?


bware


May 10, 2010, 7:51 AM
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Re: [jcrew] New Jack City BLM camping improvements [In reply to]
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Joke. Just seeing if anyone was reading these things.


dpotter05


May 10, 2010, 1:42 PM
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Re: [bware] New Jack City BLM camping improvements [In reply to]
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Just sent my two cents in. Thanks bware for the work you've put into this!

David


chossmonkey


May 10, 2010, 6:41 PM
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Email sent.

Improvements=User fees

It probably doesn't matter now, but nothing will change in the future if everyone just sits around looking stupid now.


bware


May 14, 2010, 9:14 AM
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Re: [bware] New Jack City BLM camping improvements [In reply to]
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My comments for the scoping:

_______________________


Hi, John:

Thanks for coming out to meet us. I appreciate you going out of your way to get our input.

After thinking about it for quite a while, and talking to other climbers, my comments on the plans are these:

Sawtooth Canyon is a unique area in the Mojave desert. In all the wandering around that I've done, there is no other place with that kind of rock that's big enough to climb, and very few other places with any climbable rock at all. I'd prefer to see no more development there whatsoever. I concede that the toilet and fences have cut back on the Wild West attitude out there, and have improved the area, though it's difficult to divorce that from the fact that there are more climbers out there. Climbers tend to develop a personal relationship with an area that they come back to repeatedly. A climber who is coming out every weekend tends to litter less and tend better an area, perhaps moreso than a off-roader or a partier who is only going to be at the area once a year, or less.

I'd like to see the place remain as it is. Not exactly untouched by human hands, but pretty much just roads and desert.

That said, if there are to be picnic tables and toilets, I would request that Camp 1 be moved around the corner to the northeast, so it doesn't sit right in front of a popular climbing area. If there is a picnic table there, there will always be someone camped there, and climbers will have to go through that site to get to the climbs. If it's around the corner, more people will camp there, and not in front of the White Face.

As you know, the proposed toilet sits in or very near a seasonal wash.

Campsites 6, 7, and 8 sit in a grassy area that is currently largely untouched; what off-road trails are there are returning to nature. It's a mixed bag. The planned development there would be out of sight, but would also impact an area that is currently untouched by the off-road vehicles.

Again, thanks for your time. I hope you will let us know of any further development planned for this area.

Regards,
Brent


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