Ridgecrest Public Roundtable
December 5, 2013
Bill Maddox chaired the meeting in the absence of Don Jo McKernan.
The meeting began with introductions and comments. Randy Banis began with
the issue of the letter the Roundtable decided in an earlier meeting
regarding the East Kern Acquisition Project by the State Parks off-high
motor vehicles department. A copy of the 2 paragraphs of final EIR that
mentions hunting was passed around and asked for group to review the
material to determine whether hunting will or not be allowed. Considering
the rule of signs must be posted prohibiting hunting and the absence of the
signs and the 2 paragraphs it is the opinion of Randy that hunting will be
allowed. This issue is included in the text of the letter drafted by Randy
and Mark addressed to Colonel Christopher C. Conlin, Deputy Director, OHMVR
Division California Department of State Parks on behalf of Roundtable, which
the majority voted to sign. Ed Waldheim continued the discussion with his
objections to the Acquisition Project claiming that the land will be turned
into a SVRA including sixty five thousand acres of land.
The comments continued with Sam Merk regarding the Fremont Valley
comments and announcing a meeting of Eastern Kern Resource Conservation
District at 9:30 a.m. Monday Dec. 9 at NPL News office located at 941 E.
Ridgecrest Blvd, which these comments will be discussed.
Dec. 12 -Planning Meeting in Bakersfield (car pool available)
Dec. 18- Ridgecrest Meeting at the IWVWD 6:00 p.m. Ms. Lorelei Oviatt will
be giving a presentation to Ridgecrest City Council
Sam shared a historic 1908 map and it is available at R.E.D electric on
Inyokern Rd. The group granted a motion to write a letter from the round
table concerning Fremont Valley Preservation Project to be presented at next
A representative from state parks responded to the East Kern Acquisition and
claims the property will not be immediately shut down and will continue to
function as it has, when the land is acquired. A general plan and another
EIR must be done and can take years to develop. The way they acquire the
land has an impact on how the land is used. She gave an example as Red Rock
Canyon was acquired under the California Protection Act which requires
strict guidelines by law that will not be applied to how this land will be
used because this property is private land.
Ed Waldheim then made a motion for the Roundtable to write a letter to State
Parks concerning Nightmare Gulch being shutdown requesting an explanation of
the severe action without public process. The motion was seconded and Mary
Grimsley volunteered to write letter with help from other members of the
The meeting continued with the BLM reports from Carl Symons. First issue
mentioned was the Dragonfly Project. This is a mining proposal, south of
Bickle camp to drill 12 holes. No NEPA has been started.
BLM has been working on WEMO issues for past two days. Plan motions have
been made from both sides concerning extensions and various actions. The
date with court will be in February 2014. The draft for public review should
be out in spring in 2014.
The BLM attended some Inyo County meetings in which an updated version of
the California Renewable Energy showing projects in desert was received. It
was brought to Carl’s attention that a proposed energy renewable project
north of China Lake base that has been dormant is still on the map. It is
for a Type II, wind testing with 11 towers in Darwin area. The proposal was
received in March 2012 however the applicants have not moved forward. The
project is New Demission CACA 053734.
The OHV workshop dates have been set for January 13, 2014 at the Double Tree
Inn in Ontario, Ca. Need an RSVP.
DRECP draft is expected around spring.
Law Enforcement have been having serious problem with vandalism. Over 3000
feet of fencing have been cut and stolen. After being repaired once, the
incident reoccurred, costing lots of money. If anybody knows or sees
anything please inform law enforcement. Some of the posts will be painted
orange. 909-383-5652 is an inner agency dispatch telephone number, which
will contact parks service, forest service, BLM throughout California. When
calling this number ask for BLM Law Enforcement Dispatch if it pertains to
BLM Land and mention Ridgecrest Field Office if you are in that area.
The fire restrictions are at Level 2 restrictions.
The meeting finished with a guest speaker, Katrina Symons the BLM manager
for Barstow field office. The topic of her presentation was Route 66. BLM
received $152,000 grant to prepare a Route 66 Corridor Management Plan from
Federal Highway Administration. The future goal is to create a designated
National Scenic Byway and increase tourism in area between Needles and
Barstow. A kiosk is expected in March 2014 to welcome and educate visitors
located in most eastern part of Route 66 that falls on BLM land when
entering California from Arizona. This is first of a series of items being
developed to connect people to the California Desert. Upcoming is the 70th
anniversary of Patton Camp and the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. A
camp has been developed for grade school children at Wilderness Discovery
Center in Barstow to educate about Wilderness Act through song and dance.