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June 13, 2016

Shaking Things Up in Borrego Springs

This is a hodgepodge of News good, bad and ugly.  All of which overshadow the reason for my quick visit to Borrego! 
If you have not heard Borrego Springs suffered an earthquake early Friday (June 10) morning.
pics from the media

First the Good News - after the 5.2 quake on Friday, June 10th, the damage is minimal - windows, nic-naks, store shelves, etc.; nothing major – despite for a some minor road damage the offices / stores / restaurants remain open.  Fortunately this was not 'The Big One', which is yet to come.
pics from the media

The Bad News - it's not so bad.  The aftershocks continue in ~2.5+ range.  Almost a dozen so far as the San Jacinto Fault makes some adjustments, counting the little adjustments nearly 500 aftershocks have been recorded.

The San Jacinto is not as famous as the San Andreas but has great potential for serious damages.

OK the Ugly News - Oh my …
I mentioned in a March 2016 post that Clark Dry Lake is not ‘closed to dispersed camping’, but under the same stay limit of the rest of the park.  This was the info from the rangers on duty at the Visitor’s Center when I asked.  Hence I ‘assumed’ that was the case, no mention was made of additional restrictions nor proposed changes.
  IMG_2143 (640x479)IMG_2145 (640x473)

Guess what – Clark Dry Lake IS CLOSED.  In a quick trip out this weekend, as a final shake down for Rufus, I noticed there are signs saying “Foot Travel Only Beyond No Vehicles”.  Any parking at Clark Lake must be within 1 car length of the road.  At least it is a generous 'car length' a full size Class A would fit in the allocated area.

To give an idea of perspective Rufus is parked near the ‘Foot Traffic Only’ sign and I am standing on the road.  In the distance on the left is the landmark remnants of the General Patton’s artillery tower.
IMG_2146 (640x476)

Although the bulk of Clark Lake is indeed Closed to all but foot traffic, the strip along Rockhouse Road remains open for 'cozy' boondocking.   And PegLeg Smith remains open for dispersed camping as part of ABDSP.

And there is more … A new proposal to restrict use in all 8 of the  Cultural Preserves in ABPSP, shown in green and red on the map.  The concept of Cultural Preserves not new, but the restrictions CalParks wants to enforce are.  The proposed restrictions are for all CalParks not just ABDSP.

But that’s just a start!  The CA State Parks has proposed regulating off-trail use in Natural Preserves, Cultural Preserves, State Cultural Reserves, and State Natural Reserves within the California State Park System:    http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=27460

I have signed the Anza Borrego Foundation’s protest, unfortunately it is too late for the readers of this blog.

The ABF stance is:
In a nutshell, this proposal would make it illegal to leave roads and trails in natural and cultural reserves. That means, for instance, that people could no longer climb around on rocks or walk up a wash, canyon, or ridge in any of our 8 cultural reserves. Think of hiking in Cougar or Sheep Canyon, primitive camping in Blair Valley, or rock climbing in Culp Valley. We and our park visitors would not be allowed to experience this park the way we have been invited to do since the park's establishment. It is also a law that would be virtually impossible for park peace officer rangers to enforce in a park so open and large.

The formal proposal and legal verbiage is here:
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
Initial Statement of Reasons
Proposed Text of Regulations

It's a minor point, but my read of the fine print is Little Blair Valley will be subject to the new restrictions (if passed), not Blair Valley where dispersed camping will continue to be allowed.  All current campgrounds would remain open, dispersed camping will continue to be permitted outside of the 8 Cultural Preserves.

I know this is not good news for the Snowbirds, but please don’t shoot the messenger!  Instead, perhaps the Director of California Department of Parks and Recreation would like to hear your views:
    Lisa Mangat, Director
    California Department of Parks and Recreation
    P.O. Box 942896
    Sacramento, CA 94296

or contact the Statewide Roads and Trails Program by emailing trails@parks.ca.gov

I will update as I hear/learn more.  I’d like to be creative and clever and understanding, but right now I’m pissed!  The ranger at the Visitor’s Center could only say that I’ll know when they know after CalParks makes its decisions.  I’ll post this tomorrow after a glass of wine and a chance to calm down …

Well, we're finally off to visit family, as we begin our long anticipated Olympic and Alaskan Adventure. 

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