Death Valley comments

I value being able to access Death Valley Wilderness by motorized means.  The rough trails, tarantulas, and backcountry cabins make DV wilderness a unique vacation spot for me. 

 

Concerns on wilderness resource:  Closing roads and trails prematurely and leaving the wilderness to the hiking elite is something I am opposed to.  Without access to water and supplies, DV wilderness can be very exclusive - I am very opposed to the current environmental culture of exclusivity.

 

Regarding the park's non-wilderness backcountry lands and roads.  First off let me say that I value the fact that they are there and usable.  If they were not there I would not be there either.  I especially appreciate the roads that are through connections ie Echo Canyon and Warm Springs to Mengal Pass, Steel Pass, etc.  These roads still allow some adventure and exploration, to me that is a huge part of DV.  Not maintaining the roads is a value also, letting users reclaim the road paths should continue.

 

My concern on how these backcountry lands and roads are used and managed - it seems like access is quick to be denied through a variety of reasons.  Poor road conditions, 1994 Park expansion, military concerns, archeological, or other environmental reasons.  I would like to see a management plan that re-opens some of the current closed routes.  We are capable of addressing reasons for the closures and working through them.  Another issue I have is with the maintenance of the back-country cabins.  Many of them are in poor shape and could use some upgrades rather than just minimal upkeep.  Cabins, mining, and people are an important part of DV, it would be a great vision to continue to have these components sustained for future generations.

 

Thoughts on wilderness and adjacent non-wilderness backcountry. I happen to live in the front country of the Inyo National forest.  A mile into the front country is the John Muir Wilderness.  DV is similar in many respects as one travels through several different land designations/uses.  But, it can be tough to figure out where exactly non-wilderness may change into wilderness.  That's just part of the experience, it doesn't have to be signed to death in every situation because that just looks out of place and wrong.  I happen to value the non-wilderness backcountry a lot more because it seems to have more human history in it.  I'd like to see more of it.  Thanks for the opportunity to comment.
 
Tony Burgess
 
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