March 2015 UPDATE:
Along with many interested parties from the general public, we welcome the collaboration and support of
the American Mining Rights Association, Public Lands
for the People, Western Mining Alliance, Gold Prospector's Association of
America along with many individual miners in the fight to save our public lands for
It is rumored that the NPCA has run up against so much resistance to their annex scheme that they are
backing off for the time being and setting their sights on closing other lands in the vicinity, near the old Kaiser
Steel mine for instance. They will not give up until they have "saved" all the multiple use land from any multiple
use besides walking!
If you want to get involved in saving the Dale/ Gold Park Districts as BLM Multiple Use Land, then please send an
Email to the contact address on this website and let us know you wish to help preserve the area. We are putting
together a "Friends of Dale/ Gold Park District" coalition of folks that use the area for many purposes.
If you want to know what will happen
under NPCA rule if they get control of the Virginia Dale and Gold Park Districts, read this story about the
Mojave National Preserve in their own words:
Over 2 dozen folks attended the 29 Palms City Council Meeting TUESDAY 9/25 at 6pm to show support in keeping this
land as multiple use, including a mining club, a geocache group and many individual concerned citizens. Many of the
people spoke in defense of keeping the mining area open to multiple use, and Jim Wharff gave the presentation below. It has been edited to reflect our
distaste for the name 'saddle' that the so-called Park protection group coined, which tries to further separate us
from our rich mining heritage. We will no longer use the term. They have been the Virginia Dale and Gold
Park Mining Districts for generations and we will honor the memory of those hard working miners by continuing to
use the names they used and teach our children and grandchildren how to prospect, survive in the wilderness, and
preserve our FREEDOM.
First of all I wish to thank the City Council for
allowing me to speak to you this evening on this very important matter that I believe, affects many members of this
and surrounding communities… and I promise to keep this as short as possible.
Two weeks ago Paul Smith from the Tourism Economics Commission, Seth Shtier from the National
Park Conservation Association (NPCA) and Andrea Compton Chief of resources from JTNP spoke to you on the Wind
Turbines and Solar Energy Fields that might surround the 29 Palms area and how best protect the this community from
the turbines and solar fields by annexing the area known as the Virginia Dale Mining District and Gold Park, which
the NPCA has renamed the “saddle”, into JTNP. This further hides the mining heritage of the
area. Their presentation focused on three major points on why the annexation should takes
was let by the BLM for a tests to be conducted south of 29 Palms in the areas of 29 Palms Mtn., Music Valley
and the Gold Park Mining District.
the Dale/Gold Park District (saddle) would bring and economic boost of 40 million dollars into the Morongo
protecting the animal corridors the run through the Virginia Dale/ Gold park –what they call the saddle
I would like to speak briefly on these items and present to you counter for each one of
like to start with the animal corridors. As you can see by the slide
there seems to be several routes that migratory animals take from JTNP through this end of the basin, onto the base
and then points farther north.
I spoke to
a Natural Resource Specialist that works for Natural Recourses and Environmental Affairs office aboard
the CombatCenter concerning the migratory animal
corridors. He admitted that he did not know that much about them, except the corridors shown on this map are
considered minor and that major corridor is to the east of the so-called 'saddle' area where the parks
boundary runs north to hi-way 62 and then
to southern tip of the Sheephole Mountains. This is where the Big
Horn Sheep, Mountains Lions and Bobcats migrate from the park, to the sheepholes, to base, points farther north and
back again. Your minor corridors carry such animal as coyotes and other smaller
critters. Now, would the larger animals start using these minor corridors if there were no one
around? Maybe? I suspect not, for they
still have to cross hiway-62 and go through Wonder valley, which is growing larger all the
I would like to talk about the permit let by BLM for testing in the areas of 29 Palms Mtn., Music Valley and
the Gold Park Mining District. According the Paul
Smith this permit was submitted by Padoma Wind Power, LLC based out of La Jolla California . I did some research on
the BLM’s Land Record-2000 Website under Wind Energy Projects. This site provides
information on pending wind energy applications, wind energy site applications and wind energy development
projects as well as existing wind development projects on public lands. I found there is
presently no, I say again, no pending permits concerning wind energy development in this
area. And as for Padoma, they have only two permits pending and both of those are
in Lassen County. Both permits were submitting on the 24th of August so the information there
is fairly resent.
I am not
saying there is not going to be anymore permits issued by the BLM for this area. However, I think it would
more prudent to fight them when they come along instead of over reacting and doing something we all may regret in
the long run.
And last I would like to speak on the so called 40 million dollar economic boost to the
Shtier from the National Park Conservation Association spoke in length on how once the Dale/Gold Park Mining
Districts aka "saddle area" is annexed, there were three possible levels
of development. The largest development would bring 40 million dollars in revenues by an increase of tourists in
the area. He did not say if this was annually or over 5 or 10 years. He spoke of a small visitor
center, blacktopped roads, 100 site camping area, and improved trails and off roads
a friend of my who is the Vice President of a construction company I gave him a scenario of this situation and used
the Jumbo Rocks Campground within JTNP as a
model. It has 75 campsites, 9 bathrooms, parking for 75 vehicles and 6400 feet of
roadway. His very rough estimate to construct such a place was 3 to 4 million
dollars. That is not taking consideration for permits, power, water, nor a road leading to the
campsite, which he said would run about 300,000 dollars a mile. By the way, the land
disturbance for a campsite of this size would be a little over 16 acres, which is more than the BLM presently
allows in disturbance on a 160 acre mining claim.
whether Seth, or Paul or JTNP knows it or not, but there are 11 major mine sites out there that have millions and
millions of tons of cyanide treated soil them. Cyanide was used in the
mining industry during the turn of the century to extract gold from the matrix. Cyanide is bio-degradable by
UV rays, however the material under the surface is still toxic. To have a campground in this
area, the park is going to have to spend an exceeding large amount of money to clean it up or fence it all off,
which would be another large cost.
early afternoon of Sept 11th I attended a luncheon with Chris Carrillo Senior Field Representative for Senator Dianne
Feinstein. Seth Shtier was also at the meeting and made the following statement that you see on the
two years the funding for National parks has decreased and are now facing more cuts, including the looming threat
of a sequester scheduled for January 2013. If congress does not agree on
a deficit-reduction plan Nations Parks could face cuts up to 10 percent. That would likely mean the
closing of visitor centers, closed camping grounds, closed parks, and thousands for park staff out of a
And yet Mr.
Shtier stood before this city council saying they are going to build a 100 site campground that would cost 3 to 4
million dollars (which is likely a very LOW estimate because it doesn’t include road construction costs, permit
fees, etc.). If they are facing such budget cuts how do they expect to build the up infrastructure to get the
tourist to come here?
the park does annex the saddle area and due of decreased funding the 100 site campground is not built, nor even a
10 site campground is built. How is the park going
to handle the Virginia Dale/ Gold Park with decreased funding and possibly less rangers to patrol
The only way they can is designate it as a wilderness study area close off all the roads and
there it. They succeeded in getting what they wanted all along. For the community the loss
will be the so called 40 million dollars but also the revenue that comes with the campers, off roaders, hunters,
shooters and miners that spend money in this community now. I see that as a
lose/lose situation for everyone.
In no way,
shape, or form, no matter what level of protection they plan, do we believe the National Park system will allow us
to keep our claims, hunt, shoot or off-road as we do now within the historic mining area, if they acquire
it. This is
not only a matter of removing public land from the people; it is also a matter of
freedoms. Right now, each and every person in this room has the right to get up and drive fifteen
miles east on Highway 62, turn right on Gold Crown Road, drive six miles south into the heart of the Virginia
Dale Mining District. There they have the freedom to set up a tent anywhere they choose, freedom to build a fire
where they want. Freedom to hunt, shoot, geo-cache, drive off road on BLM established routes , which there
are hundreds of miles of, walk anywhere they want…and have the right to look for gold
or file a claim, if they wish.
course they have the freedom to go to JTNP; there, you have the freedom to pay your fifteen dollars entry
have the freedom to pay your camping fee. You have the freedom to set
up your tent where they tell you to, you have the freedom to build your fire where they tell
you. You have the freedom to walk where they say you can walk and drive your vehicle anywhere
they say you can…and you even have the freedom to go to the bathroom, where they tell you
There are two types of people
that come to this area to recreate – the ones who go to JTNP, and they are going to come no matter if the saddle is
part of the park or not and…. then there are the ones who prefer to go to the saddle area because they are not
restricted in what they like to do.
In closing, I
would like to say the 29 Palms Tourism Economics Commission and JTNP had an excellent opportunity to unite the
community behind them by focusing their effort ONLY on the wind turbine and solar fields, and we all would have
stood behind them, as no one in this community wants to see wind turbines on the horizons. But instead they used the
threat of wind turbines as an excuse to make a grab for 104,500 acres of public land due to, what I believe are
Unfortunately, all they will succeed in doing is divided this
community. No matter how this turns out, hard feelings will prevail long after this is
for your attention and I do hope you will take all this under advisement when you conceder endorsement or not
endorse the removal of more public lands from the people. Thank you again…are there any
-by Jim Wharf Sept. 25, 2012
LDMA member writes letter to Twentynine Palms City Council
9/20/2012 2:16 PM
Twentynine Palms City Council
6136 Adobe Road
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277
Re: Potential Annex of Joshua Tree National Park
Dear Mayor, Mayor Pro Tem and City Council Members:
I agree that we should be preserving our recreational natural resources for future
generations to enjoy. However, there is also the issue of preserving our natural resource locations for use by the
public. Look around you. Everything we have is either GROWN or MINED.
Now look at a map of Joshua Tree National Park, the Marine Base, etc. All this land has been withdrawn from the
public for locating mineral claims. Notice too how the original boundary was drawn around Joshua Tree even before
it was a National Monument (my family and I have enjoyed this park since the ‘60’s). The areas that were left out
were not done by accident; the boundaries were drawn to PRESERVE historically rich iron and gold mining areas for
future generations, ensuring the availability of economic and strategic metals/ minerals.
With the increasing price of commodities and precious metals in particular, the area is poised to come back to
life, creating local jobs and breathing life into the local economy. I know of one commercial mine in the so-called
“Saddle” area that is currently preparing to re-open. It would be a shame to be so short-sighted that we close what
little multi-use land that remains in the area to add it to large recreation-only land that is already in place.
More tourists will not come to the National Park because this area is included.
My friends and I own mining claims in the Virginia Dale and Gold Park Mining Districts. We often spend money in
Twentynine Palms for gas, food and supplies. We eat at the local restaurants, and are in town dozens of times a
year. There are prospecting and other clubs that use the area as well, spending money in Twentynine Palms.
Withdrawing the Virginia Dale/ Gold Park Mining District from public multiple use land and placing it into Joshua
Tree National Park will have a long term negative economic effect, not only on our local economy, but potentially
nationally as well.
Please consider ALL user groups when planning for the future of Twentynine Palms and our Nation.