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 multiple use.

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.   

(1st slide) 

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 place. 

1.     A permit 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. 

2.     Annexing the Dale/Gold Park District (saddle) would bring and economic boost of 40 million dollars into the Morongo Basin. 

3.     And third protecting the animal corridors the run through the Virginia Dale/ Gold park –what they call the saddle area. 

I would like to speak briefly on these items and present to you counter for each one of them. 

   (2nd Slide) 

      I would 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 time. 


       Next 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 basin.   Seth 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 routes. 

(3rd slide) 

      Speaking to 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. 


      Now, 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. 

(4th slide) 

      On the 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 slide.   “For 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 job.”  


      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? 

      Let’s say 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 it?  

(5th Slide) 

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.  

      And… Of course they have the freedom to go to JTNP; there, you have the freedom to pay your fifteen dollars entry fee.   You 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 to.  


         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 underlying motivations.       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 over. 

      Thank you 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 questions? 

 -by Jim Wharf Sept. 25, 2012


LDMA member writes letter to Twentynine Palms City Council


Written by: Ron Kliewer
9/20/2012 2:16 PM RssIcon  


Sept.19, 2012

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.

Thank you,

Ron Kliewer

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