Newberry Springs Desert Study Area


By: Maris Valkass



At the Barstow Desert Protection Act hearing, Alton Siever, a BLM Official asked me why doesn't the Sierra Club do any volunteer work with the BLM. This of course was addressed to the DPS as we were the ones telling him how much we love the desert and all the places we go and climb peaks. We rose to the challenge and set up a date.

Alton gave us several choices of the projects were they can use the help. We told him to pick the highest priority, which turned out to be in the Newberry Springs Desert Study Area, 11 miles from Barstow. The work consisted of eradicating a road, small mining area, vehicular tracks in some washes, and restoring the area as close to the original condition as possible by replacing rocks to match the surroundings. Fortunately for us, BLM had a small bulldozer available the week before, and it had filled couple of mining shafts, and softened the packed berms making it easier for us to move the dirt. We worked pretty hard, but thanks to the dozer, we finished everything by 3 pm on Saturday.

We had twelve people working on Saturday: Bill Faulkner, Jim Kilberg, Jim Farkas, J Holshuh, Sue Leverton, Igor Mamedalin, Suzanne Mamedalin, Tanya Mamedalin, Terry Turner, Bruce Turner, Anna Valkass, myself, and three BLM people. Seven more came for Sunday: Karen Leonard, Ron and Leora Jones, John McCully, Wendy Ruess, Christine Mitchell, and Ron Bartell. They all showed up, but they also lucked out since the work was accomplished.

Not to waste time, we decided to explore the Newberry and Rodman Mountain area by driving. We had heard about some petroglyphs in the Rodmans, and so we proceeded to find them. They are located couple of miles from the Pipkin Cinder Cone, which is a large cinder mining operation. While exploring the back roads, Ron Jones suffered two flat tires. Fortunately one was able to hold some air, and with periodic refilling we were able to get to the paved road. It finally gave out, and we had to go to Barstow to buy a new one.

It was a fun weekend, and this fall we are scheduling another BLM work project which will be in the Dumont Dunes, clearing out a spring.

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