Urgent: Eagle Mountain Boundary Study

Here is a message from First Class Miners that is important to all prospectors. Please read the email and add a comment on the nps.gov webpage. I have opened up comments on this post(click Read More).

For those who are .gov illiterate, click here for the proposals.

If you wish to share your comments please do so.


Good morning!  Many of you are aware that the National Park Service completed their study of the Eagle Mountain area and the possibility of annexing BLM land into Joshua Tree National Park.  The study is available online for print or view.
In a nutshell their are 4 Alternatives.  Alternative A leaves everything the way it currently is.  The park service's preferred and proposed alternative is C, which would bring the land into the national park.  We would lose ATV, dirt bike travel.  Claims would require validity paperwork which could be costly.  Camping and fire restrictions could also be a possibility.
I request that ALL members take a look at this document and submit comments.  It's our last chance.
1.  Once you get to the page, look in the left column under "project links" and click on "open for comment".  It will show you a list of documents for comment (there is only one).  Click on the document (Eagle Mountain Boundary Study...)
2.  At the bottom you will see a link to the document.  It is large and I encourage you to read it.  But specifically look at the 4 alternatives A-D.
3.  You will also see a button in the middle of the page that says "comment now"  Click that to comment.  Note the final cutoff for comments is May 27th.
Thank you
My OPINION:  All options stink.  I feel we have been painted into a corner.  Option A is our only alternative that would allow us to carry on the way we currently do.  However, that option will never be adopted because it does nothing to protect any of the land.  Basically it's like voting for a Libertarian.  Yes you voted, but it really won't count.  Again this is my OPINION:  I know that we have organizations assisting us in the fight and I do greatly appreciate it.  BUT, alternative A is NEVER going to get adopted.  We HAVE to compromise a little.  MY comment will suggest that ALL alternatives are unacceptable.  I am willing to propose that large scale mining, wind, solar, landfill, and any other large scale, land destroying proposals be prevented.  I propose that the land be retained in the BLM but designated special use, allowing current activities to continue but protecting the land from corporate destruction for profit.
My comment will continue with this:  IF proposal C IS adopted, which it most likely will, I propose that the area still remain a special use area with ATV, small scale unpatented mining, and open camping.  Pissing in the wind perhaps, but still worth a shot.  (END of OPINION)
IF proposal C is adopted as is:  We lose ATV, dirt bike use.  We may or may not keep our claims depending on the permit, validity work, cost etc.  Most likely there will also be additional restrictions on our campsite.  Our way of loving those mountains will be changed forever.  Only massive numbers of comments will sway anything.  While we had a great number of commenters previously, the environmentalists had thousands more.
YOU need to comment, your family needs to comment, your friends need to comment, your relatives need to comment.  WE NEED to get EVERYONE WE KNOW TO COMMENT.  They do not need to live in state or frequent the Eagle Mountains to comment.  They simply need to go the website and say that Alternative C is UNACCEPTABLE and that currently Alternative A is the only option they give us that works.  BUT (only if you agree with my opinion), a preferred option would be to add a Alternative E that states the things I mentioned above.
Final note:  A few meetings ago after I finished berating the club members for not getting involved in these issues, a member approached me afterwards and stated:  "I write my membership check and buy raffle tickets, don't forget that, that's my way of helping".  I thought about that and initially felt rather foolish for my comments to the club.  Because yes, you are a generous club.  But now, that's not good enough.  You either need to make a comment and help, or question your reasoning for staying a member.  I don't care whether you like it or not, like me or not, or like to be directed to do something.  Just do it, get your friends to do it, get everyone you know to do it.  If you don't feel strongly enough about this issue to do anything, I suggest you find another club.
Public meeting in Joshua Tree, May 4th, 6-8 pm.  Our last stand!!
Steve Scamman
President, First Class Miners, Inc.


Question 1: 

Of the alternatives presented in the boundary study and environmental assessment, which do you prefer? Please explain why.


The only somewhat acceptable Alternative is A. The Federal Government has been unilaterally taking PUBLIC LANDS out of the PUBLIC DOMAIN for nefarious reasons but under the guise of ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTIONISM. This land was designated PUBLIC LAND long before it was known to contain valuable minerals and elements. Now that technology has advanced enough to distinguish such things, the Government wants to take it back from the people.


The Public Lands were established to be set aside for the citizens' exclusive use. The BLM was later created only to ADMINISTER (as in CARETAKERS) the Public Lands. However, the BLM has continually expanded their role into making and enforcing rules and procedures that restrict the citizens’ uses of their own PUBLIC LAND. This has now evolved into the BLM having their own BLM LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS, who as far as I am concerned (and many of my colleagues agree), have NO LEGAL AUTHORITY since the ONLY REAL LAW ENFORCEMENT IS THE COUNTY SHERIFF. This is a CLEAR example of GOVERNMENT OVER-REACH!


It is becoming very clear of the ulterior motives of the Federal Government by looking at the Bundy Ranch Fiasco here in Nevada. Then there is the unbelievable, and disgusting actions of the Federal Government over the Harney County ranchers Dwight Hammond Jr. and son Steven and the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge standoff. This ended with the arrest of the Bundy sons and a number of other protesters. However, the worst outcome was the UNJUST MURDER of LeVOY FINICUM.


Now it has come out that the land under the Hammond Ranch contains vast reserves of Uranium. Hillary Clinton, while Secretary of State, agreed to sell it to Russia. The last time I check, Russia was not our ally. There has also been lots of Gold Rich Land sold to China in the Idaho area by the Government allegedly to pay back some of the U.S. Debt.


Question 2: 

Do you have any suggestions for improving the alternatives? If so, what are they?


The only suggestion I can make is to get the BLM back to the custodial job they were originally chartered to be and leave the Public Land alone.

Question 3: 

Do you have any concerns with the proposed withdrawal and administrative transfer of BLM-managed federal lands to the National Park Services for management as part of Joshua Tree National Park?


Again, I must be redundant and say leave the Public Land in the Public Domain and stop placing all of the RESTRICTIONS that a National Park would impose.


Question 4: 

Do you have any comments related to the study findings or the impacts in the environmental assessment?

It has been shown that the EPA has skewed their studies to achieve the results that fit the Federal Government and the Environmentalist want the study to conclude. I do not believe any conclusions that the EPA's "scientists" conclude. If the government would provide funding for an independent group's selection of a scientific research team to validate the EPA's findings by studying the situation independently and comparing conclusions, I would feel that the conclusion would be more believable.   


Please submit any additional comments in the box provided. If you wish to send us comments, you may submit them in hardcopy by clicking on Print Form in the left navigation.


I am sorry to say that my observation of the NPS, BLM, and USFS conducting these public hearings and comment periods has only been to "check the block" of the rules they have to comply with. Their decision has long been made even before the first public meeting is held. As such, the meetings and comments are really just and exercise in futility for the citizens.


In my view comments should explicitly challenge the assumptions and statements in the documents provided, as that forms the basis for any decision. If you can challenge those, then you take away the rationale for inclusion. Specifically:

To be included the land must meet at least one of the following criteria: The inclusion of the properties must:

• protect significant resources and values, or enhance opportunities for public enjoyment related to park purposes;

 • address operational and management issues, such as the need for access or the need for boundaries to correspond to logical boundary delineations such as topographic features or roads; or

 • otherwise protect park resources that are critical to fulfilling park purposes.

Areas of the documents that list how the eagle mountains will achieve this are:

  1. The document cites “Recent studies have documented the particular importance of the area for the migration of bighorn sheep populations. In addition, the study area: 1) contains prehistoric and historic resources that expand on cultural themes interpreted at the national park; 2) could offer new opportunities for public enjoyment; and 3) contains areas important for maintaining wilderness values within Joshua Tree National Park.”

None of these are true and provide additional value to what is already protected in the park.  i.e. the features in the eagle mountains are not sufficient to warrant expansion of park boundaries, as the prehistoric and historic resources do not add meaningfully to the mining and mineral resources already protected, and do not provide exemplary examples of petroglyphs or rock art that would add meaningfully to the examples already in the park (they also cited the resources as the Kaiser mine, and Pattons camp-which is not actually in the area according to the sources on the web)

There is little evidence that annexing the area will protect the wilderness values in the park. First the park protects such a large area already, that there is little impact of the eagle mountains areas in the overall wilderness value of Joshua Tree. Second, the protection is supposedly from development alternatives, however, the BLM already has the right to constrain development, so inclusion in the park is not necessary. But most importantly, for over 150 years there has been no development of this area, so it is unreasonable to assume that there is a critical and urgent need to protect from development. In fact providing new areas for public enjoyment, stated in the document plans would dramatically increase the impacts to this area, and degrade the existant values.

Lastly the area may be important to mifgration of bighorn sheep populations, but this is under the current management scenario. There is no need to expand the boundaries as the migration is well established under the current management plan


  1. The documents also cite under impacts that “Cumulative adverse impacts to wildlife and special status wildlife species could occur from loss of habitat as a result of development projects in and around the study area. This creates the potential for numerous, long term, severe, adverse impacts to the health of wildlife. Bighorn sheep and desert tortoise movement corridors could be impeded, reducing gene flow and resulting in adverse effects to local populations. The continuation of existing land use policies in Alternative A could also result in the destruction or removal of prehistoric, historic, or archeological resources. There could be cumulative adverse effects to groundwater resources as future renewable energy projects are constructed in and adjacent to the study area.”

The evidence for these impacts is minimal to non existant. In fact any expansion of the boundaries would result in increased impacts compared to the current management plan rather than decreasing impacts. In fact, however, there has been no development of this area since the second world war and therefore it is unreasonable to assume that there will be any in the near future, especially given that the BLM already has the right to manage development in the area. Recent proposals for development were all on private land owned in the area which would not be impacted by any expansion of the park boundaries, and thus expansion is unwarranted.

The statements for the potential for numerous, long term, severe, adverse impacts to the health of wildlife is misleading. The steep rugged terrain severely limits the potential for any development, and the potential to impact any big horn sheep or tortoise migratory routes.

The continuation of alternative a is unlikely to result in destruction or removal of prehistoric, historic, or archeological resources, as this has not occurred in 150 years, and is unlikely to occur now. Rather expanding the boundaries and increasing the access would result in significant degradation of the resources