Victoria Barr, field manager of the Bureau of Land Management Ely District, Caliente office, told County Commissioners at their regular meeting Aug. 5, she is planning a tour of the Ash Springs facility in September with State Sen. Pete Goicochea and Assemblyman John Oscarson, as well as staff members from the offices of U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, Sen. John Heller, Rep. Mark Amodei, the County Commissioners and other state congressionals. No date has been selected yet.
BLM recently closed Ash Springs, locally known as Little Ash, to the public until further notice to provide for public safety.
“We want to show them (the congressionals) what the situation is of the condition of the spring and the habitat, of the degraded pool wall, so they can be prepared to start to field questions from their constituents about the spring being closed, and how long it might take before it opens and what is going to happen in the future. We want to communicate openly and transparently about what our process is there.”
Earlier, Barr had said, “Unauthorized modifications made to the pool by members of the public have undercut the banks, which could cause the rock wall to collapse.” The approximately one-acre site, located alongside U.S. Highway 93 about 110 miles north of Las Vegas, Nev., receives 65,000-plus visitors annually. The popular site is home to the endangered White River springfish, as well as several sensitive species that include the Pahranagat pebblesnail, Pahranagat naucorid bug and Grated tyronia.
Barr said BLM does not have a proposed action as yet for Ash Springs, but starting in October, “We will be having probably more than one public meeting where we want to get ideas from the communities and stakeholders as for the future of Ash Springs as we start our planning process. We want to find out what the public would like to see there. Nothing is off the table at this point in the range of alternatives, from selling the land, to it becoming county land they would maintain for public purposes.”