The Friends of Pahranagat Valley, after working together for a year or more, have created a proposal for public review and comment before being submitted to the BLM with the intent of reopening the Little Ash hot springs area on U.S 93, seven miles north of Alamo.
In a prepared document on the group’s website, it states, “We invite Pahranagat Valley residents and all others with an interest in Little Ash to review this proposal. We ask for your support! Here’s how you can help:
1. Sign the petition. Let decision makers know you support this proposal by signing our petition. The petition is at the end of this proposal.
2. Contact leaders directly. Email and/or call government and BLM representatives directly, letting them know you support this proposal. A list of government and BLM representatives is listed at the end of this proposal.
3. Give us your feedback. We welcome your thoughts on this proposal. Feel free to share your ideas using the comment form at the end of this post.
4. Share this with others. Use the share buttons at the end of this post to share this with your friends on social media and through email.”
The website, http://www.friendsofpv.org/little-ash-springs-proposal has a conceptional video by local engineer and 3D artist Sam Lytle as to what the group is proposing as improvements to the long-time popular hot springs.
In addition, the full proposal is also available on the website for review.
If approved, Little Ash would require an entrance fee and be open daily at specific times. Spring/Summer (April-Sept.): 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., Fall/Winter (Oct.-March): 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
No overnight parking, camping or glass containers would be permitted.
Spokesman for the group, Ben Rowley, said the proposal will have no impact on the adjacent Big Ash Springs, which is private property.
In dealing with question of the endangered species of fishes and snails that inhabit Little Ash, Rowley said the proposal calls for a limit to occupancy numbers and swimming/wading only in the man-made pools. “We do not plan to do anything with the configuration of the natural stream and pool and will have bridges and boardwalks over and around for viewing, but not impact the water or any vegetation around it.”
He said the group has talked with representatives from the Nevada Department of Fish and Wildlife and taken their input on what some of the concerns might be regarding the endangered species, and have sought to keep the picnicking areas away from the water “to minimize any impact.”
The entrance fee, he said, would be used, in part, to pay for employees to help manage and maintain the grounds and enforce the rules.
In current talks with the BLM, Rowley said the BLM has not taken a position as to whether they agree with having a private group operate Little Ash or not. “But it is not unprecedented,” he added. “There are other places in the country where BLM does, or has in the past, allowed private operation by a non-profit group, which is what we have applied to be.”
He said since Jan. 4, over 100 people have signed the petition on the Friends website.
Shirley Johnson, assistant field manager for non-renewable resources at the BLM Caliente Field Office, said, “We have been working with them for a while, but we know there are some things, (studies, plans and assessments), we don’t have in place to just be able to reopen Little Ash right away.”
She said BLM is just as concerned as the Friends group that things are done well at Little Ash, “that will not degrade the area and the water quality in the habitat, while still providing a safe place for people to enjoy recreation.”
What Friends of Pahranagat Valley is proposing is only one of what may include several other alternatives to the same site.
Friends has done a good job, Johnson thought, but said, “It would need to meet some criteria and we have already given them feedback on their plans, and some areas that either needed some changes or things that would be too difficult or expensive to include. And we are subject to federal laws regarding water rights and/or if there is sufficient water to make changes.”
She complimented the work Friends has done. “It might be a little more of a reach than we can do, but it is top notch, by local people who live there, understand the situation, and have a well thought out proposal. I think we’ll be able to find some good common ground.”