A temporary closure continues to be in effect on public lands at the Ash Springs Recreational Site, administered by the Bureau of Land Management Ely District, Caliente Field Office.

However, a public review and comment period on a preliminary environmental assessment for managing the Little Ash site concluded on Aug. 20, with the information and comments gathered now being compiled.

The assessment plan seeks to determine the type and level of recreational uses suitable for the site, while at the same time protecting the White River springfish and three other sensitive Nevada species the BLM has identified: the Pahranagat naucorid bug, the grated tryonia, and the Pahranagat pebblesnail.

At the Aug. 20 meeting of the Lincoln County Regional Development Authority in Caliente, a motion was passed to support two of the BLM’s five alternative plans. Members sent a letter to the BLM stating their support of Alternatives 1 and 3, along with the stipulation that there needs to be on-site management. Both alternatives allow continued water recreation use.

Jeff Fontaine, LCRDA’s executive director, noted the purpose of developing a new management plan for Little Ash is “to identify opportunities to protect public safety and to respond to demands of the recreational experience while protecting the springs’ water quality.”

The five BLM alternatives for the Little Ash Recreational Site include:

1. A proposal by the Friends of Pahranagat group to make

improvements to the site to be more recreation oriented.

2. A land-based recreation and habitat conservation alternative that would permit only non-swimming recreation.

3. A number of recreation-oriented improvements to the existing infrastructure at the site for both terrestrial and aquatic recreation.

4. Close the Little Ash site permanently to public use.

5. Take no action, but keep the site closed indefinitely.

A decision on the comments received is expected by the BLM around October.