Nearly five years after closing the popular Little Ash Springs Recreation Site to the public, the Bureau of Land Management seems no closer to reopening the springs than it was in 2013.
Local residents have long called for more local control of the well-known swimming hole and picnic spot 100 miles north of Las Vegas on U.S. 93, a popular spot for the many commercial truckers and seasonal snowbirds who travel along the highway.
An editorial published in the Las Vegas Review-Journal in mid-December, alleges the Bureau of Land Management “should stop the foot dragging and get on with the business of reopening Ash Springs.”
On July 6, 2013, the BLM, on whose land the spring is located, closed the recreation site after a ranger noticed that a brick wall supporting one side of the pool had deliberately been broken down, draining the waist-deep pool, making it a concern for public safety.
The area was fenced in and a heavy lock and chain put on the front gate.
At the time, after announcing the closure, then BLM Caliente Field Office manager Victoria Barr said, “it could take weeks at this point to conclude the repairs.”
Investigative reporter Henry Brean notes in another RJ article that he was recently told by Shirley Johnson at the Caliente BLM office that a draft environmental assessment is nearly finished, but there is still no timetable to reopening the site.
The BLM claims new delays have developed involving construction of a new access road to Ash Springs that would cut across private property. Permission the BLM doesn’t have, it claims.
It’s property owned by Cody Whipple of Pahranagat Valley who has said in published reports that he does want to see Ash Springs opened as soon as possible and “has never objected or said anything negative to the BLM” about the road construction.
The editorial goes on to say “everything hinges on the BLM. And at this point the agency’s commitment to reopening Ash Springs appears to be lukewarm at best.”
The article chides the BLM over the road construction question, stating, “It took 20 years to build the Great Pyramid. The BLM can’t deal with Ash Springs in five?”