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RR Infrastructure Improvements
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By matthysj
From Las Vegas, Nevada
Mar 11, 2014

Here is a link to the article in the RJ...
Of particular interest is the item about opening up a portion of the loop to two-way traffic. www.reviewjournal.com/view/summerlin/red-rock-scenic-drive-s>>>


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By John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Mar 11, 2014

That's great to hear. I remember when they did the big traffic study on the loop a couple years ago- if i recall correctly, the big push was for there to be either a return loop or two-way traffic from the entrance to Sandstone Quarry. If that actually happened, those who enjoy the Calico Hills would be overjoyed at not having to drive an extra 10 miles just to get out of the park.


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By Darren in Vegas
From Las Vegas, NV
Mar 12, 2014
Skiing around.

I am going to keep a list of everyone who thinks this is a good idea, and remind them of this when they gripe about the road construction...
:)


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By matthysj
From Las Vegas, Nevada
Mar 12, 2014

Sounds like road construction (maintenance and repairs) is going to happen regardless of additional widening for two-way travel between Sandstone and the entrance.


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By John Hegyes
From Las Vegas, NV
Mar 23, 2014
South of Windy Peak

This is a terrible idea. The BLM continues to do work that entices more and more people to visit Red Rock, yet they invest little to nothing in actually protecting the land from overuse. The BLM runs the operation like a quick and dirty money-making scam at the cost of destroying the best of the Mojave Desert. How about they put some work on trail maintenance and signage instead of encouraging the increase in vehicular traffic? Simple improvements like clean, environmentally friendly toilets at all of the trailheads would go a long way, too. Instead of mercilessly patrolling the road for speed violations in the endless 25 mph zones, how about the rangers get out of their offices and actually patrol the trails?

The BLM is a blight on the land and should not be in the BUSINESS of managing a Conservation Area. Looking at what they do elsewhere in the widespread desert lands, it's obvious that they see Red Rock in the only way they know how: a cash cow to be exploited no matter the cost. Red Rock is industrialized tourism through and through. Much like the rest of the desert that BLM grazes, mines, sells off for tract homes or covers with a tangle of power lines, solar panels and wind turbines.

Honestly, I think the best improvement to Red Rock at this point would be to remove the gates and visitor center and to restore the loop road to dirt. Or even obliterate the loop road all together. Sure, it'd be a longer approach to most of the climbs but we'd all finally get what we've long sought in Red Rock - peace and quiet.


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By NickinCO
From colorado
Mar 23, 2014
after the hard stuff, into cruiser hands.

John Hegyes wrote:
This is a terrible idea. The BLM continues to do work that entices more and more people to visit Red Rock, yet they invest little to nothing in actually protecting the land from overuse. The BLM runs the operation like a quick and dirty money-making scam at the cost of destroying the best of the Mojave Desert. How about they put some work on trail maintenance and signage instead of encouraging the increase in vehicular traffic? Simple improvements like clean, environmentally friendly toilets at all of the trailheads would go a long way, too. Instead of mercilessly patrolling the road for speed violations in the endless 25 mph zones, how about the rangers get out of their offices and actually patrol the trails? The BLM is a blight on the land and should not be in the BUSINESS of managing a Conservation Area. Looking at what they do elsewhere in the widespread desert lands, it's obvious that they see Red Rock in the only way they know how: a cash cow to be exploited no matter the cost. Red Rock is industrialized tourism through and through. Much like the rest of the desert that BLM grazes, mines, sells off for tract homes or covers with a tangle of power lines, solar panels and wind turbines. Honestly, I think the best improvement to Red Rock at this point would be to remove the gates and visitor center and to restore the loop road to dirt. Or even obliterate the loop road all together. Sure, it'd be a longer approach to most of the climbs but we'd all finally get what we've long sought in Red Rock - peace and quiet.


Agreed!!!

A few years ago Larry was posting about trying to have trails put in and didn't the BLM want to do a multi-year study and bring in anasazi and plant life experts to see what these trails would effect? Like there isn't 50 different climber trails to each area already...


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By John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Mar 23, 2014

John Hegyes wrote:
This is a terrible idea. The BLM continues to do work that entices more and more people to visit Red Rock, yet they invest little to nothing in actually protecting the land from overuse. The BLM runs the operation like a quick and dirty money-making scam at the cost of destroying the best of the Mojave Desert.


First, the BLM isnt doing anything to entice anyone to come to Red Rock- the fact that Red Rock is spitting distance from the suburbs of Las Vegas takes care of that. As do the two giant climbing guidebooks (among others) that have come out recently.

Second, the BLM doesn't make any money on Red Rock. Just the opposite- it is woefully underfunded (which is why you never see rangers in the area, or very rarely). I would guess that visitor tolls from the loop road are the smallest chunk of income the NV BLM office has. The last few years, the BLM's budget for Red Rock has decreased with each budget. I believe they are more than 20% down from previous years.

I do agree that the BLM shouldn't be running the park- the NPS would be a much better agency to manage Red Rock- they're the department that is experienced in handling recreational visitors, not the BLM.

That said, it's NEVER going to go back to a peaceful, quiet area. Those days are long gone. More people are coming to visit, it's just a matter of how we handle them. Infrastructure improvements, imho, are a good way to help mitigate the damage currently being done by too many cars without a place to park.

A two-way road back from Sandstone would likely cut the traffic on the back half of the loop by 75% or more, creating a more peaceful environment for a huge chunk of the park.

Also, having a good working knowledge of how the BLM actually operates will help you understand why they do things a certain way. Creating new trails (or even acknowledging climbers trails) takes (at the least) an EA, but probably an EIS- something that is a huge time and resource sap. I do agree, though, that more signage and more rangers out on the trail educating visitors would go a long way in preserving the front country of Red Rock. Thankfully, the back country is still in decent shape.


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By Jacob Koffler
From Las Vegas
Mar 23, 2014

I couldn't agree more with John.


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By Jon O'Brien
From Nevada
Mar 24, 2014

I'd love to see a two-way road from the exit to willow springs. i'd take pine creek or icebox happily as well. or just make the whole thing two way and add a bike lane.


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By John Hegyes
From Las Vegas, NV
Mar 24, 2014
South of Windy Peak

John Wilder wrote:
First, the BLM isnt doing anything to entice anyone to come to Red Rock- the fact that Red Rock is spitting distance from the suburbs of Las Vegas takes care of that.
You fail to see the big picture, John Wilder. All the crappy housing developments on the outskirts of the Las Vegas Valley used to be open desert, owned by the BLM. That was all auctioned off to developers during the housing boom and after the crash we were left with an oversupply of homes in the valley that nobody wants. All of our housing prices plummeted - incurring some of the biggest losses in the country, losses that probably will never be recovered from. Yes, the crash was nationwide, but it was made much worse in Las Vegas by the wrongheaded, corrupt policies of the BLM. Thanks to them, the population boomed in the valley, negatively impacting surrounding lands and here we are now arguing about how to save what little we have left from the crowds that the BLM brought here. And the auctions are still continuing to this very day. You want to tell me that we need to build more homes in this valley at this time? The BLM should be investigated more closely for being in bed with land developers. And don't get me started ranting about what has happened with all the displaced tortoises - I'll just say that Mojave Max is the BLM's biggest disgrace of all.

Other issues I have with the plan to "improve infrastructure" is that it seems to be completely automobile-based. It is a sad fact is that most people enjoy Red Rock solely from the vantage point of the inside of their vehicles. What I hate most about the partial two-way plan is that we'll probably have a single lane in both directions, both clogged with car-tourists crawling at 5 mph. I'm sure people like me will be frowned upon when they try and pass the slow-goers by crossing in to the on-coming lane.

As Iíve said before, my preference for a loop road upgrade is simple and cheap. Take the existing road and stripe it down the middle creating two lanes in the same direction, allowing slow traffic on the right, passing traffic on the left. It's ridiculous that the road has been in it's current state for so long. Who builds a road approximately 1.9 vehicles wide with no striping? Some people currently drive in the middle... some on the sides... some wander side to side... the loop road is a circus.

Striping the road for two lanes could likely be done without expanding the width of the road much at all. I guarantee that the BLMís two-way plan would result in more impact on the land with a much wider road than what I am suggesting. And your assertion that if a two-way road were built up to the Quarry lot then traffic on the canyons-side will be greatly diminished is bunk as your suggestion doesn't encompass the high point lot which seems to be a major destination.

I find it unbelievable that the BLM can work on widening the loop road to facilitate a two-way traffic on a fast-track plan and yet it takes 10 years to get any sort of wilderness bolting plan out of them. They canít even get a bathroom constructed at the first pullout or the high point. They just focus on bringing more people here and donít do anything about the crowdís impact on the land. The way the trails get braided and the land gets trampled by all these people represents the total mismanagement of these lands.


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By John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Mar 24, 2014

I'll say this much, John- I very much see the big picture, especially having grown up in Las Vegas in the residential home construction industry. I'm just pragmatic about what is actually a possibility instead of dreaming about something that simply will not happen.

And I'll remind you that I agree with the sentiment of most of your points, but it doesn't do much good to lament about the past- instead focusing on the future seems to me to be a better way to go.

Finally, if I recall correctly from the traffic study we did years ago, the BLM plans on building a return road separate from the loop road (yes, yes, I am aware of the devastation in the desert and I'm not thrilled about it) as they are loathe to stripe the loop road due to safety concerns. (and, in case you're wondering, the reason the loop road is not currently striped is because it is too narrow in 3 or 4 spots to be considered 2 lanes).

and thats my last word on this issue. i'm happy about it, Mr Hegyes is not. to each their own.


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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Mar 24, 2014

Would be nice to have two-way on the loop, but then again, that will mean no passing the slow pokes either.

For a place that is "underfunded" they sure did spend a shitload of money building a new visitor center about 5 years ago. (Yes, I understand it was a separate appropriation from the operating budget, still it's all coming from the Fed discretionary budget)


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By smassey
From CO
Mar 25, 2014

A few clarifying points worth noting in this philosophical disagreement... The Visitor Center was SNPLMA dollars, which Mr. Hegyes so eloquently describes the problems with... This is not a Congressional appropriation, this is obtained by selling off the desert. Appropriations account for a miniscule portion of RRCNCA's operating budget, so far as I can tell from my reading of the business plan that is posted on their website. Most of the operating budget comes from amenity fees, such as the entrance fee to the loop road, which is authorized by FLREA, the Recreation Enhancement Act. FLREA is also the authorization to keep that $$ in RR.
According to county regs, the road is not wide enough to be two lanes currently. At least that's what the Transpo Survey folks were saying... Oh yeah, just re-read Wilder's statement to that effect.

Maybe we can just wait 15 years, and when the water runs out, this will all resolve itself...


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By sonvclimbing
From bolder city
Mar 25, 2014
cowboy over tower

I vote to keep it the way it is. I love passing people on the loop road-they get all pissed off and it makes me smile.

flooded road swept your car away? You should have read the sign.

Signs, signs everywhere there is signs blocking up the scenery wastin my time, do this don't do that. (not sure what to do because there isn't a siiigggn).

the pavement is fine keep on patchin.

A new well for the visitor center-sure.

Shade for vehicles? na.

bus transportation Mr. George McDonald? GTFOH

edit: $ saved 38 million

There is no where to park Dorothy. Maybe next time.

I strongly suggest the campground consults an electrical engineer.


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By Zappatista
Mar 26, 2014
Book me, officer.

John Wilder wrote:
having grown up in Las Vegas in the construction industries.


Is this hyperbole? It sounds like hyperbole.


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By Whippin
From Bend, OR
Mar 26, 2014

There's also a short article in the Vertical Times (Access Fund's newsletter thingie) about RR access. Of note: "The BLM is considering how to expand current parking, but we are also working with them to reestablish a parking area just outside the gates where climbers can meet and carpool."


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By Zappatista
Mar 26, 2014
Book me, officer.

We should consult someone with years of experience in the construction industries for this project.


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