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Death Valley Suspends sporting events

Postby kd6swa » Sat Dec 21, 2013 8:03 am

My goodness...what next!
Death Valley National Park’s “moratorium” on permits for sporting events within the park.
The National Park Service said it is implementing the suspension to allow staff to evaluate the events and safety concerns, due to extreme conditions in the nation’s largest national park.

73
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Re: Death Valley Suspends sporting events

Postby maverick » Sat Dec 21, 2013 5:15 pm

HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Death Valley Suspends sporting events

Postby Shawn » Sun Dec 22, 2013 12:00 am

This is one of the most absurd abuses of government power I've seen in a long time.

The text below was copied from this source:
http://www.adventurecorps.com/who/histo ... cial-49575


Official AdventureCORPS Statement Regarding the 2014 Ban on Athletic Events Within Death Valley National Park (12-20-13)

As it stands now, there will be NO sporting events of any kind held within Death Valley National Park in 2014. That includes the five events we host there (CORPScamp Death Valley; Death Valley Century, Ultra Century, and Double Century - Spring and Fall editions; Furnace Creek 508; and Badwater 135 Ultramarathon), as well as other cycling and running events held under "special event permits" within our National Park.

Before you read further, please be assured that three of those events - CORPScamp, Badwater, and The 508 - WILL BE HELD in 2014 on alternate routes. Details below.

This dramatic turn of events is a result of the position being taken by Death Valley National Park (DVNP), as per their website:
Effective immediately Death Valley National Park will temporarily discontinue issuance of running and bicycling event permits. Future event permits will not be considered until a thorough safety evaluation of this type of activity has been completed.

This statement on the DVNP website was the only "notification" made to us regarding this dramatic turn of events. We received no direct communication of any kind that events would not be allowed within DVNP in 2014.

This "safety review" is not being undertaken as a result of any serious incident or accident within the Park. It is not being undertaken as a result of any significant number of complaints. It is being undertaken purely under the prerogative of a few DVNP employees, most notably the Park Superintendent, Kathleen Billings, who assumed leadership of the Park in March of 2013.

Besides the immediate impact to our, and other, events held annually within Death Valley National Park, this development is particularly unsettling for several reasons, including:

- It is unprecedented to place a one-year ban on existing sporting events within a National Park without any specific incident, accident, or complaint triggering such a drastic move. It is our contention that the events should be allowed to continue while the "safety review" unfolds.

- During a recent meeting with DVNP staff, they stated "other Parks are watching us" and "we might be setting a national precedent." Even a one-year ban on events is NOT a precedent that anybody who enjoys cycling or running events within National Parks would support. There are successful and popular cycling and running events held within National Parks across America; they could all be in jeopardy now.

- This "safety review" process is essentially open-ended. DVNP staff stated that they hope to complete their analysis by the end of the March, except they "all have full-time jobs even without dealing with events and reviewing them." After the analysis is complete, they intend to "send it up the chain" to the regional office in San Francisco, and then likely from there it would be transmitted to the national office in Washington, DC. Their best prediction is that the results and recommendations of this review would not be finalized until the end of September, 2014. As the Furnace Creek Ranch will not honor our special rooming blocks for our events under such a circumstance, this review effectively rules out any events happening in 2014 since we can not host events for which there is nowhere to stay.

- The final result of this "safety review" is completely unclear. It could be the case that the DVNP staff will determine that sporting events are not "an appropriate Park use" and thus the one-year ban could become a permanent ban. Other National Parks could then use the Death Valley precedent to ban events in Parks across the country. Alternatively, while the ban may not become permanent, the "safety review" could result in onerous, expensive, and perhaps effectively impossible or untenable additional requirements placed upon all would-be event organizers in Death Valley and elsewhere. Besides, Federal guidelines approved and mandated by the NPS already exist to govern and regulate both cycling events and running events held within National Parks. Why reinvent the wheel?

The history of these extremely safe and well-run events is the most accurate predictor of their safety, their relevance to the National Park Service purpose and mission, and their appropriateness for this particular Park:

- AdventureCORPS and Chris Kostman have hosted 89 events since 1990 under DVNP special event permits without ever being refused a permit by DVNP, the Department of Transportation, or Inyo County. There have been no deaths, no car crashes, no citations issued, and only a few evacuations by ambulance after literally millions of miles covered on foot or by bike by event participants.

- These events are an incredible economic boon to Inyo County, a remote county of 10,000 square miles with just 18,000 residents which is heavily dependent upon tourism dollars. AdventureCORPS brings more overnight guests to Furnace Creek than any other organization: Approximately 1,000 athletes and an additional 1,000 support crew members, event staff, volunteers, family, and friends come to Death Valley each year because of AdventureCORPS events. For the vast majority, it was only because of the draw of well-run AdventureCORPS events that they even first ventured to the Park. Now a high percentage of the participants join these events every year without fail.

- A survey of 2012 Badwater 135 Ultramarathon runners revealed that each runner and their support crew spend a combined average of $9379 to participate in the race and about 20% make additional trips to the Death Valley / Lone Pine region each year, for a total of over $1 million dollars in annual economic impact from just this one event. Nearly half of that money is spent in the region. The Inyo County Supervisors and Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce are extremely concerned about the economic impact of even a one-year ban on sporting events. Hotels, restaurants, gas stations, gift shops, and other businesses will be directly impacted. A wider view of the ban would indicate a negative impact on car rentals, airlines, and service providers to the events such as Liberty Ambulance in Ridgecrest, Subway in Pahrump, radio and satellite phone rental providers, t-shirt screeners, bicycle jersey manufacturers, buckle and medal manufacturers, and more. The ripple effect will be enormous and reverberate across the country.

- A survey of 2012 and 2013 Badwater 135 Ultramarathon runners demonstrated they raised, remarkably, over $665,000 for charitable causes in association with their participation in the 2012 and/or 2013 Badwater races. A ban on events will hit the bottom line of Challenged Athletes Foundation, Death Valley Natural History Association, Special Operations Warrior Foundation, MS Society, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and scores of other charitable organizations which are supported by participants in these events.

- Participants in Death Valley sporting events become tireless Park Advocates because of their intimate experience of, and appreciation for, this dramatic landscape and American treasure. They tell their friends about the Park, post widely on the Internet about their experience, support the Death Valley Natural History Association, and become regular visitors. In a time of dwindling government funding for the National Park Service, our athletes are exactly the kind of people that the NPS desperately needs spending money within the Parks and extolling their critical importance to their neighbors and their House Representatives, Senators, and other government officials. Why slam the door on the best people the Parks have in their court?

For a very detailed history of AdventureCORPS events held within Death Valley National Park, along with their economic, philanthropic, and publicity impact, and much more, visit the top of this current page.

We do not claim any "right" to host these events; we acknowledge freely that it is a privilege to host special events within a National Park. We also do not deny the need for a legitimate "safety review" of the events and their potential for impact upon other Park visitors. In fact, we have proposed numerous mitigation efforts which will help ensure that the long-standing impeccable safety record of all AdventureCORPS events remains intact and is further enhanced.

Our primary concern is two-fold: first, the economic impact and associated loss of unique Death Valley National Park experiences in 2014 due to the moratorium on the events is devastating to local businesses and athletes alike; secondly, there is the high potential that this "safety review" could result in onerous, expensive, and perhaps effectively impossible or untenable additional requirements placed upon all would-be event organizers.

If you feel strongly about this matter and wish to have your voice heard, we encourage you to direct your letters via US Postal Service to the following:

Senator Diane Feinstein
331 Hart Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Senator Barbara Boxer
112 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Representative Col. Paul Cook (Ret.)
8th Congressional District
1222 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Sally Jewell
Secretary of the Interior
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington DC 20240

Even if you do not live in California, please do not hesitate to write to the California Senators and Congressman; this state's economy is largely built upon tourism and thus all our elected officials appreciate the hard-earned dollars spent here by AdventureCORPS athletes from across the continent and around the world.
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Re: Death Valley Suspends sporting events

Postby RoguePhotonic » Sun Dec 22, 2013 1:24 pm

They are only hurting themselves. I don't believe Death Valley is pulling the revenue that most other parks do. Primarily because by the most part you do not have to pay to go. I can think if only one booth along the roads and that is near Scotty's Castle. The only time I have ever paid for a trip there and I certainly have taken plenty is when that booth was open. We actually ran out of gas once and had to get some family to wire us money because that booth took our last 20 dollars!

In any case sporting events means people, news coverage and more money for the park.
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Re: Death Valley Suspends sporting events

Postby KathyW » Sun Dec 22, 2013 10:45 pm

Shawn wrote:This is one of the most absurd abuses of government power I've seen in a long time.



This is an absurd abuse of government power, and it seems to be a trend lately when it comes to our public lands.
Last edited by KathyW on Fri Dec 27, 2013 7:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Death Valley Suspends sporting events

Postby oldranger » Mon Dec 23, 2013 9:04 am

My theories based on 27 years with Federal land management agencies.

1. Part of what I identified as the "no fun rule" back in the mid nineties. I was on a team that was developing a management plan for the Upper Deschutes Wild and Scenic River. The team was in favor of restricting commercial use to those focused on an "educational experience." While not having a vote I did point out that the team did seemed to be "anti fun."

2. There is a tendency of newly a promoted manager to institute changes in policy. By doing this they can cite their "accomplishments" when applying for their next promotion. This, of course, whether the change was needed or whether it actually improved anything. It is always preferable to make changes in something that can't be measured. So in this case the manager can say "I reduced the risk of injury from competitions in a hostile environment" when there has never been a serious incident.

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Re: Death Valley Suspends sporting events

Postby Vaca Russ » Mon Dec 23, 2013 2:56 pm

Shawn wrote:- These events are an incredible economic boon to Inyo County, a remote county of 10,000 square miles with just 18,000 residents which is heavily dependent upon tourism dollars.

- A survey of 2012 Badwater 135 Ultramarathon runners revealed that each runner and their support crew spend a combined average of $9379 to participate in the race and about 20% make additional trips to the Death Valley / Lone Pine region each year, for a total of over $1 million dollars in annual economic impact from just this one event. Nearly half of that money is spent in the region. The Inyo County Supervisors and Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce are extremely concerned about the economic impact of even a one-year ban on sporting events.

:( :( :(

The people of Inyo should be fuming over this govenment blunder.

Bob (Kd6swa), thanks for posting this information.

Thanks,

-Russ
” Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports … all others are games.”- Ernest Hemingway
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Re: Death Valley Suspends sporting events

Postby maverick » Mon Dec 23, 2013 3:14 pm

VR wrote:
The people of Inyo should be fuming over this government blunder.


They should be since this will impact them financially, but will they? :\
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