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SimOpenSpace

Grab your bear can or camp chair, kick your feet up and chew the fat about anything Sierra Nevada related that doesn't quite fit in any of the other forums. Within reason, (and the HST rules and guidelines) this is also an anything goes forum. Tell stories, discuss wilderness issues, music, or whatever else the High Sierra stirs up in your mind.
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SimOpenSpace

Postby gdurkee » Fri Feb 18, 2011 7:50 pm

This board often gets lively discussions on how to manage open space. Everyone seems to like using recreational areas (e.g. USFS, National Parks, county parks BLM etc) but the hue and cry over specifics of management are often quite something:

Fish & frogs
No visitors in some new Sequoia Kings Caves
restricting human users in certain bighorn sheep areas
no dogs in NPS areas
etc. ...

So reading the latest post on the meeting in Plumas County I'm thinking, well, OK, how would you run it?

So how about a SimOpenSpace game? Not sure where this would go or even how to go about it but how about this:
For Sale: 1200 square miles of solitude! Rich old coot seeking to sell his private Sierra ranch that starts at 3,000 feet near Swamp Creek east of Fresno and extends all the way over the Sierra Nevada to Lone Pine. This land has been in his family for generations and he's kept trespassers off with a shotgun, except for his fellow rich people who want to fish or hunt. He's selling it to the highest bidder. Developers and strip miners welcome!

Our story: In a last ditch effort to keep Consolidated Greed Heads & Strip Miners from buying it, the scruffy but plucky gang at High Sierra Topix gathers every single aluminum can from the highways of California and earns enough to buy it! Yay. We've saved it!! Now we're in charge.

Oh. We have to pay taxes on it to keep it. We also have to obey all state and federal laws and court decisions. (Editor's note: I did think about setting this back 100 years or so but that would add another layer of complication I thought best to avoid.. But if anyone wants to go that route, I'm not against it...).

Now what?


Maybe some things to think about:

Who gets to use it?
Do we charge?
build trails?
Just leave it alone and not touch anything?
Subdivide and sell lots in scenic places?
Let anyone do whatever they want as long as they pay an entry fee?
Turn it over to the dreaded guvment 'cause we don't want to pay taxes or can't come up with a way to get enough money?
Can people chop down trees? Hunt? Fish? Live there??
Protect from forest fires?
Can we introduce non-native species 'cause they're cute, taste good, are good hunting?

Etc.

Just throwing this out there to try to get people thinking about specifics of what goes into managing (or not managing!) a large chunk of land.

Feel free to fine tune. Might be too weird but it would be interesting to see where it goes.

However, I'll set myself up (along with anyone else who wants to join in) to point out any consequences or the downstream effects of any proposed uses.

George



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Re: SimOpenSpace

Postby rlown » Fri Feb 18, 2011 9:48 pm

Wow.. neat idea.

Well, if you still have to play by all the state/fed regs, the first thing we're going to need is a huge team of lawyers to fight all the lawsuits from either CBD, State and Federal gov'ts. Cans alone won't pay for that team, so if there's gold on the property (given we have geologists on the HST), we better open a gold mine first. ;)

The only other way to avoid the lawsuits is to secede from the US and make this it's own principality. :eek:

Your proposed location seems to cut right through SEKI, but i'll roll with that as we progress.

We will need to build some sort of a retirement condo complex for retired rangers, with paved trails for their golf carts and walkers though, somewhere with a nice view. :wink:
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Re: SimOpenSpace

Postby BrianF » Sat Feb 19, 2011 11:20 am

I'll have to look at the map. If we turn anything over to the Forest or Park Service for management, I like the Nature Conservancy system of doing that - retain water and mineral rights so as to have a "veto" on any plans.
If Whitney is part of that - keep the lottery system but charge admission, that will provide operating capital! It's a sacrifice area already with far too many visitors and they would still come if it cost $.
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Re: SimOpenSpace

Postby LMBSGV » Sat Feb 19, 2011 9:08 pm

Hand it over to the National Park Service, declaring the entire area a National Park, governed by Park rules, with two stipulations.

1. No new roads should be constructed.

2. Any area more than one mile from an existing road is designated wilderness.

While I have many complaints about many details of how the NPS has managed the land it’s been entrusted with, as far as I’m concerned, overall the NPS has done a good job in its role as steward of our most beautiful public lands.
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Re: SimOpenSpace

Postby rlown » Sat Feb 19, 2011 10:37 pm

I don't think the spirit of the exercise is to just throw it to the NPS, although that was an option. Yes, they do a great job, but we really have no say in how they run it. As an "owner", you give up all rights to how the property is run at that point.

Totally agree with the "no new roads" point.
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Re: SimOpenSpace

Postby gdurkee » Sun Feb 20, 2011 10:34 am

We will need to build some sort of a retirement condo complex for retired rangers, with paved trails for their golf carts and walkers though, somewhere with a nice view


For an aging b/c ranger force, we really need to get those pesky rocks out of the way so they don't trip up my walker... .

Russ is right, we could just turn it over to NPS or Nature Conservancy -- both would be good in the sense that they have a preservationist management style -- but that does kinda sidesteps the basic question of how, specifically, to manage something.

So far:

No new roads.

Wilderness beyond 1 mile of a road end.

Hmmm. Can't decide on Whitney. OK! For a Gedankenexperiment, we'll have Whitney and charge for it. How much? As many per day as want to go?

Even a gold mine, though maybe not seriously proposed but why not? Homestake mining has made a huge offer to do an open pit. It'll cover our taxes for 10 years and hire about 30 people from the local community. However, I read a secret memo that they plan to pull out in 4 years 'cause that's all the gold that's there, leaving us with a big open pit of rock. But we'll get some money out of it. (I'm basing this one on what happened in Sonora about 15 years ago -- they left after 3 or 4 years and we've got a big hole in the ground).

Sounds like the tendency so far is towards preservation. How many people do we allow and where can they go?

If we allow users, how should they behave? Where can they go?


g.
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Re: SimOpenSpace

Postby rlown » Sun Feb 20, 2011 11:26 am

gdurkee wrote:Even a gold mine, though maybe not seriously proposed but why not? Homestake mining has made a huge offer to do an open pit. It'll cover our taxes for 10 years and hire about 30 people from the local community. However, I read a secret memo that they plan to pull out in 4 years 'cause that's all the gold that's there, leaving us with a big open pit of rock. But we'll get some money out of it. (I'm basing this one on what happened in Sonora about 15 years ago -- they left after 3 or 4 years and we've got a big hole in the ground).
g.


Doesn't have to be a pit mine. Could just make them tunnel and follow the veins. Less income but doesn't leave a visible nasty scar.

I'd say no trails, other than near the ranger retirement home.

There should also be a balance of habitat. I'd guess 35% of us fish, so i would want fish in SS capable lakes. I would identify those areas/basins or linked basins that would help out the frogs and let them try and make a come-back in those areas.. That'll be hard given the up slope blow-in of pesticides and Bd. We might need more gold for a team of biologists.

As for fire mgmt. If it strikes and not human caused, let it burn.

Hunting.. hmm.. As i do hunt, i'd lean that way, but only IF the biologists warrant it due to overstock. With no roads in the area, that limits what an ethical hunter can do, and there isn't really anything in that area to hunt.

Edit: oh, forgot: reintroduce Grizz.. Either that or take it off our flag. That would be way more interesting than a frog.
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Re: SimOpenSpace

Postby markskor » Sun Feb 20, 2011 11:56 am

Being pragmatic here...whatever the rules - majority decides:
Guns allowed?
Size of equestrian pack trips allowed?
Group size?
Any fishing regulations? Stocking schedules?
Wilderness permits required? Quotas? Pre-registrations?
Bear Cans?
Fires where - at what elevation?
No camping areas needed?
Toilets or wag bags in heavy use areas?
Allowing for something akin to the HSCs...
Permit Offices - when open...staff?
Allow some private enterprise at trailheads (Portal)?
SAR?
Trash - clean up?
Trail maintenance?

Who is going to enforce them? Who or how decides the penalties for breaking such restrictions? What statutes?
Sounds like a can o' worms.

All that being said, I would probably gladly pay for the continued privilege of backpacking - maybe $20 per head per trip if I knew all the money was all being spent/returned back into our system.

Interesting topic to contemplate.
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Re: SimOpenSpace

Postby rlown » Sun Feb 20, 2011 12:29 pm

Nice post Mark, Here's my answer:

markskor wrote:Being pragmatic here...whatever the rules - majority decides:
Guns allowed? Yes, if Grizz is reintroduced
Size of equestrian pack trips allowed? No trails, so maybe llamas only
Group size? 5
Any fishing regulations? Stocking schedules? State regs, unless we secede. I dont want to be tied up in CBD lawsuits.
Wilderness permits required? Quotas? Pre-registrations?Yes, 15 per day, go anywhere 40 dollars per entry
Bear Cans? Yes, Again about Grizz and bear safety
Fires at what elevation? Same as existing
No camping areas needed? two, one on each side, 25$/night
Toilets or wag bags in heavy use areas? fly the portapotties in by helo. (gonna need more gold). Require wag bags.
Allowing for something akin to the HSCs... no HSC's
Permit Offices - when open...staff? I'd guess that if this is HST own'ed, the Mods should run that here. :evil:
Allow some private enterprise at trailheads (Portal)? If they turn a profit for us, then yes
SAR? It's a flat out wilderness. you enter at your own risk.
Trash - clean up? oldranger :evil:
Trail maintenance? no trails

Who is going to enforce them? Who or how decides the penalties for breaking such restrictions? What statutes? HST enforces them.. after all, we collected the cans
Sounds like a can o' worms.

All that being said, I would probably gladly pay for the continued privilege of backpacking - maybe $20 per head per trip if I knew all the money was all being spent/returned back into our system.

Interesting topic to contemplate.
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Re: SimOpenSpace

Postby dave54 » Sun Feb 20, 2011 2:28 pm

There was an old Macintosh game along the same idea at one time. I do not know if it still exists.

The premise of the game was you are the ruler of an island nation. You have complete control how to manage the resources of the nation. The key was if you kept it all wilderness and allowed no development at all the people became impoverished and you had no revenue to fund your government. If you fully developed your resources you had lots of money and the people were happy, but you risked over exploiting the resources until they ran out and you had a massive environmental degradation. The trick was to find the balance and maintain it.

There are a number of simulation models currently in use by various agencies -- Forplan, ECOS, Sysplan, SUPPOSE, et al. Each has its own strengths and limitations (sorry, no fancy animation graphics. Outputs tend to be graphs and charts and pages of numbers). I used Sysplan for my grad work and I could not find a realistic scenario or long term management strategy where old growth was maintained at a minimum of 30% total forested area.
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Re: SimOpenSpace

Postby rlown » Sun Feb 20, 2011 4:06 pm

so, Dave.. you're not a simulation. put forth your ideas. most of this is above treeline.
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Re: SimOpenSpace

Postby sirlight » Sun Feb 20, 2011 8:02 pm

Mining? You don’t need to go to that extreme to pay the taxes. Has anyone seen the size of that Crystal Geyser plant off 395? You should be able to make more than enough off spring water to cover the taxes.
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