For the past few years, Furnace Creek, a unique perennial stream on the backside of the White Mountains near Dyer has garnered a lot of attention. Prior to 2004, a little-used off-road vehicle route caused disproportionate damage as it cut through a lush riparian desert stream, and, at higher elevations, facilitated proliferation deep into the White Mountains. Friends of the Inyo has been involved in preserving the Furnace Creek habitat and, most recently, worked with many partners to generate a formal protest to the Bureau of Land Management’s Environmental Assessment, which proposed rebuilding the washed-out road. The public comment period ended this past summer, and on January 29 the Bureau of Land Management announced it is withdrawing its Environmental Assessment!
What’s next? The BLM will likely reintroduce another Environmental Assessment, but it’s hard to believe that, after withdrawing this one, the next would include such expensive and unnecessary road reconstruction. In the meantime, we hope those federal dollars can go to where they are more needed.