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Author Topic: Many Death Valley campgrounds opening delayed indefinitely  (Read 684 times)

UTTransplant

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Many Death Valley campgrounds opening delayed indefinitely
« on: October 20, 2017, 06:32:14 PM »
A few days ago I received an announcement from the Death Valley 49ers that Sunset Campground, the big gravel parking lot with room for hundreds of units, will not be opening on time this year. Due to an HR reading from executive NPS staff, their seasonal hiring plans were thrown out and must be restarted. At this point, Sunset will be open on noon Friday, November 3 until noon on Monday, November 13th because the park has a MOA with the 49ers for their encampment. Texas Spring and Mesquite campgrounds won't open at all until the hiring situation is resolved. The NPS campgrounds at Furnace Creek and Stovepipe are open because they are considered required for safety and health issues. I don't know about the concessionaire campgrounds at either location, but I assume they are open. This really is a big deal. This is in addition to the headaches resulting from the concessionaire tearing down and rebuilding pretty much all of the Furnace Creek area. Much of that area (now know as The Oasis at Death Valley) is closed. Before anyone heads to DVNP his season, be sure to check the park's website for updated information.
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Lou Schneider

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Re: Many Death Valley campgrounds opening delayed indefinitely
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2017, 03:57:37 AM »
I took a day trip to Furnace Creek a couple of weekends ago for a presentation at the Visitors Center about the progress on repairing and reopening Scotty's Castle.  The reopening has been pushed back to 2020 because of the scope of the damage and the available funding.  All of the park's discretionary funding is going into the repairs.

From what I heard, the problem with opening the campgrounds has to do with getting the seasonal janitorial staff hired.  Without them, there's no one available to clean and maintain the restrooms.

Getting back to Furnace Creek, things are really a mess there.  The hotel is open, but the main building that housed the General Store, the hotel lobby and restaurant is mostly torn down, the main entry to the property is fenced off and everything between the highway and the start of the hotel rooms looks like a battle zone.  The only access is along the north edge of the property next to the gas station. The hotel registration desk has been moved into a metal shed next to the maintenance shop.  There's exactly one restaurant open, next to the golf course.  And the pro shop is now the General Store.

Furnace Creek Inn is also closed through the first half of 2018 for a major renovation and the addition of 22 casitas. It's fenced off and it's parking lot is being used as a staging area for the construction.

Here's an article in the LA Times about the renovations. The timeline for reopening the Inn and completing construction at the Furnace Creek Ranch has been pushed back since the June 2017 publication date:

So Long, Furnace Creek Resort. A $50 Million Renovation Brings A New Name

Furnace Creek Campground is open, but the hookup spots are being used by the construction workers.

Mesquite Campground in the north end of Death Valley remains closed indefinitely, it was impacted by the same flood that damaged Scotty's Castle.

I have pictures, but they're in Pahrump and I won't be back there until mid week.  This might be a good year to give the 49er encampment a pass.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2017, 04:45:43 AM by Lou Schneider »

Sun2Retire

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Re: Many Death Valley campgrounds opening delayed indefinitely
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2017, 07:19:41 AM »
The reopening has been pushed back to 2020 because of the scope of the damage and the available funding. 


Mesquite Campground in the north end of Death Valley remains closed indefinitely,


Bummer. Had been planning a return trip to DV in 2019 to see Scotty’s Castle which had just closed when we were there. Had just pushed it to 2020 after reading the opening was delayed to 2019 (which is still what the park web site says). Now sounds like 2021 is a better target.


Plus I was planning on camping at Mesquite; first I’d heard about that closure.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2017, 09:37:25 AM by Sun2Retire »
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UTTransplant

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Re: Many Death Valley campgrounds opening delayed indefinitely
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2017, 08:33:31 AM »
Lou, thanks for the in-person update. I have been wondering about the general store. We will be there the entire time Sunset is open for the 49ers Encampment, and I will need bread, milk, and some fresh produce at least. It is a long drive to Pahrump! I will have to go there at least one day for laundry, but I hoped to pick up some basic groceries at the store. Do you know if it has groceries still or is it just tourist stuff?

As for giving the Encampment a pass, there will still be the music, the living history presentations, and the general beautiful place that is Death Valley. We are definitely still going, but we are also planning ahead.
Pam and Kevin plus Minou and Lily (the cats) plus Lexi (the grand-dog)
2014 Outdoors RV Timber Ridge 240RKS
2015 Ram 2500 Diesel
http://toobusyforwork.com

UTTransplant

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Re: Many Death Valley campgrounds opening delayed indefinitely
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2017, 09:39:38 AM »
Update from NPS last night.

Sunset Campground will be staying open after 13 November for the season. Texas Springs Campground is opening for the season on Monday, 13 November. Staff starts then.
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ArdraF

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Re: Many Death Valley campgrounds opening delayed indefinitely
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2017, 05:31:17 PM »
I also just saw an update on Scotty's Castle.  The flood damage from a couple of years ago won't be fixed until about 2020.  Meantime they're apparently giving some outdoors tours and let people look inside the castle but no entry.  Tour reservations required.

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Lou Schneider

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Re: Many Death Valley campgrounds opening delayed indefinitely
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2017, 07:29:53 PM »
Good news about the campgrounds remaining open for the season!  When I was there a few weeks ago that was not at all certain.

Walking tours of the Scotty's Castle flood recovery work will be offered twice each Saturday, 9:30 AM and 1:00 PM, limited to 13 people per group.  $25 per person, from December 3 to April 14.   I have a reservation for Saturday December 3.

From what I saw a couple of weeks ago, the Castle has been stripped bare for mold mitigation, sealing of rodent entry holes and a complete electrical and plumbing do-over.  The 90 year old electrical wiring didn't meet present day codes, the plumbing system sprang numerous leaks when they ran a temporary line from the spring and re-pressurized it.  They're also putting on a new roof, guess what ... it leaked too.  On the good side, the swimming pool was filled for the first time ever. 

All of the interior furnishing, rugs, curtains, etc. are in storage in a warehouse somewhere in L.A.

https://dvnha.org/news/183-scotty-s-castle-flood-recovery-tours
« Last Edit: November 09, 2017, 08:22:29 PM by Lou Schneider »

ArdraF

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Re: Many Death Valley campgrounds opening delayed indefinitely
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2017, 06:54:12 PM »
Thanks, Lou.  Wow, that's quite a repair but probably long overdue.  It's amazing how a disaster like the flood prompts things to get updated so it hopefully will be good for another 90 years!

Boy, I sure hope their soft goods people take good care of those old leathers and fabrics.  We had some really strange things happen, such as a drawstring disappearing from the waist of Jerry's pajamas and the elastic waistbands in my dresses being stretched or heated so much they hung around my hips.  Our drapes also don't hang as well as they did because of some shrinkage.  I recall on the castle tour the guide commented about the importance of their drapes in preserving the interior so they need some real experts take care of them lest they end up in shreds..

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SeilerBird

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Re: Many Death Valley campgrounds opening delayed indefinitely
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2017, 07:18:16 PM »
"On the good side, the swimming pool was filled for the first time ever."

That would be bizarre to see. Every time I have been there the swimming pool looked like a skateboard park. :o
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