call or txt 760 903 3752 or email about this amazing piece of land that is in the ghost town of goffs california. it is at the border of the mojave national preserve that has route 66 frontage.

walk to the restored goffs school house, rebuilt goffs station depot and the rest of the mojave desert heritage & cultural association and all it attractions and events. mdhca

40 acre - (38.9) minus railroad track. see satelite photo.
zoned residential (1 home)
route 66 frontage
asking $45k

may be willing to carry loan with down payment. trades considered?? what do you have?

2 july 2005. saturday. goffsgram. fire-13 by dennis casebier.

  on 30 june 2005 hugh brown, jo ann and i took a long drive up through the burn areas around the providence mountains, mid hills region, round valley, etc. we did not get over to ivanpah valley on the west side of the new yorks so i don't have any firsthand knowledge about that.

  the bottom line is that a disaster has struck the heart of the east mojave in such a way that it will not recover during the lifetime of most people living now. also it appears much of the damage might have been avoided if the right decisions had been made and the proper disposition of fire-fighting resources ordered. finally, in these introductory remarks, i'll toss out a reminder that the fire season has only just begun. some areas - like lanfair valley - are still too green to encourage the fire on level ground. within a month that green will fade and the chances of even more serious conflagrations are likely.

  operations: i wasn't in the command center and i wasn't out on the fire line, so i can't know everything. but i've been out in the field and i've talked with a lot of people. i have gained impressions.

  to begin with, on wednesday 22 june 2005, the day the fires started, jo ann and i went up lanfair road. the fire was raging in the hackberrys. there were quite a few trucks and fire fighters standing around watching. i asked what the game plan was. they said they couldn't drive into wilderness where the fire started so they would wait until it came out of wilderness. also i was told it was their plan to make their stand at lanfair road. i'm understanding that during that first day the word was to let the fire burn itself out in wilderness. instead of burning itself out in wilderness, it came out of the wilderness like a run-away freight train. even then, so far as i can see and determine, there was no major effort to stop the fire. instead resources were devoted to saving structures. and it appears there was a prioritization as to what structures to save some people had preference - especially around round valley.

  the fire that caused so much trouble in round valley came from the western half of gold valley. it roared down the western side of round valley in a short time carrying everything before it, including modern and historic structures. then comes the situation about which a question could be raised. as the fire approached cedar canyon road in at least two major places (one by government holes and rock spring and the other to the west near pinto mountain) it had deceased in intensity. the place to stop it was the natural fire break created by cedar canyon road and the wash adjacent to it. and it can be seen that was accomplished in places, but unfortunately not everywhere. the fire came into cedar canyon road in a narrow hour glass shape, and it left the same way. the result was pinto mountain, the western edge of pinto valley, part of the new york mountains, and some of ivanpah valley burned. with the massive amount of resources brought to bear by this time, and the huge amount of money spent, one wonders why the fire could not have been stopped at cedar canyon road? there are those in the east mojave who believe the effort to actually stop it was half-hearted and the real emphasis was on saving structures. even so, half the structures in round valley were lost.

  a few specifics: the fire burned the historic site at rock spring. it apparently came from the south along the edge of watson wash since the mountains that go south from rock spring are completely burned (including the magnificent pinons). however, apparently on its own, the fire did not get out into watson wash. also it was mostly stopped at cedar canyon road. there were no structures at rock spring to burn except bert smith's rock house and the toilet facility put in there recently by mojave national preserve (mnp) nps. both structures were spared.

  passing over to government holes it can be seen the fire burned the mountains to the south up towards the barnett or patterson mine and also greening mountain directly south. i expect (but did not explore on this occasion) the remaining wooden structures at the barnett mine were burned.

  at government holes we were relieved to see that, while the fire was all around the well site, the old cottonwood trees were spared. the main corrals on the west side of the former watering place (mnp nps has turned the water off - the windmill fan spins recklessly in the wind but pumps no water) were untouched, but the larger enclosure that was around the circular watering trough was burned - in places you can't tell where the fences had been except for the strands of wire on the ground.

  from government holes we cut across round valley to check damage and to access black canyon road on the far side. in the vicinity of government holes and beyond to the southwest there were many stretches of "moonscape." everything was burned. we did, by the way, get to see a historical site near government holes that we had not seen in a long time because of brush. what we saw driving across round valley is that one finger of the fire came down the easterly side of the valley (although not everything on the east side was destroyed) and then there's a finger in the middle of the valley that did not burn. the ancient and venerable providence ranch buildings, owned by irene ausmus, did not burn. neither did the homestead site of ambrose stotts, although areas around both of these places did burn.

  as we approached the west side of round valley we entered the worse burn areas. completely denuded in places - "moonscape" is the best way to describe it. it is noteworthy that the former site of the stotts stamp mill was in the middle of one of the worst burn areas. if we had not purchased the mill from the owner of that private land several years ago and brought it to goffs for reassembly, it would have been completely lost.

  round valley ranch, frank sparks' place, the home of john klink, and others at the sw corner of round valley were completely devastated. this area and a strip north from there laying along both sides of black canyon road was among the worst we saw. it had been pretty heavily covered with trees and sage brush and it must have been an inferno through there. going south along black canyon road we came to pettit's well and our worst fears were verified. the old stick corral there, constructed, as i understand it, by boots and bessie yates probably a hundred years ago, was nothing but a thin layer of ashes. not a stick was left standing - only a ring formed by a pipe that had helped give strength to the juniper sticks.

  across the road we encountered another terrible loss. the homestead site of early round valley resident, gunfighter bob hollimon, was totally devastated. everything that could burn was nothing but the slightest layer of dusty ashes.

  farther north from there was the homesite of long-time friends of the mojave road dick and kathy macpherson, where there was nothing but moonscape. as an example of the ferocity of the fire, they told us they had a stack of 100 railroad ties stored at a certain spot. there was nothing left to show where the stack had been, only a thin layer of powdery ashes that looked the same as everything around it. their home was nothing but a debris field. their lush forest of juniper and pinon is completely gone. as with others, they are now faced with a decision about whether to rebuild in the face of the reality that it'll never be the same in their lifetimes.

  we then reversed our course going south on black canyon road to wild horse canyon road and headed up towards mid hills campground. our hearts sank as we approached. there was devastation everywhere in what had been one of the most beautiful spots in the east mojave and one of only two campgrounds. the entrance to the campground was barricaded so we couldn't get in. we encountered a park service person on the road and were informed that 2/3rds of the campground and many wonderful pinons were destroyed.

  we decided to go on around wild horse canyon road to hole-in-the-wall. this has been considered one of the most wonderful drives in the east mojave (it was a blm backcountry byway at one time), but never again. with trepidation we went as far down macedonia canyon as we could only to discover that it, too, with its ancient pinons, was burned. then back to black canyon road and on around. i am sorry to report that about 90% of the wild horse canyon loop is burned and will not be the same in your lifetime. you can forget about taking your friends to see this beautiful area. a fairly good-sized fire was raging far up the steep slope of the north side of wild horse mesa. it appears that entire area has burned or was burning.

  in summary, the heart of the most beautiful part of the east mojave desert has been burned. and it would seem almost a certainty that this is only the beginning. the areas that have not burned are still fairly green. but with the high temperatures and low humidity we're having now, it won't be long until those even more extensive flatter valley areas are dry as tinder and ready to burn. a lightning strike in the right spot, and with all the fuel because there are no cattle to consume and remove it, it'll go up in an instant and they won't be able to stop it even if they try. that'll take care of the joshua tree forests and much of the dwindling inventory of historical resources.

  meanwhile, in the face of all this, mojave national preserve continues to remove cattle industry infrastructure. we take note that the old corrals adjacent to cedar canyon road where it goes down the long slope towards the uprr have been removed. also corrals and other structures in and around the columbia mine have been removed. we'll never know what the motivation is behind this because it would involve gaining access to the bureaucratic mind, but the level of their determination is apparent. and now they've gotten this boost from mother nature who has shown how effective she can be in destruction of historical and natural resources. can be in destruction of historical and natural resources.

  we were flagged down at one point by a government vehicle, the driver of which thought we were part of his crew. it was a team out there charged with the responsibility of developing a recovery plan in seven days! can you imagine that? the fire isn't out yet and they are working on a recovery plan. and then consider this contradiction: there are statements coming out of national park service to the effect that, except for destruction of private property, there's nothing wrong with this fire since it is an act of mother nature. now, if it is ok for there to be a fire caused by mother nature, then why wouldn't it be ok for mother nature to figure out how to recover from it? it is all a bunch of nonsense and part of the nps spin with which we have become so familiar.

  as to the efficacy of the fire fighting effort, which involved the expenditure of millions of dollars, i'm not impressed. as previously mentioned, jo ann and i talked with fire fighters who were just standing around waiting for the fire to come out of wilderness. they could not drive in wilderness. then when the fire came out of wilderness it was out of control and all they tried to do was protect structures, and success at that (at least in round valley) was marginal. then there's the failure to stop (at least in round valley) was marginal. then there's the failure to stop the fire at cedar canyon road. the fire had slackened in intensity, there were hundreds of fire fighters out there (over 900 at one time according to news accounts) with the proper equipment, yet the fire was allowed to jump this wonderful fire break. then there was the big wash adjacent to the road. there was scattered brush in it, but it could have been cleared with a bulldozer or even backhoes. but, as i understand it, national park service would not allow bulldozers to be used to fight the fire.

  i have not said much about the fire as it moved northward from cedar canyon road. it appears the pinto mountains and the western edge of pinto valley burned. also the western edge of fourth of july canyon. (so far as we know no structures were burned in fourth of july canyon - we specifically visited shell & sandy mcintosch and everything was ok in their neighborhood.) after that the fire went over the new york mountains and down into the eastern and southern part of ivanpah valley. i have not been over there. but that's where the fire ended. since i have received a number of questions about this, i will mention that we did drive by the mouth of carruthers canyon and saw no sign of fire.

  mojave national preserve nps has been quite silent about the fire. there was a news release or two in the beginning and they had some contradictory statements, especially as regards whether the fire was good because it is natural or bad because it ruins the heart of the mojave national preserve for the next few generations. i approached one nps person during the height of the catastrophe and struck up a conversation about it. i expected to hear concerns about the magnitude of the disaster. instead, the person referred to what a thrill (not my word) it was to be involved in something of this magnitude. there were more than 500 fire fighters out there at the time. not a word about the resources. i am thoroughly convinced that concern about natural and historical resources in the mojave national preserve is not high on the priority list.

  i have seen nothing in print attributed to superintendent mary martin, who, as many of you likely know, has suddenly been transferred to a much smaller park unit (lassen national park 100,000 acres versus 1,600,000 in mnp) effective in september. several groups take credit for causing the move.

  much justified finger pointing is encountered with reference to the mnp nps removal of all the cattle (that used to eat the grass). also there is much criticism of subsequent decisions by mnp nps to turn all the waters off that had been used by ranchers for over 100 years.

  by the time we took our trip on 30 june most fire fighters were gone. we saw several detachments of blm and nps individuals driving around in what appeared to be small fire trucks. we didn't see anyone attending the two fires we saw.

  on an earlier trip of observation into lanfair valley, we played a tiny role in support of the fire fighting effort. we discovered a big truck on the desert two-tracker road north of cedar canyon road near rock spring that turned out to be a porta-pottie service truck hunting for former ox ranch headquarters! we got him turned around and down to cedar canyon road and did our best to tell him how to find ox ranch headquarters whereat he would find the bright blue porta-potties to be pumped. this was not easy because he didn't speak english. so, for awhile there, we had a caravan that consisted of casebiers expedition in front with hugh brown and carol mcbride as passengers, a huge porta-pottie pumper in the middle, and chris & leslie ervin in their jeep cherokee bringing up the rear. in spite of the gravity of the situation with which we were surrounded, some wags in our group were able to see a streak of humor in this. actually it might be a harbinger of things to come where we might be required to bring porta potties with us on picnics!

  an aside: it has been reported that long-time friends of the mojave road frank sparks and dick and kathy macpherson lost their complete sets of tales of the mojave road publishing co. books. both have been involved since near the beginning of our movement. dick and kathy came by here and we had occasion to check something in one of the books, so i gave it to them and said i'd give them another book every time they come by.

  i suppose this report is riddled with what mnp nps calls "misinformation." i now know what "misinformation" is. misinformation is anything a person might say that is different than the party line at mnp nps.

  this is a terrible tragedy for the east mojave. it surpasses, even, anything mnp nps has been able to do and they've been working on it over ten years.

  the fire has not threatened us here - yet. having now seen what moonscape looks like, we'll be clearing burro bushes and grass farther and farther back all summer. come out and help if it should fit your schedule. thanks.

  dennis casebier
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