WARNING! We’ve just learned that the BLM has announced a rate increase proposal which will increase LTVA passes over 300% – 450% to almost $900 per season and a whopping $1800 per year! While this is starting with the Northern LTVAs, you can be assured the Southern LTVAs, like Imperial Dam and Quartzsite, will be next. Make no mistake about it, this comes from the BLM Regional Office in Sacramento which has a new Acting Deputy State Director Danielle K Chi ([email protected], 916-978-4649) who is about to sneak through this LTVA Pass rate increase of 300% – 450%, to almost $900 for a single season, again, that’s $1800 per year!
As just about every single purchaser of an LTVA Pass is a Senior Citizen, there can be no question that this act specifically targets Senior Citizens, which is a violation of both Federal and State Law.
Additionally, we were unable to find the business plan that supports this proposed outrageous increase on the website they reference in their rate increase proposal, which is a specific violation of the Federal Recreation Enhancement Act.
Since the Southern LTVAs currently charge only $180 for their season, for which they make a tidy profit, the logical question to ask is, where is the money for the Northern LTVAs going? We asked several questions in an email to the Field Manager of the Bishop Field Office, Steven L. Nelson. The following is the email we sent to him and is available in its entirety here.
BLM, Bishop Field Office
351 Pacu Lane, Suite 100
Bishop, CA 93514
Subject: Fee Proposal
We currently host communities for the Southern LTVAs and numerous U.S. Forests, which we have found very well managed. We have hosted communities for the Northern LTVAs as well, although they are by far, less used. Currently, we are splitting our website in two and will shortly be announcing 3700 websites for campgrounds managed by the U.S. Forest Service, Army Core of Engineers, BLM and National Parks. Our projections are that they will receive over 1,000,000 visitors per day in season. While we have our own crawlers and will provide all of the normal fluff for campgrounds, we will also be concentrating on how each of the campgrounds are managed in our “Watchdogs” sections. We will be promoting equally, the good and the bad points about the people and campgrounds. For example, the Imperial Dam LTVA is among the best of the best. We have a website up for them right now at http://imperialdam.com. We are also putting up a state-of-the-art website for hosts that allow campgrounds to advertise (free) and hire hosts all online. It makes the current recreation.gov host recruitment website look like what it is, antique.
We ran into stories about the Bishop BLM Field Office at the uswatchdogs.net, obamamuscles.com and bishop-blm.uswatchdogs.net that we found more than alarming. We requested and received the background information regarding these stories from the U.S. Watchdogs and were then even more dismayed.
However, what this correspondence is about is what we found in the document entitled: Notice of Intent to Change Fees in Campgrounds on Public Land in the Bishop Field Office, Inyo and Mono Counties, California that says you are looking for a rate increase, almost tripling fees to your LTVA visitors. We found this almost laughable at first glance, as the LTVA visitors are generally Senior Citizens, and at least at the Southern LTVAs, they pretty much manage the day to day of the campgrounds. Here is another fact, they pay $180 for the same length stay that you currently charge $300 for and yet you want to almost triple that amount to almost $900 for the season. In addition, the Southern LTVAs, at the current $180 for the season, make a ton of money. So what comes to mind when you say why you’re raising your fees based on your costs of hosting Senior Citizens is, “That Dog Don’t Hunt”. Therefore, we wanted to see your business plan. You claim in the above-mentioned document that it is available at your website, but we were unable to locate it.
Herein is an official request for your business plan as required pursuant to the applicable provisions of the Federal Recreation Enhancement Act.
We also have questions, listed below, on what appears as mismanagement of the funds you do receive cited in the document from the U.S. Watchdogs that was originally intended for you personally as the Bishop BLM Field Manager. It was authored by a highly regarded prior U.S. Forest Service associate who stayed at your campground for the season. His statements directly contradict the statements made in your above named document, as many of the enhancements you tout were not as represented in your document, nor were based on any facts we could find. Here are just a few:
1: Did you know that your Recreation Ranger, Becky L Hutto, told her Host, XXXXX, to push down the money in the “Iron Ranger” with a coat hanger when it was overflowing? Apparently, Ms. Hutto was too busy having “Climber’s Coffee” to collect the fees. Did anyone bother to think that people, “short term visitors”, would not be able to pay for their campsites even if they wanted to? Have you calculated the amount of revenues lost in just this one area?
2: In the entire season the author of the document we read never saw even one horse at your new “horse corral”. How much did that cost? Or does a Ranger of the Bishop BLM like to ride?
3: How much was it to install the water system? The pipes are buried only about one foot underground in an area that has freezing temperatures in winter, causing you to have no water available during the winter season as you have to drain the pipes so they won’t freeze and burst. Was the design and installation of the water system under the management of your self-proclaimed “plumber”, Recreation Ranger Becky L. Hutto?
4: You installed a solar system to pump water when you have creeks that run year round. What was the amount you spent on this system that only runs when the sun is out? A hydro-electric, environmentally-approved generator, that would produce free, clean, environmentally-friendly electricity 24 hours per day could have been installed for what we believe would have been a fraction of the cost of the solar system. It looks like the current administration is the only one who made out on that deal after they destroyed the U.S. alternative energy industry, companies instead backing losers like Solyndra, with billions of dollars in their loses reported to be only be 500 million. If that’s accurate, that’s 1.7 billion in “solar shingles” for government agencies. Which leads us to our next question.
5: How much did you pay for the solar panels that adorn the Visitor Center in Bishop that are not hooked up? Is this good management or good publicity?
6: You pay your Hosts just over $500 per month for far more work than most Forest Service Hosts have to do, and they receive almost $900 per month, and for a maximum of 20 hours per week. For example, the Tuttle Creek campground has three large loops and 18 bathrooms and 87 campsites plus a group site, yet you have only one host where most similar campgrounds would have three Hosts and more than likely a few caretakers for the bathrooms. This is the case at Imperial Dam where the Hosts and Caretakers receive far more at their campsites than the desert parking spots you provide. We should thank you as a few of your Hosts do get free water and some, a place to dump. Recently, two of your Hosts, XXXXX and XXXXXXX, quit due to a lack of support by Ranger Chris Mason. Now the once spotless bathrooms at the Tuttle Creek and Goodale Creek campgrounds are filthy and without toilet paper. Was their quitting another example of mismanagement by the Bishop BLM Field Office or the complete incompetence of Ranger Chris Mason?
While we are discovering more and more issues with the Bishop BLM Field Office, it has become very clear that there are many questions that need answering. We have to wonder if you need money for the campgrounds or for more pet projects like the Visitor Area’s solar “shingles”.
We can’t foresee any possible reason that the Northern BLMs needs more money, tripling LTVA passes, while the Southern BLMs, which are far larger and charge only a $180 fee, make a very tidy profit. The Northern BLM’s charge a $300 fee, that you now wish to raise to almost $900. However, compared to the Southern BLMs, you have far less cost for Hosts and no Caretakers, yet you claim costs without facts and claim you need more money. Again we ask, mismanagement or incompetence? It’s time for some accountability and common sense.
We have decided that showing the best and worse of the BLM LTVA campgrounds will be the cover story on all 3700 of the new kampgrounds.net websites and communities on their opening day pages. We want to give you a chance to get us your “Business Plan” and any other information you have to justify the almost tripling of fees on we believe to be totally unsubstantiated facts that the Senior Citizens staying there for the season are costing you more money than the many families and fishermen that also visit.
If you don’t want older folks to stay at your campgrounds, why not just come out and stop the LTVA passes? Or could it be that someone at the BLM may fear them as a voting block? Trust us, they will now be watching.
Additionally, the new Hosts website will include a BBS for them to tell their stories about the campgrounds at which they hosted. You may want to consider that. Also, with the current conditions and support for hosts your Rangers Becky L. Hutto and Chris Mason have shown, we will be rating you, them and your campgrounds with an “F” and putting up a “Hosts Beware” status unless you change your policies and staff. Then again, your Recreation Ranger Becky L. Hutto appears to have a preference, or at least has demonstrated, that she is able to attract hosts from places like San Quentin to fill in the gap.
We will also be covering the history of your Rangers Becky L. Hutto and Chris Mason who we will also be rating in our new “Rangers in Charge” section. I’ll bet you can guess the rating they will be receiving with links to all that has been uncovered in the U.S. Watchdogs’ and Obama Muscles’ investigations. We will additionally be focusing on how you, Steve Nelson, the Bishop BLM Field Manager, has handled what has been uncovered about these Rangers and the Bishop BLM. You see, we believe management does make a difference, and that, as a large portion of our visitors are Senior Citizens, they also believe in accountability and will express that at the polls.
We truly hope you can show a change in policy and direction for your Bishop BLM that we can write about in the same way as we do about the Imperial Dam LTVA. We do wonder if a leopard can change its spots.
The question we are striving to answer, is why visitation to our National campgrounds has dropped an estimated 60% – 80% (we are still researching what appear to be undisclosed or hidden facts on this) from the 1960s while employment of Rangers and other BLM, U.S. Forest, Army Core of Engineers and National Park employees has gone up almost 5 times during that same period. We believe it is purely incompetence and mismanagement by some, not all. And now those responsible for this mismanagement are asking Senior Citizens on fixed income to foot the bill for their incompetence.
Our 3700 websites and our recruiting efforts to send in undercover campers to every one of OUR campgrounds are all underway. We will shine a light on those campgrounds and OUR employees that are the best and worst, publicly without bias, based solely on the facts.
Let’s face it, the dirty laundry is about to be out in the open. Our biggest hope is that we can return all of our campgrounds back to what was originally intended: to the people of this country, rather than what now appears to be the personal fiefdoms of Rangers Becky L. Hutto and Chris Mason.
The facts are: compared to the Southern BLMs who charge $180, you have fewer hosts, pay them less money and have far fewer amenities, yet claim that you need $900 per Senior Citizen LTVA pass. We’ll make sure people know these facts and who is responsible, that’s a promise.
We look forward to your reply.
We will be sending a copy of this email to Danielle Chi, Acting Deputy State Director who signed the fee request and those mentioned herein. We will more than likely be writing a story about Danielle Chi as well as all involved in this fee increase.
We are sending this document to the U.S. Watchdogs requesting that they add it to their bishop-blm.uswatchdogs.net website.
Dated: September 26, 2016
Our only hope is that we all contact Danielle Chi ([email protected], 916-978-4649) with our opposition for these fee increases that only serve to support mismanagement and incompetence by certain personnel at the BLM Field Offices. As our letter shows, we have asked both Danielle Chi and Steven Nelson for their responses.
- Bishop BLM Investigation: “Conspiracy to Influence an Election”
- Bishop Bureau of Land Management Under Investigation
Complaint Support Documents:
U.S. Watchdogs’ Documents:
- 9/8/2016: U.S. Watchdogs’ shocking inquest to: Field Manager Steven L. Nelson.
- 9/12/2016: U.S. Watchdogs’ escalation of complaint to: Field Manager Steven L. Nelson.
- 9/6/2016: Original complaint faxed to Ranger Chris Mason.
- 9/7/2016: Follow-up complaint faxed to Ranger Chris Mason.
- 9/7/2016: First request for Law Enforcement faxed to Ranger Chris Mason.
- 9/7/2016: After no response from Ranger Chris Mason, fax to him to do his job.
- 9/8/2016: Second request for Law Enforcement faxed to Ranger Chris Mason.
- 9/9/2016: Fax to Field Manager Steven L. Nelson, intervention by U.S. Watchdogs.
- 9/12/2016: Fax to Field Manager Steven L. Nelson, notification of time-sensitive legal documents.