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proper explorations

Who to tell if a place is a abandoned

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No tresspassing signs are a good clue. The site might be totally collapsed but if there are readable signs than it is likely the property is owned.

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1 hour ago, David A. Wright said:

No tresspassing signs are a good clue. The site might be totally collapsed but if there are readable signs than it is likely the property is owned.

That's the main indicator I use.  If in doubt, you can locate the property with the county recorder/assessor and check ownership when back at 'base camp'. 

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On 3/12/2018 at 2:19 PM, braindead0 said:

That's the main indicator I use.  If in doubt, you can locate the property with the county recorder/assessor and check ownership when back at 'base camp'. 

Most of my explores are in the desert so I've found something that comes in handy is topo maps they give info on if places are still used and the locations of mines etc

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One problem I have been reading more and more about is people who post no trespassing signs and put up gates on public land. It's especially a problem in Southern California where drug manufacturers attempt to claim a chunk of public land as their own so they can make their meth. I have also been seeing a lot of "private road" signs posted in areas my hunting maps show as solid BLM land. Just check mylandmatters.org for land status because there are a lot of abandoned places on public land you can explore. BLM should put out a mapping system like the hunting maps, but I hear the hunting maps get that data from the BLM. It can be confusing, but I assess every place individually by what I see and hear at the locations. 

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3 hours ago, Bob said:

One problem I have been reading more and more about is people who post no trespassing signs and put up gates on public land. It's especially a problem in Southern California where drug manufacturers attempt to claim a chunk of public land as their own so they can make their meth. I have also been seeing a lot of "private road" signs posted in areas my hunting maps show as solid BLM land. Just check mylandmatters.org for land status because there are a lot of abandoned places on public land you can explore. BLM should put out a mapping system like the hunting maps, but I hear the hunting maps get that data from the BLM. It can be confusing, but I assess every place individually by what I see and hear at the locations. 

I've ran into no tresspassing sighs on BLM land a few times I use OnX hunt maps to check if property is BLM which most of the time it is but people still put up sighs it's really annoying. Where I live I think it's more of people think it's there property but it's not

On 3/12/2018 at 12:38 PM, David A. Wright said:

No tresspassing signs are a good clue. The site might be totally collapsed but if there are readable signs than it is likely the property is owned.

I've been to a few places where there's no tresspassing sighs but I've never seen any new ones. The sighs I run into are usually shot up and unreadable so I just ignore those signs but if there's a new looking sigh then that's a different story

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Up around Winnemucca Ranch this last year they installed new chain link fences, locked gates and no trespassing signs pretty much all along the road.  However I'm pretty sure the locked gates are blocking access to BLM land which I think is expressly forbidden.  I may go up there this coming year, map out the fences..take pictures, etc..  pass info along to BLM maybe they'll remedy the situation.

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I just ran into this situation yesterday, someone put up a hand written "private road" sign that was in solid BLM land, according to my hunting GPS map. I also checked the local county online GIS records, and sure enough, the land is solid BLM. I went passed the sign and drove up the road and see more "Private Property" signs on public land, again both hunting maps and county GIS records show to be solid BLM. I will definitely be passing this information off to BLM even though I have a love / hate for the BLM (mostly hate). The road is also labeled as a residential road. I think these people are pure scum, they think they can take over Public land without paying for it. That's worse than a simple trespass in my opinion. The people who do this make it harder on legitimate private land owners who do post their private land to keep people off. 

I find it amusing how so many people don't understand trespass. Some think it's simply going onto private property. 

I noticed something else interesting, Southern Nevada BLM seems to be managed much differently than Northern Nevada. They seem to be much more strict down here, doesn't feel as free as it does in Northern Nevada when exploring BLM. Signs, signs, everywhere a sign down here on this "public land". 

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And I have a feeling that BLM will not bother either due to lack of resources, or simply not caring.  

I wonder if we could figure out a safe way to try and handle these situations.  Perhaps some stickers we can place on signs such as these explaining that you cannot block a right of way or otherwise interfere with access to BLM lands (or other private lands for that matter).  Use that to put them 'on notice', give them 30 days to fix the issue next time show up with enough maps/references to prove your point and a pair of bolt cutters?

This of course has a high risk of conflict... IF anyone is there.  I have a feeling that these asshats know what they are doing is illegal, however nobody will likely call them on it.

This could be an excuse to have an Explore Forum 'rally'..  get a bunch of us together for a weekend of camping and opening up illegally closed areas..  A party with a purpose?

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On 3/17/2018 at 11:34 PM, proper explorations said:

Most of my explores are in the desert so I've found something that comes in handy is topo maps they give info on if places are still used and the locations of mines etc

Those are a good start.  There are tons of places not on the topo maps, though.  It's better to get older state maps and then use something like Google Earth or Cal Topo to do a semi-transparent overlay.  That's how I managed to find one poorly documented ghost town recently.  Haven't been there yet, but I used GE to verify that I was looking at the right place.  My friend, Drunk Mike, and I do the photo recon analyst schtick and come up with some interesting finds now and then. 

In terms of parties, I'm always up for that.  I've been looking for an excuse to buy a cordless 5" angle grinder, too.  Sure, bolt cutters work too - but power tools and sparks and shit spinning at 30k RPMs!!  With the newer push over 4277 roads in the last 10 years, I've noticed that more and more roads are getting closed off because they don't appear to meet 4277 criteria.  So land owners/users just assume they can close the road and block access.  Deeds, easements, etc. mean nothing to most of these simpletons. 

Of course some roads are legitimately private, and I'll respect that, to the point of seeking permission from the landowner.  I do get impatient though when the only thing I want is to pass over so I can get to a landlocked parcel, and I am unable to get any reply from the owner.  I won't cut locks, but I will definitely park and walk if it comes to that. 

 

 

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I saw a sign today that said smile by the time you read this your picture has been sent to a remote location (what like the place I was at already) any attempt to tamper with the camera will result in prosecution or something along those lines. Oddly the sign said nothing about private property or trespassing and there was no camera to be seen. 

When it comes to legitimate signs and fences they also have to be maintained to a reasonable level. A likely no trespass sign that has a couple shells of buck shot though and rust stains streaming down from the holes is not a maintained sign anymore. Nor is a barbed wire fence that is so old all the wires are now only a few inches off the ground. If somebody still cared they would be in better shape. There is plenty of dead and abandoned private land out there. I know of some parcels land locked into wilderness areas. Those types of places are perfectly fine to go to. 

Then there are times where I think an abandoned private place has been taken over by some sketchy squatter. Just recently I've seen some really suspect stuff in the Mojave.  There was a group of older beat homes and there appeared to be occupants at all of them. One of them seemed legitimate, they had solar panels, a little garden etc, cars. One farther down was a group of beat to ever living hell trailers that you would not want to live in and a little tow trailer with two decent and obviously used recently bicycles... in the mojave??? Then farther down there was a guy with a kind of dumpy RV that looked like he set up shop at some old house and had a couple beat cars there. He came out and went right back in when I drove up he didn't seem like he was supposed to be there either. Maybe it is their place, who knows, I mean what kind of person would opt to live in the barren creosote bush oven 30 miles away from a gas station anyways. But it makes you wonder how often people will squat at abandoned or hardly used places that are not theirs.  

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On 5/17/2018 at 6:58 PM, SteveHazard said:

I saw a sign today that said smile by the time you read this your picture has been sent to a remote location (what like the place I was at already) any attempt to tamper with the camera will result in prosecution or something along those lines. Oddly the sign said nothing about private property or trespassing and there was no camera to be seen. 

When it comes to legitimate signs and fences they also have to be maintained to a reasonable level. A likely no trespass sign that has a couple shells of buck shot though and rust stains streaming down from the holes is not a maintained sign anymore. Nor is a barbed wire fence that is so old all the wires are now only a few inches off the ground. If somebody still cared they would be in better shape. There is plenty of dead and abandoned private land out there. I know of some parcels land locked into wilderness areas. Those types of places are perfectly fine to go to. 

Then there are times where I think an abandoned private place has been taken over by some sketchy squatter. Just recently I've seen some really suspect stuff in the Mojave.  There was a group of older beat homes and there appeared to be occupants at all of them. One of them seemed legitimate, they had solar panels, a little garden etc, cars. One farther down was a group of beat to ever living hell trailers that you would not want to live in and a little tow trailer with two decent and obviously used recently bicycles... in the mojave??? Then farther down there was a guy with a kind of dumpy RV that looked like he set up shop at some old house and had a couple beat cars there. He came out and went right back in when I drove up he didn't seem like he was supposed to be there either. Maybe it is their place, who knows, I mean what kind of person would opt to live in the barren creosote bush oven 30 miles away from a gas station anyways. But it makes you wonder how often people will squat at abandoned or hardly used places that are not theirs.  

In another life I was an eligibility worker for people getting welfare. I was stationed in the Mojave, CA, office so I got to know lots of desert dwellers. For the most part, they are decent people but a bit weird. Most lived in older, rented homes. But some lived wherever they felt like living. You think some of the abandoned places you visit are falling apart? That was nothing compared to what some of these people lived in! Plywood shacks held together with bailing wire & spit! Or an old literally falling apart trailer. Or they took over an abandoned mining or whatever shack. They had no running water or electricity or sewage. They didn't have to live in such conditions, they chose too. I am drawn to the desert myself but I'd never want to live in a shack! Desert Dwellers are a different breed!

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My grandfather worked for CalTrans for 40+ years as a heavy equipment operator.  He was pretty much 'unleashed' on the desert with a grader, keeping the shoulders nice.. fixing washouts..etc.  Him and grandma ended up in all sorts of places in the desert, Bridgeport, Panamint Springs, Mojave, Barstow, Yucca Valley.  My grandmother has nothing much to do but be a haus frau and she'd explore the desert in their old Scout meeting all sorts of random people.  They'd take each one of us kids for a 2 week stint over summer, sometimes both my brother and I but usually just one of us.  We'd each get the full benefit of my grandmother exploring nature. 

I remember meeting this artist living in a tiny trailer in the middle of the desert somewhere, he was a sculpter working in marble..hand tools only, no power.  I remember when I met him he had a piece he was working on, it was very abstract/swoopy lines. impressively smooth about 2' tall.   He asked what I thought it was, I said it's an eagle of course.. he seemed pleased that I could recognize it..  Odd fellow, which I knew who we was.....  I recall a fun tour of an onyx mine, and meeting a guy working at some satellite/radio military outpost.. he gave me a poster of a blacked out XB70 doing a night takeoff.. for all I know my grandma got me into area 51

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The Onyx mine in Panamint Valley? It was still in operation when I first moved to Trona. I interviewed the owners, a man and his wife who had minor success in Hollywood. The place closed down around 1990. I stopped by around 2000 and all was gone except cement foundations.

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14 minutes ago, David A. Wright said:

The Onyx mine in Panamint Valley? It was still in operation when I first moved to Trona. I interviewed the owners, a man and his wife who had minor success in Hollywood. The place closed down around 1990. I stopped by around 2000 and all was gone except cement foundations.

That would likely have been it.  I would have been very young at the time, I thought the tour included a mine cart ride of some sort however I could be remembering incorrectly. I do recall my grandmother bought me an carved onyx donkey..  Around the same time (maybe same trip) I remember a pizza joint in Trona that would put anything you wanted on a pizza, I ordered peanut butter and banana or something similarly weird.  And the smell of course, you got used to it.  The water at the Panamint Springs cal-trans station came from a local spring, tasted of sulfur....got used to that in a few days too.  Good times ;-)

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I used to have a brochure from the mine, which told the story. I moved to Trona in 1987. I found this on the website of a friend of mine.

Onyx Mine

North of Trona, California, on the eastern slopes of the Argus Range overlooking Panamint Valley, are onyx deposits in the earth. This material is a form of quartz, and is distinguished by its colorful bands of white, browns, reds, and tans. When cut with a fine saw, onyx makes a gorgeous conversation piece. In times gone by, visitors used to be able to drive out to the Panamint Valley Onyx Mine and collect their own for a small fee. The mine saw its original development in 1957 by Hollywood actress Delia Marlo, a successful movie star. Delia’s father was a full blood Cherokee, worked as a geologist, and taught her as a child to read the mountains like most folks would read a book.

She discovered several tons of beautiful onyx in the Argus Range, west of Telescope Peak. In 1958, famous opera singer John Fletcher joined Delia in working the onyx mine, and two years later they married. They built a factory on the site to further their business interests, which included a large wire saw capable of handling fifty tons of Onyx at a time, two large grinding and polishing tables, a 12-foot long diamond saw, and a showroom for interested people. Buildings included living, jewelry shack, and a trailer park for living quarters of personnel. Rock hounds from all over the country would visit the mine, tour buses would bring tourists, and folks could even spend the night at the onyx campground on site.

The operation was about 216 miles northwest of Las Vegas, by way of Death Valley, so the National Monument also benefited from the influx of visitors. Highway 178 brought California rock hounds to the area, where they then drove the famous Remi Nadeau freight route for a few miles of dirt travel. This business continued into the 1970s. Today, all the structures have been removed by the Canyon Resources Corporation, which is the owner of the Briggs Gold Mine in the Panamint Mountains across the valley. It was part of a U.S. Bureau of Land Management agreement where the corporation would return area’s old mining operations back to nature, allowing the desert to reclaim the land.

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You wouldn't happen to recall a couple who lived in a mobile home at what was pretty much a junkyard.  Most notable feature of the place was near the entrance to the property was the remnants of a jail cell.. I think it was basically a stone room with steel bars.  I mostly remember digging through the junk, and saying "can I have this" a lot ;-)

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That could be it... I do remember Trona being the place to go for groceries and stuff...... good odds we visited all manner of interesting peeps there ;-)

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