[sac-board] Re: Cherry Rd & NASP

  • From: "Gene A. Lucas" <geneluca@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: sac-board@xxxxxxxxxxxxx,"\"Lucas, Gene\" work" <gene.lucas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 31 May 2003 14:45:41 -0700

Seems Gary Frey must have a different e-mail address now than
mindspring. my message was returned as undeliverable, so don't post to
him at that e-mail.  Sorry.

My basic feeling is that this issue needs to be aired out with the
Prescott Astronomy Club folks, including Gary Frey.  I hope SAC doesn't
lose use of the Cherry Rd. site over this flap.

FYI, I have not attended any of the NASP affairs, mainly due to adverse
comments about various "restrictions" -- centering on apparently not
being able to "tailgate" and set up next to your vehicle, which is a
non-starter for me, period.  This year, it started off with that issue
and also a planned "fee" for use of property which SAC had cultivated
for years. Then of course, was added the conflict over the date which
was the same as for the Mormon Mountain event, which had already been
set and advertised by the Coconino group for months before on their

Gene Lucas

"Gene A. Lucas" wrote:
> I would bet "my hat" that the rancher has paid for cattle grazing
> permits on the "BLM Land" Cherry Rd. and is fully entitled -- legally --
> to set the rules, especially if he has paid to fence the property and
> maintain the gates.  That's the "code of the West" -- if the gate is
> CLOSED, LEAVE IT CLOSED.  The purpose is to control the cattle.  Even if
> there is someone tending the gate, a few minutes mis-attention could
> have serious consequences.
> Mr. Frey is originally from Michigan.  Up there, when you are say, deer
> hunting, you obey whatever posted permits the farmers or landowners
> impose -- under penalty of law -- before trespassing.  But that is all
> "private property".  Here in Arizona, commercial ranchers pay permit
> fees to be able to use and control sections of public land.  The
> proceeds come back to the state education system -- governed the Federal
> laws that set up Arizona as a state.  The BLM lands are permitted by and
> large for the use of the ranchers, NOT for the public.  The BLM lands in
> that area are definitely NOT "a campsite".  (Never mind the seasonal
> rules imposed regarding fires during the dry season!)
> The cattle do not have to know what section of land they are on, by the
> way.  Interfering with the cattle can get you in serious trouble, and I
> would not initiate an argument with those guys "wearing hats" -- you are
> going to turn out to be the loser. The ranchers know what sections of
> land they control, and are not going to argue or discuss the issue with
> outsiders.  However, like many landowners back in the midwest and other
> parts of the country, they are typically not opposed to outsiders making
> gentle use of the property, so long as the activities do not interfere
> with their legitimate commercial use (like running and controlling
> cattle).  It's the "golden" rule -- the ranchers pay the fees -- they
> set the rules!
> In this instance, Mr. Frey could find himself looking down the barrel(s)
> of some pretty long guns while "discussing" the issue.  It is NOT about
> who wears a hat!  The County Sheriffs up there are NOT to going to argue
> the point, but will likely take the side of the cattle ranchers, and
> order everybody off the property.  This could definitely be embarrassing
> for anybody wanting to use the property on a longer-term basis.  A
> mistake on the part of ANY amateur astronomer is going to reflect upon
> the whole community.
> I think the SAC folks have it right, esp. since our people have actually
> talked to the rancher and have an agreement about proper use of the
> property and control of the gates.  (And SAC talked to the rancher
> FIRST).  The cattle rancher could just as easily decide to shut off
> access to ALL outside users, rather than worry about it -- which is
> entirely within his legal rights as a permit holder.
> Being arrogant about the issue is not going to solve anything.  Why not
> listen and learn.  This is not gaining PAC or NASP any "friends".  I
> don't think you can continue to base an annual event on arrogance or
> mistaken ideas. Cooperation and better communication is apparently
> lacking, and this does not seem to be getting better, year over year.
> I think a public explanation might be in order.
> Gene Lucas
> (Arizona since 1970)
> Thad Robosson wrote:
> >
> > Hey All,
> >
> > Yes, here's the jist of that situation...We drove by Cherry Rd to see how
> > crowded NASP was going to be so Chuck and I would have a possible
> > alternative to MMSS.  First thing we noted was the gate was wedged wide
> > open.  We pulled over to mention this to who I assume was Gary Frey.  He was
> > pretty insistant that he had the situation under control and that the gate
> > would be OK left open.  We mentioned the incident in which Jack Jones was
> > "lectured by men in cowboy hats" to which Gary replied,  "I've got a cowboy
> > hat too, I'll put it on and discuss it if the rancher comes by."  or
> > something similar to that.  He was insistent that it was BLM land, and it
> > was a campsite, and that it was out of the rancher's hands, despite our
> > protests that it was the rancher's cattle, even if it was BLM land.  Our
> > parting statement was to the effect that we hoped that we wouldn't come up
> > next month to find a padlock on the gate.  I felt that Chuck and I handled
> > it politely, and while Gary wasn't hostile, he certainly wasn't cooperative
> > what so ever, in fact, you might even call him indignant about the whole
> > thing.
> >
> > My concern is this....we need to let PAC know that this was inappropriate
> > given that Jennifer let Marilyn know that this was a specific issue with SAC
> > and the rancher.  They KNEW that in advance, and yet it was unheeded.  What
> > should our course of action be in this regard?  A terse letter to PAC?
> > Contact the rancher directly?  Can we and the rancher agree to lock the gate
> > and only us/him have the key?  Contact our congressperson?  Midnite raid on
> > PAC headquarters?
> >
> > While there are other sites than Cherry up north, I really, really don't
> > want to lose this one, and we need to make it clear that the gate has to
> > stay closed at all times, no matter what event or which club is there.
> >
> > Thad

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