Conversation with Jane Lakeman - DV Curator

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Death Valley Dazed
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Conversation with Jane Lakeman - DV Curator

Post by Death Valley Dazed » Tue Dec 18, 2018 4:05 am

During my last visit to Death Valley the first week of December 2018, I was unable to personally visit with Jane Lakeman but I did have a productive phone call with her upon my return home. My intention was to access archives related to the Corduroy Road and Bridges that cross Salt Creek between the Timbisha Shoshone Village and The Black Water Wash. Here's what I learned from Jane.

She is one of two curators with The National Park System NPS at Death Valley. The other is Gretchen Voeks who leads the Scotty's Castle restoration project. Here's a video of Gretchen's excellent work at the Castle:


Jane is an archeologist by training and has been at DV for several years now. I forgot how many. She works out of the Cow Creek NPS facilities which are generally not open to the public on a walk-in basis but by appointment only.

Jane was not off the hand familiar with the Corduroy Road history but had a general sense of the history of that era. She was willing to look into my request further when time permitted but for now, she directed me to the web for this link: https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_ ... ion3d6.htm

I asked about how digitized the DV NPS collections were and she said that this is one of her current main tasks and employs one or two interns to assist. First, they are trying to just catalog and survey the general collection and once organized will attempt the transfer from analog to digital. Once completed the public should have access at https://npgallery.nps.gov/

This appears to be a huge task and with limited funding and staff. Jane is willing to accept volunteer assistance on the project from qualified folks who can spend several months at it rather than just show up for a day or a week. The NPS will provide an RV pad and hookups but no standard housing because that is so limited at Cow Creek.

The Death Valley Natural History Association is not involved with this curation but is very involved in the Scotty Castle restoration.

Maybe when my knees and legs finally give out I'll be able to help Jane out with her curation but for now, the wanderlust keeps me all outdoors.

If you can help Jane out with the DV Collection, give her a ring at 760-786-3282
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TrailHound
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Re: Conversation with Jane Lakeman - DV Curator

Post by TrailHound » Tue Dec 18, 2018 7:53 am

I didn't know that the park employed curators, but it makes sense. Thank you for the information.

I am curious about gaining entrance to Cow Creek.
the Cow Creek NPS facilities which are generally not open to the public on a walk-in basis but by appointment only.
If you wanted to climb Nevares Peak, starting at the end of Cow Creek Road is much shorter than hiking in from Highway 190. I understand that this is a residential area for park employees. Their privacy must be respected. Also, there is a shooting range at the end of the road. We made an attempt on Nevares Peak once, but stopped short of the summit due to running out of time. (We're slow. :sad: )

I wonder what you would need to do to make an appointment to drive to the end of the road? Any ideas?

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Death Valley Dazed
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Re: Conversation with Jane Lakeman - DV Curator

Post by Death Valley Dazed » Tue Dec 18, 2018 6:27 pm

TrailHound wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 7:53 am
I wonder what you would need to do to make an appointment to drive to the end of the road? Any ideas?
I spoke with a park ranger about hiking Nevares Peak from Cow Creek. He explained that this is not possible for two reasons. 1. Cow Creek is for NPS staff only. 2. Nevares spring is the water source for Cow Creek and is off limits to all foot and vehicle traffic to prevent contamination. (I can't remember if he said it was fenced off or just signage marking the borders.)

I still plan on a Nevares Peak summit but from the north or south face, not the west face where Cow Creek and Nevares Spring are off limits.
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MojaveGeek
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Re: Conversation with Jane Lakeman - DV Curator

Post by MojaveGeek » Mon Dec 24, 2018 8:21 pm

Years ago I walked in the road from Cow Creek and hung out at the Nevares cabin for a while. I'd read (in Diconett) that you had to walk in from 190, but when I mentioned that at the VC the ranger behind the desk said we could park at that upper gate on the Cow Creek road if they were not using the shooting range. He then phoned someone and told us they were not using the range, no problem. So we walked in. The cabin and springs were nice. Then they started shooting anyway :) Well we just hung out there until they seemed done and walked back to the car.

But that was about 14 years ago so who knows. I suspect there's no solid rules and one person will say one thing and another person will say another. But I don't really want to disturb the park staff in their residential area. Of course if you walk that road from the gate you drive through the residential area but then are beyond it for the duration of your walk.

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Death Valley Dazed
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Re: Conversation with Jane Lakeman - DV Curator

Post by Death Valley Dazed » Tue Dec 25, 2018 6:14 am

MojaveGeek wrote:
Mon Dec 24, 2018 8:21 pm
... if you walk that road from the gate you drive through the residential area but then are beyond it for the duration of your walk.
Don't tell anyone but the staff there have a lovely swimming pool the same size as the Furnace Creek Ranch one, but it's not heated by a warm spring. That's OK in the summer but not in the winter! :laughing:
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JesPortland
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Re: Conversation with Jane Lakeman - DV Curator

Post by JesPortland » Tue Dec 25, 2018 9:22 pm

Why are they shooting? What purpose? I have met the two police rangers this past late October because there were issues at Texas Springs with weekenders. Maybe they are keeping up with their skills?

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Candace_66
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Re: Conversation with Jane Lakeman - DV Curator

Post by Candace_66 » Wed Dec 26, 2018 4:28 pm

It's normal for law enforcement personnel to routinely practice. They're likely required to demonstrate proficiency at scheduled times, once a year or whatever.

For an idea of some of the crime that occurs on NPS lands, you can scroll down the Park Service Investigative Services Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/InvestigativeServicesNPS/

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MojaveGeek
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Re: Conversation with Jane Lakeman - DV Curator

Post by MojaveGeek » Wed Dec 26, 2018 7:47 pm

Yes, as Candace says, standard protocol for law enforcement rangers I'm sure. Frankly if someone is going to carry a gun, I'd rather they had good aim than not. And when I was up there, it was all hand guns that I heard going off.

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