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Scotty's Castle road repairs in progress

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Candace_66
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Scotty's Castle road repairs in progress

Post by Candace_66 » Fri May 17, 2019 9:25 pm

A couple days ago, I was in the vicinity of NV Highway 267. This is the road that connects US Highway 95 to Death Valley via Grapevine Canyon, passing by Scotty's Castle along the way. Or, it used to make that connection before it washed out in October 2015.

In the morning I observed several vehicles driving the highway toward DV. There used to be road closure signs on the highway right at the turn-off for Hard Luck Castle. But those signs are gone. So I decided to be nosey and cruised on down the road.

After several miles, I came across vehicles, equipment, and people. There's a headquarters in a modular building next to the highway. While out there, I also saw some 18-wheelers hauling big boulders toward the construction site. I finally came to a "road closed" sign 20+ miles from Highway 95, and turned around there.

Before leaving the area I did talk to one fellow who was working next to the highway. He confirmed they are busy rebuilding the road down through Grapevine Canyon. He asserted they were doing such a great job of it, that it wouldn't wash out again. Not sure if Mother Nature likes that kind of boast (think Titanic). :twisted: But we'll see how it goes. Meanwhile, here are a few pics of the activity above the road closure sign.

ImageP5160110 by Candace66, on Flickr

ImageP5160117 by Candace66, on Flickr

ImageP5160116 by Candace66, on Flickr

ImageP5160112 by Candace66, on Flickr

kwalsh
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Re: Scotty's Castle road repairs in progress

Post by kwalsh » Sat May 18, 2019 6:56 pm

Interesting, thanks for posting! I saw a lot of activity at the southwest end a few weeks ago when I was up around Ubehebe - but of course not clear if they were working on the road or the castle.

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Death Valley Dazed
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Re: Scotty's Castle road repairs in progress

Post by Death Valley Dazed » Mon May 20, 2019 7:42 pm

Thanks for the news and images, Candace! I too share the same caution when challenging Mother Nature.

Those images show some major construction works being set up so I do hope that they take their time and do a great job in the new highway.
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Candace_66
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Re: Scotty's Castle road repairs in progress

Post by Candace_66 » Thu Jun 06, 2019 6:23 pm

Within the last week, I talked to Randy Johnson of Hard Luck Castle. He told me that he had been down to the Construction office along the highway and talked to the people there.

He says they told him their work was supposed to be done in June, but wouldn't be done until July. So does that mean at least the road might be reopened this year?

Everything I've found on the internet still says Scottys Castle isn't expected to open until next year. I sent an email to the Park to see what they have to say.

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MojaveGeek
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Re: Scotty's Castle road repairs in progress

Post by MojaveGeek » Fri Jun 07, 2019 6:09 am

Well as I'm sure you know they are doing a major major preservation / stabilization job at Scotty's so...

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Re: Scotty's Castle road repairs in progress

Post by NPS_Abby_Wines » Fri Jun 07, 2019 2:31 pm

Bonnie Clare Road (the 8-mile road in Grapevine Canyon that passes Scotty's Castle) is indeed under construction. The contract is scheduled to be finished in July.

However, the NPS has determined it is not safe to reopen either the Castle grounds or Bonnie Clare Road until some other major projects are also complete. The park plans to open Bonnie Clare Road and the Castle grounds in October 2020.
Abby Wines (abby_wines@nps.gov)
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TacoLand
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Re: Scotty's Castle road repairs in progress

Post by TacoLand » Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:56 am

NPS_Abby_Wines wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 2:31 pm
Bonnie Clare Road (the 8-mile road in Grapevine Canyon that passes Scotty's Castle) is indeed under construction. The contract is scheduled to be finished in July.

However, the NPS has determined it is not safe to reopen either the Castle grounds or Bonnie Clare Road until some other major projects are also complete. The park plans to open Bonnie Clare Road and the Castle grounds in October 2020.
Thanks for taking the time to post an update with schedule here. Greatly appreciated and looking forward to Bonnie Clare Road reopening next year.

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Re: Scotty's Castle road repairs in progress

Post by JesPortland » Mon Jun 10, 2019 3:47 pm

Abbey, sure with it was this October as I'll be back then!

Curious about what sort of replanting you have done. To be similar to what was there before with the palm trees? Was always nice as a bit of a "oasis".

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Re: Scotty's Castle road repairs in progress

Post by MojaveGeek » Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:40 pm

That's an interesting question, Jes. I think the palms are not native and hence would be removed - like I've seen at the Nevares Cabin and we see with the old line of palms from the DV Inn down the wash gone. But they may be considered to be part of the historic setting of the Castle, which has obviously been deemed worthy of preservation.

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Re: Scotty's Castle road repairs in progress

Post by Candace_66 » Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:00 am

I just logged on to post Abby's email response. Only to see that she has done it herself, LOL! :razz:

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Re: Scotty's Castle road repairs in progress

Post by JesPortland » Wed Jul 24, 2019 3:10 pm

"I think the palms are not native and hence would be removed - like I've seen at the Nevares Cabin and we see with the old line of palms from the DV Inn down the wash gone. But they may be considered to be part of the historic setting of the Castle, which has obviously been deemed worthy of preservation."

Mojave, yes that's what I was thinking. And the palms fit in at the castle with the ranch and Inn. We used to dip in the little ponds that were along 190 across from the ranch in the late sixties and seventies. I'm surprised they haven't brought them back along that east side of 190 as they have been planting so many at the inn and drip irrigating the ranch plans now. Though I do think there are some still there. just not so healthy?

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Re: Scotty's Castle road repairs in progress

Post by Wingman » Sun Jul 28, 2019 9:35 am

I think the newer palms at the Inn were planted somewhat against the Park's wishes. They suck up a lot of water. A few years ago there was an accidental fire that consumed the palm trees at the main spring that supplies the Ranch and facilities in that area. After that fire water flowed for most of the year down the wash all the way to the highway and Ranch and beyond -- for the first time in many years.

Another problem with the palms is that they costantly drop big fronds, and the constant cleanup is expensive and irritating. And they proliferate -- last spring there were over a thousand seelings that had to be removed from wetter areas around the Castle.

So Palms are pretty, and visitors love them, but they are messy, prolific, and a problem for water supplies.

Whatcha gonna do???

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Death Valley Dazed
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Re: Scotty's Castle road repairs in progress

Post by Death Valley Dazed » Wed Jul 31, 2019 11:21 am

Wingman wrote:
Sun Jul 28, 2019 9:35 am
Whatcha gonna do???
Wow, thanks for the scoop on the palm trees as I had no idea what high maintenance they are. I wonder if there are tree species better suited for Death Valley that would be ornamental but not intrusive or destructive?

Maybe the park is better off just to go totally native plants and get rid of the palms, oleanders, and ironwoods?
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Re: Scotty's Castle road repairs in progress

Post by JesPortland » Wed Jul 31, 2019 8:27 pm

I know that there were pretty healthy taller trees at the castle before the flood. Around the picnic table area. During a tour we took a few years ago it appeared the trees were pretty messed up and and damaged. I didn't get any information from the rangers what they would be doing about replanting them. Not palms but whatever was growing there. I hope so. Part of the history and mystique of the place. Can't wait to get back. Always a good tie in with Ubehebe walk.

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Re: Scotty's Castle road repairs in progress

Post by MuleQueen » Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:02 pm

The entire road is being rebuilt - not repaired in the same location, but reconfigured. Once engineers made thorough inspections in preparation for repairs, it was discovered the original road was poorly designed to begin with. It was configured in a way that allowed severe flooding to cause excessive damage, which was what happened in October 2015 after the original road had been repaved at tremendous expense.

So now the road has been redesigned and will not take the exact same route through Grapevine Canyon as before. This is one big reason for the long delay in reopening the Castle complex.

Partial reopening is expected in 2020, in the fall, probably meaning abbreviated tours and public access to parts of the grounds, maybe the Visitor Center opening. Full opening is expected sometime in 2021.

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