Bureau of Land Management

Close-up of Larry Vredenburgh
Larry Vredenburgh outside the Bakersfield Field Office
Larry Vredenburgh

Bakersfield Field Office

"During the field examination of the Argus Range, I stumbled on an 1880s era ghost town that had not been documented..."

Larry Vredenburgh is a geologist and geographic information systems (GIS) coordinator for the Bakersfield Field Office.  Larry makes GIS map products, conducts mining claim patent and validity examinations and mineral material production verifications.

Larry was born in Long Beach, California and developed a love of the land while backpacking and exploring the desert in his 1951 Willys jeep.  He obtained an A. S.  degree in geology from Long Beach City College, and went on to receive a bachelor's degree in geology from the University of California, Riverside.

Right out of college Larry worked at a consulting firm for a year as a GIS technician. In February 1978 he took a position with the BLM desert plan staff in Riverside as a geologist.  After the desert plan was completed in September 1980, he began working in the California State Office conducting mineral potential evaluations for wilderness study areas and resource management plans throughout the state. Two years later he filled the vacant geologist position at Folsom. Larry has been at Bakersfield since May 1988, and has been GIS coordinator there since 1998.

Shortly after starting with BLM, Larry was handed the assignment to conduct a mineral potential evaluation of the Panamint and Argus ranges located just west of Death Valley. 

"Here I was, 25 years old," says Larry. "I was given the keys to a 4x4 and told to go out to the desert and poke around old mines, take notes on geology and minerals, then write about what I found - and get paid for it.  It was August and very hot at first, then freezing cold in December.  I was staying in a BLM camp trailer at Wildrose Campground at about 6,000 feet because funds were low," he says.  "It was quite an adventure. During the field examination of the Argus Range, I stumbled on an 1880's era ghost town that had not been documented - it was not in any 'ghost town' book.  I wrote a paper about it and gave a presentation at a Death Valley history symposium in 1985.  I found that the mining camp was named Reilly.  In May 2000, an archaeology student and dozens of volunteers, under the direction of Judyth Reed of the Ridgecrest Field Office, excavated and recorded the site.  I participated as a volunteer. That was very rewarding - it brought my involvement with this site to a full circle."

Larry enjoys learning new things, whether it's software or the history of an obscure mining district.  He is very involved in his church, sings in the choir, and gains much of his strength from his spiritual walk.

Larry and his wife of 26 years, Stephanie, have two children, Steven and Anna - who are both attending Point Loma Nazarene University. Larry is a resident of Tehachapi.

For more information concerning this feature story, contact Larry Vredenburgh by telephone 661-391-6153 or by e-mail
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