News Release

For Release:  February 1, 2008     
Contact: Steve Razo 951-697-5217 or Rich Rotte 760-252-6000
CA-CDD-08-24

BLM Issues Emergency Closure of Hawes Facility Site to Protect Public Health and Safety

To protect public health and safety, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced today it has issued an emergency closure of 800 acres of public lands near Kramer Junction in eastern San Bernardino County, including the Hawes communication site and surrounding lands.

BLM Barstow Field Manager Roxie Trost said this site is currently under lease to Edwards Air Force Base, and Edwards is developing a long-term safety plan.  In the interim, the site will remain closed to the public.

The closure applies to all uses on the access route and lands that contain remnants of a historically used Department of Defense communications facility no longer operational.  She said the closure will apply to all public land users, both vehicular and non-vehicular, except for authorized users such as the military, emergency and law enforcement personnel.

Closure to vehicles and compliance with the emergency closure is governed by BLM regulations (43 Code of Federal Regulations 9268.3 (d)).  Anyone violating the temporary closure may be fined up to $1,000, receive up to one year in jail or both.

The facility has become an attractive nuisance for vandals and unauthorized gatherings, leading to law enforcement problems.  The facility has been under lease to the Department of Defense since 1962, and has not been in use since 1987.  A previous cleanup of the site to remove hazardous substances was authorized by BLM and conducted by the Department of Defense in 2000.  Securing the site and removal of the remainder of the facilities is planned but has not yet been occurred. 

The Corps of Engineers, on behalf of Edwards Air Force Base, is evaluating future need of the site by DOD.  During this evaluation, and until the site is more permanently secured and all facilities are removed and the site reclaimed, this temporary closure will remain in effect.

Contact Rich Rotte of the Barstow Field Office staff at (760) 252-6000 for additional information

-BLM-

California Desert District Office – 22835 Calle San Juan de Los Lagos, Moreno Valley, CA 92553- (951) 697-5217