Saline Preservation Association

The voice of Saline Valley


Saline Preservation Association
PO Box 1941
Lancaster, California 93539-1941

SPA is a registered non-profit organization. Tax deductible contributions are gratefully accepted.



Would you like to become a member of SPA? Just email us at membership to be put on our electronic mailing list. If you would like to become a voting member of SPA, please include your physical mailing address. All information is kept strictly confidential. A strong and active membership will give our voice weight.


Board of Directors

John Runkle, President
Apple Valley, California 92308
wayne53 @

Gary Kreman, Treasurer
gkremen @

Timbo Hynes, Director
the Ranch
Lancaster, California
timbo @

Michelle Hamilton, Secretary
Dayton, Nevada 89403

Bonneau Dickson, Director
Berkeley, California
dickson.bonneau @

Fred Dickson, Director
Petaluma, California
fredwdickson @

Mike Ramsey, Director
Bakersfield, California
hot1tub @

Board Biographies

President, John Runkle

My name is John Runkle, Saliners call me OJ or oregonjohn. I am currently President of Saline Preservation Association. My Dad brought me to the springs the first time in 1982 and I have been coming to this magical place ever since. By the way, my 84 year old Father still goes to the Valley on a regular basis. I have made it out there 3-5 times a year for quite a long time, and I cherish my time out there. I have come to know a lot of people in that time and have to say the Saline family is, by all means, a special group.

I live in La Pine, Oregon most of the time now and into the future. I am a contractor that specializes in custom cabinets, but don't do much contracting these days as I am semi retired.

I have always wanted to give something back to the Valley I love. That is why I volunteered for the SPA board in the hopes of keeping Saline "as it is" without much NPS intrusion now and into the future.

I like to help out when I am out at the springs, scrub a tub, clean a restroom, pick up trash, inform new visitors about the place, donate needed materials to the camp host, etc. This place was built with volunteers and it will remain that way with dedicated people.

John Runkle

SPA Secretary, Michelle Hamilton

My name is Michelle Hamilton, some have called me Silver Michelle because of my husband Silver Bob. My husband nicknamed me Red Molly and so I use that on the SPA forum. I was introduced to Saline Valley in 1992 by my now husband Silver Bob Renton. Back then it was BLM land and we use to leave a small travel trailer there and go out every other weekend, driving all night to get there after work on Friday’s, just to turn around and drive home Sundays.

When the Government Land Grab, also known as the Desert Protection Act passed, I took over as the SPA treasurer. I kept that position for many years, but as I promoted in my career it became necessary to relinquish it. I step down as Treasurer and turned over all records to Tricia Barton.

I love Saline Valley and the people that go there. Some of my happiest memories continue to be of times spent out there over the years. Bob and I make several trips a year to Saline and when we hear that the roads are washed out we are the first to go and document damages for the SPA Forum.

I live in Dayton NV and recently retired from the Nevada Department of Public Safety where I held a position as a Grant Administrator. People warned me not to get caught up in things after you retire, but I knew that serving SPA would not be a waste of time. It is because of my love for Saline Valley, the feeling that I have a skill set of knowing how governments function and now the time, that I chose to return to SPA to do what I can to help preserve the magic of Saline Valley.

Michelle Hamilton


SPA Park Liaison, Tim Hynes

Originally from Long Island, New York, transplanted to Lancaster, California in 1984, after spending 4 years in the USAF at Edwards AFB 1978 - 1981.

Currently working for the Boeing Company since 1984 as an Aircraft Systems Specialist.
I am 57 years young and currently in good health.

Discovered Saline Valley in late 1989 during Christmas/New Years with my parents through a serendipitous, happenstance and quite an off chance conversation at the local bakery in Bishop, California.

(25 glorious years of bliss to date)

I have a special fondness of the Valley and its people. I've spent many a hour laboring, mostly, with a shovel at the Lower Warm Springs.

Digging outhouse holes, dispatching the mud out of the cool pond and clearing out the burro springs while on strike from my company.

Also many other tedious projects along the way when at the hot springs.

I have been a member of the board of directors for many years after being nominated by Sam Merk of Ridgecrest, California.

My goal as a director is to keep Saline Valley viable and thriving and to try to establish and maintain a working relationship between the user community and the National Park Service.
I hope to also represent the board of directors to the best of my ability, which in turn, will represent the user community as we strive to protect and maintain the magic and spirit that no man can put a price on.

I like to believe that I interface well with others, therefore by having a "pulse on the people" so to speak. People skills are extremely important especially when dealing with the wide variety of user that frequent Saline Valley, some from across the world as well. I personally host 4 different camping rigs at my own home from travelers from back East and Europe.
Thank you all for the privilege and honor to serve.

Very Respectfully,

SPA Board Member Bonneau Dickson

I was introduced to Saline Valley by Simon Lang (English, trims the palms, silk screens shirts) and his wife, Lori Hines at Thanksgiving in 2003. Since then, I have returned for a week at almost every Thanksgiving and for a week at either Presidents Day or Easter and occasionally both.

I cannot explain why Saline Valley has such a strong attraction to me but it does. I try to explore an additional mountain or canyon on each visit.

I am a registered professional civil engineer in California with a specialty in water and wastewater (sanitary engineering). I believe that my engineering knowledge may be helpful in dealing with the National Park Service.
I am also the “wine guy” (the guy with the 12 liter Balthazar bottle).--

Bonneau Dickson, P.E.

SPA Board Member, Fred Dickson

Hi Folks ,
First my name. Farmer Fred aka (Fred Dickson). I live in Petaluma, CA where I have been farming oat and wheat hay and grain for horses and dairy cows all of my life.

I have been coming to the Springs since 1996, visiting some 50 times. Over this time I have grown to love this place, so consequently have done a great deal to keep it what it was / is. My involvement with Lizard Lee has grown into a cherished friendship. I interface with him on a multitude of levels. We can have disagreements, understandings and compromises with respect to his position. He and I do work together. It takes a special person to be a steward of a place like this. He is there for us when it is 126 degrees.

Some of the things I participate in: Heading up work parties to keep up with the maintenance of this wonderful place…. Palm tree trimming, Weed removal, Lawn mowing, Linseed oiling and repainting of the benches ,tables and fences, Replacing water valves and piping, Cleaning out piping, Assisting the park service with servicing the toilets, Grading the Bat Rock Road, Rebuilding said grader / drag, Replacing broken fencing, Hauling in firewood for the community circle, Donating hoses and sprinklers, soap, bleach , lawn chairs, water valves, Hauling out lots of garbage including old chairs, umbrellas, auto parts, tires, and stuff stuck in the aeroweed using my long trash pick-er-upper Provide tires for emergency repair. Clearing rocks and smoothing out the airfield runway with the road drag. ( I am a pilot and have flown into this strip on occasion.)

We NEED to stay with / ahead of what the park service is up to. We need to be present before them. They need to know we exist at all times. We need to work cooperatively. We need to check in with them on a regular basis….. see what’s up. I have had conversations and written correspondence with park staff and rangers in the field.

It takes all of us working together to keep this scared place as special as we all have experienced up to now, we can never take it for granted that it we not be threatened. Just look at what was done to create this place by our forebears; what a privilege it is to keep it going in their honor.

SPA Board Member, Mike Ramsey

I am a retired locomotive engineer. Worked 42 years in that profession. The last 15 years as a union representative. Local chairman duties were a lot like being a lawyer. I would defend my fellow co-workers in an investigation if they experienced rules violations.

I am on two other committees, both are fundraisers. One is a California State University Bakersfield Jazz Festival. The the other is a five stages of music gourmet food beer and wine event called Villagefest. Jazz festival raises monies for music scholarships on the campus for the music students. Villagefest raises monies for multiple children charities in Kern County.

My duties for both events are similar. I organize all the equipment, temporary fencing, portable toilets. Plus I coordinate the set up of all the food and non-food vendors, seating, lighting and much more.

I have been visiting the springs for 31 years. Saline Valley holds a special place in my heart. A good friend of my father was friends with a man who had a mining claim in Saline. We were talking about the claim and he mentioned there were hot springs there. We had to visit. So a trip was planned in the spring of 1985. Did not know what to expect. Took the short cut up through Cerro Gordo mine, ha! We did make the springs that day. Noticed the sign that said Bare Crossing that was between the crystal pool and the then wooden pink and blue outhouse. A moment later a nude lovely blond woman walked out towards the outhouse and we declared in unison, "found it"! At the time Major Tom was the caretaker and he explained the routine of you get clean before soaking. I'll never forget that day. The place and the people, were and still are my kind. I have been visiting the springs regularly ever since.

I earned a nickname from Walt AKA the Wizard, in 1993. I was making a beer and ice run to town via the north pass, with Walt's money in hand. I rolled a beautiful 1963 dodge power wagon on the way out. It took two days and two vehicles to return to the springs, but I did not forget the beer and ice. Walt stated "I had restored some of his faith in mankind" and started calling me Flip. That quickly became Flipper. That nickname has been with me ever since. I have more history. I was discovered after earning my nickname. My roommate at the time thought I was lost. He sent my brother in law to find me. I met the "rescue party" on the south road headed home. That conversation led to some discoveries. 1. My brother in law father was a federal mine inspector in saline valley. 2. He and his sons built the volcano pool to stay cool during the summer while he inspected mines. Since I was not lost and had food and beer left we want back to the springs for the night. Had a great talk sitting in the volcano pool. The Haverstocks are the family I refer to. John Haverstock Sr. John and Andy were the sons.

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