Saline Preservation Association
PO Box 1941
Lancaster, California 93539-1941
SPA is a registered non-profit organization. (EIN: 860855439). Tax deductible contributions are gratefully accepted.
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Board of Directors
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Mike “Flipper” Ramsey, President
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’s 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.
“Farmer” Fred Dickson, Vice President / Treasurer
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 arowweed 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 sacred place as special as we all have experienced up to now, we can never take it for granted that it will 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.
Tim “Timbo” Hynes, NPS Liason
Originally from Long Island, New York, transplanted to Lancaster, California in 1984, after spending 4 years in the USAF at Edwards AFB 1978 – 1981.
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.
Bonneau Dickson, Director
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).
Michelle Hamilton, Secretary
My name is Michelle Hamilton, some have called me Silver Michelle because of my husband Silver Bob Renton. When we discovered geocaching, I needed a name to use when logging my found caches. My husband suggested I use Red Molly from the song, “Vincent Black Lightning”. I decided to use that on the SPA forum.
Bob and I make our residence in Dayton, Nevada. Bob introduced me to Saline Valley in 1992. Back then, Saline Valley was BLM land. We could leave a small travel trailer there from fall to spring. We went out every other weekend, driving all night to get there after work on Friday’s, just to turn around and drive home Sundays. Back in 1992, when we arrived at midnight, we always knew most of the folks around the campfire.
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 with the State of Nevada, it became necessary to relinquish it. I stepped down as Treasurer and turned over all records to Tricia Barton.
I retired from the State of Nevada in 2016. 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. I felt my skill set of knowing grants and how governments operate could be used to help preserve Saline Valley. I joined SPA in 2016 as its Secretary. I do my best to keep the meeting minutes, send out the Newsletter, and manage the data base of its members.
I love Saline Valley and the lifelong friendships made with the folks I have met there. Some of my happiest memories continue to be of times spent there. Bob and I spend part of our winters in Arizona but manage several trips a year to Saline.
Gary Kremen, Director
Gary Kremen is an engineer with more than 30 years of experience starting and mentoring companies that change people’s lives. He invented online dating, starting and growing Match.com where he was responsible for millions of babies.
Gary Kremen has been regularly going to Saline Valley since 1991. He is also an avid California off-roader and peak bagger as well as a father of 3 young boys. He lives near Palo Alto, California.
Among other companies, he founded Clean Power Finance (now Spruce Finance), a leading provider of solar energy financing to residences, backed by Duke Energy, Florida Power and Light, Southern California Edison, Kleiner Perkins, Google Ventures and Gary Kremen himself. Gary also co-founded Pace Avenue, which received a $1.5M U.S. Department of Energy Sunshot Grant to continue developing technology to drive adoption of solar and energy-efficiency to low-and-moderate income (LMI) households. Gary was the incubator, founding investor, and Chairperson of the county’s leading water conservation company, WaterSmart Software (sold to VertexOne). WaterSmart produces the Home Water Report, which helps water users save an average of 5% of their water usage by giving personal, easy-to-follow recommendations. The company has saved billions of gallons of water to date.
Education and sustainability are Gary’s dedicated passions. He taught for years a graduate level-energy policy course at Northwestern University’s Institute of Sustainability at Northwestern (ISEN), was a long-term member of the University of California at Merced Foundation Board, and was an advisor, grant proposal evaluator, and judge at Stanford University’s TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy. He is also a long-time volunteer, judge and mentor at the leading water non-profit, Imagine H2O.
He was elected to the Board of Directors of the Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD or Valley Water) and immediately elected to Chairperson for 2015. Re elected to board 2018. Elected Vice Chairperson 2021. SCVWD is a 890 employee organization, FY24 $1 billion capital and operating budget, water wholesaler responsible for water supply, flood control and creek stewardship for Santa Clara County’s 1.9 million people. Additionally serve as Chairperson of the Delta Conveyance Finance Authority ($16.8 billion project), board member of the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority (Central Valley Project) and board member of the San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority (Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, Menlo Park, County of San Mateo and the SCVWD). Gary was also elected to and served from 2010-2014 on the Board of Directors of Purissima Hill Water District. He was chairman twice of the Santa Clara Valley Water District Before that he served as the Secretary of the Water Conservation Committee for Los Altos Hills. He was appointed as a member of the Proposition 39, California Clean Energy Jobs Act Citizen’s Oversight Board.
Jorel Allegro, Director
I grew up in Lake County, CA where activities like Boy Scouts and ski trips to Mt. Shasta exposed me to the beauty that the State of California has to offer. Attending college at both UC Santa Cruz and UC Berkeley I felt at home amongst the redwoods and ocean vistas. I met my partner Jess senior year and continued adventuring into the Eastern Sierra where we bonded over hot spring hunting and improving our dispersed camping skills.
Armed with a CA hot springs guidebook on a road trip through Death Valley during the spring 2016 super bloom, we made a ‘slight’ detour on the way north for our first visit to Saline Valley. Experiencing the sunrise from Wizard tub with the snow-capped Inyos glowing pink beyond the wash & dunes was extraordinary. Although only able to visit for one night that trip, we vowed to return soon. The winter of 2017 allowed for a more extended visit where I was immersed in the unique culture and got to know some of the kind souls that frequent the Warm Springs camps. I learned to drain and scrub the tubs; I gleaned some history from long-time regulars; road conditions were debated while dodging bats in the evening soak. I knew then I had to make Saline Valley a regular part of my life and contribute to this incredible community.
I am honored to serve on the Board of Directors to help preserve the true oasis and unique culture of the springs. As a construction estimator/project manager currently based in Bishop, CA I hope to leverage my enthusiasm and experience organizing diverse groups to benefit Saline Valley and the Warm Springs camps. Effective communication of camp etiquette, cultural norms and continued stewardship of the areas natural resources & infrastructure are key to preservation this special place.
You’ll likely find me at the Palm Springs with my 5-meter canvas bell tent and dark grey Tacoma or on the Lower Springs lawn enjoying the shade. I look forward to working with the Saline Valley community and welcome outreach from its members.