NAWS Restricted Area Peaks

The email below was received in April 2010 after a request for information on access to Argus and Maturango,
which are in the Desert Peaks List "Trans Sierra" region.

The concise answer about how to gain access is "NO!"

From: "Essinger, John CIV NAWS China Lake, N3AT"
Date: Sat, 24 Apr 2010 11:17:40 -0700

Yes, Argus Peak is "OFF LIMITS" as far as public access goes. For that matter, so is Maturango Peak, Parkinson Peak, Coso Peak, Louisiana Butte, Cinder Peak and Straw Peak; just to name a few. The last entry I read in regards to Louisiana Butte mentioned it is deep inside NAWS and it is not certain if there is or is not a register on the peak. The last entry I read regarding Straw Peak mentioned it was last bagged in 2009. The last thing I read regarding Argus Peak was the register was still in place however someone had the gall to take the register from Maturango. This writer went on to say they had since placed a new one at Maturango. And, as far as Maturango Peak goes, Captain Langford's letter denying access is proudly displayed on the web along with a run down of the trip after being told "NO".

Now there are pictures of how to get to Maturango from Bendire Canyon and some interesting things you can see while getting there. It also appears we have had a number of people taking a couple of days to hike the peak and spending the night on the eastern slope. All of this is being done well within the NAWS China Lake boundary although there are no signs anywhere to indicate you are entering China Lake. I have recently discovered the wilderness markers outside our eastern boundary have been destroyed or otherwise compromised and access has been gained via motor vehicle. I forwarded this information as well as pictures to the Ridgecrest BLM office. However, these activities are continually on-going even while we have active testing and other hazardous events taking place.

Bottom line is, the Sierra Club, and all of its side groups, need to either remove these peaks from their "Bagging List" or include strong warnings against this practice as far as these peaks are concerned. Otherwise, if caught, the violator(s) will be actively prosecuted via the Federal Court system for trespassing and violations of national defense. This means a lot more than a slap on the wrist and a citation. It means a court appearance in US District court, a fine and a possible stay in a federal jail facility. This can, and will, mean legal action being sought against the Sierra Club for the actions of its members, whether directly supported or not, and any group claiming allegiance with the Sierra Club. This is a very serious matter and one that will not be taken lightly.

Let me know if this answers your question or if I need to provide more. Thanks.