Letter written to Scott Sticha with the National Park Service in response to the Kelly Point Road Closure on the Arizona Strip
My name is Amy Esplin White, my grandpa Buster Esplin worked for Slim Warning when he ran cattle in the Horsevalley/Kelly Point area. All of my summers as a child were spent at Horsevalley until we pulled our cattle. My family now runs cattle at Wildcat and Wolfhole. I’ve been to Kelly Point many times and love the majestic beauty of that area.
I recently heard that the Park Service is thinking of closing access during the winter. I understand the park services concerns, my family has had more then our fair share of stuck vehicles over the years. I learned very young how to change a tire. It is a very remote area.
However, limiting access isn’t the answer. Kelly Point is a huge area and provides access to some incredible hiking and canyoneering. These areas just aren’t accessible during the summer months because of the heat and lack of water. The vast majority of the people who hike in these areas are well equipped and prepared for the harshness they will face.
There will be years when weather conditions don’t allow for exploration in that area, but I feel that weather conditions, not bureaucracy should be the deciding factor. Last year in particular was a very light winter. My Dad was able to visit our ranch without any issues, which means it would have been very similar conditions on Kelly Point.
Please continue to keep Kelly Point open for exploration throughout the year. The key is to provide education about the dangers, not to unilaterally close the area.
I can be reached at ———– if you would like any additional information.
Amy Esplin White