March 15, 1995
Dear Sgt. Henderson:
I would like to request that some signage changes be made at the border of the Nellis Bombing and Gunnery Range to prevent naive tourists from wandering into the restricted zone.
The Groom Mine Road is a problem area. Where the road crosses the Nellis Range border, the border actually runs diagonally to the road, not perpendicular to it as the signs on either side seem to indicate. Naive tourists who haven't studied the map tend to climb into the hills on the southwest side of the road which may unintentionally take them across the border. Since it can be difficult to see the orange border posts at night or to know what they mean in the day, many tourists have stumbled across--so many in fact that I refer to it as "Sucker's Alley."
My request is that some sort of signage change be made to clearly indicate that the border is diagonal, not perpendicular to the road. I suggest the following:
1) Stagger the signs on the right and left sides of the road to show the relative angle of the border.
2) Add several signs on the southwest side of the road along the actual trace of the border. These could be at, say, 20, 50 and 100 yards from the road, to indicate clearly that the border is diagonal.
3) Maybe add a sign to the effect: "Border Is Marked By Orange Posts In Desert Areas."
Since most tourists who visit the area stop at these signs, this is the best place to make sure people understand the rules.
I am also concerned about the very naive tourists who insist on driving past the very well-marked border signs. I don't really know how to solve this, since it is hard to get more explicit than the signs there already. Still, one more sign, or a change of signs, wouldn't hurt. Maybe something like: "IF YOU CROSS THIS LINE YOU WILL BE ARRESTED." I don't know how the Air Force would handle it within its signage style, but I hope someone can give it some thought.
These unintentional incursions are a problem for both of us. I've publicized the area, so I feel responsible when an innocent gets drawn in. The Air Force, in turn, can't welcome these disruptions either. Each arrest means more attention, more flak for the Sheriff's Dept. and greater legal jeopardy.
In making this request, I am only seeking to solve a mutual problem and reduce the tensions here. My pledge to you is this: If the Air Force makes some sign changes to clarify the location of the border on the Groom Mine Road, I will keep it to myself that I suggested it. I may publish in the Desert Rat that the sign change has been made, but I will do it without fanfare. I will not acknowledge that I (or "Psychospy") had anything to do with the change.
I hope that we can find some common ground on this problem. Trespasser arrests are a continual source of friction here and an aggravation for both myself and the security force. Changing the signage on the road to make the border location obvious would alleviate most of the problem.