Individual Who Toppled Historic Tram Tower In Death Valley Comes Forward


The individual responsible for pulling down this historic tram tower in Death Valley has contacted the park/NPS file

The individual responsible for pulling down a historic 113-year-old salt tram tower in Death Valley National Park last month has come forward and is taking full responsibility for their actions, a park release said Thursday.

“We are grateful to the dozens of people who reached out to the park with information and for all the statements of support that we received from people who care about this place and its cultural resources,” said acting Superintendent Elizabeth Ibañez. “Although we would certainly prefer that this damage hadn’t happened, we are glad that the person who did this ultimately took responsibility for their actions and came forward.”

The individual called the tip line provided in an earlier press release, stating that this was done on April 19 “during a time of desperation while being deeply stuck in mud and that it wasn’t their intent to cause harm to the historic structure.”

While traveling in remote wilderness areas where cell phone coverage is not available, carrying a satellite-based communication device is an important safety tool. As Death Valley’s famous summer temperatures continue to increase, park rangers encourage people to stay on paved roads during this time of year, as help is more readily available.

The park’s resource management team is working on doing a full assessment of the damage and making plans for what responsible restoration of the salt tram would look like. While park staffd is making plans for how to best restore the damage, the park’s cultural resources team urges people to be patient, as repairs done by well-intentioned people who don’t have the proper tools and training can do additional damage.

The park is not disclosing further information about the individual who turned themselves in.

The Saline Valley Salt Company built the 13-mile aerial tram to transport salt from Saline Valley to Owens Valley in 1911. The tramway climbed over 7,000 vertical feet at steep vertical grades up to 40 degrees. The Saline Valley Salt Tram is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is considered nationally significant because of its age, length, steepness, preservation, and scenic setting. 


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