Main Page

(How it all began)

(Casebier Call)

Visit 1: Aug97
(Burning Man)

Visit 2: Nov97
(Socal Trip)

Visit 3: Aug98
(Burning Man)

Visit 4: Apr99
(Booth Blizzard!)

Visit 5: Jul99
(Coming Soon)

Booth Mailbag
(Your Thoughts)

Press & Links

Satellite Image
of the Booth

Own Your
Own Booth

The Booth in
My Living Room

Save the Cima Cinder Mine

A note to say thank you to those people who have taken the time to write or respond to the Cima Cinder Mine situation. We thank you. Many hands make light work. Just knowing there are people out there like you who are willing make a stand for what you believe in, helps us believe that things can and will happen for the best. Thanks again to you,, for putting this out here.

Lorene & Family

Subject: Save Cima Mine post to Al Gore
Date: Thu, 1 Jun 2000
From: Sandy W.

May I remind everyone that this is an election year?

You may submit questions to Al Gore at

Here's my post to Gore, for all the good it might do

What are you going to do about various governmental departments depriving people of their livelihood from their own land? I refer you to the case of the Cima Cinder Mine in the Mohave Desert. In operation for over 50 years, mine owners were served with notice of trespass by the National Park Service in 1999. The Cima Mine owners have filed - more than once- all the necessary papers required by the Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management.(Their filing might not even have been necessary, as they were there long before the Park Service.) These filings have not been acted upon by the various agencies involved since initial receipt in 1993.

Maybe theft of land and livelihood has been Government Policy in the past (ask any Native American) but it must not continue. How do you propose to address this SPECIFIC case and others like it?

You investigated water poisoning in TN when a concerned citizen called upon you. Here's another chance to address large problems brought to light by one small case.

Read up at

Another Concerned Registered Voter,
Sandy W.

From: Dennis
Date: Fri, 24 Mar 2000


I have a legal mine in southern CA near the Mexico border.

I was run off my legal mining claim (Yoni Mine #11) in Imperial county by illegal aliens and smugglers in late 1995, and the BLM has been trying to do the same thing to me for the last 10 years.

At least you don't have the illegal aliens )

Now it is even against the law to have a gun for protection.

I gave up and abandoned both the mine and other private property nearby.

Hope you have better luck.

(Here's the latest update from the mine:)

From: Robin
Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2000
Subject: long time my friend

Here is a more defined update of the latest in our epic.

Not surprising, the first appeal we (Lorene and family) submitted to have the Cima Cinder Mine reopened was denied. The Western Regional Director of the NPS (National Parks Service), John Reynolds, was the one who denied our appeal. The next step in the process is to take it to a higher level, which is the National Director, Robert Stanton. Our hope is that he will overturn Reynolds' denial and give us a fair opportunity to make a living while they make their decisions. Incidentally, the time they allotted for us to complete the paperwork for the appeal was biased: from the time they closed the mine we had only 30 days to process and submit an appeal, but the NPS took 6 months to get us a reply! For the second and final appeal we are allowed, they gave us only 20 days from reciept of the first denial to submit the paperwork for the 2nd Appeal. We filed that on Feb 15, 2000. We are still waiting to hear back from them.

As for getting help from Diane Feinstein, that went nowhere! She was in conversation with us and had told us that the closing of our mine, and others like ours, was not what she had intended to happen when she gave her support for the Desert Protection Act. She then assigned a person from her staff to be in contact with us, a Mr. Warren Weinstein. Mr Weinstein then nicely told us that there was "nothing that they could do," that we needed to take it up with the Department of the Interior (nothing like passing the buck). The person who is the head of the interior is Mr Bruce Babbett. His second in command is Mr. David Hayes. Our only hope for fair assessment is to to see that the heads of the Department of the Interior know that the people of this country are very concerned about keeping its citizens above the government, not the other way around.

So there's the latest, we will keep you updated,
Your friend, Robin

From Jb
Date Sat, 15 Jan 2000
Subject Fwd Congressman Richard Pombo

Received this letter from Pombo yesterday, FYI. Have you had any news of recent developments with or government bureauocrats? Keep us posted.

From cnetca11
To Jb
Subject Congressman Richard Pombo
Date Fri, 14 Jan 2000

January 14, 2000

Dear Ms. B[ ],

Thank you for contacting me in regards to the Cima Cedar Mine. You will be pleased to know that I have been working with the Congressman that represents the Mohave to resolve this issue.

I believe the Park Service is wrong on this issue, and will do what I can to correct this.

Once again, thank you.


Member of Congress


From: Iceyhrt
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 1999
Subject: Cima Cinder Mine

To Whom it May Concern,

This is a response to the letter written by J. Lorene Caffee in trying to save her home at the Cima Cinder Mine in the Mojave Preserve in California. Recently, my husband and I visited the Mohave Preserve on Nov. 16-19, 1999. As he spent a majority of his life living at the Aiken Cinder Mine. Located 5 miles from the Cima Cinder Mine. We were applaud by the condition of the Aiken Mine after being shut down by the goverment. Why is it that Aiken is not being required to clean this site up and vacate. As nobody lives there now.

Cima Cinders on the other hand was very nice, clean and orderly. And not to forget it is also occupied. By the family that began the mine back in 1948. By her father Emerson Ray. Why is our goverment trying to force this family out of their home that they have known all of there life. If they meet the requirements set by the NPS and the EPA.

In comparision to the Aiken Cinder Mine. Cima Cinders should be able to stay occupied and a working mine.

If the goverment feels they need to evict someone they should make the owners the of Aiken Cinder Mine clean up what I would call a garbage dump in the middle of a beautiful perserve.

I feel that someone needs to check into this situtation before it is to late for the Caffee Family and there home in the Mojave Desert.

From: Sarabia
Subject: Saving the Cima Mines
Date: Sun, 21 Nov 1999

A couple of years back my wife and I took the north turnoff from the 40 f'wy heading up to Kelso and then to on to Baker and over the course of the afternoon (driving at 20-30 mph over the dirt roads) we removed three desert tortoises from the center of the road, any of which surely would've been flattened by mining trucks or by the passle of jackholes bombing around the desert for a pre- or post- phonebooth visit. Aren't desert tortoises on the Endangered List? There is no argument then - shut the area down to all commercial and but a trickle of tourists if you must.

In light of your letter, I need to tell you that to touch a desert tortoise weilds a very hefty fine. The law was created to protect the tortoise, however, as in many things, the original intention was not completely thought through. We, as operators of the mine, could do the same thing if we saw the occasional tortoise on the road (the road is dirt, so vehicles move more slowly). Some people (and groups) tend to look for the quick fix and not the long term ramifications. Now for you or me to save a desert tortoise from being run over -- we could get fined a chunk of money for touching a tortoise, so knowing this, many people do not save a turtle even if it is in their power to do so.

What has happened to our family-owned mine after 50 years represents how much we as citizens of the United States are losing power to the government. At one time not so long ago, the people of this country were the power, now it seems the general attitude is "you can't fight city hall", which translated means, the government is more powerful than its people. This is not in the best interest of any of us, including animals or people as it takes away our power to think that we are in charge of our own destiny in this country.

sincerely yours,
(Lorene's daughter)

From: Bruce N.
Date: Thursday, November 04, 1999
Subject: Cima Cinder Mine, Desert Protection Bill and BLM

I am writing you in order to show support for Mrs.. Jesse Lorene Caffee and her efforts to save her cinder mining operations.

My family also has interest in California desert property that is being threatened by the Federal government. The BLM may take this property that has been in my family since the early 1920's.

This country was founded by individuals. This country was founded FOR the individual. I ask you to please support the right of the individual. Property rights are very important, how can we have life, liberty and enjoy the pursuit of happiness if our land and livelihood are threatened?

Bruce N.
Boulder City, Nevada

Dear Bruce,

We wish you and your family well. We also agree with you on rights being preserved -- after all, what will become of us if they are not? Thank you for your support.

Lorene and family

Date: Mon, 11 Oct 1999
From: Vickie

One thing that I wanted to suggest was that everyone email the California senators and Congresspeople first, since they are the ones who can do the most in the shortest amount of time. Perhaps if they were bombarded by a ton of emails, they might actually do something about this one issue. Thanks.

thanks Vickie,

It is people like you, who are willing to make a stand for what you think is right, who make things seem right even under a struggle. thank you for yor support.

Lorene and family

From: Russell
Date: Fri, 8 Oct 1999
Subject: save the mine

saw a special on the today show about the mojave phone booth. went searching on the web. found it, also found this save the cinder mine thing. well, i live out here in the mojave desert. (phelan,) and my mother owns a mine out there somewhere near baker california and she is having trouble with the blm (buereu of land mgmt.) of course this all started when they found some minerals and metals that were profitable in a mine that she has owned and operated for 20 years. where can i go to contact the person involved with her mine problems and do you have any more info on whats up with her situation?


Our hearts go out to you and your mom. We hope your mom gets to keep what is rightfully hers, with her situation and the BLM. Thank you for showing us support.

Lorene and family

From: vickie
Date: Thu, 07 Oct 1999
Subject: Cima Cinder Mine

Dear Senator Feinstein,

I am writing you to show support for Mrs. Jesse Lorene Caffee and her fight to save her cinder mine. Although I am not a Californian, I am an American citizen and thus this kind of story worries me. It seems to me that despite your claims miners would not be adversely affected by the Desert Protection bill, you were wrong. At least one family is being adversely affected and you owe it to them to help make this right. Please set an example and live up to your claims. Help Mrs. Caffee get the rights to operate her cinder mine. Thank you.

Vickie Holliman
Austin, Texas

From: gabenson
Date: Thu, 07 Oct 1999
Subject: Theft of private property by the US Gov.

I recently ran across the above website, concerning a family owned mine that was confiscated by the US Government without due process or any good reason.

I have interests in similar mining properties, and believe strongly that those who own property and obey laws should be undisturbed in their rights to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness". A revolution was fought by private citizens to obtain these rights from a tyranical government, and ours, through it invasion of privacy and property rights, is beginning to put itself in the same position.

I believe that "liberty" is under attack from many sides, including by very well meaning people who, however, forget that many of the broad "goods" they promote can only be achieved at the cost of personal freedom.

A middle ground must be found, and the personal right to "non-conformity" must be defended, so long as it is within the law.

Stealing private property is not a good thing for any reason, and the US government is not above the law, simply a chosen instrument of the people.

I would appreciate your looking into this matter and a response specific to your position and inquiries about it, including copies of your correspondence and replies thereto.

I have always respected you and your wife and look forward to your response.

cc: Rep. Weldon, Deuce of Clubs (web site host)

From: PUSkunk
Date: Sat, 2 Oct 1999

Comments on the Cima Mine:
This is property seizure of the worst degree!! What they are doing to Lorrene (sp) is wrong, and the NPS knows it's wrong. They are counting on her to not put up a fight and concede defeat on the mine that her family has worked for literally generations!

[Lorene and family respond:]

Pher, thank you so much for your concern. And you are right, the NPS never thought they would have to deal with someone who cared enough to put up a fight. All of the family is doing what they can to make this situation known, just as some people like you have, by writing/calling/ emailing to the correct parties of the government who can make a difference. It is all certainly worth fighting for. Thanks again for your support.

From: Thomas C.
Subject: "Save the Cima Cinder Mine"
Date: Thu, 30 Sep 1999

I've become intrigued by the Mojave phone booth and stumbled onto the "Save the Cima Cinder Mine" information. I am a retired mining engineer and have worked in the Death Valley area in the past, thus I am very sympathetic to the plight of Lorene and all small mine operators. May I suggest that you convey to Lorene and family that they may want to contact the Mountain States Legal Foundation to see if it is possible to provide legal assistance for the Cima cinder mine.

From: frankc
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999
Subject: My Sympathies to you

Please let it be known that I fully support your right to own and operate that mine. I have heard other such atrosities perpetrated upon our fine citizens, and am very ashamed of our government for more than just this. Just think of the IRS for instance. Senate Bill 7 that closed down most of the So Cal dessert for offroading has severely affected many such as myself that enjoyed getting out and being part of the land. And never ran over a tortoise or even saw one. I can imagine there are some bad offroaders or mine operators.... but, you are at least deserving of a just hearing and compensation. I am not familiar with Cinder mining, but I hope there is no bad chemicals or effects to the land.... but we have been relying on cinder blocks for a long time. So they can't just up and say this is Bad just to take your land. I wish there was something I could say to make you feel better, but it seems the more time passes, the more intrusive our Gov becomes. It seems history runs in cycles, and we are on another downside. You must remember, this gov is from the fine people who brought us Indian Reservations, Resevoirs and Damns, Slavery, and Railroads who all stole more land than any of us would care to think of. Even the large mining concerns have had a share in all of this at times, mostly back in the hydraulic gold mining days. But the point is, Big Brother and Money talks, the rest of us walk. I was directed to the phonebooth site by a friend who was simply delighted by the eccentricity of the story, however once I saw the losing of the mine thing, I understood the point. It may seem wierd that someone would think to call that phone booth, but in some strange way, maybe it was meant to happen to bring this to light. I will spread the word as much as I can, and hope and pray for the best to you all.

Back to the Save the Cima Cinder Mine main page