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August 30, 2004
Yosemite Happenings
By Howard E. Hobbs PhD, Editor & Publisher

        YOSEMITE -- El Portal: Today...Sunny. High 96. Low 57.
Friday...Thunder. High 90. Low 56. Tuolumne Meadows: High 80. Low 44.
Happening Today - There will be no Yosemite Theater on August 12th. This would be Connie Stetsons show, Sarah Hawkins Contemplates a Fourth Marriage. This is a one time exception, Yosemite Theater will operate until the end of September. Yosemite Lions Annual Golf Outing and Dinner at the lovely and ever popular Wawona Golf Course, Saturday Sept. 11. Be a part of the tradition, or start a new one! A fun time is always had by all! Entry fee $60.00 /person includes Dinner, Greens fees, Cart, Golf Shirt, Hat, Golf Balls, Tees, etc. You can enter as a team or individual, and have your chance at golfing fame. Please contact Shari Baudoux 372-1227.

The National Park Service in Yosemite will conduct a series of public meetings during the scoping period for the Merced Wild and Scenic River Revised Comprehensive Management Plan and Supplemental Environmental
Impact Statement (Revised Merced River Plan/SEIS). The specific purpose of/the Revised Merced River Plan/SEIS is to (1) address user capacities in the Merced River corridor, and (2) reassess the river boundary in El Portal
based on an evaluation of Outstandingly Remarkable Values in this segment.
The revised plan will also amend the park's 1980 General Management Plan.
During the scoping period, a total of three public meetings will be held in
El Portal, Mariposa, and Oakland. Participants will have the opportunity to
talk with park staff, provide individual verbal testimony with a court
reporter, participate in a public hearing (also with court reporter), and
submit written ideas and concerns.

Letter to the Editor

Copyright 1962, 2001 by Yosemite News -

April 20, 2004
Draft Report by the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy Calls for Action to Improve Coastal
and Ocean Management

By Howard E. Hobbs PhD
Editor & Publisher

        YOSEMITE -- The Nature Conservancy today applauded the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy for focusing new attention on the importance and plight of our nation's oceans and coastal areas...More!

Letter to the Editor

Copyright 1962, 2001 by Yosemite News -

June 2, 1867
The Domes of Yosemite
Yosemite Domes Under Fire
By Samuel Clemens

Albert Bierstadt 1865 - click for larger image    SAN FRANCISCO -- That is the name of Bierstadt's last picture. The art critics here abused it without stint when its exhibition began, a month ago. They ridiculed it so mercilessly that I thought it surely could not be worth going to see, and so I staid away. I went to-day, however, and I think it is very well worth going to see. It is very beautiful - considerably more beautiful than the original.

 You stand twelve hundred feet above the valley, and look up it toward the east, with the North Dome on the left and the South Dome on the right. The rugged mountain range beyond the latter sweeps round to the right and shuts up the valley, and, springing up among the clouds in the distance, you see one or two great peaks clad in robes of snow. Well, the bird's-eye view of the level valley, with its clusters of diminished trees and its little winding river, is very natural, and familiar, and pleasant to look upon. The pine trees growing out of clefts in a bold rock wall, in the right foreground, are very proper trees, and the grove of large ones, in the left foreground, and close at hand, are a true copy of Nature, and so are the various granite boulders in the vicinity.

Now, to sum up the picture's merits, those snow-peaks are correct - they look natural; the valley is correct and natural; the pine trees clinging to the bluff on the right, and the grove on the left, and the boulders, are all like nature; we will assume that the domes and things are drawn accurately. One sees these things in all sorts of places throughout California, and under all sorts of circumstances, and gets so familiar with them that he knows them in a moment when he sees them in a picture. I knew them in Bierstadt's picture, and checked them off one by one, and said "These things are correct - they all look just as they ought to look, and they all belong to...MORE!

Letter to the Editor

Copyright 1962, 2002 by Yosemite News -


    Sunday November 9, 2003
Yosemite National Park
Resort & Casino News

By Howard Hobbs Ph.D., Editor & Publisher

    YOSEMITE VALLEY --   Yosemite just got a nightlife! The new Chuckchansi Gold Resort and Casino is nestled in the beautiful Sierra foothills in the historic gold mining town of Coarsegold south on State Highway 41. The casino has 1,800 slots, 46 table games like 3-card poker, BlackjackBaccarat, Pai Gow and much more.
   In my walk-thru today, I spotted several restaurants, live entertainment, and a 192 room hotel. Some California Indian tribes like the
Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians, which operates a lucrative casino on its reservation east of San Diego, spent $2 million of its gambling earnings trying to keep Arnold Schwarzenegger out of the governor's office.
     Meanwhile, Governor Elect Schwarzenegger said that the Viejas and other tribes that run casinos in California were not paying their fair share to the state and were abusing their new financial muscle.
     Tribal leaders in San Diego said Mr. Schwarzenegger did not understand the tribes' unique status as sovereign nations or realize how much they paid to the state.  Both sides now appear ready to put the bitterness of the campaign behind them. "We're new to politics, that's for sure," Anthony R. Pico, the Viejas chairman, told reporters on Thursday in a conference room above the gambling floor at the casino. "But we know the election is over and the people have said who they want to represent them. He is our governor, and it is time to unite."
     Pico told reporters he hoped Schwarzenegger, who is to be sworn in on Nov. 17, would put aside the rhetoric of the campaign and sit down with the tribes to establish a relationship based on shared interests. The tribes want to expand their gambling franchises; Schwarzenegger needs new revenue to close a budget gap of at least $8 billion and perhaps many billions more.
     For all the talk of sovereignty and respect and special interests in the campaign, the bottom line for each side now is money. Aides to Schwarzenegger said it was likely that negotiations over the extent of legal gambling and the payments the tribes make to the state will open shortly after he is sworn in.
    Indian-run casinos like ChuckChansi, near Yosemite National Park, and Table Mountain Casino, just East of Clovis, California, took in a combined $3.6 billion last year, according to the tribal trade group, the California Nations Indian Gaming Association, and paid the state about $130 million.
   "Everything is on the table as far as he is concerned," Rob Stutzman, Mr. Schwarzenegger's communications director, said this week. "He very much wants to hear all the issues of concern to them that have impacts on their lives and their tribal governments."
 The 280,000-square-foot Viejas casino has upgraded to 2,000 slot machines, as well as card tables and a large bingo hall. Mr. Pico, the tribe chairman, told reporters this weekend, he believed the casino, or one built elsewhere on tribal land, could support as many as 5,000 slot machines. He said that in exchange for the new machines the tribe would be willing to pay what other corporations pay in California taxes, about, 10 percent of net profit.
     An aide to Gov. elect Schwarzenegger said it was too early to discuss that possibility. A future gambling deal could mean millions more for California Indians and the State. At the moment, however, only about half California tribal organizations run casinos. The biggest and most profitable gambling parlors are run by only a dozen tribes, who have quickly become among the state's biggest players in political money.
    The most often mentioned economic benefits associated with casino gambling are creating new jobs, attracting tourism, increasing business and tax revenues, and decreasing the tax burden on the residents of the community.     The less often mentioned economic costs of casino gambling are the costs of crime, compulsive gambling, erosion of the work ethic and traffic congestion. Some of these "social costs" can be measured in dollars - the cost of more police, legal and prison costs of criminal justice, the cost of social services for compulsive gamblers, lost job productivity and the added costs of traffic control - but the damage done to persons and families is not easily quantified.
n economically depressed areas, casinos are perceived as a sure way to draw tourists and create new jobs.
     Does casino gambling foster economic development in a community? While the casinos themselves may profit, are there also economic benefits for the community, such as the creation of new jobs and spin-off revenues for local restaurants and shops? Don't count on it. Instead of rejuvenating a city, a casino can actually kill other businesses by sucking money out of the economy. Recent university studies have shown that many of gambling's supposed benefits are not lasting.while casinos create new jobs, some existing jobs in other businesses are lost. As for revenue spin-off, "casinos draw vitality out of other sectors," according to James Hughes, Acting Dean at the School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. "They want all spending by patrons to remain inside the casino. There are no windows, no clocks on the wall. Once you're inside, they don't want you to leave."

     [Editor's Note: Chuckchansi Gold Casino near Yosemite is operated by the Chukchansi Yokotch Tribe, Box 329 Raymond CA 93653 -- 209-689-3318. Federal law permits California tribal governments to operate casinos on Indan land if voters approve.]

Letter to the Editor

Copyright 1962, 2003 by Yosemite News -

September 30, 2002
Hetch Hetchy
Millions Diverted
By Johnny Miller, Researcher

    YOSEMITE VALLEY -- Over the past 20 years, San Francisco officials raided the city's vaunted Hetch Hetchy Water and Power system of hundreds of millions of dollars, leaving the Bay Area's largest water supply vulnerable to earthquake, drought and decay.
     Despite increasingly serious warnings about the need for expansion and seismic upgrades, city officials postponed the costly work and used profits from Hetch Hetchy's hydropower electricity sales to bankroll city programs and salaries for everything from the Municipal Railway to health care for the needy.
     Today, engineers warn that a significant earthquake could cause widespread damage to the system, ranging from the collapse of Calaveras Dam in Alameda County to the destruction of a key tunnel that delivers water through the foothills to 2.4 million Bay Area residents, potentially cutting off most of the system's water supply for 60 days.
     Now city officials want San Francisco and its suburban water customers to borrow $3.6 billion to fix the problems - and pay for it by more than doubling water bills.
     "The politicians used the Hetchy system as a money machine in the basement of City Hall," said Jim Chappell, president of San Francisco Planning and Urban Research, a nonprofit civic group. "For decades, there has been irresponsibility in the siphoning of funds clearly needed for Hetchy maintenance."
     Since 1979, San Francisco officials have diverted $670 million from the Hetch Hetchy system into the city's general fund, according to city records. As recently as fiscal year 2001, the city took nearly $30 million from the system.
     Rudy Nothenberg, who ran the city's Public Utilities Commission during Mayor Dianne Feinstein's administration, defended the fund transfers, saying, "There is nothing wrong in my view with using the Hetch Hetchy power resource to generate money for the general fund, which pays for cops, parks and recreation and everything that people hold dear."
     The city's diversion of the funds, though legal, exploited a loophole in the City Charter and shirked its obligation to maintain the Hetch Hetchy aqueduct that the city constructed from Yosemite National Park to the Bay Area during the early 1900s.
     The deteriorating condition of the system has prompted a rebellion by Hetch Hetchy's suburban water customers, who have raised the threat of seeking state control over the repairs if the city doesn't move speedily on its own.
     Fiercest of San Francisco's critics are lawmakers representing those communities where residents and businesses depend solely or in part on Hetch Hetchy water...MORE!

Letter to the Editor

Tuesday, June 18, 2002
Air Crash Near Yosemite
Three Fire Fighters Killed
by Edward Davidian, Yosemite News

    YOSEMITE VALLEY -- The Cannon Fire in Walker Canyon, west of the Walker River near the Eastern boundary line of Yosemite National Park still burns today after an air tanker crew fighting the fire died when thier air taanked campe apart ion mid-air, according to Forest Service spokesperson, Steve Robinson.
     Robinson said in a press release, that the tanker narrowly missed U.S. Highway 80 when it went down.
     KOLO-TV in Reno has been airing dramatic footage caught on video tape as the air tanker nose-dived when its wings fell off in mid flight as the crew released fire retardant near Walker Pass where a wildfire consuming abour 8,000 acres, was burning out of control
    Local radio and television channels are reoporting that residents of the Camp
Antelope were evacuated Monday evening.
     Meanwhile, about 600 firefighters still are still working at the Cannon Fire base cam where several buildings were brned to the ground early Sunday.
     The Marine Corps Pickle-Meadows, used for deacades as a cold-weather remote training center in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest was destoyed.
    This fire is burning in sagebrush, ponderosa pine and mixed conifer forest 25 miles northwest of Bridgeport. Moving east-northeast it has crossed Highway 395 and the Walker River.
    The National Fire Info Center reports this fire has extreme wild behavior, with numerous fire whirls observed.
     The community of Camp Antelope and numerous residences east of Highway 395 have been evacuated. Evacuation centers are open in Coleville and Topaz. Highway 395 is closed. A water tender responding to the air tanker crash was involved in a rollover accident. The driver was transported to a hospital and is in stable condition.

Letter to the Editor

Copyright 1962, 2002 by Yosemite News -

April 21, 2002
Science & Conservation
The Springville Nature Center
By Thomas Hobbs, Education Editor

SPRINGVILLE -- The Clemmie Gill School of Science and Conservation is a special educational service of the Tulare County Superintendant of Schools.
SCICON Logo    SCICON is the outdoor school of science and conservation operated by the Tulare County Office of Education.
   It is located on 1100 acres above Springville. Last year, the school was visited by over 13,600 fifth- and sixth-grade students for a one-day or week-long experience in outdoor education, natural science and conservation....

Letter to the Editor

Copyright 1962, 2002 by Yosemite News -

February 6, 2002
NAS Report Backs
Klamath, Modoc Farmers

By Christine Souza
California Farm Bureau Federation.

    YOSEMITE -- A National Academy of Sciences interim report indicates government scientists did not have enough evidence to issue biological opinions that resulted in the refusal of water to 1,400 Klamath and Modoc farm families.
     As a result, the Klamath Basin community experienced a loss in excess of $200 million in the Klamath River Basin...More!

Letter to the Editor

Copyright 1962, 2002 by Yosemite News -

February 1, 2002
Indian Country
Free Land For The Taking!
By Yosemite News Staff Writers

    YOSEMITE VALLEY -- Two hundred years ago today, the United States, British Canada, Oregon Country, Mexico, the Texas Republic—all encircled a vast and mysterious land, the subject of much speculation and not much careful thought.
     Call it Indian Territory for now, for it contained survivors of the displaced, decimated eastern tribes and the great...More!

Letter to the Editor

Copyright 1962, 2002 by Yosemite News -

Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2002
Are Violent Crime Victims
Double The Rate of General Population!

Staff Researchers, Yosemite News

     YOSEMITE VALLEY -- In a recent Bureau of Justice Statistics study the first comprehensive statistical analysis of Native Americans and crime, reported that for the years 1992 through 1996 the average annual rate of violent victimizations among Indians (including Alaska Natives and Aleuts) was 124 per 1,000 residents ages 12 years old and older, compared to 61 violent victimizations per 1,000 blacks, 49 per 1,000 whites and 29 per 1,000 Asians.

There are about 2.3 million American Indian residents of the United States, representing just under 1 percent of the total populatio

BJS Director Jan Chaiken said: "The findings reveal a disturbing picture of American Indian involvement in crimes as victims and offenders. Both male and female American Indians experience violent crime at higher rates than people of other races and are more likely to experience interracial violence."

For all four types of non-fatal violent victimizations, American Indians experienced higher than average annual rates of victimization per 1,000 U.S. inhabitants 12 years old and older during the period from 1992 through 1996.

About 7 in 10 violent victimizations of American Indians involved an offender who was described by the victim as someone of a different race--a substantially higher rate of interracial violence than experienced by white or black victims. About half the violent victimizations experienced by American Indians involve an offender with whom the victim had a prior relationship, about the same percentage as found among other victims of violence.

Each year about 150 American Indians are murdered, which is about the per capita rate in the general population. For people between the ages of 12 and 24 years old, the rate of Indians murdered closely paralleled that of whites and Asians and was well below that of blacks.

The BJS study also reported that:

--Offender use of alcohol was a major factor in violent victimizations of American Indians. American Indian victims reported a drinking offender in 46 percent of all violent victimizations, and about 70 percent of jailed American Indians convicted of violence reported that they had been drinking at the time of the offense.

--The arrest rate for alcohol-related offenses among American Indians (drunken driving, liquor law violations and public drunkenness) was more than double that for the total population during 1996. However, the drug arrest rate was lower than for other races.

--Almost four in 10 American Indians held in local jails had been charged with a public order offense--most commonly driving while intoxicated.

--During 1996 the American Indian arrest rate for youth violence was about the same as that for white youths.

--On any given day an estimated one in 25 American Indians 18 years old and older is under the jurisdiction of the nation's criminal justice system. This is 2.4 times the rate for whites and 9.3 times the per capita rate for Asians but about half the rate for blacks.

--The number of American Indians per capita confined in state and federal prisons is about 38 percent above the national average. However, the rate of confinement in local jails is estimated to be nearly 4 times the national average.

BJS said its 1996 census of state and local law enforcement agencies identified 135 tribal law enforcement agencies, which had a total of 1,731 full-time sworn officers. In addition, the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs had 339 full-time officers authorized to make arrests and carry firearms.

The special report, "American Indians and Crime" (NCJ 173386), was written by BJS statisticians Lawrence A. Greenfeld and Steven K. Smith. Single copies may be obtained from the BJS fax-on-demand system by dialing 301/519-5550, listening to the complete menu and selecting document number 147. Or call the BJS Clearinghouse number: 1-800-732-3277. Fax orders for mail delivery to 410/792-4358.

    [Editor's Note:The complete dara BJS raw dasta file may be downloaded at Criminal victimization among American Indians].

Letter to the Editor

Copyright 1962, 2002 by Yosemite News -

January 2, 2002
Collected Notes,
Books &Working Papers

Collated by Howard Hobbs, Ph.D.

    YOSEMITE -- The following list of books, abstracts and related notes, some of which refer to the Amerindian experience, were presented at the 1998 meeting of the Atlantic History Seminar, Harvard College on the theme "Cultural Encounters in Atlantic Societies, 1500-1800":

    Claudio Saunt, "The Power of Writing: Literacy and the Colonization of Southeastern Indians" -- Historians have long debated the degree to which American Indians were awed by alphabetic writing, but well after it had lost its power to amaze and astonish, writing disrupted American Indian communities and shaped cultural encounters in the Atlantic world. Oral communication, and especially storytelling, diffused tensions within Indian groups and helped them maintain cohesive identities.
   Because their colonial neighbors privileged writing over speech, however, Indians began devaluing spoken words. At the same time, some Native Americans appropriated writing to secure their leadership. Among the Creek Indians of the Deep South, writing undermined the loose alliance that defined these people and ultimately facilitated the consolidation of political power. [Harvard Working Paper # 98]
    John Pollack, "Colonial Missionaries and Indian Languages in North America, 1600-1700" Discussion -- Texts that show English and French missionaries struggling to learn and to represent Indian speech and Indian languages are not simple linguistic records, but instead markers of debates within colonies and between colonists and Native populations.
     New French Jesuits and Ursulines sought to master Indian languages as a means of including Native tribes within the French colonial orbit, while New England Puritans initiated a massive effort to print in an "Indian language" for separate Native Christian communities.
    Comprehending the languages of Native America proved to be an unexpected challenge, however, one to which missionaries ultimately responded by drawing newly rigid distinctions between "civilized" and "savage." [HWP# 98016]
    Michael Witgen, "'They Have for Neighbors and Friends the Sioux': The Migration, Adaptation, and Transformation of the Western Ojibwas in the Dakota-Ojibwa Alliance."
     Confronted by the chaos and changes brought by an encroaching Atlantic world in colonial North America, the Western Ojibwas employed cultural adaptation as a survival strategy; and with their success, they transformed themselves, the Dakotas, and...More!

Letter to the Editor

Copyright 1962, 2002 by Yosemite News -

Saturday December 15, 2001
Yosemite Internet Access Denied
Federal Court Order & Comm Blackout Result!
By Amy Williams, Staff Writer

    Snow in the Valley today!YOSEMITE VALLEY -- A federal court order has shut down Internet access throughout the U.S. Department of Interior.
     Last week, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth issued an emergency order shutting down Interior Department computer systems "that have access to individual Indian trust data."
     This after the court learned that the NPS administered Indian Trust Accounts of the Bureau of Indian Affairs had been illegally accessed via the Internet and fraudulent accounts set up.
     A Park official, Scott Gediman told reporters all computers will be shut down in compliance with a Federal Court Order that may not be lifted until some time Thursday.
     Making matters worse, this morning, the AT&T long-distance service to Yosemite Valley was interrupted just as the NPS switched its long-distance carrier, according toRanger Gediman.

    [Editor's Note: During the temporary crisis, some Yosemite National Park questions are being handled by telephone. Lines are jammed. But the number to call is: 800-365-2267 • For Campground reservations in Yosemite National Park dial : 800-436-7275 • For Federal wildlife refuges go to the internet address: • For Phone numbers for state offices of the Bureau of Land Managementgo to the web site: • And for Federal parks and recreation areas go to the werb site: ]

Letter to the Editor

Copyright 1962, 2001 by Yosemite News -

Saturday August 25, 2001
Climbers are Eye Witnesses
Falling Fatality from Half Dome!
By Amy Williams, Staff Writer

    YOSEMITE -- Dan Horner of the NPS released a report that three Spanish climbers saw a person fall from the top of Half Dome and hit the ground about 250 feet from their position around 6:30 a.m. on August 17th.
     They then descended to Yosemite Valley and reported the incident around 9:30 a.m.
    The park's search & rescue and helitack teams and a special agent flew to the area, investigated, and recovered the body.
     No identification was found on the victim, and he remained unidentified until his fingerprints were matched those of Vladimir Boutkovski, a 24-year-old Santa Clara man. He was identified through fingerprint matches on file with the State of California.
     The death is being investigated as a possible suicide.

Letter to the Editor

Copyright 1962, 2001 by Yosemite News -

Friday August 24, 2001
Governors Call For Action
Secretaries of State Join In!
By Chuck Burley, Contributor

    YOSEMITE -- On Friday, The Western Governors Association and the Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior signed a 10-year comprehensive strategy to address issues associated with wildfires.
     The strategy for improved prevention and suppression of wildfires calls for aggressive thinning and...More!

Letter to the Editor

Copyright 1962, 2001 by Yosemite News -

Saturday August 19, 2001
Climbing At Yosemite
Isn't What It Used To Be!
With nylon ropes & steely nerves Project Bandaloop
performs Yosemite Falls ballet high above Merced River.

Compiled by Amy Williams, Staff Research

Photo - Pete McBrideYOSEMITE VALLEY -- Unlike most conventional choreography and dance, the Baldaloop Project that recently visited Yosemite avoids an on-site public audience.
     Though some may venture out to watch the performance live, this is art made in the vast silence of the wilderness.
    It is a performance without traditional trappings. The performers do not know the "script" of the action before they set out. The site-specific nature of the dance and the story of the event will unfold during the process.
     Project Bandaloop is committed to respecting the wilderness and will adhere to low impact ethics...More!

Letter to the Editor

Copyright 1962, 2001 by Yosemite News -

Monday August 6, 2001
In The Cool, Cool, Cool
Of A Carson City Trek on Mt. Rose!
By Sam Bauman

    YOSEMITE -- It maybe hot but the hiking in the Sierra Nevada remains a cool pleasure. Once above the 7,000-foot level it cools off nicely.
     Well, maybe not all that cool. However, plenty of treks on the agenda. This Saturday the people at Sporting Rage shop at 4338 S. Carson St. in Carson City Nevada will lead a free group hike up Mt. Rose.
     This is not a hike for couch potatoes as some steep terrain is involved. But the trip is worth the effort. Meet at the store at 8 a.m. to sign up and work out car pooling.
     And maybe you'll want to check out the collection of kayaks on display. Enough to make you get out the checkbook. The usual gear is suggested: lots of water, sunscreen, a picnic lunch and camera with plenty of film.
     Also on Saturday the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest-Carson Ranger District (got all that?) is leading a two-mile walk through the Hope Valley meadow at 10:30 a.m. More than just a hike, this trek will include a discussion of stream dynamics, sheep and shepherds and a look at Basque tree art.
     This is about a three hour trip so take a lunch and wear hiking shoes. Suitable for ages 8 and up. Take Highway 88 west past Woodfords and at the junction of Highways 88-89, continue about a mile to the bridge which crosses the Carson River.
     Park beyond there. For a guide to bears of the area, head for the Hope Valley campground Saturday at 4 p.m. There the Rangers will tell you most of what you need to know about dealing with bears around the Sierra Nevada.
     Topics include how to camp safely in bear territory and what to do when you encounter a bear. There are many so-called ways to deal with these furry fellows but not all of them work.
     Spend 45 minutes at this gathering and come away richer. Be sure and take something to sit on. The campground is in the Hope Valley about 2.5 miles west on Highway 88 from Pickets Junction.
     Look for a turnoff to the camp. Drive south on this road for 1.5 miles and look for the sign to the campground. On Sunday join the Rangers at Carson Pass at 11 a.m. for a look at the Gold Rush Trail.
     This part of the Sierra Nevada was the major route to California for 49ers and traces of their route abound. The Rangers will discuss the pioneers who passed through this area and will point out a pioneer grave, 49er inscriptions and the Devil's Ladder.
     Figure on an hour and a half for this. Pick up Highway 88 out of Minden and drive through Woodfords, Hope Valley and Carson Pass. Park on the paved dead end road that heads south off 88 about a tenth of a mile past the Carson Pass Information Center.
    Parking fee is $3. It's a bit off but you might want to make plans to join the Tahoe Rim Trail Association as the group celebrates the completion of the 150-mile Rim Trail Sept. 22-23.
     This is going to be a major event for outdoors folk and will surely be covered by the national media. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., will be the speaker Sept. 22 along with trail founder Glenn Hampton.
     Site is about 4 miles east of Brockway Summit and Northstar-at-Tahoe and Alpine Meadows will furnish buses. There's to be a gala banquet and auctions at Harrah's South Lake Tahoe Saturday night.
     If you've ever worked on a trail of been around when volunteers were creating the Rim Trail you can appreciate the incredible amount of work that has gone into the Rim Trail.
     It's something Nevadans can take pride in. A GONDOLA HIKE Heavenly in South Lake Tahoe is now offering hiking at the top of its new gondola and I thought I'd give it a try. Nice thing is that the gondola lifts you almost 3,000 feet about the Lake and allows riders to hop off at the vista deck before continuing.
     The view there is simply the best around the lake - 360-degrees. It's camera-land if there ever was one. From the deck you can hop back on the gondola to ride to the top near the Tamarack six-pack ski lift.
     Heavenly has recognized that most riders are going to be flatland tourists and has marked out three levels of trails: easy, moderate and strenuous, making the trails with white, blue and black disks.
     The trails are almost all on utility roads so the going is easy. I tried a blue trail from the gondola to East Peak where Heavenly has a lodge and an artifical lake used for snowmaking in the winter. Most of the trail going to the peak is downhill but coming back it obviously is uphill.
    Elevation gain is probably under 1,000 feet so for locals it's a stroll. Distance is 3.8 miles round trip. Day I was there about 10 people made it to the lake, plus one fisherman who was dutifully fly fishing.
(I understand this is a paid fishing lake, fly fishing and release only.)
    For me the most interesting aspect of the hike was seeing all those ski runs that I have whizzed down in the past in their summer dress.
     I now understand why Little Dipper run bumps up so quickly! Only problem with hiking the gondola is the $20 fee for using the gondola.
     But if you're a season pass holder at Heavenly you can ride free. Incidentally, the old tram at California base is in limited operation for weddings and parties.
     Word is that the tram will have to go eventually under a deal with the Forest Service. Seems a shame to close it down.

Letter to the Editor

Copyright 1962, 2001 by Yosemite News -

Friday August 3, 2001
Conserving Redwood Forests
Industry Employs More Biologists Than Foresters!
By Amy Williams, Staff Writer

    YOSEMITE -- Unlike many wood species, redwood is harvested primarily from privately-owned land. This makes redwood lumber companies the guardians of the birds, animals and fish that live on their property.
Owl Woodcut      It is a role they take seriously. In fact, the industry employs more biologists than foresters. An example is The Pacific Lumber Company’s unique and successful fisheries program which has won a Wildlife Stewardship Award from the American Forest & Paper Association. Pacific is working in voluntary cooperation with the California Department of Fish and Game, the Humboldt Fish Action Council, the California Conservation Corps, as well as other groups .
     So far, Pacific’s program has released more than 750,000 salmon and steelhead into streams, and it has opened up more than 30 miles of in-stream habitat for migrating fish.
     Pacific's fisheries biologist explains, “Since the early 1990’s, we have been fertilizing and incubating fish eggs at our Yager fish hatchery. The salmon and steelhead are then placed in rearing ponds, and most are released into local streams when they are between six and nine inches long.”
     Habitat is also carefully monitored and evaluated. This process includes watershed analysis, biological sampling, and identifying potential erosion and sediment problems and ways to prevent adverse environmental impacts. Foresters have learned from experts how to harvest trees in order to minimize erosion on the hillsides and to keep streams clear of silt.
     Much work has also been done to stabilize banks, install stream structures to create spawning pools, dredge existing silt and construct fish ladders to help salmon and steelhead return to their spawning beds.
     A regional director of the National Marine Fisheries Service recently inspected the program and enthused, “This is the way to go. We have to get beyond seeing it as loggers vs. fishermen vs. government.” In fact, the Service has made Pacific’s program a model for other communities.
     Permits for logging are scrutinized by the State to ensure that wildlife is adequately protected. The The Pacific Lumber Company’s fisheries program is only one example of how the redwood industry has taken regulations far beyond the legal requirements to create widely-praised, long- term habitat conservation programs.

    [Editor's Note: Click here for The U.S. Forest Service Web Site link].

Letter to the Editor

Copyright 1962, 2001 by Yosemite News -

Thursday July 19, 2001
By Edward Davidian, Staff Writer

    YOSEMITE -- The Sierra Club's current leadership is asking members to invest money in shares of companies that meet the club's strict standards for environmental performance.
     The move could raise public concern over the non-profit mission of the Club. Additional funds for lobbying Congress to make laws the Sierra club supports would be tax deductible...More!

Letter to the Editor

Copyright 1962, 2001 by Yosemite News -

Thursday Juy 12, 2001
Senate Amendment Dumped
On New Energy Supplies

Mark Trail, Contributor

     WASHINGTON - The U.S. Senate's bipartisan vote to block the sale of Alabama energy leases today by the Senate reinforces the bipartisan consensus we reached on the issue of exploring for new energy supplies off the coast of Alabama.
     This is a victory for all Americans who desire environmentally responsible energy production and stable energy prices at the gas pump and in their home-heating bills," Ms. Norton told reporters.
     "This compromise is based on an underlying belief that using today's technology, we can protect the environment and develop needed energy resources.
     Since 1985, energy producers in the Gulf of Mexico's Outer Continental Shelf have produced more than five billion barrels of oil. Thanks to American ingenuity and high-tech advances, of that amount, only .001 percent - just one-one-thousandth of a percent - was released.
     By comparison, naturally occurring oil seeps from the Shelf are 150 times greater than these releases from OCS production.
    Norton said, "The compromise was worked out between my department and the governors of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. The compromise is an example of how we can work with those closest to an issue - people in local communities - to develop our nation's energy in an environmentally responsible way that respects the views of all side."

Letter to the Editor

Copyright 1962, 2001 by Yosemite News -

Tuesday, July 10, 2001
Human Skull Unearthed
Remains Identified!
By Edward Davidian, Staff Writer Yosemite News

      YOSEMITE VALLEY - - Michael Randall, 26, has been missing from his Bay Area home since July, 1999. On Friday, a skull found last month in Yosemite National Park was confirmed by the Park Service to be that of Mr. Randall.
     A park employee made the grisley find in Yosemite's remote Back Country, a few miles from the Tuolumne Meadows Campground.
    Mr. Randall's family told investigators that he had worked at the Yosemite concessions for several summers.
     Park Service rangers told reporters that Randall may have wandered off marked trails in the area.

Letter to the Editor
Copyright 1962, 2001 by Yosemite News -

Monday, July 9, 2001
Donner Party Reprise
Chautauqua presentation!
By Edward Davidian, Staff Writer Yosemite News

      MINDEN PARK, Calif. -- Doris Dwyer, a history professor at Western Nevada Community College, announced she will hold a Chautauqua presentation of Donner Party survivor Margaret Breen Monday night in Minden Park in Douglas County.
     The program, sponsored by the Friends of the Douglas County Library, will begin at 6:30 p.m. Due largely to Margaret Breen’s efforts, the Breens were one of only two families in the Donner Party to survive without loss of life that storied winter of 1846 stranded in the snowy Sierra Nevada.

Letter to the Editor

Copyright 1962, 2001 by Yosemite News -

Sunday, July 8, 2001
Drought & Water Wars
Diversion of Klamath Riles Indians!
By William Heartstone, Staff Writer Yosemite News

      TULELAKE, Calif. -- Along the California-Oregon border the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has just cut off irrigation water and diverting it for endangered fish species.
     The Indian tribes depend on the water for their survival. And residents of the northernmost California border town of Tulelake are at odds over the diversion,
    Most residents in the town got their land under the U.S. Homestead Act for military veterans or as part of the Klamath Project, which diverts water to about 200,000 acres of farmland used by about 1,400 farms and ranches.
    Klamath RefugeThis summer there is a drought in Northrn California and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is diverting water to protect the habitat of the endangered sucker fish and threatened coho salmon  in Upper Klamath Lake, Tule Lake and Lower Klamath refuges were created in 1928, Tule Lake Refuge encompasses 39,116 acres of mostly open water and croplands.
    Approximately 17,000 acres are leased by farmers under a program administered by Reclamation. Refuge permit holders farm another 1,900 acres of cereal grain and alfalfa.
     These crops, together with the waste grain and potatoes from the lease program are a major food source for migrating and wintering waterfowl. Established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1908, Lower Klamath Refuge is our nation's first waterfowl refuge.
     This 46,900 acre Refuge is a varied mix of shallow freshwater marshes, open water, grassy uplands, and croplands that are intensively managed to provide feeding, resting, nesting, and brood rearing habitat for waterfowl and other water birds.
     The largest gathering of eagles in the "lower 48" states occurs at this refuge. Seasonal wetlands are wetlands that are dry in summer but are flooded in fall in preparation for the fall waterfowl migration.
     These wetlands provide a host of natural seed and invertebrate food resources to the migrants and are a key to providing habitat to a large proportion (30-40%) of the Pacific Flyway waterfowl population.
     The Klamath River does not have sufficient water this season to provide needed irrigation and some farms in the Tule Lake drainage basin that rely on the Klamath Project have seen pastures and fields drying up.
    The Klamath Project farmers have reported losses of as much as $200 million by the first week in July. The enormous wildlife refuge near Tulelake, which sits in the Pacific Flyway heavily used by migratory geese and ducks.
    The Yurok Tribe has established a tribal government with over 4,000 members who live along affection regions of the Klamath River. The Yoruk cite a binding treaty with the U.S. Government that guarantees"as long as the grass grows, the wind blows, and the sky is blue" the right to make a living by fishing the Klamath River.
     According to Yurok sources, tribal unemployment amonf the neighboring Klamath Tibe is already at a critical level.

    [Editor's Note: Click here for National Park Service links to the Klamath Basin Wildlife Refuge.

Letter to the Editor

Copyright 1962, 2001 by Yosemite News -


Friday, July 6, 2001
Yosemite Naturalist

Death Shouldn't Have Happened!
By Liliy Boenke, Contributor

CLOVIS -- I have been suffering over Yosemite Naturalist Joie Ruth Armstrong's death for the past year going on two. Joie was a role model of mine, and still is.
     I met her at Yosemite's Crane Flat Resort. I was part of the People To People Student Ambassador Program delagation. Joie was a naturlist/trail guide for our program.
     She inspired me and I looked up to her in many ways. She had a radiant personality. She was independent and most of all she cared about me.
     July 3, 1999 was the last day I saw her. I want to thank the editors of The Fresno Republican Newspaper for the article about her. Copyright 1877-2001.

[Editors Note: Click link for For related storties about Joie Armstrong's death.]

    Letter to the Editor

Copyright 1877, 2001 by Fresno Republican newspapers. All Rights Reserved.

July 5, 2001

    PATTERSON, Shirley Louise Carr -- 68, passed away peacefully on July 7. She is survived by her sons, Douglas and Steven Patterson; her siblings, Cathy, Dorothy, Barbara, Eleanor, Walter, Will; and her beloved grandchildren, Hunter and Ian.
     Shirley was a longtime resident of the SF Peninsula Area and recently of her cherished Sierra Mountains. She devoted her life to raising her sons and was fond of wildflowers, travel and teddy bears.
     She was a graduate of SJ State Univ. and an active Sigma Kappa alumnus. Friends and family are invited to attend a memorial Saturday, July 7 at 1:00 p.m. at Darling Fischer Campbell Memorial Chapel, 231 E. Campbell Ave., Campbell, Calif.
     Donations in the memory of' to Yosemite National Park, Superintendent, P.O. Box 577, Yosemite, CA 95389.

Letter to the Editor

Copyright 1962, 2001 by Yosemite News -

Monday, June 25, 2001
Ceremonial Burial of Bear
After Ranger Tranquilizer Dart Mishap!
By Mary Brownfield, Carmel Pine Cone

     CARMEL, Calif. - - The wayward bear that died after being hit with a Fish & Game Dept. tranquilizer dart May 23 was buried in a Native American burial ceremony June 9, according to Mary Ann Kline.
    Kline and other members of local Native American groups asked the California Department of Fish and Game for permission to bury the animal. "The bear is very sacred to all native peoples," said Kline.
     On June 9 Rob Floerke, fish and game manager for the central coast, issued a permit for ceremonial burial of the bear to Kline, representing numerous native American groups, and to Rudy Rosales, representing the Ohlone/ Coastanoan Tribe of Monterey County.
     The same day, they conducted the burial ceremony on private property at an undisclosed location in the Carmel Hill area. The bear's remains had been kept at a Santa Cruz fish and game facility since a necropsy was performed May 25.
     A property owner donated a burial spot for the bear, according to Kline, and she and others dug a grave in the rocky soil after collecting ceremonial herbs, Monterey Bay salmon and other items.
     Participants purified the grave site and all in attendance by burning sage, Kline said, and she and three others -- representing the Ohlone, the Ahmah Mutsun and the Esselen -- stood around the grave in the positions of north, south, east and west to offer prayers and songs honoring the bear, she said.
     "There were many native people who came from afar to take place in the ceremony of the bear -- one from as far as British Columbia and one from the Mono Lake area -- and all partook in the ceremony," she said, adding that fish and game wardens, the property owners and a handful of others also came.
     "All the people had wonderful revelations on why the bear had come and what may come from this sad occurrence," she said.
     Offerings of berries, salmon, honey, abalone shells, tobacco and sage were made to the bear, which was then shrouded in material, according to Kline. She also read a poem written by Carmelite Nancy Doolittle the day the bear died.
    "And then all the participants offered the earth to the bear by burying it, and I offered a prayer at that time that this would be a healing for the bear clan -- a time of healing and peace that all would stay together as one," she said.
   "We then formed a circle around a drum, blessed it with tobacco and stage and sang four ceremonial songs offered to the great spirit to send the bear home."
     Although all involved decided to keep the time and location of the ceremony a secret until after it was completed, Kline said she is glad to say the sad tale of the fallen bear has come to an end. "We are now able to let the people know there's been a kind of closure," she said.
     The matter was made public after publication of the following News Release by, Rob Floerke Regional Manager Central Coast Region: "In accordance with provisions of Section 1007 of the California Fish and Game Code, permission is hereby granted to: May Anne Kine, representing the following: Indian Canyon band of Coastanoan Mutsun Indians , Ahmah Band of Ohlone Coastanoan Indians, Esselen Tribe of Monterey County, Coastanoan Rumsen Counci, Coastanoan/Ohlone Rumsen-Ritocsi, Rudy Rosales, presenting Ohlone/Coastanoan Tribe of Monterey County (All the above hereinafter referred to as the "Tribe") to possess for ceremonial and burial purposes one black bear carcass. The Tribe may possess the bear carcass only under the following conditions and requirements: 1. The privileges conferred by this letter apply only to one black bear carcass that accidentally sustained fatal injuries from a fall during the Department of Fish and Game's efforts to tranquilize and remove the bear from the City of Carmel on May 23, 2001. 2. The Tribe shall notify the Department of Fish and Game of the time and location of the ceremonial worship and the burial of the carcass. The location site for burial shall meet with the Department's approval. The burial shall take place within 30 days of the date of this letter. 3. The carcass will be buried in the same condition as it is received from the Department and no parts will be removed from this carcass. 4. Prior to burial of the carcass, the Tribe shall provide access to the burial sites, exhibit the specimen and/for this permit to any persons authorized to enforce fish and game laws. 6. Nothing in this letter authorizes the Tribe to violate any federal or state law or regulation or local ordinance. The privileges conferred by this letter shall expire at the time the burial is completed or 30 days from the date of this letter, which ever comes first. Prior to its expiration, carcass may be returned by the Tribe to the Department of Fish and Game in the condition in which it was received. Upon a finding by the Department of Fish and Game that the carcass has been used or maintained contrary to the conditions specified herein - the Department of Fish and Game may revoke the privileges conferred by this letter and immediately seize the carcass."

Letter to the Editor

Copyright 1962, 2001 by Yosemite News -

Feature Link
Monday June 25, 2001
Yosemite Summer
Crazy love became heartbreak when I found out that
Edward was in love with another guy instead of me.

By Catherine Davis

    When I was 19, I lived in Yosemite National Park for a summer and fell in love with a gay man. I can see now that I must have known, at least subconsciously, that he was gay. But at the time, I was so crazy about this guy I couldn't see straight.
Go To Salon Story! The attention he showered on me was captivating, like the first sun of the season on bare shoulders. I closed my eyes, basked in the glow and never considered how an affair with him might end. Edward was 25 and had blond hair that fell in big, loose curls around his tan and chiseled face. We worked together at the village store in Yosemite.
     It was dingy and dirty from the dust of Yosemite in the summer, and constantly filled with tourists who had driven from all over the country just so they could wait in line to buy Yosemite toaster tongs or laminated El Capitán place mats.
     The store sold sweatshirts with neon graphics, the worst of which was a bestseller: It had "Stokin at the Dome!" emblazoned across a hot pink outline of Yosemite's famous Half Dome.
     Edward had spent the last few winters in Colorado as a ski bum doing odd jobs, and his... More!

Letter to the Editor

Copyright 2001

Sunday June 24, 2001
Historic Dayton Park Funds
Passes House Test
On Way To Senate
Yosemite News Staff

     YOSEMITE VALLEY - - The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill that includes more than $3.62 million for the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historic Park. .
     The funding will cover exhibit development, operations and construction for the park and a related federal commission. The measure also urges the National Park Service to increase operating funds for the Dayton park to initiate educational programming and add staff in time for the 2003 centennial celebration of powered aviation.
     The park includes the Huffman Prairie Flying Field on Wright Patterson Air Force Base, the Wright Brothers Aviation Center in Carillon Historical Park, as well as the Wright Brothers bicycle shop and print shop building and the Paul Laurence Dunbar home, all in west Dayton.
     The money was contained in the fiscal year 2002 Department of the Interior Appropriations Bill, which funds the National Park Service and other Interior Department agencies. The legislation now faces scrutiny in the U.S. Senate.

Letter to the Editor

Copyright 1962, 2001 by Yosemite News -

Saturday June 23, 2001
The Art and Beauty
Of Fly Fishing
Mark Trail, Contributor

     YOSEMITE VALLEY - - Fly fishing figures prominently in a visit to Yosemite for some visitors. But, even if fishing in not on your agenda, you might like to read a very special interpretation of its finer points in "A River Runs Through It" by Norman Maclean.  
     It's much more than Izaak Walton  casting lore, it is the story of two brothers growing up under the stern rule of their Presbyterian minister father in the rugged northern reaches of Montana in the 1930's.
     While both rebel, Norman channels his rebellion into writing, but Paul descends on to a slippery slope leading to self-destruction.
     The book was adapted in an Academy Award  winning film a few seasons back. The film, A River Runs Through It,, is not only one of the most beautiful human stories of recent memory, it's also one of the most poignant. With the film's narration by Robert Redford, the viewer is imbued with a feeling of peace and comfort very close to that experienced by many visitors to Yosemite's back country. But beneath the natural tranquility of the region is a human nature that can't be controlled. It is in the wild character of Paul, the gorgeous, enthusiastic brother of Norman (the narrator).
     In the subtle theme of this work the reader is permitted to see the essence of character and the truthfulness in the two brothers.
     Both show not only the love that brothers have, and the fiercely combative spirit and jealously and love that only real life brothers can sympathize with.
     Against these turbulent emotions is cast the flowing streams and the implacable art of fly fishing. Through the art and practice of expert fly fishing, we are permitted to see the importance of balancing somewhat shallow human character with deeply held personal spiritual values.
     Just as Norman follows his religious beliefs, Paul is seen abandoning his and in this, he becomes an artist.
     In this deeply human story we come to see that fly fishing isn't only about the catching fish; it's where we come to terms with the forces of Nature. It is where we learn to understand our own limits.
     Maclean's autobiography A River Runs Through It   left me with the thrill that I often experience here in Yosemite.
     I see Norman at the end of the narrative, wisely listening to the the river, hearing more than the sound of the rushing water and wind. He is haunted by realization of the power of natural forces around him, and Nature's disinterest in human affairs.
     This work gave me a new appreciation for and sensitivity to the art and beauty that is fly fishing in Yosemite.

    [Editor's Note: The art of fly fishing is a gentle, easy sport for people of all ages. The Merced River below Yosemite is a classic Sierra stream with beautiful wild Rainbow Trout and prolific insect hatches. The quiet waters of Yosemite Valley are home to some of California's most challenging Brown Trout in spring creek settings. The many small streams of the back country also provide a perfect setting for the beginning fly fisher with fast action for small wild fish. Outside the Park at El Portal, there is prime access to the Merced River's year-round fishing. There is seasonal access to many high-country lakes and streams. Please observe the catch and release  wilderness ethic of the Yosemite Guides in appreciation and preservation of the environment.]

Letter to the Editor

Copyright 1962, 2001 by Yosemite News -

Friday, June 22, 2001
Annual Indian Pow Wow
Dancers InTehachapi!

Amy Williams, Staff Writer Yosemite News

     YOSEMITE VALLEY - - The age-old traditions of American Indians will presented at the 17th annual Indian powwow to be held Saturday and Sunday at the Indian Hills Campground.
     Powwow guests can watch as American Indians perform the hoop, the eagle and Aztec dances, as well as see them compete in a variety of dance contests.
     The event also will offer American Indian arts and crafts, such as jewelry, and native foods like Navajo tacos and Indian fried bread. Pony rides will be available for children and entertainment will be supplied by a number of musical performers, including fiddler Will James.
     Saturday's event begins at 10 a.m. and runs until 9 p.m. On Sunday, the gates open at 10 a.m. and close at 6 p.m. Tickets are $6 for adults and $3 for seniors and for children under 12.
     Pre-sale tickets, $5 for adults and $2 for seniors and children, can be purchased at the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Tehachapi, 209 E. Tehachapi Blvd., or at Nature's Pantry, next to Albertsons.
     Signs directing visitors to the campground will be posted along Highline and Banducci roads.

Letter to the Editor

Copyright 1962, 2001 by Yosemite News -

Wednesday, June 20, 2001
$900 Mil For
Open Space Recreation!

Michael Smith, Staff Writer Yosemite News

     YOSEMITE VALLEY - - In a speech at Oak Mountain State Park, Alabama , President Bush is expected to announce his administration's intent to spend $900 million for the land and water fund  to provide federal agencies and states with tax money to buy open space and build recreational facilities. This at the expense of cutting a large list of promised wetlands conservation  programs.
     Observers have noted that the House subcommittee is not going along with Mr. Bush on his raiding og conservation accounts only obtained by a bipartisan compromise last year.
     At issue is a $100 million wildlife grant program that is being invaded, together with the $30 million fund to protect urban parkland. Worse yet, there is also that $60 million set-aside for forests preserve.
     It just been learned that Mr. Bush now wants to cut $2.7 billion from the congressional conservation  progeram over the next six years.
    The Bush White House is admitting this morning that Mr. Bush budget is cutting funding for every key federal environmental agency. White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan told reporters, "The president's philosophy is based on a commitment to bolstering conservation, and at the same time empowering states and local communities to determine which conservation initiatives are most valuable for them."
     Mr. Bush released his budget in April, as the freshly appointed Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton was telling the press, "This historic budget fulfills President Bush's commitment to investing in America's natural resources and provides the states not only with historic levels of funding but with unprecedented flexibility to use that funding."

Letter to the Editor

Copyright 1962, 2001 by Yosemite News -

Thursday July 21, 1994

Pit River Indian Skirmish
9th Circuit throws Tribe out of court.

By Howard Hobbs, Ph.D., Editor

SACRAMENTO -- The Northeastern California Pit River Indians had always been a loosely organized collection of several groups if Indian families. In 1938, the U.S. Department of Interior attempted to centralize these groups into a unified "Tribe" when Interior purchased the XL Ranch just outside of Alturas, California.
     It is a large property along the Pit River of approximately 9,000 acres located Modoc County, California. The acquisition was made under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 [25 U.S.C. 461-92]. The huge hay and cattle ranch was taken by grant "in trust for such Bands of the Pit River Indians of the State of California ..." by the Secretary of the Interior."
     There is a colorful history surrounding this particular real estate. In the late 1930s, the U.S. government purchased property, called the XL Ranch in trust for the Pit River Indian Tribe. It had not, at that time, been designated an official "Tribe" but it was anticipated that the designation as a recognized tribe was imminent.
     In the early 1940s, the U.S. granted revokable occupancy rights in the XL Ranch to the Pit River Home and Agricultural Cooperative Association . It consisted of a small group of Pit River Indians.
     The Association remained on the property until 1977, when the XL Ranch was turned over to the Bureau of Indian Affairs to manage until the Secretary of the Department of Interior determined the composition of the Pit River Indian Tribe and if it would be the permanent beneficiary of the property. In 1987, the Secretary designated the Pit River Tribal Council as the governing body of the Pit River Indian Tribe and vested it as the permanent beneficiary of the XL Ranch.
     In the meanwhile an extensive and drawn out series of law suits ensued out of arguments over custody of the XL Ranch and the Association's request for recognition of its status as both a federally-recognized Indian tribe and its claim to access and control of the XL Ranch as the sole beneficiary of the Trust. Out of this clamor evolved a subsidiary litigation in which the Council claimed common trespass against Mr. Erin Forrest, a leader of the Association and the director of the Modoc Indian Health Project, Inc. Those claims were dismissed by the Distract Court, and the 9th Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the parties' claims.
     The historic Pit River Indians had never been organized as a single tribal organization with traditional tribal leaders. Instead, they were a loosley knit collection of eleven widely dispersed bands with a common language and culture located in what is now northeastern California.
     Each band had a land area in which it enjoyed a preferred status, but the bands cooperated with each other in some activities, including defending the whole Pit River area against outside raiders. At the time of the Secretary's acquisition, many of the Pit River Indians were members of a tribal association located on the Upper Pit River area to the North on what is called the XL Ranch near Alturas, CA.
     The Association occupied the XL Ranch from 1941 to 1977. Two important additions were made to the Ranch during this time. First, the Department of the Interior acquired for the benefit of the Ranch an easement over other land which included the right to use and store water from the Lauer Reservoir.
     Unlike the original grant of the XL Ranch this easement was taken by "the United States of America in trust for the Pit River Home and Agricultural Association." The parties dispute whose funds were used to purchase this easement. Second, the Secretary exchanged 13.85 acres of the XL Ranch land for property of the State of California. As was the case with the easement, the United States of America took title to this newly acquired land in trust for the Association.
     The current dispute generated from the Secretary's long delay in designating the bands or band members that were to comprise the Pit River Indian Tribe. During the delay, another group of Pit River Indians, the Council, organized and claimed entitlement to the XL Ranch a clash of interests followed.
     It was not until the early 1970s, in response to a petition from the Association and the Council, that the Secretary finally began to address the issue of which bands should be designated collectively as the permanent beneficiary of the XL Ranch.
The Secretary initiated designation proceedings before an Administrative Law Judge who, after two years, recommended allowing the Association members to retain their individual plots in the Ranch and to divide up the remainder into plots to be allocated among other groups of Pit River Indians.
    The Secretary rejected the judge's recommendation, however, finding that none of the Pit River Indian groups had established their entitlement to the property to the exclusion of other groups. Instead, the Secretary determined that "... the whole Pit River Indian Tribe or Nation when it has organized to include all elements of the Pit River Indians and has received Secretarial approval of the constitution adopted for this purpose, should be designated the beneficial owner of the XL Ranch.
     By the late 1970s, the Secretary had designated the Council as governing body of the beneficiary and revoked the Association's rights in the XL Ranch. The Secretary, however, withdrew its approval of the Council's constitution in the early 1980s, placing the BIA in control of the Ranch.
     Finally, after various meetings, drafts, and two referenda in which members of the Association participated, the Council ratified a constitution that met with the Secretary's approval. On December 3, 1987, the Secretary approved the new constitution and designated the Council as the governing body of the Pit River Indian Tribe, beneficiary of the XL Ranch.  
     Meanwhile, litigation had been proceeding in earnest. Perhaps, he core litigation was the Association's suit against the United States and the Secretary of the Interior.
    Early in that litigation, the United States moved to dismiss the Association's complaint for, among other reasons, failure of the Association to join an indispensable party, the Council. The district court denied the motion to dismiss [Pit River Home and Agric. Coop. Ass'n v. United States, No. S-75-505 (E.D.Cal. filed Apr. 17, 1978)].
    In its ruling, the court held that the Council was a necessary party within the meaning of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 19(a). However, the court deferred its decision under Rule 19(b) on whether the Council was an indispensable party, since the record was insufficiently developed to determine whether the Council was a duly recognized tribe entitled to sovereign immunity.
     In response to the district court's ruling, the Association added the Council as a defendant in its Fourth Amended Complaint. These proceedings ultimately were dismissed by the district court as both moot and unripe when the Secretary revoked its approval of the Council's constitution [Pit River Home and Agric. Coop. Ass'n v. United States, No. S-75-505 (E.D.Cal. filed Dec. 20, 1985)]. When the Association asserted anew its claims to the XL Ranch in 1988 by way of answer and cross-counterclaim to a suit filed by the Council, it dropped the Council as defendant. The Association strenuously asserted in its appellate brief that it has no claims against the Council.
     The Association claimed that it was a federally recognized Indian band with trust status, and that the United States and Secretary breached the government's trust obligation to it by revoking the Assignment of the Ranch. The Association's argument that it was the beneficial owner hinged on its assertions that it satisfied "the conditions" to the Assignment - namely a requirement of beneficial use - and that the government's revocation of the Assignment and refusal to defend the Association's rights to the property against the Council constituted a breach of the United States' fiduciary duty.
     On appeal the only claimstill pending was the Council's suit for common law trespass against Erin Forrest. But before the appellate panel could rule on the merits of the claim, the Association's attorney died.
     When the Association moved to substitute a new attorney without approval of Association members in the decision to choose the attorney. The Association then made the claim that, as a federally recognized tribe, it had sovereign immunity and, thus, the court could not review its internal tribal processes.
     After a lengthy two-day evidentiary hearing on the matter on July 18, 1985, the court concluded that the Association was not a federally recognized tribe. The court, then proceeded to allow the Association to substitute counsel as an unincorporated organization under California law.
     On November 15, 1988, the district court dismissed the Association's claims. Because the court found that the Association's claims were based on its status as a federally recognized tribe, which status had been rejected on July 18, 1985, and was now law of the case, the court lacked jurisdiction over the claims.
     The Association declined the court's suggestion that it amend its complaint to allege a cause of action not based on its tribal status.
     In due course, on September 5, 1990, the district court entered its final order. The court dismissed the Council's claim for common law trespass against Forrest, finding that the Council lacked the requisite possessory interest in the Ranch when Forrest allegedly trespassed on the land.
     The Association then appealed the district court's orders of July 18, 1985, and November 15, 1988, seeking reversal of the district court's determination that it was not a federally recognized tribe and a declaration that it is the beneficial owner of the Ranch, Lauer Reservoir, and 13.85 acre parcel. The Council appealed the district court's final order dismissing its common law trespass claims against Forrest.
     The Appellate court ruled that federally recognized Indian tribes do enjoy sovereign immunity from suit. As the Supreme Court has stated, "Indian tribes are `domestic dependent nations' that exercise inherent sovereign authority over their members and territories.
     Suits against Indian tribes are thus barred by sovereign immunity absent a clear waiver by the tribe or congressional abrogation." Found in Oklahoma Tax Comm'n v. Citizen Band Potawatomi Indian Tribe of Ok., 498 U.S. 505, 509 111 S.Ct. 905, 909, 112 L.Ed.2d 1112 (1991).
     The Association did not contest that the Council is the federally recognized governing body of the Pit River Indian Tribe, and enjoys sovereign immunity.
    The appellate court also reasoned that the fact the Council brought claims in the district court that are no longer at issue on appeal does not amount to a waiver of sovereign immunity. In any event, the Supreme Court had expressly held that "... a tribe does not waive its sovereign immunity from actions that could not otherwise be brought against it merely because those actions were pleaded in a counterclaim to an action filed by the tribe." Potawatomi Tribe, 498 U.S. at 509, 111 S.Ct. at 909 (citing United States v. United States Fidelity & Guar. Co.,309 U.S. 506, 513, 60 S.Ct. 653. 657, 84 L.Ed. 894 (1940).
     The Appeallate Court ruled that the Council will clearly suffer prejudice if the Association is successful in its claim for beneficial ownership of the Ranch.
     No partial or compromise remedy exists that will not prejudice the Council, since a finding that the Association has rights to the beneficial ownership of the Ranch or that the government owes certain duties to the Association will prejudice the Council's right to govern the Tribe, which is the designated beneficial owner of the land.

     Making matters worse, since the U.S. cannot adequately represent the interests of the Council. This case involves intertribal conflicts that could subject the U.S. to inconsistent duties or obligations.
     In disputes involving intertribal conflicts, the U.S. cannot properly represent any of the tribes without compromising its trust obligations owed to all tribes.
     The only issue that remained, on appeal, was the Association's claims that it was the beneficial owner of the land and that the government has fiduciary obligations to the Association. And there being no alternative forum where the Association could seek declaratory and injunctive relief regarding the beneficial ownership of the Ranch, the appellate court could come to no decision.
     In this case, the Council's interest in maintaining its sovereign immunity outweighs the Association's interest in litigating its claim despite the lack of alternative forum.
     The opinion included these words,"This case serves as one more illustration, however, that "Congress' authority over Indian matters is extraordinarily broad, and the role of courts in adjusting relations between and among tribes and their members correspondingly restrained ... Although the Association does not have an alternative forum in which it may seek injunctive and declaratory relief against the government, we dismiss the Association's claims with prejudice, since the Council is an indispensable party under Rule 19(b).
     On the trespass claim agaunst Erin Forrest, the appellate court found that jurisdiction for the Council's common law trespass claim against Erin Forrest was based on 28 U.S.C. 1331 and 1362. Oneida II, 470 U.S. at 235, 105 S.Ct. at 1252; see also Chilkat Indian Village v. Johnson, 870 F.2d 1469, 1473 (9th Cir. 1989); Gila River Indian Community v. Henningson, Durham & Richardson, 626 F.2d 708, 714 (9th Cir. 1980) (indirectly affirming federal jurisdiction over common law possessory interest claims to Indian trust lands), cert. denied, 451 U.S. 911, 101 S.Ct. 1983, 68 L.Ed.2d 301 (1981).
     The district court dismissed the Council's claim against Forrest on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, finding that the Council lacked possessory interest in the Ranch during the period of Forrest's alleged trespass - November 12, 1976, to February 18, 1981.
     To analyze the possessory rights of the Council, the court reviewed the process of its recognition by the Secretary. On February 3, 1975, the Secretary declared its intent to designate as beneficiary of the XL Ranch "the whole Pit River Tribe or Nation when it has organized to include all elements of the Pit River Indians and has received Secretarial approval of the constitution adopted for this purpose." (1975 Order).
     On November 12, 1976, the Acting Deputy Commissioner on Indian Affairs approved the Council's 1964 constitution and bylaws as a "... provisional constitution and bylaws by which the Tribe shall be governed until a more adequate document is adopted by the voters and approved by the Secretary; provided that this approval shall not be construed as authorizing any action that would be contrary to Federal law." (Provisional Order).
     The Provisional Order provided that approval of a proposed amendment to the 1964 constitution, which dealt with the Council's authority to manage the Ranch, was withheld because of improper voting procedures. In an order dated December 18, 1976, the Sacramento Area Director of the BIA appears to have approved, although the language is somewhat ambiguous, the amended 1964 constitution and appointed the Tribe as beneficial owner of the Ranch (1976 Order).
     The 1976 Order stated: "In that the Commissioner, under delegated authority, has on November 12, 1976, approved a provisional constitution, and such governing document has on December 18, 1976, been appropriately amended as required by the Commissioner, and pursuant to the authority delegated to me ... I hereby designate the Pit River Indian Tribe as the beneficial owner."
     The district court had rejected the Council's finding that the Provisional Order and 1976 Order created a conditional right only and that the Tribe thus had only a contingent possessory interest in the Ranch.
     On appeal the panel found the Association is not a federally recognized tribe and cannot rely on 28 U.S.C. 1362 for subject matter jurisdiction. Its claims were barred because the Council is an indispensable party to this action and cannot be sued based on principles of sovereign immunity.

Then it went further, affirming the district court's order dismissing the Pit River Tribal Council's common law trespass claims against Erin Forrest. The Council lacked possessory interest in the XL Ranch at times it alleges trespass by Forrest.     The court concluded its finding on appeal, "We agree with the sentiment expressed by the district court when it said that after 15 long years of fruitless litigation, this action has finally come to an end. I am hopeful that the parties will take this experience, put it behind them, and get on with their lives."

Letter to the Editor

1994 The American Law Review. All rights reserved.

Monday, June18, 2001
Summer Solstice
High Country Nights!

Edward Davidian, Staff Writer Yosemite News

     YOSEMITE VALLEY - - On Thursday we will be up at midnight watching the summer solstice, On Friday as the Sun reaches the point farthest north of the celestial equator the nights will be the shortest all year with the first total solar eclipse of the 21st Century getting under way,
     The cellestial show will span the South Atlantic and the southern parts of Africa, before ending in the Indian Ocean.
     The Moon’s dark umbral shadow cone touches Earth at 9:37 a.m. Pacific Coast time. Later, over the South Atlantic, totality will last longest: 4 minutes 57 seconds.
     Statistics indicate that a specific geo-graphic location may expect to see a total solar eclipse just once in 375 years on average.
     Finally, late Thursday afternoon, at 9:56 p.m. Pacific Coast time, the planet Mars will be just 41,845,602 miles from the Earth, its closest approach since Oct. 19, 1988.

Letter to the Editor

Copyright 1962, 2001 by Yosemite News -

Friday, June15, 2001
Bear Killed In Campground
Protecting Cubs!

Amy Williams, Staff Writer Yosemite News

     YOSEMITE VALLEY - - The Lower Pines Campground saw an NPS bear capture operation up close and personal on Wednesday. A large number of Park visitors witnessed the incident that resulted in the death of one black bear and the orphaning of her two cubs.
     A Park Service press Release made reference to the incident and depicted the difficult situation that "... helped to educate hundreds of visitors about wildlife in Yosemite."
   At issue was the safety of visitors, not their "education" according to this seasoned Yosemite observer, though I was not at the scene on when the bear was killed. And, this particular bear was well known to rangers for aggressive behavior last season.
    For Tuesday the NPS Log shows this entry,"A sow bear with the tag 'White 32' was captured along with her two cubs. A euthanasia order had been issued."
     Earlier today, the sow and her cubs were in full retreat however. When rangers arrived in the Lower Pines Campground,the bear family had climbed into a tall Jeffery Pine. By min-morning,   the sow and two cubs were back down the tree.
     The sow was separated from her cubs and she was euthanized after displaying aggressive behavior towards people gathering around. .
    Rangers told onlookers the cubs were to be transported to the California Department of Fish and Game, for rehabilitation and release.

Letter to the Editor

Copyright 1962, 2001 by Yosemite News -

Wednesday June 6, 2001
New Park Service Chief
Nominated, Hearing Set

Edward Davidian Staff Writer Yosemite News

     YOSEMITE VALLEY - - Ms.Fran Mainella has been nominated by President George W. Bush to become director of the National Park Service.
     "It's the ultimate position in parks and recreation in the nation," Mainella told reporters Tuesday. "Certainly, it's a dream. But you always strive to be the best in everything you do. I'm just lucky to have the opportunity."
  Mainella is no stranger to public paarks, She has been the director of the Florida Division of Recreation and Parks until receiving President George Bush's nomination to head the NPS.
     She ia set for interviews with the U.S. Senate committee on energy and natural resources lateert this month. Mainella, 54, will remain head of Florida parks during the confirmation process, though she will use annual leave to travel back and forth to Washington for hearings.
    Ms. Mainella was not available for comment to The Yosemite News    staff on Tuesday concerning public issues reelating to 57 national parks and 327 natural and historic sites.
    She spent six years as executive director of the Florida Association of Parks and Recreation before being named head of Florida parks in 1989.
    Mainella's husband, a painter with his own gallery committed suicide in March 1999. Ms. Mainella told reporters Tuesday that her husband's death played a role in her switch from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party in November 1999, as she cited the "kindness and personal help" of Gov. Jeb Bush and Department of Environmental Protection Secretary David Struhs after her husband died. Her husband's death also played a role in her pursuing the post as director of the National Park Service.
     "I think I've always had the ambition. Even when Lee was alive, we talked about the National Park Service," she said. "But at this point, not disrupting anyone's life but mine did make it easier."

Letter to the Editor

Copyright 1962, 2001 by Yosemite News -

Yosemite News FAQ

    Get a free Yosemite Valley shuttle bus. Stops at most overnight accommodations, stores and major vistas.
     Explore the valley along paved bike trails. Rent from Yosemite Lodge (209-372-1274) or Curry Village (209-372-8333). Price: from $5.25 per hour, $20 per day.
     Visit the Ahwahnee Indian village, a reconstructed Native American community next to the visitor's center in Yosemite Village, to see demonstrations of traditional basket weaving, beadworking, acorn grinding and games.
     Marvel at magnificent black and white photos of Yosemite (copies are for sale) at the Ansel Adams Gallery (209-372-4413).
     Walk the easy half-mile trail to the base of 2,425-foot-high Yosemite Falls. Stand in the meadows of Yosemite Valley and slowly turn around, making a game of identifying the park's magnificent domes and pinnacles, El Capitan, Half Dome, Cathedral Spires and the Three Brothers. Raft on the Merced River, with spectacular views at every bend; rent rafts at Curry Village (209-372-8333), $12.50 per adult, $10.50 for children 12 and under.
     Roam the trails at Mariposa Grove among some 500 of the world's largest living things--ancient sequoias with girths up to 97 feet. The 232-foot-high California Tree has a tunnel through it.
     Join a painting class at the Art Activity Center near the Village Store in Yosemite Valley. Classes run most days; just show up and join the group.
     Getting around: Free Yosemite Valley shuttle buses run around eastern Yosemite Valley, Wawona /Mariposa Grove and Tuolumne Meadows.
     Visitors can ride Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System buses from gateway towns to the park entrances (
     Where to stay: Large variety of lodgings inside the park, from basic to luxurious. Curry Village (from $40 per night; 559-252-4848) accommodates 628 guests in wood-frame canvas tents, with or without housekeeping and linen service, or in motel-style rooms. Outside the park, reasonably priced accommodations (from $50) are available 30 miles away in Mariposa (209-966-3685).
     Fun option -- the Skylake Yosemite Family Camp, on Bass Lake, 15 miles from the park's Wawona  erntrance. Activities such as sailing, canoeing and windsurfing are included. Price for three days, including meals: from $150, adults; $99, ages 5-12, under 5, free.
     Lots of camping is available, from about $18 per day. Book through the Reservation Service (800-436-7275; Worth a splurge: Saddle up for a horseback ride from Yosemite Valley Stables (209-372-8348). Rates: from $37.50.
     Take a two-hour night tram tour to see the star-spangled sky. Contact Yosemite Lodge (209-372-1240). Price: adults, $20; children, 5-12, $15; under 5, free. Admission: $20 per vehicle for seven-day pass.
     Resources: Yosemite National Park, P.O. Box 577, Yosemite, CA 95389; 209-372-0200;

Letter to the Editor

Copyright 1962, 2001 by Yosemite News -

Tuesday May 16, 2001
Federal Recognition
For Coast Miwok Tribe

Edward Davidian Staff Writer Yosemite News

    YOSEMITE -- Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey (D-Petaluma) on Tuesday testified before the House Resources Committee in support of her legislation to restore federal recognition to the Coast Miwok Tribe.
     Wolf Ridge Headlands"The tribes of the Graton Rancheria are a rich part of the North Bay's cultural heritage," Woolsey told reporters. "Terminating their status was wrong when it was done nearly 50 years ago, and it would be wrong now for us to continue to deny them their recognition that they deserve."
     Miwok Tribal Chairman
Greg Sarris joined Woolsey at Tuesday's hearing to support her bill H.R. 946, the Graton Rancheria Restoration Act, which restores all federal rights and privileges to the tribe and its members. Official recognition would reinstate the Miwoks' political status and make them eligible for benefits now available to other federally recognized tribes, such as Native American health, education, and housing services.
     The U.S. government terminated the tribe's status in 1966 under the California Rancheria Act of 1958. "I ask you, on behalf of my people," Sarris said to the Committee members, "to consider H.R. 946 carefully and restore the Graton Rancheria...thereby restoring the Federated Indians of the Graton Rancheria as a recognized American Indian tribe of the United States."
     A hearing is the first step in the legislative process. Following the full Committee hearing, the Committee must vote on H.R. 946 before it comes to the floor for a vote by the full House. Once the House passes the bill, it must then be passed by the Senate before being signed into law by the President. The earliest historical account of the Coast Miwoks, whose traditional homelands include Bodega, Tomales and Marshall in Marin County and Sebastopol in Sonoma County, dates back to 1579. Today there are 301 members of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria.
     Legislation passed by Congress in 1992 and later amended in 1996, established an Advisory Council in California to study and report on the special circumstances facing tribes whose status had been terminated. The Council's final report, which was submitted to Congress last September, recommended the restoration of the Federated Indians of the Graton Rancheria.
    On the matter of the lklihoof of a Wiwok Casino in the works, Woolsey's legislation specifically prohibits gaming on Miwok land.

    [Editor's Note: The Yosemite News carried the story of the California Miwok people fight to reclaim official tribal status on 7/13/00. In that story, the Miwoks of coastal Northern California were fighting for official tribal recognition to regain federal benefits and to help restore cultural traditions. For a millennia, the Miwoks lived in houses made of redwood bark and hunted and fished the coastal areas of The West Coast until Spanish explorers arrived and settlers eventually claimed the land.
     But, in 1958, Congress denied the Miwok Tribe and dozens of other California tribes federal benefits given to other Native Americans, including escendants of the original Miwoks who call themselves Federated Indians of the Graton Rancheria. Nearly 400 of their membes were reported as seeking federal recognition through Rep. Lynn Woolsey, (D-California), who sponsored a bill to estore lost Miwok culture and language and to grant he tribe a tract of land, for a reservation. To access the most extensive Miwok bibliography in print, go to the Yosemite News' Miwok Bib.]

Letter to the Editor

Copyright 1962, 2001 by Yosemite News -

May 10, 2001
Judge Blocks Roadless Rule
Injunction Dumps Clinton Legacy!
By Chris West, Vice President
American Forest Resource Council

    YOSEMITE -- This morning, U.S. District Court Edward Lodge issued preliminary injunctions in both the roadless area rule cases (State of Idaho & Kootenai Tribe/Boise Cascade), blocking the implementation of the rule on May 12.
     In his conclusion the judge told reporters the court recognizes the tremendous responsibility the USDA has in addressing the issues before them on the Roadless Initiative, the possibility of proposed amendments at some time in the future does not insure the public confidence that NEPA was intended to provide.
     A band-aid approach to something this controversial may mask or obscure the symptoms for political purposes but does not address the hard look analysis for a cure as required by NEPA before environmentally altering actions are put into effect.
     By issuing the Preliminary Injunction the Court is not precluding or even proposing that the USDA not go forward with their study concerning the proposed amendments because the ultimate responsibility lies with the Government and/or its agencies and not with the Court.
     To allow the current rule to go into effect, however, ignores the realities stated in the Court’s previous order that once something of this magnitude is set in motion, momentum is irresistible, options are closed and agency commitments, if not set in concrete, will be the subject of litigation for years to come.
     We are not surprised by today’s decision, and we hope that the Bush Administration abandons any attempts to implement this fatally flawed rule.
     The roadless rule will now be remembered as Clinton’s other illegal legacy. This rule was found to be illegal based on twenty years of case law created by the environmentalists’ litigation of Forest Service activities.
     Had this flawed process been used to road and log in a single roadless, the environmentalists would have been in court asking for the exact same ruling. But the fact is that the Clinton Administration was making a decision affecting 58 million acres, not a few thousand acres.
    If the environmentalists want to blame anyone for today's decision it should be the Clinton Administration. It’s time for Bush to establish his own forestry agenda, the treatment of our forest health and wildfire catastrophes.

Letter to the Editor

Copyright 1962, 2001 by Yosemite News -

April 5, 2001
Indian Fishery At Risk
Sierra Water Level Endangers Spawning!
By Amy Williams, Staff Writer

    YOSEMITE -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced this week the Sierra snowpack does not contain sufficient water content to refill the ancient fishing resources of the Paiute Indian tribe's territory.
    Pyramid Lake Last Year Paiute Tribal leaders consider the Pyramid Lake native Cui- ui fish sacred and do not want to harm it. The Wildlife Service has designated the, Cui- ui fish an endangered species.  These are the grounds for the latest confrontation between the U.S. Government and the native Paiute people of California and Nevada. In the wake of the dispute, the Wildlife Service has just announced the government will not release water from Stampede Reservoir, an impoundment in Alpine County that stores water and releases it into the Truckee River specifically for the Cui-ui and the endangered Lahontan cutthroat trout.
     According to Wildlife Service press releases, the delay in releasing the Stampede Reservoir water would make a Cui-ui spawning run upstream from Pyramid Lake but might leave other species of fish without sufficient water and make them subject to predators.
     Cui-ui usually leave Pyramid Lake and swim up stream to the Truckee River where they spawn by this time. It takes about a month or two for the Cui-uifingerlings to find their way downstream to Pyramid Lake.
    A issue in the dispute is the disappearance of waters in Lake Tahoe, the critical water source for Reno, Nevada.
nbsp;    Garry Stone, federal watermaster for Lake Tahoe said this week, "The snowpack here 37 percent of normal, and we're looking at an extremely dry year." Stone is required to follow federal water rules limiting Truckee River flow to a minimum of 70 cubic feet of water per second. Lake Tahoe has only about 400,000 acre-feet of water in it this season. That's a historic low point.
    Watermaster Stone told reporters "We expect snowmelt will raise the lake level another three of four inches." Historic record show that Tahoe nearly ran out of water in the Fall of 1994.
     Fish and Wildlife field supervisor Bob Williams told reporters he doesn't foresee a deprivation to the Cui-ui fish population in Pyramid Lake. He says he expects it to be, "...Cui-ui have successfully spawned for eight consecutive years from 1993 through 2000 and ... If Cui-ui do not run, there is no associated mortality."

    [Editor's Note: The Cui-ui has been recognized as a formal species since Cope’s original description in 1883. The Cui-ui population began to fall off after construction of Derby Dam and the establishment of the Newlands Reclamation Project in 1905.   The subsequent agricultural diversions, from the Truckee River to the Fallon area, reduced the amount of water entering Pyramid Lake. As the Lake's surface elevation receded, down cutting along the river resulted in the formation of a sandbar delta at the mouth of the river.
    This delta essentially blocked the Cui-ui and Lahontan cutthroat trout from ascending the river to reach their spawning grounds. Both species are obligate fresh-water spawners, and their eggs cannot survive in Pyramid Lake water.]

Letter to the Editor

Copyright 1962, 2001 by Yosemite News -

May 12, 1973
What Can We Preserve?
Government Has To Cooperate!
By Ronald Reagan, Governor of California

Gov. Ronald Reagan(R)YOSEMITE -- Now that we've come to a little more static population, we have time for taking stock and asking what we can do to preserve the things we want to preserve.
     For instance, we can look up and down the coast at areas not in public ownership and see if any of it should be preserved for future generations. We can't tell an owner to keep his land but do nothing with it. If that land is important to the rest of California, then the state should buy it.
     In California 91 per cent of the people live in urban areas. And obviously there is going to be a sprawl around those areas. Some developers are now building with the idea of creating a country atmosphere--what California had when there was more space and fewer people.
     What inducements can we offer a subdivider, for example, to build around just a portion of the land and leave the rest as open space? The government has to cooperate.
     You can't encourage a builder to leave the open space and then tell him to pay taxes on it as if it were land ready for subdivision. If he is willing to declare it open space, local government should tax him only on what it is being used for, not what it could be used for.

[Editor's Note: The Ronald Reagan display was featured at The Hoover Institution and Library, which held a free exhibit open to the public on May 12 through August 15, 1998. The exhibit was displayed at the Memorial Exhibit Pavilion, next to The Hoover at Stanford. One of the displays was "Tower Sunset Magazine: A Century of Western Living, 1898-1998". It featured posters, documents, photographs and memorabilia tracing one hundred years of the West's rich historic connections to Stanford University and Herbert Hoover .]

Letter to the Editor
Copyright 1962, 2001 by Yosemite News -

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