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The Roadrunner

Bimonthly Publication of the Kern-Kaweah Chapter of the Sierra Club May/June 2003



316 single-family residences on 343.13 acres of bluffs, canyons, and rolling foothills—that is the description of a proposed housing development tract in the northeast section of Bakersfield. The area itself is mostly surrounded by open space approx- imately four miles from contiguous existing devel- opment in Northeast Bakersfield. The Bakersfield Planning Commission approved this project on February 6, 2003. The Chapter appealed the approval to the City Council, and the appeal was heard on March 26, 2003. The appeal was rejected, and the City Council approved the project. The Kern Kaweah Chapter decided to take further action against the development as described as well as the inadequate evaluation of the environmental impacts of the project. One of the outcomes hoped for is the recognition that the City should be required to do a full Environmental Impact Report on this project. Other hoped-for outcomes include the pulling back of house sites from the edge of the bluffs, recognition and mitigation of traffic impact, as well as air quality mitigation measures such as solar source energy. WATER: The battle continues for protecting water supplies from pollution. The Regional Water


Quality Control Board for the Central Valley re- scinded a recent policy that would have allowed 800 factory farms to operate without water pollution control permits. The Board’s decision came just months after a coalition of environmental groups including the Kern-Kaweah Chapter took action against the original decision, stating that the Board violated the California Environmental Quality Act when it approved the waiver program without first analyzing the environmental impacts of its decision. The revocation ends an exemption for facilities that are smaller than 700 dairy cows, 1,000 beef cattle, 2,500 pigs, and 125,000 chickens, as well as feedlots. TEJON INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX STATUS:

The Center For Biological Diversity has instigated a suit against the County of Kern basically on the grounds of inadequate analysis of environmental impacts of this project. The Sierra Club, represented by the Kern Kaweah Chapter, is a co-petitioner. The Tejon Industrial Complex is scheduled to be located on the east side of I-5, generally opposite the Tejon Petro Plaza. The acreage involved is 3 times the size of the Petro Plaza, and industrial companies such as breweries and automobile manufacturing can be included in this area. Concerns with the project include the protection of endangered species as well as air quality, traffic, and water impacts.


The Department of Interior, headed by Gayle Norton, suggests that Wilderness designations of lands under the direction of the Bureau of Land Management should be arbitrarily limited to 23 million acres over the whole country. All surveys of BLM lands would be stopped and, in addition, wilderness designation would be withdrawn from approximately 3 million acres in Utah. Wilderness areas are those “untrammeled by man.” The Reagan administration made an in- ventory of land eligible for wilderness in Utah and found that 2.9 million acres were in that category. In 1996 the Department of Interior’s director, Bruce Babbitt, found 5.9 million acres in the same state were eligible. The Department of Interior under the Bush administration wants to reduce the Utah po- tential wilderness back to the 2.9 million acres of the

Reagan administration. The Bureau of Land Management has been managing much land under its jurisdiction to protect its wilderness characteristics. However, this land may now be opened to mining and wheeled recreational activities. Congress does have the power to order additional areas to be protected. At this point in time, the opening of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling has been denied by the Senate and is predicted to have no chance of being allowed in this year’s congressional session. It is said that the public’s expression of its awareness of the unique and precious qualities of this area to members of the Congress has kept the area free from oil exploration and could protect other potential wilderness areas.



Out in the Wilds

Your May June Calendar, 2003

Every Week

Bakersfield Conditioning Hikes (thurs) 7 PM. 4-5 miles. Corner of highways 178 & 184. Gordon, 661.872.2432 or Larry, 873.8107 (KK Chapter.) Sunday Strolls (begin in June) 8 AM Meet at Pine Mtn. Club by tennis courts. 1 1/2 hrs in length. Visit local areas of ecological interest. Call 661.242.0432 (Condor Group). Specific Dates


Outdoor Adventure” at River Ridge in Springville. Hiking and wildflower viewing. For the whole fam- ily. Call Theresa at 559.781.0594. (Kaweah). May 7 (wed ) 5:30 PM Final weekly walk for the season at St. John’s Parkway. Visalia (Mineral King Group ). May 7 (wed ) 6:30 PM (After weekly walk) Dinner Social at Brewbaker’s , downtown Visalia. May 10 (sat) 7:30 AM Lamont Point (South of Chimney Meadows along the PCT, 7621 ft, 2100 ft gain, 9.6 mi RT) Nice views of the Kern Plateau to

May 3rd (sat)





PM “The

the west and Sand Canyon to the east from this local high point along the PCT. Moderate hike due to distance. Meet at the Ridgecrest Cinema parking lot. More info? Call Dennis 760.375.7967 or Jim 760. 375.8161 (Owens Peak). May 9-11 (fri-sun): Sierra Club 100 Peak List

Finishers’ Special


Cobblestone Mountain (6733'), White Mountain #2 (6250'), Snowy Peak (6532'), Black Mountain #2 (6202'), McDonald Peak, (6870'), Alamo Mountain (7367')]: Car camp and bag

peaks in Sespe Wilderness of Los Padres National Forest, near Gorman. Join us for one, two or three days. Day 1 is Alamo and McDonald, 4 miles round trip, 1050' gain. Day 2 is Sewart, Cobblestone and White, 18 miles round trip, 6500' gain. Day 3 is Sewart (again, if anyone missed it the first time), Snowy and Black, 10 miles round trip, 3900' gain. Expect some steep, brushy, occasionally slippery terrain, significant part of the gain to be on the return. Long dirt road driving requires high clear- ance vehicles. Send email/sase, H&W phones, conditioning to Leaders: Wolf, Karen Leverich ( ) P. O. Box 6831, Frazier Park, 93222. (Hundred Peaks) May 13 (tues) 7 PM Beale Lib. High Speed Rail. Why? Where? When? Cost? Your Questions? Pre- senter: Herman Ruddel, degrees in Urban Planning, transportation, public administration. Look for June Program in Buena Vista Flyer to be published. Call 661.832.3382. May 19 (mon), 7:30 PM Mehmet McMillan of “Wildplaces” to present a program on Restoration

Peaks: [Sewart



seum. Ridgecrest. Call 760.375.7967. (Owens Peak). May 24-26 (sat-mon) Hundred Peaks Hike Sirretta Peak (9977'), Cannel Point (8314'), Taylor Dome (8802'), Pinyon Peak (6805'), Owens Peak (8453'):

Car camps. Moderate pace. Saturday, 3200' gain; Sunday 3800' gain; Monday, 3200' gain. Each trip 8 miles. Come for 1 or all 3 days. Send email/ 2 sase to Leader: Sara Wyrens, 7562 Seaspring Dr #202, Huntington Beach, CA 92648. Co-Leader: George Wysup. (Hundred Peaks) May 27th 7:00 PM Kaweah Group Meeting Call 559.781.8897 for more information. May 31-Jun 1 (sat-sun) Hundred Peaks Hike Nicolls Peak (6070'), Lightner Peak (6430'), Bald Eagle Peak (6181'), Onyx Peak #2 (5244'): Peak bagging, Lake Isabella area. Some dirt road driving. Saturday 6 miles, Sunday 13 miles RT, 2700' gain.

Take time to learn about the fauna and flora. Email/ sase, recent conditioning, phone, rideshare to Lead- er: Kent Schwitkis (schwitkii@ 4514 Lenore St, Torrance, CA 90503. Co-Lead: Barry Holchin. Naturalist: Sherry Ross. (Hundred Peaks). June 7 (sat) 2 PM hike 6 PM potlk/prog Geology Hike, Potluck, Geology Program. Greg Wilkerson, BLM, Guide and Speaker. Pine Mountain Club- house. Call Ches, 242.0423. (Condor Group). June 2 (mon) 7PM Mineral King Ex Comm Meeting. Call for further info 559.739.8527. June 11 (wed ) 6 PM Mineral King Group social at Colima’s . Downtown Visalia. Call 559.739.8527. Jun 16 (mon) 7:30 PM Adopt-a-Cabin presentation by Rich Abele. Excellent slides. Maturango Museum, 100 E. Las Flores, R/C. Contact Dennis 760.375.7967. (Owens Peak Gp.). June 21 (sat) WAUCOBA MT. (High point [by 16 ft] of the Inyo Range, east of Independence) 11,123

ft, 2000 ft gain

will use the old 4WD route (now closed Wilderness Area) from the SW. We will drive up Mazourka Canyon and have a nice 4WD approach to the closure gate. We will walk the old Sidehill Springs road, branching off on the mining road access up the SW. This peak dominates the area and will be a good warm-up for our summer adventures. Mod- erate/strenuous hike due to hiking distance and altitude. Meet 7 AM at the Ridgecrest Cinema parking lot. More info? Call Dennis 760.375.7967 or Jim 760.375.8161. (Owens Peak Group). Jun 21 (sat) Buena Vista Litter Pick-up. Taft Hwy, between Gosford and Buena Vista Rds. Wear long sleeves, garden gloves, bring sunglasses, water. More info? Call 833.3795 Jun 21-22 (sat-sun) CNRCC Desert Com/Santa Lucia Chap Environment of the South Fork Kern River Carcamp: We’ll camp at the Audubon Kern River Preserve which is a part of California’s largest

in, 686 ft gain out, 13 mi RT) We

Projects in the Southern Sierra. Maturango



lowland riparian forest. It was one of the first ten sites in the U.S. to receive Globally Important Bird Area recognition, 332 bird species have been recorded here. Bob Barnes will be our guide to the various special places of this area and share the vision for the future being created by and for the valley inhabitants. Trip size limited, regular cars OK. No pets. For more information and reservations, send large SASE to Ldrs: Cal and Letty French, 14140 Chimney Rock Road, Paso Robles. CA 93446 or e-mail June 28 (sat) 8 AM Cherry Creek to Salt Creek (round trip) San Emigdio Mountains. Compare north slopes to south slopes, see proposed wilderness area. Moderate. Elevation range: 1500 ft. High clearance vehicles needed. Bring usuals. Meet at tennis courts, PMC. Call Dale, 661.242.1076 or Ches, 242.0423. (Condor Group).

Aug.4 - Aug. 10,


Sixty Lakes Basin

Backpack Backpack over Kearsarge Pass and Glen Pass to get to this beautiful lake basin. Trip size limited. Not for beginners. Contact leaders Gordon and Eva Nipp for information and reservations. 661.872.2432.

What are HUNDRED PEAKS HIKES? Included in the listing above are hikes sponsored by the Hundred Peaks section of the Angeles Chap- ter of the Sierra Club. The purposes of the Section are to encourage its members to explore and enjoy the mountain ranges of Southern California and to become familiar with their scenic resources, and also to stimulate interest in climbing these ranges; to preserve their forests, waters, wildlife, and wilder- nesses; to enlist public interest and cooperation in protecting them; and to foster among its members the purposes of the Club as stated in the Club Bylaws: “To explore, enjoy, and protect the wild places of the earth; to practice and promote the responsible use of the earth’s ecosystems and resources; to educate and enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment; and to use all lawful means to carry out these objectives.”


As always, the wonderful rituals of greeting old friends, many of whom have not seen each other since last year, and making new friends were the first major highlights of the evening. After a delicious dinner, Paul Gipe, Chair of the Kern Kaweah Chapter, as the master of ceremonies led us into the formal program which included recognizing special efforts of Sierra Club members.

Honorees included Richard and Beverly Garcia of the Mineral King Group, who received the Cup Award, Les Reid of the Condor Group, who received the Long Trail Award, Dennis Burge of the Owens Peak Group, who received the Susan Miller/Ruth Allen Award, and Mitch Bolt of the Buena Vista group, who received the Chairman’s Award. The Garcias spearheaded a drive to keep an irrigation canal from being lined with concrete, which if allowed would have removed 100 century- old oaks and cut off the water supply to farmers on either side of the canal. Les Reid, a former member of the National Board of the Sierra Club, was the leading force in convincing the Sierra Club to deal with worker health, particularly in regard to toxics in the workplace and in the fields. Dennis Burge was honored for his 12 years of leadership of the Owens Peak Group. Mitch Bolt was recognized for “walking the talk” by developing educational pro- grams about sea turtles and installing solar on his home. The presentation of Frank Helling representing John Muir was extremely well done and inspiring to all, another highlight of the evening. Many thanks go to the following local businesses for their generous contributions to the traditional raffle. It was the most profitable ever, bringing in nearly $500. Here are the donors and prizes they gave. Please don’t forget them when you are out shopping. Bentz Ski Chalet - $230 Down Sleeping Bag Richard and Beverly Garcia (Garcia Machine) - $75 Backpacker's Cache Trader Joe’s - $50 Gift Bag Olcott’s - $50 Gift Certificate Garden District Flowers - $25 Gift Certificate for Plant Great Castle Restaurant - $25 Gift Certificate Garden Spot Restaurant - $25 Gift Certificate See’s Candies - $25 value Gift Certificate for 2-lb. Box Outback Restaurant - $20 Gift Certificate World Records - $20 Gift Certificate White Forest Nursery - California Native Plant It was a special moment for many when Larry Wailes and his ten-year-old son, William, holding up their ticket, the first to be drawn, approached the raffle table and with hardly any hesitation chose the Down Sleeping Bag. Larry is the treasurer for the Kern Kaweah Chapter, a job full of responsibility and requiring much hard work. While he attends the Chapter Ex- com, son William deports himself manfully with great courtesy, sometimes enjoying cookies, though one suspects he really would rather be somewhere else. Happy camping to you both!




Excerpts from Chelsea’s application for a Sierra Club Sierra Nevada Scholarship, which she has been awarded. Chelsea is presently a student at Porterville High School and wishes to become a veterinarian.

The foothill community of my youth is disap- pearing at an alarming rate. In every direction, pasture land and oak woodlands are being replaced by multiple housing units. As I lift my eyes to the foothill peaks I am assaulted with the shining re- flections of dual-pane windows instead of the soaring wings of redtail hawks. As the population explodes, it becomes inevitable that people want to move from the crowds. Un- fortunately, it seems the very type of life they are running to is being destroyed by abuse and dis- respect for the land and its natural state, for along with the disappearance of land comes an even more alarming impact. That impact is the destruction of the very life cycle that is essential to all of us. I feel it is vital to not only work to protect the habitats of our natural animals but more importantly to educate the citizens of these small foothill com- munities on the importance of being good and faithful stewards in protecting the delicate balance of nature. This type of education began with me at home, providing a foundation on which I have formed my views on wildlife protection and management. I contend that by educating the young people in our communities we will have the best opportunity to create a more caring and aware society interested in saving wild animal habitats. Communities like mine have been rooted in hunting for sport, seeking out wild things and destroying what is not understood. By developing classroom programs, providing field trips to see nature up close, and making information available on different animals, I believe that the sport of killing will lose its luster and perhaps picture taking will replace it as a pastime The foothills are changing rapidly, and while we can worry and fight people who do not care, it is more important to build a large base of young people who grow up with the knowledge that allows them to understand why they should care. Helping children to become aware of cause and effect and the delicate balance of man and nature could start a chain reaction of responsibility and accountability in the next generation. With a foundation in the foothill area and a de- gree to back me up, I hope to make a difference and challenge people to think about nature and its resources. That is my ultimate goal.

IN THE OUT OF DOORS. You never know

It was a lovely summer morning. The walker was not in a hurry. There seemed to be movement ahead. Yes, something else was following the path, just ahead of the walker. First glance made the walker think, dog? A second look and there was no doubt. It was a coyote, just ambling along, or so it seemed. Then it happened. The coyote disappeared out of sight around a corner of the trail marked by a huge fir tree. When the walker came around the fir, there was the coyote not scurrying up the trail but lying flat on the ground, not seeming to move at all. It was stretched out like a dog might lie in front of the fire on a cold winter’s night. The coyote suddenly, with obviously great effort, raised its head, its eyes looking directly at the walker. Such a look, a look never to be forgotten. A look of pleading? A look of sorrow? A look of pure exhaustion? The coyote held its head up for just a few moments. Then it sagged down, trembling, once more lying flat on the ground. What to do? The walker stepped back ten feet, watching the animal. There was no further move- ment. The walker decided that the only thing to do was to leave this wild animal as it was and go back down the trail. The animal might just have a chance to recover if left alone. After half an hour the walker decided to come back up the trail. Going very slowly, very quietly, looking everywhere, trying to make sure the animal had not moved off to either side of the trail, the sighting spot was reached. Joy! The coyote was gone. The answer to this animal’s fate can never really be known, but the optimistic view seems to indicate that that coyote is once more roaming in the mountains, his home and ours. The walker had never experienced such an encounter in the woods before. It will never be forgotten—a wild animal and a “civilized” human being sharing such a strong feeling of empathy and trust in each other and then each going back to being a part of the world from which each had come. by MAL




Ecology is the branch of biology dealing with the relationships between living things and their en- vironment. The concept of ecosystem is the tool used by ecologists to study the community of all the organisms living within it, along with their physical environment. Since a mountain forest or a desert may cover a huge area, for manageability and con- venience, ecologists study smaller units such as a meadow or hillside within a larger area. In a healthy ecosystem, organisms interact with each other and their physical environment, in- fluencing each other’s lives and evolution. Nutrients that allow growth and change in organisms are re- cycled over and over and may flow through adjacent ecosystems also. A continuous input of energy, pri- marily from the sun, is required. Elements within the system may change: a tree dies, shifts in populations of animals may occur, but the basic structure con- tinues and is sustainable. Ecologists tend to categorize the organisms in an ecosystem as producers, consumers, and decom- posers. Producers are primarily plants and some bacteria and single-celled organisms having chlor- ophyll or other photosynthetic molecules which capture and store outside energy (mostly sunlight) as food. All other living things are dependent on producers. Consumers are organisms, primarily animals, which take advantage of this stored organic energy for their own needs by either eating plants, or eating animals that eat plants. Finally, there is a large group of creatures that break down the remains, or detritus, of other organisms. These are the decomposers, which include bacteria, fungi, and many microorganisms. The products of decay from decomposers are, in turn, used by green plants to carry on more photosynthesis. In this way, matter in nature is recycled, and balance is established and maintained in the cycle of life. Most ecosystems are only partially understood. They are complex, have developed through vast amounts of time, and are continually evolving. Natural ecosystems do not need to be managed by people. They need to be left alone in order to func- tion fully. What manages ecosystems is evolution of organisms through time in response to competitive and predatory pressure from each other and to changes in environmental conditions, such as climatic shifts and changes in landforms. This is where the human animal comes into the picture. There is considerable evidence that for many thousands of years, our species maintained relatively constant numbers, and occupied fairly static relationships with nature. However, in the last few thousand years, that balance has changed as we

humans have created ever larger and intrusive human-centered ecosystems, everything from aquar- ia to farms, and even space stations! In the process we have learned to enslave many species of plants and animals and have changed their identities through breeding programs. We have developed elaborate tools, harnessed immense sources of energy, altered courses of rivers, even changed weather patterns. We are using up existing resources without clear notions of replacement, and without clear notions of what else to use up when we have consumed them. We have vastly speeded up the migration rates of different forms of life throughout the regions of the world. And, at present, we are producing these changes at an ever-accelerating rate. The last two hundred years have seen the greatest impact of humans in all the thousands of years of our existence. Thus, we are not in balance with nature and are putting our species in the position of being self-destructing. We are destroying the pat- terns of nature which provide the water and air on which our very lives depend. And we are destroying the ecosystems within which many other organisms function. What is there to be done? A good beginning is to educate ourselves as to the functioning of the natural world. Consider actions and projects being proposed in our own locale, in the state, and in the nation in terms of their impacts on the natural world as well as on the human-created world. Take further time and effort to ask questions and express opinions based on your studies to those who make the decisions as to how things are to be done, whether it is the president of the United States or your spouse! An excellent source of ecological information for California, which is so unique in so many ways, is Allen A. Schoenherr’s A NATURAL HISTORY OF CALIFORNIA, No. 56 in the California Natural History Guides, published by the University of California Press, 1992. With a basic introduction to the study of California ecology, one can read on to specific geographic and ecological areas of the state. Well written, well organized, it is a book for the layman to adventure into a fuller understanding of the natural world of California, and of some of the changes caused by modern humans. By Lynn Stafford


Non-Sierra Club Events of possible interest. Wind Wolves Workdays (once a month, 2nd Sat- urday) If you work, you can enjoy BBQ plus a tour Sunday morning. Call 661.858.1115 May 3, River Ridge Ranch Open House Spring- ville. Sponsored by Sierra Los Tulares Land Trust, Phone 559.738.0211 E-mail:




Hike. Hear about wind energy while viewing 5,000 wind turbines in the Tehachapi Pass. An easy six- mile walk starting from Cameron and Tehachapi- Willow Springs Road. Starts promptly at 9:00 AM.

Spring weather at 5,000 ft. Be dressed prepared for wind and sun, bring at least one quart of water per person, pack a lunch. More info? Call Paul, 661.


May 17. (sat) all day. Lilac Festival. Pine Mountain Club. Parade, Sky Divers, Booths. Good

time to walk in the woods, enjoy the local ambience. June 7 (sat) National Trails Day. Non-competitive bike ride, walk, jog, dog-walk or in-line skating along the trails downtown. Visalia event will begin at Carl’s Jr. on Ben Maddox and go to McDonald’s at Demaree. More info? call Rich Garcia. 559.592.



By whom and why? The California Wilderness Coalition, made up of 200-plus groups concerned with the protection of natural lands, issues a list of most threatened California areas every year in order

to draw the attention of California citizens to threats to their natural heritage. What is considered in the choice of this desig- nation “most threatened?” “Severity of the prob-


“the urgency of the threat

things. Why Tejon? Here is the largest contiguous land- holding in the state of California, heretofore being used primarily for cattle grazing and agriculture. Now it is being transformed by real estate ventures. Quoting from the report: “There is compelling scientific evidence that Tejon Ranch plays a crucial role for the conservation of biodiversity on regional, state, and national levels. This region has been identified by conservation biologists as an irre- placeable core habitat area for numerous endan- gered species including San Joaquin kit fox, Bakersfield cactus and more. It contains designated critical habitat for the endangered California Condor and supports healthy populations of other raptors as well as American badger, mountain lion, tule elk and mule deer, which require large and intact wildlands to survive.” “Spanning the headwaters of 14 creeks and an elevation range of more than 8,000 feet, the Tejon Ranch includes 27 different vegetation communities ranging from coastal type riparian range to montane forests, oak savannas and desert scrub. It is a critical

of the damage” .” among other






“the permanence

landscape linkage between the Transverse Ranges, Peninsular Ranges, and the Sierra Nevadas. This linkage is essential to maintaining a functional wildlands network, and is key to any regional conservation strategy. " What is the threat? Housing development pro- posals in the mountain area for two areas exceeding 30,000 homes and industrial development in the grasslands areas on the southern edge of the San Joaquin Valley. Why Los Padres National Forest (LPNF)? Quoting: “The southern district of the Los Padres National Forest marks a transition zone between central and southern coastal California, where warm, dry climates to the south meet cool, wet climates from the north. Adding to the effect, the (Trans- verse) mountain range is a rare phenomenon due to its east-west axis. Transition zones of this type create a higher density of biodiversity—this region is home to more than 1,500 native plant and animal species." What is the threat? Targeting of an estimated 140,000 acres for permitting oil and gas drilling. This acreage includes several proposed wilderness areas, archaeological and cultural sites, well known trails and Areas of High Ecological Significance, a Forest Service designation indicating special qual- ities and including habitat for endangered species.

If you would like to have more information on Cali- fornia’s 10 most threatened areas, contact the California Wilderness Coalition for this publication. Address: 2655 Portage Bay East, suite 5, Davis, CA 95616, 530.738.0380 or www.

SEQUOIA MONUMENT DEIS IGNORES NON-LOGGING ALTERNATIVES. STILL TIME TO EXPRESS YOUR OPINIONS The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) developed by the Forest Service and pub- lished on 18 December 2002 is vague, unclear, and specifies logging in name of fuels reduction, restoration, maintenance, and public safety. The DEIS process must be restarted and must produce alternatives in compliance with the Procla- mation mandate to protect the objects and not produce a product. In addition, the DEIS justifies alternatives because they maintain jobs. But the Proclamation does not direct the Forest Service to manage the Monument to maintain jobs in the timber industry. False claims The Forest Service tries to justify logging in the Monument with the false claim that logging prevents catastrophic wildfires. But logging and thinning remove the least flammable of the forest materials, the tree trunks. Logging and thinning remove the forest canopy, which is what keeps the forest moist and cool The brush fields that would replace these logged



trees are more flammable than the trees they replace. Objects listed for protection ignored:

The DEIS does not even mention a number of the objects discussed in the Proclamation as needing protection. The DEIS fails to analyze the negative impacts to the most charismatic or well known of the objects including The Giant Sequoia ecosystem, the Pacific Fisher & the California Spotted Owl. Even though the official comment period has ended, if you have not already commented on the inadequacy of the draft management plan for the Monument, please send a comment letter expressing your opinion about:

(1) The inadequate DEIS, (2)the need to restart the development process based on the Proclamation, (3) the need to call for the Scientific Advisory Board to reconvene to give the Forest Service guidance from the beginning of the process. You can address all comments to:

Giant Sequoia National Monument Planning Team Sequoia National Forest Headquarters 900 West Grand Avenue, Porterville, CA 93257


“Let the storms blow through the streets of cities; the root is safe. When the last seared hand has flung the last grenade, an older version of that hand will be stroking a clinging youngster hidden in its fur, high up under some autumn moon." Loren Eiseley: "The Firmament of Time" When I first read this passage some thirty years ago, I wept. Since then I have frequently repeated the phrase “the root is safe.” I suppose that is the fundamental precept of religion, and perhaps the only valid one. The passage came into my mind just four days ago in Petroglyph Canyon, a dramatic cleft in the California desert, the walls of which are etched with scenes from the lives of people who lived thousands of years ago. So sacred was this place that some of the most ancient figures have been carved over, and differently, by more recent people, say one or two thousand years later. Our docents were not scientists, so their answers to our questions were probably no more accurate than our own. We wondered, for example, why one rock had been carved by many artists for centuries, while others of the same composition were untouched. No one really knew beyond some educated guessing, and even experts, apparently, can only speculate. The visitor is left with at least two profound impressions: mystery, and a strong sense of kinship with the artists. In the end, one’s own life experiences are the best bases for interpretation. These people were made of the same stuff as we are.

Only their situations were different. Most figures in the canyon are dramatic en- actments of hunting. Bighorn sheep were abundant in a world far different from the present desert. No doubt the canyon was once a rushing river or stream, since its floor consists entirely of sand and polished rock, and high watermarks along the rock walls are still in evidence. The evolution of hunting tech- niques is clear, from spears, and inventions to facilitate stronger and more accurate throwing, to the bow and arrow. Other rock pictures seemed to have as their theme the fertility both of animals and of man. Many images defy interpretation except as they evoke a sense of some connection with the supernatural or divine. Perhaps in a world so rich with the fundamental necessities of life, some idea evolved of human dependence upon the good will of a provident being. Especially compelling to me was the discovery on my own of a long line of human figures walking very close to each other, starting near the top of the canyon and descending to the extent of the long rock upon which they were carved. I felt sure that those people were in migration, and for reasons that were not benign. And while I stood beneath that depiction of human flight, I thought of other desert people now in terror and running, driven not by the vicissitudes of nature, but by the horrors of an ambitious war. If I had not fully shared their emotion before that moment, I could not escape it now, made immediate to me by the skill and empathy of an artist who worked thousands of years ago to tell a story that never ends. Did he believe the root is safe? Do they? And will we believe it, when the long aftermath of this war acquaints us intimately with terror born of seething hatred and puts us, also, to flight? I cannot say. By Ann Williams

Want to receive personalized information re: Kern Kaweah Chapter concerns? Send email request to



The Roadrunner:

articles, information deadline June 5th for July August edition

Special thanks to all those who contribute regularly to the Roadrunner

Without their willing help there would be no Roadrunner.

Dennis Burge, Diane Etter, Glen Shellcross, Paul Gipe, Harry Love, Jim Nichols, Art and Lorraine Unger, Ann Williams, Harold Wood


Williams, mailing. Harold Wood, web site.

Contact Sources





Roadrunner Address or Editor, Roadrunner, P. O. Box GG, Frazier Park, CA 93222

Leaders, Kern-Kaweah Chapter/Groups

Excom, Kern Kaweah Chapter 661.324.1923 Chair, Paul Gipe; Vice Chair, Harry Love; Sec- retary/Conservation, Ara Marderosian; Treasurer, Larry Wailes; Membership, Lorraine Unger; Roadrunner, Mary Ann Lockhart; Richard Garcia; Gordon Nipp; Glenn Shellcross; Art Unger. Buena Vista Group (Bksf) 661.832.3382 Chair, Glenn Shellcross; Secretary, Elaine White; Treasurer, Keith Dilday; Conservation, Mitch Bolt; Community Issues, Art Unger; Membership/ Delg.Excom, Georgette Theotig. Condor Group (Pine Mtn Club, Frazier Park area) 661.242.0423 Chair, Ches Arthur; Vice-Chair, Dale Chitwood; Secretary/Membership, Fay Benbrook; Treasurer, Marta Bigler; Conservation, Mary Ann Lockhart. Kaweah Group (Porterville) 559.781.0594 Chair, Pam Clark; Vice-Chair, Lori Kessler; Secre- tary, Diane Jetter; Membership, Sara Lee Gershon; Conservation, Carla Cloer; Outings, Theresa Stump. Mineral King (Visalia) 559.739.8527 Chair, Harold Wood; Vice-Chair/Publicity, Cynthia Koval; Secretary, Betty Berk; Asst. Secretary, Joanne Dudley; Treasurer/Environmental Educ., Janet Wood; Owens Peak Group (Ridgecrest) 760. 375.7967 Chair, Dennis Burge; Vice-Chair, Steve Smith; Secretary, Jean Bennett; Treasurer, Dolph Amster.

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