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View Full Version : Stay out of Yosemite NP New Years!



John Kasaian
31-Dec-2018, 09:28
The place is imploding.
4th of July record crowds, no public lavatories, no cell service nor related gps, fights reportedly breaking out. There are only 12 rangers left in the entire park.
Let that sink in.

Michael Kadillak
31-Dec-2018, 10:39
How sad. The masses heading to all national parks are eliciting a similar response yet the entrance fee structures one would think should be capable of supporting the proper management of these areas that should include an assessment on how many people should be allowed into a finite area for effective enjoyment of these areas. The roads are only capable of so many vehicles before they lock up and attenuate the frustration levels to dangerous proportions. There should be available data on the road congestion and travel times online which should be accessible so I have no understanding as to why no cell coverage? We should be able to do better than this.

faberryman
31-Dec-2018, 10:46
Honey, let's go out to Yosemite. With the government shutdown, admission is free.

Drew Wiley
31-Dec-2018, 11:36
Similar problem over here at Pt Reyes. Although there is never an entry fee there, certain parking lots are closed, bathrooms are not maintained, and garbage cans not emptied. Wish the same fate would hit a particular golf course, but that's not how it works. But most of the time I go to Pt Reyes or GGNRA, I hike in anyway from informal roadside parking. Yosemite Valley attracts a scruffier audience sometimes, including gangbanger types from nearby cities, so the idea of diminished law enforcement there doesn't appeal to me. Plenty of other places to go.

Jac@stafford.net
31-Dec-2018, 15:06
[...] Yosemite Valley attracts a scruffier audience sometimes, including gangbanger types from nearby cities [...]

I suppose carrying full-auto weapons is out of the question.

Once on a holiday, terribly tired from a long drive, my wife and I chose to park our big-ass 4WD SUV camper in a national park. It was like a journey to some level of hell. Totally alcoholic, people staggering in the motor trail, guys setting off rockets anywhere, bonfires, women screaming at children. We were tired but sober, turned on the desert driving lights, cranked into 4WD low and took a shortcut out between pine trees, over a creek and away! Given how f*ucked up everyone was they had no idea what was happening.

Who are these people? Pent-up suburbanites?

faberryman
31-Dec-2018, 15:12
We were tired but sober, turned on the desert driving lights, cranked into 4WD low and took a shortcut out between pine trees, over a creek and away!Take only pictures, leave only "big-ass" four wheel drive tread marks.

John Kasaian
31-Dec-2018, 16:28
Similar problem over here at Pt Reyes. Although there is never an entry fee there, certain parking lots are closed, bathrooms are not maintained, and garbage cans not emptied. Wish the same fate would hit a particular golf course, but that's not how it works. But most of the time I go to Pt Reyes or GGNRA, I hike in anyway from informal roadside parking. Yosemite Valley attracts a scruffier audience sometimes, including gangbanger types from nearby cities, so the idea of diminished law enforcement there doesn't appeal to me. Plenty of other places to go.

I knew some Criminal Investigators who worked in Yosemite. They told me at the peak of the season YNP has a population equal to a small to medium size city and the crime rate to match.

John Kasaian
31-Dec-2018, 16:30
I suppose carrying full-auto weapons is out of the question.

Once on a holiday, terribly tired from a long drive, my wife and I chose to park our big-ass 4WD SUV camper in a national park. It was like a journey to some level of hell. Totally alcoholic, people staggering in the motor trail, guys setting off rockets anywhere, bonfires, women screaming at children. We were tired but sober, turned on the desert driving lights, cranked into 4WD low and took a shortcut out between pine trees, over a creek and away! Given how f*ucked up everyone was they had no idea what was happening.

Who are these people? Pent-up suburbanites?

That sounds like Yosemite Valley during the Hippie days, when someone burned down the government stables.

Jac@stafford.net
31-Dec-2018, 16:38
That sounds like Yosemite Valley during the Hippie days, when someone burned down the government stables.

The Hippies were trash. So maybe they aged to become reckless suburbanites.

Drew Wiley
31-Dec-2018, 17:03
Bad ass 4-wheelers with loaded guns are a distinct risk without proper Park oversight. The hills below there are full of em, not hippies. I should know - I lived right across the river! All the counties bordering the west side of Yosemite are narco counties. The open ranch lands are fine, and the high country is fine, but in the brush and forest in between, or what is still left of it that hasn't burned these past few years, are quite a few rednecky meth, illegal pot, and even opium poppy issues. Automatic weapons abound. Working brains are rare. Most of the drug trade in that area is controlled by an infamous biker gang, likewise potentially lethal. Most motorcyle clubs are just out having weekend fun rides. And lots of hill people are very nice retirees etc, but ya gotta know the difference. Yosemite Valley even has its own jail. And if rangers seem grumpy there, esp in summer, it's because law enforcement is mostly what they do.

Leszek Vogt
31-Dec-2018, 17:15
Sad comment on our (not mine) "soc norms". Are things that dire that folks need to be managed or having law enforcement on their tail 24/7 ? Some folks have a problem with determination of right vs wrong ? Yet they know alternative facts, huh:p. After visiting many parks, my geezer pass gets me in there pretty much at no charge....not sure how long I will hold out or the parks closure continues, but I'll stay away from crazy.

Les

Drew Wiley
31-Dec-2018, 18:45
Yosemite is different. Almost all the Park system's positive cash flow comes from only four Parks - Yosemite, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, and Great Smoky. The rest are tax supported. So there's an incentive to pack people into there. The concessionaires also pay a token amount to the Park Service. Yosemite Valley is less than 8% of the overall Park. But other than the current glitch, even Yosemite Valley is tame most of the year. Due to the miserable summer heat in the San Joaquin Valley below, lots of people from cities down there treat Yosemite almost like a city park on summer weekends. Then there are the endless convoys of tour buses in summer, so everyone can get their 5 min glance of Half Dome maybe, if the smog and campfire smoke isn't too thick. But you can still walk for a week in certain sections of the Park without seeing anyone else. Yosemite is also unique because its the only major glacial valley in the Sierra accessible by car. Hetch Hetchy is flooded behind a dam, and the numerous other examples are in remote high country. But if you want a "Yosemite" all to yourself, no problem if you can backpack there, though I'm not implying actual trails exist to all of them by any means ... The TV news, just this moment, related the disgusting garbage and human excrement piling all over the place in Yosemite at the moment, Muir Woods here on the coast too. Funny how 98% of people gravitate to only 2% of places. You have to get parking reservations six months in advance for Muir Woods. But sometimes I park right on the road a little ways down, head to the opposite side of the creek, and hardly see anyone all day. Here we're surrounded by all kinds of substantial parks and open space, so there are plenty of nice places to photograph without worrying about NP issues for awhile. Across another river (the Kings) near my old ranch, is Kings Canyon NP, but the opposite direction from Yosemite. Now that's my idea of a Park! No gangbangers, no hippies, no meth freaks, no cars or tour buses, no concessions except at Cedar Grove, a tiny percent of the Park, and the only drive-in entrance. if you want to go further, you walk uphill, and it's the deepest canyon on the continent. This afternoon I printed an old 4x5 neg of the roof of King's Canyon, a whole row of ragged 14,000 ft peaks known as the Palisades. They're visible from quite a distance; but I was right up there, ice axe, Sinar, n' all.

Alan Klein
31-Dec-2018, 19:31
Last April I went on a road trip through the Southwest visiting all the great NP's there. I waited an entire life to see them. You westerners should be thankful having these parks so close. Us Easterners are the really deprived group, garbage or no garbage. In any case, they soon be clean again and us Easterners will still be far away. :)

John Kasaian
31-Dec-2018, 19:46
Bad ass 4-wheelers with loaded guns are a distinct risk without proper Park oversight. The hills below there are full of em, not hippies. I should know - I lived right across the river! All the counties bordering the west side of Yosemite are narco counties. The open ranch lands are fine, and the high country is fine, but in the brush and forest in between, or what is still left of it that hasn't burned these past few years, are quite a few rednecky meth, illegal pot, and even opium poppy issues. Automatic weapons abound. Working brains are rare. Most of the drug trade in that area is controlled by an infamous biker gang, likewise potentially lethal. Most motorcyle clubs are just out having weekend fun rides. And lots of hill people are very nice retirees etc, but ya gotta know the difference. Yosemite Valley even has its own jail. And if rangers seem grumpy there, esp in summer, it's because law enforcement is mostly what they do.

Mert Greenman, you might have known him Drew, was an old time cattleman and went to a meeting about reopening the old French Trail from Millerton to Mammoth. Land owners expressed concerns over fires in the canyon being started by campers. Ol' Mert got up and spoke something to the effect ain't nothing gonna burn, most of that land's under drip irrigation!

Drew Wiley
31-Dec-2018, 19:49
It's not just crap and garbage - the spray paint taggers go wild whenever they get an opportunity. It's a horrible problem over here at the GGNRA, which is technically and Natl Park, adjacent to Pt Reyes Natl Seahore. And it's not too easy to undo a gunshot incident when or bottle getting broken over somebody's head when campers manage to get more drunk and rowdy than an attentive Park personnel presence would normally allow. Or else, somebody will ignore rules, leave their food out, and get mauled by a bear
that's already addicted to peanut butter and jelly. Yosemite Valley is in fact a city of over 30,000 people on some summer days, and apparently now too, but in this case, largely unsupervised.

John Kasaian
31-Dec-2018, 20:57
185927
185928

Two23
31-Dec-2018, 21:43
No "California" problems out here. The state has simply been sending highway patrol and county deputies. Local/regional people are pretty respectful anyway. In past so-called shut downs my state has actually picked up the tab to keep Mt. Rushmore open. They didn't this year because winter visitation is so low anyway.


Kent in SD

Leszek Vogt
31-Dec-2018, 22:47
Kent, I don't think it's a specifically "Calif" issue. Lots been dumped unfairly on CA. If you had highly popularized park in the midst of SD (much like Yellowstone - not in SD) you'll have thousands of folks fly into Xxxxxxx, SD from all around the country and the world and it's doubtful the pic would be different. Disney-tification can happen at other geo locations. Strangely tho, I've worked with intl folks (public...on daily basis) and they were never part of the problem.

Anyway, some folks use the highway to get to vistas.....while others prefer to hike/walk some distance (from asphalt) away and enjoy environment on a different level. I'm not going to hit every variation, so I'll stop at this.

Les

Sal Santamaura
1-Jan-2019, 08:38
Kent, I don't think it's a specifically "Calif" issue. Lots been dumped unfairly on CA...Of course it's not, but he and others who would politicize everything can't help themselves from dumping on this state, messing up threads in a photography forum that bans politics. Sad.

Two23
1-Jan-2019, 08:43
Kent, I don't think it's a specifically "Calif" issue. Lots been dumped unfairly on CA. If you had highly popularized park in the midst of SD (much like Yellowstone - not in SD) you'll have thousands of folks fly into Xxxxxxx, SD from all around the country and the world and it's doubtful the pic would be different. Disney-tification can happen at other geo locations. Strangely tho, I've worked with intl folks (public...on daily basis) and they were never part of the problem.



We do have the Sturgis motorcycle rally every year. At least half a million people show up*, some of them "professional" trouble makers. A few years ago things started getting out of hand with a number of shootings, stabbings, open drug deals, drunk drivers crashing, vandalism, rampant prostitution, and general mayhem as hostile biker gangs clashed. The governor at the time decided enough was enough. For the next one there were hundreds of highway patrolmen brought in from all over the state plus North Dakota (reciprocal agreement,) hundreds of sheriff deputies brought in, plus uniformed police from many other towns throughout the state. There was a cop on every corner! There were a handful of drug dealers caught plus about one third the drunk driving problem. The police presence has since been scaled back but still no matter where you stand you will see a cop of some sort. So, I think it can be done, it's just a matter of will. The trouble makers seemed to have moved on to a location in Wyoming, but not for long. They were met with a similar response there too.


Kent in SD
*In a state of 850,000

Two23
1-Jan-2019, 08:44
Of course it's not, but he and others who would politicize everything can't help themselves from dumping on this state, messing up threads in a photography forum that bans politics. Sad.

It's not about politics. It's about solving problems.


Kent in SD

Randy Moe
1-Jan-2019, 09:36
I think I was in Yosemite for about an hour in 1977. I have a memory (maybe) of the Geyser.

I didn't like the crowds then and left.

I will never visit it again after reading of all the yahoos.

I like my very quiet State Park 16 miles away where nobody goes and is immaculately kept.

Happy New Year!

Drew Wiley
1-Jan-2019, 11:49
Yosemite has no geysers, Randy. That would be Yellowstone, way over on the Wyoming-Montana border.

faberryman
1-Jan-2019, 11:51
Yosemite has no geysers, Randy. That would be Yellowstone, way over on the Wyoming-Montana border.
Thank goodness. I thought I missed something. :)

Drew Wiley
1-Jan-2019, 11:57
Our biggest "biker" rally is held once a year at the tiny town of Bridgeport, within sight of the ragged peaks which comprise the NE boundary of Yosemite. Thousands of Harley hogs and couples having fun. All fines for misbehavior go to the local school district. No problem simply because the Hell's Angels and Mongols are 100% banned from attending. No drugs, no knives, no guns.

Drew Wiley
1-Jan-2019, 12:19
There are some erroneous stereotypes about CA on this thread. We have more NP than any other state, and far more designated Wilderness Areas. Some of these are bigger than certain entire states. Yosemite Valley is just a tiny percent of this. It's even a small percent of Yosemite Park itself, and even there you can find plenty of quiet and elbow room if you simply avoid the peak tourist season, when it's likely to be hot and smoggy anyway. Or just drive uphill and walk a few yards from the road. There's no law that states you have to follow the herds to exactly the same turnouts! I could say the same thing about Zion, Yellowstone, or any number of other popular parks.

ic-racer
1-Jan-2019, 12:51
I did not realize Yosemite was so close to the rest of Kalifornia until I looked it up on Google Map (though I did know the geysers are in Yellowstone---Randy????). I grew up imagining it was a place in the middle of nowhere that required a good two-day road trip. Of course, with Google map 3D I can just upload my screen shots to my iPhone and show off travel pictures just like everyone else. This is without paying or having to use the bathrooms there...

185946

Doremus Scudder
1-Jan-2019, 12:54
The whole issue with problems in the parks when "mom & dad" supervision is gone due to the shutdown just points to the lack of character and poor quality of people problem that seems to be increasing exponentially these days. To quote him whose name shall not be mentioned. "Sad!" I hope that things are being exaggerated somewhat regarding the vandalism and violence. The sanitation and garbage issues are to be expected with the personnel issues, but one would hope that the park visitors would buck up and take such things in stride. Too bad they just don't close the park to visitors during periods of inadequate staffing. That might put some pressure on our elected representatives to work together to end the shutdown as well.

I try to hit the parks in the off seasons, when the populations there are lower, but my recent road trips Aug-Dec were quite pleasant in the parks. I visited Glacier, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Colorado Cliffs, Dinosaur, Great Sand Dunes, Joshua Tree, Mohave Nt Preserve and Death Valley plus a lot of State, County and other places. Sometimes crowded, but never an incidence of unpleasantness, fighting, excessive revelry or vandalism (mind you, I don't mind a bit of revelry at all). I wish my experiences were the norm.

Best,

Doremus

Randy Moe
1-Jan-2019, 13:10
My mistake, most likely I have been to both from the Badlands to wherever. Family vacations in the 50's and we moved house almost every year.

My road days are over.

I have been to 47 states by all kinds of ways.

California was a good place to vacation but not settle. I considered it, but no.

The Mojave/Sonoran Desert In mid winter was interesting to me. I would drive the Bradshaw Trail. That place sticks in my mind as i went there 3 years in a row 6 weeks at a time. We camped in the Chocolate Mountain Aerial Gunnery Range. Saw a lot of odd debris and strange things in the sky.

Age 68 I am already in reminisce mode...

If I wander I may not come home. :)












Yosemite has no geysers, Randy. That would be Yellowstone, way over on the Wyoming-Montana border.

Drew Wiley
1-Jan-2019, 13:47
"Bad character" against parks and public lands is being deliberately incited from the very top these days. No need to elaborate. But I actually wanted to respond to John K. The old French Trail was reopened just a tiny section above Redinger Lk, plus the segment parallel to Millerton Lk. No funds, no motive for the hard parts. I'd really like to see Patterson Bend designated as formal wilderness, since lower altitude protection is scant and it contains some of the most spectacular Spring biota in the entire country. But I'm one of only a handful of people alive who have ever actually walked in there (vs whitewater runs). It would have been ruined by the stupendous Temperance Flat Dam idea, which would have also drowned three hydroelectric plants upstream, and left Millerton as a dry mudhole downstream most years. But I suspect the insane cost of the project will doom it anyway. That's steep rugged country, so trail-building isn't for sissies. I prefer it as-is, no trails except a few old mining tracks, and certainly no dam.

Thad Gerheim
1-Jan-2019, 14:26
There are some erroneous stereotypes about CA on this thread. We have more NP than any other state, and far more designated Wilderness Areas. Some of these are bigger than certain entire states. Yosemite Valley is just a tiny percent of this. It's even a small percent of Yosemite Park itself, and even there you can find plenty of quiet and elbow room if you simply avoid the peak tourist season, when it's likely to be hot and smoggy anyway. Or just drive uphill and walk a few yards from the road. There's no law that states you have to follow the herds to exactly the same turnouts! I could say the same thing about Zion, Yellowstone, or any number of other popular parks.

Sorry Drew, that statement is an error! Idaho added some more wilderness three years ago and now has 4.8 million acres to your what, 4.3 million. But, that's OK I think everyone should vacation in CA. Nothing to see here, move along!

Drew Wiley
1-Jan-2019, 14:39
Ice Racer - here on SF Bay, it's only a 3-1/2 hr drive to Yos Valley at night, after fwy rush hour. But to give you a notion of local terrain, for me to drive across the river from my ole ranch up there and follow it to the trailheads on the south boundary of the Park, only 20 mi air distance, took even longer. Similarly, although the car entrance to Kings Canyon and Sequoia Parks was even closer, it would indeed take two days to drive there direct on Forest Service roads. Instead, I'd drop down to the San Joaquin Valley and go up the State highway, which took less than an hour. Similarly, Yosemite Valley, though going from the south entrance to the Valley itself took much longer than just getting to the entrance. For people arriving from out of state in the summer, drive in over the top at Tioga Pass. It's the southernmost road crossing over the Sierras. You might just decide to ignore Yosemite Valley itself in summer. Or go in Fall or Winter, when it actually looks like an AA postcard.

Drew Wiley
1-Jan-2019, 14:46
Thad - I was referring to the number of formal wilderness areas, not the cumulative acreage. But remember that about 90% of our NP acreage is also internally under wilderness rules, so you'd have to add that to the sum. Given the scope of Death Valley and SEKI (Sequoia-Kings) alone, that would about double our formal wilderness statistics. Even about 80% of Yosmite NP is under wilderness jurisdiction. Some of it is quite remote, with almost no signs of human presence, ever, except obsidian chips from ancient bighorn sheep hunters. I don't know how much of your own Hell's Can area is now designated, but it would be substantial too. Doesn't matter - for sheer area of designated Wilderness, Alaska has by far the most.

Jac@stafford.net
1-Jan-2019, 15:06
Sorry Drew, that statement is an error! Idaho added some more wilderness three years ago and now has 4.8 million acres to your what, 4.3 million. But, that's OK I think everyone should vacation in CA. Nothing to see here, move along!

I am going to Idaho on my next trip.

Drew Wiley
1-Jan-2019, 15:10
I recommend driving the fwy through Boise on a summer afternoon without AC. Visit a potato farm too. That should also cure some stereotypes about the West.

scheinfluger_77
1-Jan-2019, 15:29
...Nothing to see here, move along!

As a displaced westerner (Idaho, Montana, Colorado) +1... at least.

scheinfluger_77
1-Jan-2019, 15:35
I recommend driving the fwy through Boise on a summer afternoon without AC. Visit a potato farm too. That should also cure some stereotypes about the West.

for the 19 years we lived there I think the hottest official temperature was 109 F. The sign on the coke a cola plant said 113 F, it’s a dry heat of course. :p. I think that was the same summer the northwest US had its major power blackout.

Drew Wiley
1-Jan-2019, 17:35
We have our "alt" tourist attractions in CA too. You might feel at home in either Barstow or Bakersfield. They've got all the amenities - Motel Six right across the street from a tire shop and Denney's. The only real difference is that you can choose between constant dust storms or the worst refinery smog in the nation. So if you simply can't stand the mountains or beaches, take heart!

Sal Santamaura
1-Jan-2019, 18:06
...Or go in Fall or Winter, when it actually looks like an AA postcard.I tried that in December 2017. Thanks to climate change, it was in the mid to high 60s all week in the valley. Not a single flake of snow to be seen, not even on the peaks. Lots of dried grasses and killed trees, though.


...itís a dry heat of course...So's putting one's head in an oven.

Mark Sampson
1-Jan-2019, 18:33
We went to the officially-closed Saguaro NP East today- my visiting brother-in-law is entranced by all the cacti. Didn't stop at the visitor center- the entry booth at the Cactus Forest Drive was closed so we just drove in. Lots of visitors, all behaving themselves as far as I could tell. Snow on both the Rincon and Santa Catalina mountains- temps in the 40s and flying clouds. A beautiful cold silver light, most unusual for Tucson. Sadly I didn't take the view camera, (dare I say it) just the dslr. Let's hope the bad effects of the shutdown can be easily repaired.

Drew Wiley
1-Jan-2019, 18:35
Yep. Conspicuous changes. But the main wet season in lower Sierra elevations has ordinarily begun in Jan or even later, and is in fact forecast later this week. The big long term problem is not the lack of precipitation per se, but it being warmer, with the snowpack becoming higher and higher in elevation. It's estimated we'll lose 80% of usable water within the next 20 or 30 yrs, yet with a doubled population. Mindless suburban sprawl and water-intensive crops just aren't going to be realistic. Whether people like it or not, there's going to have to be some rules. It's a matter of survival. There are only a handful of glaciers left in the Sierra, and even the pikas are moving higher. But I was encouraged to see quite a few sugar pines still thriving in Paradise Valley in King's Canyon. They're all dead down where they normally grow, along with all the other pines. The dramatically reduced biomass will further aggravate the overall drying. And zero intelligent engagement from the very people who should see it as a natl emergency going to get a lot worse. Sadly, the only thing that can now stop the pine beetle epidemic is catastrophic fire itself.

Drew Wiley
1-Jan-2019, 18:47
Tonite's news stated that spray paint taggers etc have taken advantage of the Park closure to vandalize boulders in Joshua Tree, so looks like that road is going to have to be outright closed. Pt Reyes here is outdoor activity as normal. Rest rooms at trail parking lots are still open, but not otherwise maintained.

Drew Wiley
2-Jan-2019, 18:15
Today, due to all the trash etc, Yosemite had closed and monitored its south entrance, except by reservation permit, to restrict the hordes coming up from Fresno via Oakhurst on Hwy 41. The less heavily used west entrance from Mariposa remains open without restriction, though that could change too if necessary.

Randy Moe
2-Jan-2019, 18:19
NPR is on it.

Two23
2-Jan-2019, 19:52
Tonite's news stated that spray paint taggers etc have taken advantage of the Park closure to vandalize boulders in Joshua Tree,


I just can't understand they psychology of anyone who would want to travel many miles to do that. (And that's saying something because I once worked in a state mental hospital.)



Kent in SD

Nodda Duma
2-Jan-2019, 19:54
We have our "alt" tourist attractions in CA too. You might feel at home in either Barstow or Bakersfield. They've got all the amenities - Motel Six right across the street from a tire shop and Denney's. The only real difference is that you can choose between constant dust storms or the worst refinery smog in the nation. So if you simply can't stand the mountains or beaches, take heart!

Barstow and Bakersfield: The two armpits of California!

Corran
2-Jan-2019, 20:21
Sad to hear about the craziness at the NPs. Over here I was excited to shoot more ULF images at my favorite Gulf Coast NP but it's shut down completely, despite having few facilities to manage anyway, which really sucks. The gate is only about a mile from my favorite trail but with no parking my car would be just sitting in the road if I hiked in and likely to get towed. AFAIK no one is "breaking in" here, because that entails bushwacking through dense salt marshes - you just can't do that. Unfortunately most of Mississippi's best places are National Park areas, due to a disturbing lack of state-funded and managed parks (draw what conclusions you will from that...).

Anyway, I've been exploring some other places instead but as it stands it looks like my entire 2 weeks here will pass without getting to visit said NP. Disappointed!!

Gulf Islands National Seashore
Davis Bayou
Ocean Springs, Mississippi
30.396074, -88.790571
August, 2018:

http://garrisaudiovisual.com/photosharing/gulfislands-0883sss.jpg

MrFujicaman
2-Jan-2019, 23:24
I've always felt that 'taggers" should have the word A**hole branded on their forehead...

Drew Wiley
3-Jan-2019, 10:37
Yosemite Valley does offer a special kind of scenery which is not elsewhere accessible to automobiles and buses. But it is surrounded on every single side by many many other things to see. The Mother Lode hill country below, to the west, can be stunning in Spring, but people just whizz by without even noticing it, trying to rush to Yosemite. Many treat Yos Valley like a theme park. It's not a long drive at all from major population centers, only about an hour from the nearest large city, at least to the Park south entrance. But there are many other ways in. Last time I went over the southern boundary, over an 11000 ft pass, for a two-week trip, we didn't encounter anyone else for over a full week during that trip. And the scenery was even more spectacular than Yosemite Valley itself, and was pristine. We had it all to ourselves, just two of us. Not a single chewing gum wrapper, not a single soda can pop top; not even any footprints over most of it, except for coyotes and bighorn sheep. There are actually many places in the Sierras like that; you just can't drive there. More summers than not, I can walk for a week in some remote section of the high Sierra without seeing anyone else. But if you do need to drive, there are still a hecka lot of places to go besides Yos Valley in tourist season. Burn all your postcards and stereotypes, and look at a map. Yet we should actually be grateful that 98% of the people do go to just 2% of the places, cause it leave the rest a lot quieter. The problem in desert parks, however, is that the absence of enforcement in situations like these tempts a particularly irresponsible ATV crowd to suddenly move in and deliberately tear things up while they can, and deliberately leave behind big piles of garbage to mock authorities. That's just part of that culture, apparently, just like spraying paint over pristine surfaces seems to be a mandatory part of the tagger/gangbanger warped mentality. Too bad the rattlesnakes are asleep in winter.

Randy Moe
3-Jan-2019, 11:28
Is tagging, graffiti, street art, acting out, performance, expensive cars, home, boats, planes and all sort of human effort and possessions just a prehistoric impulse to mark territory that we are or were here? We mark our property as we define it.

Perhaps derived from our animal friends. Many animals mark their territory with urine and scat.

In fact, if possible, I always pee on the 4 corners of my camp if I can, such as a remote area.

Are the drawings at Lascaux more sacred than anything we do before the next Fall?

Will we leave our 'Mark' for eternity on this 3rd rock?

Not after the Sun goes Red Giant...

Better get on the Elon Musk bus to Mars...

BTW, I don't like destruction of natural resources at all, but we do it all the time.

When I was in the California desert, I found several Oasis on public land. A large fenced one had been 'occupied' obviously for years with the usual, 'Trespassers Will Be Shot'. I moved on.

Another gorgeous Oasis had water and plenty of Palm Trees, nobody there. No structures.

But some fool had burned all the very tall trees.

Do Palm Trees recover from a burn?

It was ugly. :(

Drew Wiley
3-Jan-2019, 11:58
The routine fence and tree signs where I grew up read, "No Trespassing, Survivors will be prosecuted"; and they meant it. But that's what kept those vast ranches way more pristine than most officially protected parks. What people stupidly praise as "street art" I simply call vandalism, because that is what it is - fouling someone else's property just to make your own mark. Then they get some silly little token fine, if they ever are caught. Heck, give em a toothbrush and some paint remover, and let those brats spend their whole summer scrubbing it off. But sometimes the law does have teeth in it. A gal convicted of spraying rocks in several NP's (stupidly, with her own name), now has a lifetime ban from any of them, or the option of prison time. The ATV idiots who cut through the fence protecting Deep Springs and its highly endangered pupfish - it's the only tiny water hole in the world where that particular species exists - went swimming in there, killed off several of the only 90 fish still left, and happened to leave some soda cans behind. These were DNA tested, the culprits identified, given massive fines plus hard prison time, six years apiece, I think. That's the way it should be - not by outright pardoning range arsonists, commercial antiquities looting rings and commercial game poachers to stir up your "base" with the incentive that now it's going to be fine to act that way. Anarchy is inexcusable. Doubt even the cave painters permitted that; I'm certain they didn't. Some of the figures in them are thousands of years apart; not just anyone was painting in there. Our own parks, wilderness areas, and wildlife refuges belong to the people as a common trust, not for sake of ruination by a mindless few. .. But no, moving to Mars is no answer, even if accessible water is found there. Why colonize a planet with very limited resources that will inevitably be ruined by us a thousand times faster than this one?

tgtaylor
3-Jan-2019, 12:38
Barstow and Bakersfield: The two armpits of California!

Barstow was a historic stop along the legendary Route 66 and is also an entrance into the Mojave Desert. I was on a road trip the night Saddam Hussein was hanged and watched the developments from a motel room in Barstow until the wee hours of the morning when he was finally hanged. Bakersfield, while not a SF or LA, played a significant part in California history.

Thomas

Drew Wiley
3-Jan-2019, 13:18
Barstow and Iraq desert under siege from gritty blowing sand, same place. Bakersfield is an outpost of Texas, but with the advantage of having high mountains and splendid wildflowers amidst solitude just a half hour away, either direction. It's the only place in this country I'm aware of where someone started their car engine and blew up themselves, due to the density of flammable air pollution from a nearby refinery. If Merle Haggard thought of Bakersfield as the promised land, I'd sure as heck hate to see where he came from. Lots of history indeed - the whole Dust Bowl story and tragic Oakie exodus afterwards, followed by Grapes of Wrath labor conditions. SF had an enormous role in CA history. Once gold was discovered, it mushroomed into the "Paris of the West", by far the largest city of the West in fact, back when LA was still a tiny saloon brawl waypoint, and the site of Bakersfield was still an inland swamp. Thousands of Indians had once lived on the shores of Tulare Lk, but then the Spanish genocided most of them using fire on their tule huts, and dragged the survivors to nearby coastal Missions. CA has history, even if unwritten, easily going back 15,000 yrs or more. There were "Route 66" trade routes throughout the West back when mastodons were still roaming about. But when it comes to White men's mining claims, yeah, there's some interesting ghost town stuff outside Barstow too, and some nice desert. But it has a bad enough reputation for being nowhere sufficient to make it the only place in the West where toxic e-waste is sent for legal dismantling. A new highway patrolman was assigned to Hwy 41 between Coarsegold and the Yosemite south entrance, a quite desirable location for that kind of career. There was a semi-tame deer hanging around the highway attracting attention, with people stopping and backing traffic up. So one day the Patrolman pulled out his revolver and shot it. The locals were infuriated and demanded punishment, but what he had done was perfectly legal. So what the Hwy Patrol did is give him a "promotion" and transfer him to Barstow - purgatory!

Randy Moe
3-Jan-2019, 13:58
You make my point.

Thanks!

Drew Wiley
3-Jan-2019, 15:33
Now, now, Randy... I know you're coveting a second career as a Highway Patrolman, but they do have certain standards...

ic-racer
3-Jan-2019, 16:24
Good news is that I don't recall forest fires, graffiti, vandalism, human feces, trash or rock-stacking in the park near me. However, I needed a half-stop bellows compensation to capture the majestic waterfall; it is only six inches high...
186013

Drew Wiley
3-Jan-2019, 16:33
That would look like Niagara Falls to an ant, so it's all relative. Besides, it's fun to fool people with scale. You should have put a little plastic Monopoly Hotel or model railroad building at the edge.

Fred L
10-Jan-2019, 19:21
JT vandalism. not sure if this posted here or not, but damn, some people couldn't give two Fxs about national parks.

https://www.nationalparkstraveler.org/2019/01/joshua-tree-national-park-close-cleanup-repairs-vandalism-illegal-roads

Leszek Vogt
10-Jan-2019, 22:16
Usually (but not always) it's the local perps. I have no clue what justifies their actions ?

Les

Drew Wiley
11-Jan-2019, 12:58
It's just the way ATV culture is. They think desert is for the purpose of tearing up under tires tracks, and are highly resentful of any public protection. Just like taggers. One thing that worked quite well where I came from in Sierra Natl Forest is that they designated 4WD tracks between official Wilderness Areas and NP's to give that form of recreation an opportunity to burn off steam while protecting the rest. It's usually the younger inexperienced crowd that just wants to spin tires and make a mess. By designating 4WD with various degrees of serious difficulty, such people had an incentive to join extant 4WD clubs and learn how to drive difficult routes correctly. If they didn't, neither they nor their vehicles were going to survive very long. Some of these routes were quite difficult and dangerous; you have to know what you're doing. For those who decided to go out an tear apart protected off-road areas with their tires, there were sometimes Rangers hidden at pinch points where they couldn't get past, with serious consequences. I remember a guy getting caught with an ATV inside a Wilderness boundary, yet 18 miles from a paved road. The Ranger pulled his spark plug and told him to push his vehicle all the way back out.

Drew Wiley
13-Jan-2019, 20:12
Getting worse. One of the reason the road into Joshua Tree was closed is that vandals were chainsawing down Joshua Trees!

pepeguitarra
13-Jan-2019, 23:26
Southern California, just a little portion of the State, from Ventura County (Karsashian's live there) to the Mexican border has 19 million people living and driving cars everyday. In 1992, there were 15 million. When I hear another State with 800,000 people, I feel that is just my neighborhood size. It is a shame that education at home is at the bottom of the priorities in many homes.

John Kasaian
14-Jan-2019, 09:21
We took a detour through a huge Joshua Tree forest on BLM land S. of Las Vegas (I-15 was closed by a pile up---injuries but no fatalities, thank God!)
I'd better not post the exact location to keep it "safe"

MrFujicaman
19-Jan-2019, 00:49
I kinda of think somebody should use a chainsaw on such vandals...

They're busy proving my theory that stupid people are never infertile and just keep making more idiots.

ic-racer
30-Jan-2019, 17:33
That would look like Niagara Falls to an ant, so it's all relative. Besides, it's fun to fool people with scale. You should have put a little plastic Monopoly Hotel or model railroad building at the edge.
I used to do that...
187067

Drew Wiley
30-Jan-2019, 19:23
Well, one interesting thing about the shutdown in that Elephant seals took over the parking lot at Drake's Beach at Pt Reyes Natl Seashore; so that spot is still officially closed except by guided ranger tours. And cleaning up that kind of poop will probably tax the patience of the docents and other volunteers. Meanwhile, a strain of blue-eye coyotes have been spotted there. Maybe one of Sir Francis Drake's crew left some DNA behind?

John Kasaian
30-Jan-2019, 23:15
Well, one interesting thing about the shutdown in that Elephant seals took over the parking lot at Drake's Beach at Pt Reyes Natl Seashore; so that spot is still officially closed except by guided ranger tours. And cleaning up that kind of poop will probably tax the patience of the docents and other volunteers. Meanwhile, a strain of blue-eye coyotes have been spotted there. Maybe one of Sir Francis Drake's crew left some DNA behind?

Poop has become kind of a trademark for the Bay Area, hasn't it?
Blame it on the elephant seals. lol!

Drew Wiley
31-Jan-2019, 09:24
There are usually handful of elephant seals on that beach each winter; but now it's pretty crowded with them. So anyone who wants to see them has to park at Pt Reyes North Beach parking lot and catch a shuttle bus Ranger tour it seems. I haven't been that direction lately. The poop reputation is otherwise a skid row thing in a section of SF greatly overblown for sake of political poop fights. But where things are really getting awful is along the Fwy in Berkeley where frontage road closures due to storm and sewage drain replacements have encouraged a homeless sprawl that looks like an Emperor of the North Depression era setting. You have to be really careful where you drive because there's all kinds of sharp junk and metal and random bicycle parts laying all over the streets, and the even bigger problem of a lot of these folks having mental or drug issues, so they'll wander right in front of a moving car or train without realizing it. But due to rising sea level, those old underground drains just have to be replaced. Some of them were still brick from the 1880's! About 20 years ago one of them backed up and flooded the parking area under the overpass. There were hundreds of drowned rats laying around stinking for about three days, and the office ladies were complaining about the smell.
So one of the foremen had his wife stuff a gray sock and put a tail, feet, nose n whiskers n beady eyes on it, and brought it to work in his coat pocket. Then he went to the accounting office where all the ladies were, stood in the doorway and pulled it out of his coat, and hollered, Hey, look what I found in the parking lot!, as he threw the thing in the room. They all stampeded out of there screeching. I saw the whole thing. As long as we our work got done,
the Owner looked the other way, and pranks were a routine form of letting off steam.

John Kasaian
31-Jan-2019, 09:45
There are usually handful of elephant seals on that beach each winter; but now it's pretty crowded with them. So anyone who wants to see them has to park at Pt Reyes North Beach parking lot and catch a shuttle bus Ranger tour it seems. I haven't been that direction lately. The poop reputation is otherwise a skid row thing in a section of SF greatly overblown for sake of political poop fights. But where things are really getting awful is along the Fwy in Berkeley where frontage road closures due to storm and sewage drain replacements have encouraged a homeless sprawl that looks like an Emperor of the North Depression era setting. You have to be really careful where you drive because there's all kinds of sharp junk and metal and random bicycle parts laying all over the streets, and the even bigger problem of a lot of these folks having mental or drug issues, so they'll wander right in front of a moving car or train without realizing it. But due to rising sea level, those old underground drains just have to be replaced. Some of them were still brick from the 1880's! About 20 years ago one of them backed up and flooded the parking area under the overpass. There were hundreds of drowned rats laying around stinking for about three days, and the office ladies were complaining about the smell.
So one of the foremen had his wife stuff a gray sock and put a tail, feet, nose n whiskers n beady eyes on it, and brought it to work in his coat pocket. Then he went to the accounting office where all the ladies were, stood in the doorway and pulled it out of his coat, and hollered, Hey, look what I found in the parking lot!, as he threw the thing in the room. They all stampeded out of there screeching. I saw the whole thing. As long as we our work got done,
the Owner looked the other way, and pranks were a routine form of letting off steam.

Sounds like a fun place to work.

Drew Wiley
31-Jan-2019, 10:04
Oh it was wonderful fun. The pranks could get really clever and rough however. Lots of those guys have passed away, and the second generation of ownership cracked down pretty hard on the culture of anything-goes antics, but not like a white collar operation. I was well prepared. I have a whole book somewhere around here containing first person stories by the mountain road crew and cowboys etc up in the hills. I knew them all personally because I grew up with their kids, though we were scattered many miles apart. A bulldozer driver was smoking a cigar at lunch at the equipment yard, sitting atop a case of dynamite, when a co-worker shot the cigar out of his mouth and howled with laughter. No complaints. But the next day, while the rifleman was napping at lunch and airing out his hot feet, the dozer driver returned the prank and filled his boots with fast-setting concrete. It would go on and on like that, back and forth, for months. I've seen some far rougher pranks among cowboys. No sense telling the lore here. City folk simply wouldn't believe these things.

John Kasaian
31-Jan-2019, 20:35
HWY 41 in the news today.
Caltrans complaining that the rain is clogging the culverts with debris from the Rail Fire and damaging the highway. Equipment needs to be pre-positioned now to remove the debris and keep the water flowing.

Drew Wiley
1-Feb-2019, 10:34
There are plenty of advance highway warning here on the coast too. Hwy 1 down around Big Sur is already having a fresh slide issue. There are probably going to be serious slide and tree problems in the Santa Cruz mountains. But trees can fall almost anywhere. Mudslides are already beginning across Hwy 101 in the Malibu burn area. They say this incoming storm will have not only a significant amount of rain, but wind too. But with the Sierra snowpack already at 100% of "normal", this should top that off even better. Makes no difference. Before summer is over, Pine Flat will be nearly empty, and nothing will be left in the piggy bank for when the water is needed the most. Conspicuous waste of water is policy in the West. And maybe I'm irritated because the cute little shade town of Minkler down below along the River is going to be turned into a sprawl of Burger Kings and mini-marts and mindless suburbanization once that Railway to Nowhere hub gets completed there.

John Kasaian
1-Feb-2019, 12:55
There are plenty of advance highway warning here on the coast too. Hwy 1 down around Big Sur is already having a fresh slide issue. There are probably going to be serious slide and tree problems in the Santa Cruz mountains. But trees can fall almost anywhere. Mudslides are already beginning across Hwy 101 in the Malibu burn area. They say this incoming storm will have not only a significant amount of rain, but wind too. But with the Sierra snowpack already at 100% of "normal", this should top that off even better. Makes no difference. Before summer is over, Pine Flat will be nearly empty, and nothing will be left in the piggy bank for when the water is needed the most. Conspicuous waste of water is policy in the West. And maybe I'm irritated because the cute little shade town of Minkler down below along the River is going to be turned into a sprawl of Burger Kings and mini-marts and mindless suburbanization once that Railway to Nowhere hub gets completed there.

I didn't know Minkler was going to be a stop. The new highway is going to skirt Minkler from what I saw a few weeks ago when we drove out to the School House/Sherwood Inn or whatever it's called these days(excellent food btw!)
The lunch counter at the little market in Minkler has excellent bologne sandwiches (and I don't care much for bologne sandwiches)
I doubt if a Burger King would stand a chance unless it was on the new stretch of highway tapping into the Kings Canyon National Park traffic.

Drew Wiley
1-Feb-2019, 15:40
Development is almost inevitable because land is being taken away from the orchards to put the high speed rail line through, and the rail will intersect right around that new highway interchange going uphill. Minkler is just a stone's throw away. I can remember being in the old Millerton fish hatchery tank truck, throwing in a brick of ice and time to time, and stopping at the bridge at Minkler to toss in a bucket of 8" trout that would get immediately caught by waiting fishermen, fried, and taste like cottonseed. We kids were always hoping to get some kind of permanent wildlife job. But the hatchery had exactly one job opening and accepted exactly one application - that of the Manager's son! - nepotism as usual. Later I remember getting into a huge rotten grapefruit fight right after a streambed mapping exercise for a Geomorphology class. We pulled onto the highway at Minkler and opened the sunroof and tossed the rotten fruit at the car of fellow students ahead of us. But right at that moment, the Professor in his own car ahead of them happened to brake, and several grapefruit ended up splattering all over his windshield and car hood. He was a great sport, so we simply ended up washing and waxing his car as part of the field trip.

John Kasaian
1-Feb-2019, 20:58
Excellent farm land---plenty of water and fertile soil.
My B-I-L's family had an 80 acre vineyard across the road from the Kings for 100+ years

Drew Wiley
4-Feb-2019, 13:18
Well, that bottomland where the Kings Riv reaches the valley right there around Minkler is infamous for horribly dense tule fog and massive car pileups. The man who owned the little old hotel there went berserk a few years ago and killed 3 young Fresno cops trying to pick him up; but that would have been all over your local news. What bothers me personally is the leveling of the little stone roadside museum a bit further south. It housed a couple mammoth skeletons my dad dug up during the adjacent canal project, plus some petrified Pliocene palm wood logs from the Ione Formation right up the road past your pasture in Clovis, past the eucalyptus grove where there the canal cuts over from Millerton. I have a set of bookends made from that - a bright yellowish-white opalescent stone with the distinctly lenticular cell structure of palm cell walls still visible under a low-power microscope.