November-December 2003 Roadrunner Newsletter, Kern-Kaweah Sierrra Club
The Roadrunner Bimonthly Publication of the Kern-Kaweah Chapter of the Sierra Club — Nov./Dec. 2003 Supreme Court Victory for Clinton Designated Monuments Including our Sequoia National Monument Court refuses to consider suits attempting to overturn monuments, Antiquities Act standsThis decision confirms what we have been saying all along. The opponents of the Giant Sequoia NationalMonument had no legal grounds to oppose the Monument. Their litigation had no merit. That wasconfirmed by the original court, all of the appeals courts, and now the Supreme Court. This decisionreaffirms the President’s authority to designate National Monuments on Federal Public Lands.Now our job is to prevent the Forest Service from manipulating the wording of the Presidential Proclamationthat created the Monument in order to undo the monument administratively. Kern/Kaweah Sierra Clubmembers will hear from the Sequoia Task Force when the Forest Service releases its final decision about theirplans to manage the Monument. If it in any form resembles their Draft Plan released last spring, we will needyour help to make sure the Monument is not undermined by their bias to continue logging, business as usual. Joe Fontaine Landmark Clean Air Bill is Passed requirements of the federal Clean Air Act. Yes, It Really Is the Law “Now Big Ag must play by the same rules as every other sector and be treated like any other industryEnvironmental, community, and medical groups that pollutes our common air. It’s about time,” saidcelebrated the passage on September 10 of SB 700 Kevin Hall, a Fresno-based clean air activist without of the California State Assembly, legislation that Sierra Club. “This bill is a huge step in the rightwill end the statewide exemption from clean air rules direction, and Senator Dean Florez and Senatorthat large agricultural operations have enjoyed for Byron Sher deserve credit for their courageous60 years. The bill then went to the State Senate for leadership and navigation of this important billreconciliation before going to Governor Gray Davis, through the Assembly.”who signed it. Asthma Background Facts: *State of CaliforniaAuthored by State Senator Dean Florez, D-Shafter, spends $350 million on asthma-related hospitali-SB 700 faced fierce opposition from California’s zations and emergency room visits.powerful agricultural lobby. The bill was supportedby environmental, community, and medical organi- *Studies show that elevated ozone levels not onlyzations, as well as thousands of residents of Cal- exacerbate, but can actually cause asthma inifornia’s San Joaquin Valley, one of the most otherwise healthy children who are active outdoors.polluted air basins in the country. Litigation Brought Air Pollution and Lax Enforce-Agricultural sources of air pollution will be subject ment into Spotlightto air pollution controls and permit rules. The bill In May 2002, the US Environmental Protectionestablishes a timeline to develop those regulations Agency, responding to three lawsuits brought by aand creates a new state operating permit for large coalition of community, health, and environmentaldairies and feedlots. “Despite a desperate fight groups (including the Sierra Club spearheaded bywaged by Big Ag in the courts and in the backrooms Kevin Hall and including our Kern Kaweah Chap-of the Assembly, a grassroots effort to bring clean ter), demanded that California end the air pollutionair to the Valley prevailed today,” said Brent Newell, exemption for the politically powerful agriculturalan attorney at the Center on Race, Poverty & the industry. “The Farm Bureau and its allies refused toEnvironment who represented Valley groups in the concede that clean air required every industry’slitigation and legislative efforts to end the exemp- sacrifice,” said Newell who represents thetion. Association of Irritated Residents and CommunitiesResponding to a Public Health Crisis for Land, Air & Water.Agricultural sources are responsible for more than State Senator Dean Florez jumped into the fray this25 percent of the air pollution in the Central Valley, year with seven clean air bills that covered a varietyyet they enjoyed a special exemption under State of pollution sources. The keystone piece of legisla-law that allowed them to avoid the air permit tion, SB 700, ended the agriculture exemption. “We
2 THE ROADRUNNERdidn’t get everything we wanted in this bill; the This is critical to fulfilling HSR potential. A stationagricultural industry fought it tooth and nail, which isolated from a city center or surrounded by parkingis why the Central Valley has some of the dirtiest air lots is an unattractive destination. Furthermore, thein the country,” said Anne Harper of Earthjustice, station’s ridership will be limited by the parking lotwho represented the Sierra Club, NRDC, and capacity and will contribute to sprawl. The oppositeMedical Advocates for Healthy Air in one of the is true of a station located in an attractive downtownoriginal lawsuits. “But we will keep pushing in the area with limited parking and mass transit or re-courts and in Sacramento until the federal Clean Air gional bus service available.Act is fully enforced in California.” Likewise the rail route is also important. It is im- Bill Magavern, Sierra Club staff portant to realize that HSR competes primarily withNOTE: How Ag was going to achieve air pollution controls the airplane. In order for it to be attractive in Cali-was never dealt with in the final bills. There was an attempt fornia, the system should offer travel times betweento give subsidies to Ag to aid in adjusting to controlling the Bay Area and the LA Basin of about 2 hours.emissions, but the dollars suggested were prohibitive given Each minute added lessens its competitiveness withthe present budget situation. the airplane. One of the difficult choices this causes HIGH SPEED RAIL BOND ISSUE TO BE ON is that Palmdale wants to be on the main HSR line. THE 2004 BALLOT. THINK ABOUT IT NOW! By routing the line through Palmdale rather than GET READY TO SUBMIT WRITTEN over the I-5 Grapevine, every Bay Area to LA REMARKS SOON traveler will pay a penalty of 10-12 minutes in travel time.This month, the Draft Environmental Impact Reportfor California’s own entry into the world’s list of The construction issues also need Sierra Club atten-HSR systems is due to be published for a 90-day tion. In the Loma Prieta Chapter, we are joiningcomment period. This electrically powered High together with other chapters and other environ-Speed Train, traveling at over 200 mph, will connect mental organizations to fight proposed routing thatLos Angeles and San Francisco, which is one of the would take HSR through Henry Coe Park andbusiest air corridors in the world. With a travel time surrounding wilderness areas. Near LA there may beof approximately 2 hours between the Bay Area and other issues as well. The line will be passing nearthe Los Angeles basin, a HSR train compares quite more than a dozen different parks or wildlife re-favorably with a 1 hour 20 minute plane ride. With fuges.downtown stations, California HSR will offer better So while HSR offers a number of benefits to thedoor-to-door travel times than an airplane. environment once operating, the Sierra Club needsAccording to the Bay Area Metropolitan Transpor- to make sure that the construction is sensitive to thetation Commission, 35% of flights from the San environment as well. All interested members shouldFrancisco Bay area head south to the Los Angeles contact the California High Speed Rail Authority toarea. According to the California High Speed Rail get a copy of the Draft EIR. Also please contact meAuthority, a majority of those travelers would use a so that we can coordinate our comments.HSR system if it were available. Patrick Moore, SC California Transportation Com-This is critical because HSR, by diverting travelers mittee 650.207.9792entirely from planes, lets the “No to LAX expan- Important Dates: Draft EIR due Dec 2003-Jan 2004.sion” advocates oppose the LAX airport without Re: proposed $10 billion Bond Measure to helppitting them against the “No to El Toro Airport” fund the initial construction.advocates. HSR offers the opportunity to reshape thetransportation backbone of California for the next Report on September CNRCC Meeting100 years and will help address the congestion in San Luis Obispobottlenecks at all of the state’s busiest airports On the first weekend in September, representativeswith–out airport expansion. from the Kern Kaweah Chapter listened to topicsHowever, the actual $33 billion HSR construction from the recall election to Senator Florez’s airproject, being one of the largest single civil en- quality bills. Joe Fontaine spoke in favor of havinggineering projects in the nation, has its own set of the Sequoia National Monument moved from theenvironmental challenges. Station placement, rail Forest Service to the Park Service to provide greateralignment, and land use around the station are protection of resources. This all happened at thecrucial to its success and overall environmental twice a year meeting of representatives from all theimpact. chapters in California held at San Luis Obispo toSierra Club has adopted a resolution that demands discuss and vote on conversation issues related to thedowntown stations with good access to mass transit. state.
THE ROADRUNNER 3Members of the Club’s California staff, that is, paid Specific Datesworkers who work in Sacramento on behalf of us Want to attend ExCom meetings? Call groupvolunteers in order to get our message to the leg- numbers on last page for info. Please, Sierra Clubislature, spoke about how the recall election has members only.slowed down the process and how Senator Florez’s Nov 6 (thur) 7 PM NAFTA and Responsible Tradebills to clean up our air have met partisan oppo- Issues, by Jesse Swanhuyer, Angeles Chapt. Bealesition. Lib. Call Elaine 661.833.3795. (Buena Vista Gp)The highlight of the meeting was cerebral comments Nov 12 (thur) 6 PM Evening Social. Brewbaker’s,by Kevin Hall of the Tehepite Chapter (Fresno) on 219 E. Main St., Visalia . Call Harold 559.739.8527,his fantastic victories in the fight to clean up the (Min King Gp)Valley’s air. In a talk laced with comments aboutgrowing up in an Irish Catholic immigrant family, Nov 15 (sat) 9:30 AM Taft Highway Cleanup. Meethe gave us great insight on how to use words and at corner of Gosford and Taft Hwy. Wear boots, hat,phrases to get the public aware of how political and gloves. Trash bags provided. We need you! Calldecisions have caused the people’s health to Elaine 661.833.3795. (Buena Vista Gp)deteriorate. His remarks and comments were Nov 17 (mon) 7:30 PM East Greenland Adventurefollowed by a standing ovation from the audience, a Cruise slides presented by Dennis Burge. Icebergs,first for this group. seals, tundra, glaciers, fjords, and mountains. Matu-Upcoming issues discussed were the re-election of rango Museum. Call Dennis 760.375.7967 (OwensSenator Boxer, a strong advocate of wilderness, and Pk Gp)the movement to have her unseated. High-speed rail Nov 22 (sat) 8AM Three Falls Hike. Opportunity toand the always-present topic of sprawl, both here in view waterfalls, explore geology of area. Learn howthe Central Valley and in other parts of the state, legal Wilderness is distinguished from naturalwere discussed as to what needs to be done locally wilderness. Travel up the south side of Pinos range,and statewide to protect our land from unwise easy stretches first, altitude change comes sharplydevelopment. later. Comparisons between deciduous and conif-The next full meeting will be in March. It is a fan- erous trees, change of vegetation at different altitudetastic time to be reenergized about the environment levels will be discussed. Meet at tennis courts, PMCand the power of being a volunteer in an organi- at 8 or at Mini-Mart Lockwood Valley Road, Cuddyzation that asks us to speak on behalf of the air, Valley Road intersection, 8:15. Call Dale 661.water, and land. 242.1076, Ches 661. 242.0423. (Condor Gp)Over twenty-five new people attended this session. I Nov 22 (sat) 7:30 AM Conglomerate Mesa (Betweenhope you will be a new attendee in March. Contact Malpais Mesa on the south and Cerro Gordo Pk onme or any ExCom member on how you can get the north in Southern Inyos, 7724 ft, rolling 1300 ftinvolved. Harry Love gain, 5.8 mi RT) Explore 125 year old woodcutting area. Two ancient cabins, panning materials, and WINTERTIME charcoal producing areas have been found here. Judge validity of clues that Native Americans WANDERINGS camped around dry hanging lake on top of mesa.Everyone is welcome, Sierra Club members and non- Birdpoints, house circles, and worked obsidianmembers, to join in any of the outdoor activities listed found there. Easy/Moderate hike. Meet at Ridge-below. Requirements: persons participating be in condition, crest Cinema parking lot. Call Dennis 760.375.7967equipped appropriately for the activity, and prepared to sign a or Jim 760.375.8161 for more info.Sierra Club release from liability. Unprepared for the Dec 2 (tues) Mailing Party of newsletter/ballot. Callprospective hike? The leader will have to ask the hiker notto participate. Good hiking shoes, plenty of water, are a Harold 559.739.8527. (Min King Gp)must; sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, and jackets suggested. Dec 10 (thur) 6 PM Evening Social Mimi’s Cafe -The leader has full responsibility for the hike, and his/her Packwood Shopping Center, 40045 Mooney Blvd.directions must be followed. Please inform the leader ahead Visalia.. Call Harold 559.739.8527. (Min King Gp)of time that you are intending to participate. Feel free to Dec 13 (Sat) 7:30AM Boulder Peak (High point onconsult with the leader as to your fitness to go on the hike. east ridge of Sawtooth Pk in the southern Sierra, Every Week 6283 ft, 2900 ft gain, 4.7 mi RT) We may descendBakersfield. Conditioning Hikes: (thurs) 7 PM. 4-5 over County Line Pk, Inspect campsite, woodenmiles. Corner of highways 178 & 184. Gordon, walkways used to transit cliffs during aqueduct661.872.2432 or Larry, 873.8107 (KK Chapt.) construction. Moderate/strenuous hike. Meet Ridge- crest Cinema parking lot. Call Dennis, 760.375.7967
4 THE ROADRUNNERor Jim 760.375.8161 for more info. (Owens Pk Gp) And Gordon Nipp keeps nipping at the heels ofDecember ? Kaweah Group. Plans are being made developers by insisting that they contribute to an airfor a holiday get-together complete with a potluck. quality mitigation fee for all the traffic that theirPlease call Pam Clark, 559.784.4643 for details. developments will generate. Gordon, with the help of Harry Love, has been so successful that both the city MARK IT DOWN NOW (2004) of Bakersfield and the Valley Air Pollution ControlCNRRC Southern Half Mtg. January 10th (Satur- District are now considering slapping the fee on allday) , at Sierra Club office in Los Angeles new housing projects. Go get’em, Gordon.CNRCC Mtg. at SLO is MARCH 13-14. We’ve also won another legal victory and settled onANNUAL KERN KAWEAH BANQUET: tentative favorable terms our suit against EPA. The fight’sdate: March 27 (Saturday) not over, though. The Bush administration is tryingNotes from to undo what we’ve won in the legislature and through the courts. As with many environmental THE CHAPTER CHAIR, Paul Gipe issues, it’s two steps forward, and one back. To helpWere Recruiting—a Treasurer with the fight for clean air, call Gordon at 661.872.The Chapter is looking for a few good men—and a 2432, or call Arthur Unger at 661.323.5569.few good women. Paul GipeWe have an immediate opening for a Chapter trea- Dream Aheadsurer. Larry Wailes is stepping down and as yet no Nipp’s Sixty Lakes Basin Tripone has stepped up to replace him. The treasurerreports to the ExCom, and though attendance at the A touch of summer when we need it!monthly ExCom meetings isn’t required, monthly For most of you living in the Bakersfield area thereports are. Larry has ably handled our finances for first week of August was not a time of morningseveral years and will train anyone who wants to frost. But for the ten Sierra Club members on thehelp. (As a former treasurer myself, I can help as backpack trip into the Sixty Lakes Basin, frostywell.) The post requires a modicum of computer mornings were the norm.skills (MS Excel or Quicken) and the willingness to The beginning. The group, led by Gordon and Evapromptly pay Chapter expenses. Nipp, left Onion Valley on Monday, Aug. 4th afterWere Recruiting—ExCom Activists spending the night at the trailhead to get a start onThe Chapter needs new blood on the ExCom. We’d altitude adjustment. The participants ranged in agegladly take old or young blood just as long as it’s from 24 to 70. Some of the hikers opted to havenew. their packs taken over Kearsarge Pass (11,700 ft) by mule (Theresa Stump her brother Ray HolmerMany of us have served on the ExCom for several from Florida, Gordon Eva, their cousin Evanyears. Several members of the current ExCom are Dwyer from Nebraska.) Each pack was made heavierretired, but many of us are not, and we juggle by a 3-lb bear-proof canister required for storingcareers and the Sierra Club. All of us could use a food. We arrived at the Kearsarge Lakes by earlyshot in the arm that new activists bring to the Club. afternoon and relaxed at camp for the rest of theAnd we do need help. If you have an interest in day.learning how the Club works from the inside, come 12,000 ft. In the morning we shook the ice off ourjoin us. If you want to run for an ExCom position, tents and shouldered our packs for the climb overgive me a call at 661.325.9590. 12,000 ft Glen Pass to the Rae Lakes. For those whoGood News for Clean Air. Good News for those had not carried their full packs on the first day it who Breathe it! became a test of stamina. Tony Swan and ChristySB 700 passed and was signed by the Governor. Rosander took off to climb the Painted Ladysurprising many Capitol watchers, This package of (12,126 ft) while the rest of us staggered into thebills was spearheaded by Senator Dean Florez (D- Rae Lakes for our second night above 10,000 ft. WeShafter). Florez went head-to-head with one of the met dozens of hikers who were doing the wholeValley’s most powerful special interests and some of John Muir Trail or the Rae Lakes Loop out of Cedarhis own biggest contributors—industrial agricul- Grove.ture—and he won. But it wasn’t clear sailing. The 60 Lakes Destination Reached. There was some talkSierra Club publicly backed Florez, in print and with of taking a layover day, but we headed on the nextphone calls and letters to urban legislators who were morning over the ridge which separates the Raewilling to ignore the plight of Valley residents for a Lakes from the Sixty Lakes. Gordon met severalfew shekels of Ag money. (See p. 1 for details) hikers who had mistaken this trail for the Glen Pass
THE ROADRUNNER 5trail and steered them right. Near the top, Phil Allin,Tony, Christy, and Evan Dwyer dropped their packs CONSERVATION SIGNIFICANCEand set off to climb Fin Dome (11,700ft). Phil was OF TEJON RANCHunable to find the class 3 ledges he and his son hadused 33 years ago, so the climb was aborted. We got Highlights of Biological Report.the group together again at a small lake at the base You can read all of it on the Internet: Look upof Mt. Cotter. Eva caught and cooked some trout Conservation Biological Institute.that we all enjoyed with our dinner. The time will undoubtedly come when the entire area of thisIn the morning everyone (except Phyllis Allin) set noble valley will be tilled like a garden,when the fertilizingoff for the Sixty Lakes Col (11,600ft) that separates waters of the mountains, now flowing to the sea, will bethe basin from the Gardiner Lakes Basin. Eva Nipp distributed to every acre, giving rise to prosperous towns,and Georgette Theotig left to explore the highest wealth, arts, etc. Then, I suppose, there will be few left, even among botanists, to deplore the vanished primevallakes at the south end of the basin, Eva fishing, flora. In the mean time, the pure waste going on—theGeorgette sketching, while the rest of us climbed Mt. wanton destruction of the innocents—is a sad sight to see,Cotter (12,721ft). and the sun may well be pitied in being compelled to lookThe five climbers proceeded up the south ridge over on.— John Muir 1894talus blocks. As we scrambled onto the summit, twoclimbers arrived up the west ridge from the Gardiner Executive Summary (excerpts)Lakes. After summit photos and lunch, we plunge- Tejon Ranch is a precious and irreplaceable piece ofstepped our way down scree slopes to camp. There California’s natural heritage—a hotspot of bio-was still time to catch some trout for dinner. logical diversity that lies at the confluence of fourThe weather stayed clear and dry, and the mos- major biogeographic regions. It is a haven for rarequitoes were not a problem. We even had mornings and endemic species, ancient oak trees, endangeredwith no frost on the tents (except Tony, who chose California condors, rare native vegetation commun-to put his tent near the meadow.) ities, and intact watersheds and streams—and all so near the largest metropolitan area in California.The return starts. On the fifth morning we packedup for the hike back to Rae Lakes. Shouldn’t our This report synthesizes available scientific infor-packs be getting lighter? Most of the group went on mation for the Tejon Ranch region to raise publicto explore Dragon Lake and North Dragon Pass, awareness about its significance to the conservationwhile Phil and Phyllis opted to hike among the Rae of natural diversity and to encourage comprehen-Lakes. sive, landscape-level planning to protect its unique values. We present this information in the hope itWe all dreaded the 1600 ft climb to Glen Pass the will inspire the Ranch’s owners, the public, andnext day, but we reached the top in about two hours. governmental decision-makers to work together toThe original plan was to camp the last night at Char- protect this unspoiled natural treasure.lotte Lake, but we chose to stay at the KearsargeLakes to make the last day a little shorter. ** Scientists have demonstrated how dramatic geo- logical and climate changes have produced anTony, Christy, and Phil talked about climbing one of amazing history for the Tejon Ranch region—athe nearby mountains: Gould, Rixford, or Univer- crucible of evolutionary innovation and speciessity. It had been a long day, making the mountains diversification.look tall and distant. ** The 270,000-acre Tejon Ranch lies at the cross-We all got a good night’s sleep and an early start for roads of five geomorphic provinces and fourKearsarge Pass. Many weekend hikers were on the floristic regions—circumstances unmatched any-trail, even a couple at the start of the trail older than where else in California.the Allins. ** Tejon Ranch potentially supports as many as 20Civilization’s rewards. Soon we were down to the state and federally listed species and over 60 otherOwens Valley and gathered at the Pizza Factory in rare species, including many species or subspeciesLone Pine for pizza and BEER, the perfect ending that occur nowhere else on earth!for a weeklong backpack trip in the High Sierra. ** Tejon Ranch supports over one-third of the oak Phil Phyllis Allin species in California, including some of the largest individual oaks in the state!Les Reid, a renowned Sierra Club activist and ** The Ranch supports grasslands, which repre-member of the Condor Group, died in his sleep sent a final opportunity to preserve a connectionSunday, August 24th, at age 87. Our sympathies to between grasslands remaining on the western andthe surviving relatives of this environmental hero.
6 THE ROADRUNNEReastern flanks of the San Joaquin Valley, which are home “mountain village” near Castac (Tejon)otherwise becoming isolated into non-interacting Lake.and therefore diminished ecological communities.**Moreover, substantial conservation of the Ranch All Around The Chapteris crucial to maintaining the viability of existing **Kern County General Plan**conservation investments in the region, such as the What has happened with the Kern County GeneralSequoia and Los Padres National Forests and Wind Plan Update? The Planning Commission publicWolves Preserve, which depend on unrestricted hearing for Oct. 23 has been rescheduled untilmovement of the species they support. Spring, 2004. The Planning Department received 40**Tejon Ranch’s long history of use as a working letters of comment on the Plan and they need timeranch and haven for sportsmen has helped maintain to read and answer them all. Then they will recir-its biological values in the face of California’s rapid culate a revised General Plan text and revised Draftdevelopment and agricultural conversion. The Program EIR, probably after the winter holidays.Ranch is, so far, largely roadless and unfragmented Imagine the costs for all this. (Editors note: Yourby urbanization. It therefore supports something Chapter sent in 21 pages of comment; the Condorvery rare in southern California—intact, healthy Group sent in 16 pages of comments. The rest of thewatersheds and streams. world? Who knows?)Tejon Ranch serves as a core biological resource **Kern-Kaweah Chapter**area—large enough and pristine enough to support Progress on Bakersfield’s development proposals.such wide-ranging species as mountain lions and Most of these proposals have plans for 350 to 500sufficiently vast to accommodate large-scale eco- houses and are primarily located in Northeastlogical processes such as natural fire cycles. Bakersfield where the water availability question was** Conserving much of the Ranch in its existing basically settled with the construction of a new waterstate is essential to maintaining these characteristics plant.and values. State and local agencies and environ- Northeast development lawsuits:mental organizations have already recognized thehistorical significance, unique biological charac- Tract 6137: first settled.teristics, and important resource values of Tejon Tract 6182: settled. Mitigation: $1,200 per houseRanch: air mitigation fee, land purchase (mitigation for** Los Angeles County has designated Significant blunt nosed leopard lizard habitat), solar panels,Ecological Areas on the Ranch and is considering native plants, street light reduction).expanding the area under this designation. Tract 6149: waiting for approval of settlement.** The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated a Tract 6148: (may follow same track as 6149 butsignificant part of the Ranch as Critical Habitat for there are Kern River issues in addition).the endangered California condor and important for Tract 6191: appealed to Bakersfield City Council.recovery of many other endangered San Joaquin Bakersfield’s sale tax: Chapter will oppose tax sinceValley species. it increases our dependence on private transpor-Significant urbanization is proposed for the Ranch, tation. (above taken from Chapter minutes by Harry Love)threatening to fragment and degrade this remark- **Mineral King: (Visalia)**able natural area and the surrounding region. The LeConte Memorial Lodge, a designatedDecisions over the fate of Tejon Ranch, and National Historic Landmark, is proposed forimplications for the region, should only be made removal by the House Resources Committee of thevia comprehensive, multi-jurisdictional planning at U.S. Congress. The committee passed a bill, H.R.a regional scale. Such planning should occur in a 2715 on October 29, 2003 introduced by Rep.public arena and should be guided by the best George Radanovich (R-CA), the Chairman of theavailable science to balance economic development House National Parks Sub-Committee, to remove thewith protection of the Ranch’s irreplaceable century old LeConte Memorial Lodge, one of fournatural values. California’s heritage and future National Historic Landmarks located in Yosemitequality of life are at stake in the decisions that are Valley. Why? The Congressman told the Fresno Bee:being made today. I dont really have any objections to LeConte,Development proposals already publicly introduced except for the Sierra Clubs opposition to theinclude: an industrial complex in the south end of campgrounds. The bill calls LeConte Memorialthe valley, 23,000 homes (Centennial City) bor- Lodge a private special use. The truth of the matterdering Hwy 138 along Quail Lake, and a 6000 is that the LeConte Memorial is a publicly-owned
THE ROADRUNNER 7history museum and library, operated by the Sierra history, open for all to enjoy, we believe the LeConteClub on behalf of the National Park Service. The Memorial Lodge is providing a valuable service toLeConte Memorial Lodge was built by the Sierra the American public. For more information, see:Club as a memorial to Muirs close friend and http://www.sierraclub.org/education/leconte/colleague, Joseph LeConte. The Lodge was built in1903 in Yosemite Valley to commemorate the life ofLeConte, a beloved professor at the University of Efforts to prevent the city of Visalia from approvingCalifornia at Berkeley and a founder of the Sierra the creation of an auto mall in farm land nearClub. LeConte Lodge predates both the inclusion of intersection of freeway 99 and highway 198 haveYosemite Valley into Yosemite National Park in begun. Proposal is a form of leapfrog development1906 and the creation of the National Park Service inasmuch as auto retailers are found in an existing,in 1916. It has served as an information center and designated section of Visalia.library, open to the public, since its dedication in **Condor Group (Frazier Park, PMC)**1904. The Sierra Club and its first president, John Tejon Industrial Complex Hearing. By the time youMuir, were instrumental in working to include have read this, Judge Twisselmann will have givenYosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park and in his final response to the suit brought by the Centerthe creation of numerous other National Parks for Biological Diversitty, Sierra Club, and othersincluding Sequoia, Grand Canyon and Mount against Tejon and the County of Kern.Rainier.By preserving and celebrating part of Yosemites geology of the area from the ice age to the present. Though it was Sunday, we saw no one on the trail MIDGEBUZZINGS around the small lakes. Everyone else seemed to beIn the thirty-five years or so that I have been visiting going to Yosemite, as I have always been on my waythe Owens Valley east of the great Sierra Nevada, I somewhere, and missing what I have missed all thesehave never learned more on a single trip than I did years.last week with Grace and Jim Weeks, friends who From the tarns we drove down an aspen-shelteredhave seldom seen a side road they could resist. road following the stream which runs from TiogaEqually enlightening was the discovery that I could and Ellery Lakes, and walked along a power com-spend every evening and morning of almost ten pany road to find a display of the old Pelton Waterdays in a travel trailer with two other people and Wheel which once provided energy to the sur-come away having had a delightful time with en- rounding areas. At lunch beside the stream our onlyvironmentalists of another stamp. companion was a busy dipper, who seemed to beResponsible trailer life involves economy of re- enjoying the absence of crowds as much as we were.sources and space. It demands cooperation, coor- In the following days I was introduced to manydination of movement and a sense of humor, very places new to me, including Virginia Lakes and Bluelike the necessary conditions friends and I shared Lake above Lee Vining. We hiked up to a still-during our week’s sail on Chesapeake Bay last year. sturdy cabin built ingeniously beside the trail,Both Grace and Jim are offended by environmental possibly by someone making the most of a badabuses. They spend one morning a week picking up situation during the Great Depression. I found thatlitter along the river at Hart Park, and they are as one can camp in quiet just outside the bustle ofscrupulous when they camp. I felt as much at home Mammoth Lakes City and use that as a base for visitswith their world view as I do with the outlook of to such places as the beautiful Convict Lake, or theSierra Club friends. fish hatchery in the valley, or the inviting Hot CreekOne place I’ve passed all these years with, I admit, a mineral waters nearby. Besides popular places suchbit of a sniff, is Diaz Lake, just south of Lone Pine. as Devils Postpile and Red’s Meadow, there wereYet in the day we spent there we found quiet, and such pleasures as old mines and remnants of boom-some fine moments. I have seldom seen light more towns, a short hike up a trail to a stamp mill with abeautiful than it was in the evening on the west fourteen-ton flywheel still in place, the Inyo Craters,mountains, or on the hills south of Lone Pine during the Obsidian Glass Flow, and wonderful Hartleyour morning walk. Springs Campground with an abundance of birdsWith the trailer comfortably in place in Lee Vining, and very few people.we drove on the Tioga road to a trail which skirts Finally I was able to take the lead among theseveral clearwater tarns and offers excellent “learn- Bristlecone Pines, something neither of my hosts hading stations” with sculpted information on the experienced. The effect was predictable: fascination
8 THE ROADRUNNERand awe. What a week! And what fun to discover the Share your talents, time and interests with thepleasures of trailering. I feel like the motoring Toad Sierra Club.in “The Wind in the Willows:” Call the local chair of groups below for more“Poop poop!” information. Ann Williams DAVIS HAS A FANTASTIC GREEN FINISH Kern-Kaweah Groups Contact NumbersGovernor Davis signed 47 of Sierra Club’s top 48 ExCom, Kern Kaweah Ch. 661.324.1923 (Paul)bills put on his desk in 2003. This is an amazing Buena Vista Group (Bakersfield) 661.833.3795feat and I give a big tip of the hat to the outgoing (Glen)governor. Recall politics or not, he had the courage Condor Group (Pine Mtn Club, Frazier Parkand foresight to sign these bills which cover area) 661.242.0423 (Ches)everything from environmental protection and Kaweah Group (Porterville) 559.784.4643 (Pam)restoration to improving air quality and conservingour water resources. Mineral King (Visalia) 559.739.8527 (Harold)The Legislature also deserves a huge amount of Owens Peak Group (Ridgecrest) 760.375.7967credit for getting these bills to his desk. Our repre- (Dennis)sentatives were responding to the environmental Please call Chairs to contact Conservation Chairs ofproblems the State faces, not to a recall that become individual groups.real months later. PUBLICATION INFORMATION Bill Allayaud Roadrunner: Next deadline, December 5. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 2004 SIERRA CLUB CALENDARS Mail: PO Box GG, Frazier Park, 93222 AVAILABLE NOW. YOUR GUESS IS AS GOOD AS MINECalendars. What is the most important reason topurchase a new Sierra Club calendar? Answer: Every Keep your fingers crossed!purchase helps local conservation work. Yes, our In the aftermath of the Oct. 7th recall election, theChapter is once again offering beautiful new big question for environmentalists is which Arnoldcalendars at the much discounted price of $10, Schwarzenegger will occupy the governor’savailable now. Call Georgette Theotig, 661.822. office—the one with the green action plan, or the4371. one who introduced the Hummer? Will he be the candidate who pledged to protect our air and water, or the one who is allied with Pete Wilson and George WE NEED YOU! Bush? Bill Magavern The Chapter and the Groups will be holding elections of officers and representatives for their Executive Committees. Be a candidate! The Chapter and Groups need YOU to The Roadrunner Kern Kaweah Chapter help plan, carry out programs and hikes, Sierra Club help with distributing informational materials Send to: P.O. Box 3357 serve on committees to review environmental situations of concern Bakersfield, CA 93385 and much more.