Stranded hikers rescued
On the evening of Monday, January 20, two hikers, one female and one male, both 33, from Visalia and Fresno became stranded on a steep ridge below the Salt Creek road on BLM land. Their location was about 1.5 miles up the road from the trailhead.
The couple had a flashlight but had gotten off trail and didn’t feel confident about being able to find their way back. They had cell service so called Tulare County Sheriff’s dispatch.
Deputy Stark said he was able to track their precise location via GPS on the cell phone. At 1 a.m., Deputy Stark made contact the couple and was able to lead them out safely.
Reportedly, the hikers had entered from another trailhead south of Case Mountain. Neither hiker sustained any apparent injuries.
Three Rivers organizing to bear proof its trash
On Tuesday, January 21, representatives from Sequoia Parks Conservancy, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, County of Tulare, and 3R News met at Ash Mountain to plan strategy to make Three Rivers residents and visitors more bear aware, and with a goal of eventually replacing all trash receptacles in the community with certified wheeled garbage containers with specially designed lids that make them inaccessible to bears yet accessible for the automated garbage truck.
Savanna Boiano, SPC executive director, and Kristy Goldstone, SPC finance director, agreed to begin the process by producing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish a funding mechanism to accept donations and apply for grants. Tyler Coleman, Sequoia-Kings Canyon wildlife biologist, provided information on bear behavior and how Three Rivers and Sequoia could work together to keep people and property safe and bears away from the community’s garbage and roadways.
Kuyler Crocker, District 1 supervisor, pledged to allocate some of the Board of Supervisor’s “Good Works” funds once the MOU is signed between the SPC and Tulare County. Sarah and John Elliott, representing 3R News, will devote themselves to community outreach and bear-aware education while providing information when and how bear-proofing equipment can be obtained.
“Mid Valley Disposal is the waste management provider for Three Rivers and the national parks so getting the compatible trash receptacles shouldn’t be a problem,” Supervisor Crocker said. “A portion of the additional cost for bear-proof containers could come from franchise fees that are used for waste management projects that are currently subsidizing dump fees.”
Three Rivers has a bear-conflict issue due to unsecured trash receptacles. The eventual goal of this project is to distribute a bear-resistant trash can to every household in the community as well as begin bear education for visitors in Three Rivers rather than when they enter Sequoia National Park.
Northern California is still riding on the fringe of an extremely late start to the current precipitation season. Heavy storms in late November and December have the northern Sierra and most of that region at the norm for rainfall but only 75 percent of the expected snowpack for late January. Relative stats for Southern California are similar when compared to the north part of the state.
With nary a drop of rain in the 12-day forecast after Sunday, Jan. 26, Kaweah Country appears for the immediate future to be stuck in the middle of both regions. The year-to-date rainfall total for Three Rivers at 1,000 feet above mean sea level is five inches; snowpack at 7,000 feet is two to four feet depending on exposure but there are lots of patchy, bare spots.
Water watchers, in lieu of the fact that the majority of precipitation in the past few years has come during February, March, or April storms, are not yet pushing the panic button. But that normal 21 inches that Three Rivers received in 2018-2019 season looks a bit out of reach for now.