this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)
river is dangerous,
Even if you don’t intend
to go in the river, in a heartbeat you
could be cascading among huge boulders
struggling for your life. That’s
what happened last week, on Friday, March
14, to an unsuspecting park visitor.
The victim, a man in his
50s from Alabama, was walking in that
dangerous stretch of riverbank below Hospital
Rock that has been the site of previous
tragedy. The man slipped and was immediately
tumbling down two very turgid, ice-cold
pools swollen with snowmelt.
After being swept downstream
approximately 75 feet, the victim was
able to pull himself out to a rock across
the dangerous streambed where he awaited
a rescue team that was mobilizing on the
other side. A swiftwater rescue team of
eight extracted the man from his perch
and reunited him with his family.
The recent near-drowning
has park officials concerned about what
might prove to be a tragic season. Drowning
is the leading cause of death in the nearby
parks, and April through June are especially
dangerous as daytime temperatures begin
On warm days, the river is
even more alluring as visitors are drawn
to feel its cooling channeling effect
and experience its thunderous rapids up
close. Even currents in tranquil-looking
pools can quickly pull an unsuspecting
victim to whitewater that is always just
a stone’s throw away in the narrow
channels of the Kaweah River drainage.
Adding further to the river’s
attraction is that the visitor often associates
the memory of how the river was during
a previous visit, but that time or season
might have been totally different.
Each year and season presents
different conditions. That is a big part
of the river’s attraction. The cool
seasonal temperatures in the current season
are holding back a monster snowpack relative
to this time last year.
Lodgepole rangers recently
reported six feet of snow at the measuring
stake while Grant Grove is reporting a
depth of four feet. The Generals Highway
is open between the parks and furnishes
access to visitors that can quickly find
themselves in some remote and dangerous
Park rangers are especially
concerned about the potential for river
accidents during the next few months.
To reinforce patrols in the most dangerous
locales, the National Park Service organizes
an onsite volunteer program to contact
visitors in the hope that a word to the
wise might prevent unnecessary tragedy.
The volunteers, called River
Rovers, donate a few hours a week supervised
by a park ranger. They are furnished uniforms,
backpacks, two-way radios, and equipment
necessary to become another set of eyes
and ears for patrol rangers. Foremost,
they warn visitors about river hazards
and encourage visitors to be responsible
While not assisting directly
in a river rescue, the volunteers function
as important support personnel. River
Rover candidates should be comfortable
in the outdoors, have good people skills,
and able to walk some uneven terrain in
all temperatures. Bilingual Rovers are
especially needed and become indispensable
when a translator is necessary.
The Rover program is being
supervised by Ash Mountain ranger Tim
Barrett. For more information or an application
call Tim at 565-4212 or email Tim_Barrett@nps.gov.
National park visitors
Nationwide, more than 275
million visits were recorded in national
parks in 2007, an increase of three million
visitors from the previous year. The annual
release of visitor numbers late last month
prompted some glowing comments from NPS
Director Mary A. Bomar.
“Despite the rising gas prices and
the lure of electronic entertainment,
this is great news,” Bomar said.
“With all the recreation choices
available, national parks still draw more
than Major League Baseball, the National
Football League, professional basketball,
soccer, and NASCAR combined.”
Bomar credited some of the
increase to excitement that is building
around the National Park Service Centennial
being planned for 2016, and of course,
the diversity of the parks’ system
that includes 20 different park categories.
In 2006, President Bush charged
the NPS with a new “Centennial Initiative,”
Bomar said, “…to make these
jewels of America’s crown sparkle
At Sequoia and Kings Canyon
National Parks, both units experienced
sizable increases in visitor numbers.
Together, more than 1.5 million visits
were recorded for both parks.
For businesses like Sequoia
Gifts and Souvenirs in Three Rivers that
cater to park visitors, those numbers
translate to revenue.
“For Three Rivers, the increase
in visitors means more dollars spent for
everything from gas and groceries to lodging
and meals,” said Scott Mulliken,
owner of Sequoia Gifts and vice president
of the local chamber of commerce. “With
our strategic location close to the three
big metropolitan areas — the Bay
Area, Los Angeles, and San Diego —
we are the closest Sierra experience for
millions so I expect these numbers to
One of the most isolated
and difficult areas to access in nearby
Sequoia National Park is actually, as
the crow flies, within five miles of the
end of the pavement on North Fork Drive.
For pot growers, it was just another suitable
grow locale that happened to be near Colony
Mill Road in the North Fork drainage.
Eventually, the complex was
discovered and was one of dozens eradicated
since 2004 when the local parks, as a
part of Operation Weed Free, really stepped
up their efforts to drive the Mexican
cartels elsewhere. Each season, while
law officers brace for the annual influx
of a new wave of pot-growing operations,
restoration teams target an area to clean
up leftovers from past growers who destroy
Earlier this month, Sequoia
and Kings Canyon law enforcement and natural
resource staff completed a weeklong project
to clean up and restore a 4.6-acre site
near the Colony Mill Road. Park personnel
used National Guard helicopters to remove
5,600 pounds of garbage (159 bags) including
75 propane canisters and 5.8 miles of
The resident camp, a fixture
at the grow sites, supported 11 grow sites
and was occupied as recently as 2007.
Empty containers were removed that were
used to transport thousands of pounds
of fertilizers, pesticides (predominately
malathion) and rodenticides. The damage
these chemicals cause to wilderness areas
According to a recent release
from the NPS, it costs hundreds of thousands
of dollars annually to fight this growing
problem. Since 2001, the NPS has eradicated
306,000 marijuana plants with an estimated
street value of $968 million.
The typical grow sites are
not in high-use park areas but tend to
be in extremely isolated or rugged terrain.
Several hikers have observed the clandestine
activity and have been instrumental in
the discovery of some of the very largest
Within the abundance of water
in the 2008 growing season (April to October),
the growers are likely to plant in lower
elevations or anywhere that has an extended
water source. Anyone with information
about an illegal pot operation or would
like to report suspicious activity in
the parks can remain anonymous by calling
Making Three Rivers School
like no other…
Volunteers of the
At a ceremony in their honor
on Thursday, March 13, seven Three Rivers
artists were honored by Three Rivers School’s
Eagle Booster Club for their contributions
to the school and its students. Eme Price,
EBC president, emceed the event, receiving
assistance from Tani Meadows, EBC secretary,
and Patty Knapp, EBC treasurer. The artists
honored were: Jerry Jonnum, Nancy Jonnum,
Dyann Graber, Andy Duncan, Leslie Wilson,
Nadi Spencer, and Wendy McKellar.
“It might have just been a plain,
gray wall,” said Eme Price, who
acknowledged what students have accomplished
under the auspices of professional artists
on the campus. “It could have been
just a drinking fountain…”
In fact, artist Nadi Spencer
added, the Three Rivers School creations
will be on a Tulare County mural map being
produced by the Economic Development Corporation.
These are the only featured works of art
on the mural route created by kids.
Eme and the EBC also paid
poignant tribute to Maureen Parker (1969-February
2008), a mother of three and devoted school
volunteer, who recently lost her battle
1934 ~ 2008
DeWayne C. Brewer passed
away in the Bay Area Hospital in Coos
Bay on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2008, after a
lengthy battle with prostate cancer. He
Cremation followed at DeWayne’s
request. A memorial service is planned
for this summer in Prospect, Ore.
DeWayne was born May 13,
1934, at home in Three Rivers to Opal
and Clell Brewer. He attended Three Rivers
Union School and graduated from Woodlake
Union High School with the Class of 1952.
He married in 1956, but later
divorced after four children. He never
remarried, but remained close to the mother
of his children.
DeWayne was an avid NASCAR
fan, hunter, bowler, golfer, and fisherman.
He loved all sports, but particularly
football, and earned his stripes and letter
all four years in high school.
DeWayne could play any position
on the field, but was at his best at quarterback.
After high school, he played for the College
of the Sequoias in Visalia and at Fresno
State. While at Fresno State, he was the
first freshman to letter at the college
and was scouted by the 49ers football
team, but was not drafted.
In 1959, DeWayne and his
family moved to Sylmar, Calif., where
he became a journeyman carpenter and worked
from 1959 to 1963 as a house framer in
the Los Angeles area. In 1963, he and
the family moved to Shell Beach to work
as a construction foreman, building a
bridge on Highway 101.
Then he moved back home to
Three Rivers and worked heavy equipment
and construction work building roads.
In October 1973, Dwayne and his family
moved to Prospect, Ore., where he ran
a Caterpillar and worked in the woods
hauling logs, clearing brush, and plowing
snow to clear logging roads. He also worked
temporarily in maintenance for Crater
Lake National Park in Oregon.
From 1973, DeWayne lived
in Prospect until ill health forced him
to move to his children’s home in
Coos Bay, Ore. After a few months, he
was moved to Ocean Crest Assisted Living
in North Bend, Ore.
DeWayne was preceded in death
by his parents, Opal and Clell Brewer
of Three Rivers, sister Olliene Morrow
of Woodlake, aunt and uncle Ollie and
Leon Craig of Three Rivers, daughter-in-law
Jacqueline Brewer of North Bend, nephew
Paul Brewer of Visalia, and his grandparents,
several uncles, and an aunt.
DeWayne is survived by his
three daughters, Laura Brown and husband
Ron of Coquille, Ore.; Cynthia Tirico
and husband Richard of John Day, Ore.;
and Charyse Johnson of Coquille; and son
David Brewer and wife Amanda of North
Bend; sister Barbara Ainley and husband
Frank of Elderwood; and brothers Leon
Brewer and wife Gulsen of Visalia and
Donald Brewer and wife Lorinda of Big
Timber, Mont.; six grandchildren, Cammie
Haney and Trista and Zachary DeRosier
of John Day, David Lynch of Baker, Ore.,
and Edward Brewer of North Bend; and one
great-grandchild and numerous nieces and
DeWayne will be sorely missed by his family
who loved him dearly and by too many friends
to name. He loved life and people. God
bless you and speed you on your way, DeWayne,
to a new and peaceful afterlife where
there is no pain or unhappiness, only
beauty. We will mourn you for a life that
ended too soon.
Donations for the memorial
service and cremation expense can be made
to: DeWayne Brewer Memorial Fund, Old
West Federal Credit Union, 650 W. Main
St., John Day, OR 97845.
1915 ~ 2008
Alice Rose See died Tuesday,
Feb. 12, 2008. She was 92.
Alice was born May 15, 1915,
to Thomas and Bell Walker in Redlands,
Okla. On Aug. 16, 1941, she married Cecil
J. See in Nevada. The couple raised their
six children on the Montgomery Ranch in
Lemon Cove, where Cecil worked from 1948
While her children were in
school, Alice was a room mother and a
4-H and Girl Scout leader. She was also
a deacon of the Lemon Cove Presbyterian
Church, active in the church’s women’s
association, and the corresponding secretary
for the Lemon Cove Woman’s Club
for 20 years. Alice was also a quilter,
hand-sewing quilts for all her children
and their dozens and dozens of offspring.
After Cecil retired, the
couple moved to Three Rivers. In 2001,
because of health problems, Alice and
Cecil moved to Korbel, Calif., (near Eureka)
in Northern California to be closer to
Alice was preceded in death
by her husband of nearly 62 years, Cecil
(1919-2003); brother Billy Walker; and
She is survived by her daughters
Willine Marler and husband James of Willow
Creek, Calif.; Rose Nielsen and husband
Fred of Korbel; sons Phillip See and companion
Mary Dechance of Visalia, Robert See and
wife Bonnie of Farmersville, Billy See
and wife Janice of Exeter, and Silas See
and wife Kathy of Reno; 21 grandchildren;
numerous great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren;
three sisters-in-law, and many nieces
Interment was Wednesday,
Feb. 20, at Blue Lake Cemetery in Arcata.
1919 ~ 2008
Pauline Savage of Exeter
died Monday, March 17, 2008. She was 88.
Pauline was born to Texas and Katherine
Smith in Texas on Sept. 2, 1919. She lived
in Exeter for 70 years.
She was recently preceded
in death by her husband, Alan Savage,
Jr. (1929-Jan. 2008), as well as her parents
and seven brothers.
She is survived by her son,
Jack Guthery and wife Brenda of Exeter;
stepson Alan A. Savage III and wife Laurie
of Vacaville; two stepdaughters, Elizabeth
K. Hart and husband Bob of Exeter and
Pamela A. Savage of Oregon; two grandchildren;
and two great-grandchildren.
A graveside service was held
yesterday (Thursday, March 20) at the
Exeter District Cemetery.
Condolences to the family
may be made by emailing EMChapel@aol.com.