News and Information
for residents and visitors
Three Rivers,
Sequoia and Kings Canyon
National Parks,
Lemon Cove and Woodlake
Kaweah Kam

  Celebrating 10 years:

March 1995 ~ March 2005

For the past decade,

The Kaweah Commonwealth

has been telling readers

things they won't read, hear,

or see anywhere else!



purloined by

3R resident

   A disgruntled Three Rivers resident, upset with an issue raised in a Letter to the Editor, was reportedly spied stealing stacks of the March 4 edition of The Kaweah Commonwealth during the morning of Friday, March 4. Reports of no newspapers throughout the community have been widespread.

  Unfortunately, the owners/publishers of the newspaper, who were both out of town in different locations during the weekend, did not receive word of the theft of up to 800 issues until Saturday afternoon, March 5.

  The newspaper, which was a special 10th-anniversary edition, will possibly be reprinted and redistributed on Monday, March 7. An investigation is pending.


In the News - Friday, MARCH 4, 2005

Stolen property recovered

   On Monday, March 1, a narcotics task force of the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department served a search warrant at a residence located at 14730 Walker in Poplar, about 45 miles south of Three Rivers. Detectives serving the warrant arrested two subjects for narcotic violations and possession of stolen property.
   A part of the recovered stolen property turned out to be approximately $10,000 worth of musical instruments, stereo equipment, speakers, amplifiers, and keyboards that were heisted two weeks ago in a spree of Three Rivers burglaries. Arrested and taken into custody were Eduardo Carlo Bayani and Michael Assaulio.
   Bayani, 56, was charged with selling a controlled substance (methamphetamine), maintaining a drug house, and possession of stolen property. Assaulio, 32, was charged with possession of stolen property.
   According to a narcotics detective, the suspects were arrested on a tip from an informant. Both were transported to Tulare County jail and held on bail of $25,000 and $10,000 respectively.
   A local witness in the case said that on Friday, Feb. 25, the Sheriff’s Department received information that one of the suspects in the Three Rivers burglaries was at a Porterville residence. The subject, who was identified from a surveillance camera while using one of the victim’s credit cards, was not taken into custody at that time and as of Wednesday, March 3, remained at large.

Former Sequoia

   Stanley Albright, 73, former superintendent of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, remains hospitalized after suffering a stroke last week.
   Stan, who was superintendent locally from 1975 to 1977, was on vacation with his wife in Hawaii when he became ill. He is currently at the Maui Memorial Medical Center.
   It is unknown when he will be able to return to his Oregon home.
   Stan is the nephew of the late Horace Albright, co-founder of the National Park Service and its second director (1929-1933). He graduated from UCLA in 1958; he and his wife, Kris, have two grown sons.
   Stan was a career employee of the National Park Service and held a number of high-profile jobs including several superintendent positions and regional director of the Pacific West Region. After 40 years of service in parks management and operations, Stan retired from Yosemite National Park in 2000.

BLM fee

caused user decline

   Last Tuesday, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) staff from the regional office in Bakersfield, told an intimate gathering at Three Rivers School that after its inaugural year, the fee demonstration program at the North Fork recreation sites has had the desired effect.
   In 2004, for the first time, a fee of $5 per carload was charged for parking at Paradise, Advance, and Cherry Falls, popular river access sites along the upper North Fork of the Kaweah River.
   The fee-collection program was introduced last season beginning May 1 and was enforced through September with the desired effect of reducing the heavy and sometimes unlawful use at the sites. In the past, the isolated riverside areas have become notorious for gang activity, arson fires, vandalism, and excessive partying, especially on summer holiday weekends.

  “We had less graffiti, less tagging, and our rangers wrote fewer citations for drugs and alcohol,” said Alysia Hancock, BLM supervisory ranger. “We are also getting a grant for this season so we can have extra law-enforcement rangers here on certain weekends.”
   Hancock assumed the duties of longtime ranger Ed Ruth who retired last year prior to the start of the fee program that he helped institute. Michael Ayers, a BLM recreation planner from the regional office, said that since Congress passed new legislation last December, the former demonstration program would be continued under the auspices of the new Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act.
   Ayers, who said he will be transferring to the BLM’s Sacramento office effective mid-April, said the collection of fees had the desired effect by reducing overall visitation by 35 percent. Ayers was the program’s chief architect and has been the project manager for a number of improvements at the sites.

  “The $54,000 we spent administering the sites in 2004 is money we would have spent anyway,” said Ayers. “The more than $8,000 we collected in fees was a much needed return on our investment.”
   This season, Ayers said BLM personnel hope to have an even greater presence and will begin to collect fees starting April 1.

  “What we found is that when we had rangers present we had 100-percent compliance, Ayers said. “When no one was there to see that the pay envelopes were placed in the collection boxes, only 15 percent of the visitors opted to pay.”
   Ayers said three local users took advantage of the bureau’s volunteer program. Locals may obtain a free annual pass in exchange for trash pick-up and or the reporting of unlawful activity.

  “We’re not concerned with how much the volunteers actually do,” Ayers said. “We know a number of locals routinely patrol the parking areas and the river to help remove trash.”
   Ayers said he was surprised that though visitation dropped along with criminal activity, there was even more trash.

  “We call it the Disneyland effect,” Ayers said. “Once you pay your fee, some folks expect the worker with broom and dustpan to follow along behind.”
   Warren Campbell, a 40-year resident of the North Fork area, said he has noticed less vehicles traveling North Fork Drive.

  “The road is generally safer and we’re appreciative for the reduction of traffic in the area,” Campbell said.
   Anyone interested in obtaining an annual pass for $20 or applying for a volunteer pass may contact the BLM at (661) 391-6120.


THE KAWEAH COMMONWEALTH is published every Friday in Three Rivers, California.
EDITORS/PUBLISHERS: John Elliott and Sarah Barton Elliott
OFFICE: 41841 Sierra Drive (Highway 198), Three Rivers, California
MAIL: P.O. Box 806, Three Rivers, CA 93271
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