1995 ~ March 2005
the past decade,
been telling readers
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In the News -
Friday, MAY 20, 2005
Only in the May 20 print edition:
ABOVE IT ALL: The last cool place
A Mineral King photo gallery
of a mid-May high-country
A WINTER LANDSCAPE is lingering in the Mineral King area
of Sequoia National Park. As is the tradition, the Mineral King Road will
open to vehicular traffic on the Friday before Memorial Day and will accommodate
those wishing to drive to Silver City. The campground at Atwell Mill will
be open but Cold Spring Campground in the Mineral King valley will remain
closed until at least early June. Mineral King cabin users may be able
to access the cabin area but it is unlikely that water systems will be
operational. Unique recreational opportunities exist for those hikers
who carry skis to higher elevations in and around the Mineral King valley.
Backpackers should revise their high-country plans or postpone them until
later in the summer unless they have winter-travel experience.
With the gradually rising temperatures, the local whitewater
rafting season will commence with a flurry of rafters expected for this
weekend. The recent rise in the Middle Fork of the Kaweah has brought
ideal conditions for the some of the best and most sustained whitewater
The runoff from the rain showers of last Monday muddied the
Middle Fork and for several hours during the afternoon had water rushing
in places reminiscent of the dramatic flows of a couple of years ago.
The peak flows recorded for Monday’s event were measured to be more
than 5,800 cubic feet per second (cfs).
By Tuesday afternoon, flows were more normal, averaging around
2,600 cfs. That, according to Frank Root, owner and operator of Kaweah
White Water Adventures, makes for absolutely optimal conditions.
“When the river
is running way up like it was on Monday it can be very dangerous because
of all the debris and its unpredictability,” said Root. “When
it’s in the 2,400 to 2,600 range, it really makes for a fast ride
and a lot less paddling.”
In fact, when the river is running at optimal conditions
like it is now, guides ensure the safety of their clients but then do
little more than steer their inflatable craft and bark commands while
rafters get a wild, thrill-a-minute ride, whether they do much paddling
or not. What’s really exciting about the current season is that
these optimal conditions are expected to last into July with the gentler,
more family-friendly Class III trips even a possibility on into August.
For the commercial rafters, it translates to at least a dozen
weekends where thousands of dollars may be grossed by any or all of the
eight commercially-licensed local outfits. As required by Tulare County’s
Kaweah River Management Plan, riverfront property owners and other interested
parties in Three Rivers were given official notice last week as to which
companies are permitted to be on the river.
Noticed parties, especially during this busier season, are
asked to contact the local rafting hotline (733-6291) if parking or behavior
of the rafters becomes a problem. In the past several seasons, the local
companies have settled into a routine that has been community-friendly
and virtually complaint-free.
The eight licensed companies for the current season are:
All-Outdoors Whitewater Rafting, American River Recreation, Mariah Adventure
Connection, Tributary Whitewater Tours, Whitewater Connection, Whitewater
Voyages, Wilderness Adventures, and Kaweah White Water Adventures. The
latter company is the only locally-owned and operated rafting outfitter.
The bulk of the clients will actually book trips on the Kaweah
River with only three or four of the companies.
“When you contact
some of these companies they will try to persuade you to book a trip on
another river where they have more customers and boats,” said Root.
But Root said he hopes that customers who call this year
won’t be talked out of coming to Three Rivers. Because this season,
he said, the action on the Kaweah is as good it gets.
“It just doesn’t
get any better than this, and we offer the scenic Kaweah canyon in the
package,” Root said.
That thundering roar that will be heard this weekend up and
down the canyon is not just the swollen Kaweah River. It’s actually
more than a 100 members of several Hells Angels motorcycle clubs who have
chosen Three Rivers for a fun run and some good old-fashioned Angel fellowship.
It’s not the first time they’ve been here. In
fact, they’ve been here on numerous occasions. More than a decade
ago, a large contingent of Angels camped on Bobby George’s North
Fork property and spent an uneventful weekend mostly relaxing, drinking
beer, and making forays into town to spend tourist dollars.
The late Bobby George was the former owner of the Indian
Restaurant, a popular Three Rivers hangout where Hells Angels often parked
their fully-dressed Harley Davidson choppers while cooling off with their
favorite beverage. One year, they came during Jazzaffair and told the
High Sierra Jazz Band that their music was really boss, listened to a
couple of numbers, and rode off down the road.
But what is new this visit is that instead of camping out
like they’ve done in the past, this time they’ve booked 100
rooms at Holiday Inn Express for Friday and Saturday nights. The decision
to let the Hell’s Angels book what amounts to the entire property
was not a hasty one.
“A gentleman from
the San Fernando Valley [SFV] chapter came here [Holiday Inn Express]
last January with his family as an advance scout for the event,”
said Wayne Lance, HIE general manager. “He was right up front about
who was coming and that they were not looking for any trouble.”
Lance, who said he is acquainted with other Hells Angels
from San Francisco, said these modern-day Angels are actually club members,
not really gang members like the pop-cultural perception from the 1960s
and 1970s. Many Angels, along with the traditional insignia “colors”
now display the popular “1%” diamond-shaped logo that refers
to the small percentage of Hells Angels who, according to law-enforcement
officers, engage in criminal activity and give other members a bad rap.
“Just because you
have long hair, tattoos, and ride a Harley doesn’t mean you are
a criminal,” said one Angel, quoted on the SFV-chapter website.
In reality, Hells Angels is an international organization
of chartered social clubs with thousands of members who are proud of their
heritage of individual freedom and, of course, their customized Harley
The first Hells Angels motorcycle club was founded in 1948
in Fontana, Calif., when a group of returning servicemen began riding
their motorcycles together and organizing events that, at first, were
little more than rides to a particular destination.
The name came from a popular film of the time produced by
Howard Hughes. The excitement of the Angel lifestyle appealed to many
military veterans because returning to the normalcy of life stateside
was dull compared to the adrenaline rush of wartime. Much of the bad-boy
image of Hells Angels grew out of the sex, drugs, and violence of the
1960s and 1970s.
The media did a great deal to sensationalize the exploits
of certain chapters, especially those in San Francisco and Oakland. In
the so-called hippie era (ca.1970), Hells Angels often served as bouncers
for high-profile rock-and-roll groups like Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin,
and the Rolling Stones.
In 1970, a Hells Angel was believed to have been responsible
for the death of an unruly concert fan at a Rolling Stones concert at
Altamont. In addition to the Altamont incident, much of the Angels’
reputation for excessive violence grew from confrontations with rival
gangs, in some cases over drug-dealing turf, but mostly jealousy of the
status and fame of the Hells Angels.
But though most Hells Angels today are business owners, professionals,
and respectable members of their communities, their reputation for criminal
activity often precedes them wherever they go. For this reason there will
be plenty of extra law-enforcement presence this weekend in Three Rivers.
Anticipating that like most tourists, many of the Angels
will want to visit Sequoia National Park, the local park received a grant
that will pay for additional rangers who will be here to ensure that all
the park regulations are enforced. Closer to home, extra sheriff’s
deputies and CHP officers will be in town… just in case.
Just in case of what? No one really knows except perhaps that nattily
dressed FBI agent who’s here and there about town.
In the slightly adapted words from the 1968 song written
and recorded by Eric Burdon and The Animals: “Old angel, young angel,
feel alright. On a warm [Three Rivers] night.”
‘Bear Affair’ to assist
Final evening event at
Cabin will be wild
The Cabin in Three Rivers will kick off Memorial Day weekend
early with a special evening of music, poetry, performance art, and education
on Thursday, May 26. The “Bear Affair” will benefit the bear-management
program in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.
The event — co-hosted by the Sequoia Fund, a nonprofit
park partner — will feature a silent auction and pick-a-prize to
fund an intern whose job will be to educate park visitors so that the
black bear population can remain free from human influences.
“We hope to raise
$3,000, which will pay the costs of a seasonal intern,” said Bette
Bardeen, Sequoia Fund secretary and co-owner of The Cabin.
The event will begin at 6 p.m. and include educational exhibits,
a silent auction, pick-a-prize, and scrumptious desserts. Beginning at
7 p.m., bluegrass music will be provided by Buckeye Flatts, followed by
poetry and performance art by Three Rivers residents Petit Pinson, Bill
Haxton, Anne Haxton, and Bette Bardeen.
encourage local families to attend,” said Bette. “Young people
play an important role in educating others about the need to keep black
bears wild, and this applies to bears in Three Rivers as well as the parks.
Plus we are having a special pick-a-prize with items of interest to young
Auctions items will include a Black Bear Study Weekend, presented
by the Sequoia Natural History Association’s Sequoia Field Institute;
a framed bear print by Three Rivers artist Nadi Spencer; other local art;
a backpackers’ bear-resistant food canister; and several special
vacation packages. The pick-a-prize will include books, stuffed animals,
T-shirts, and junior ranger hats.
“We hope that all
of our Cabin ‘Evening’ regulars attend as well as other community
members and supporters of the parks and the Sequoia Fund since this will
be the last Cabin Evening that we organize,” said Ken Woodruff,
co-owner with wife Bette of The Cabin, which is currently in escrow. “We
want to thank everyone who has supported our evening programs and invite
them all to this unique event.”
Admission to the event is free. Donations, which are tax-deductible
through the Sequoia Fund, will be gratefully accepted.
For more information, call Bette, 561-3546.
Three Rivers residents wouldn’t even know what day
it was if the annual Community Calendars weren’t around. For more
than 35 years, the calendars have been keeping locals abreast of birthdays,
anniversaries, and various events.
Community Calendar orders are currently being accepted through
the end of the school year by Three Rivers School seventh-graders. All
proceeds go to the Class of 2006’s San Francisco trip fund.
The cost for a calendar is $7, which includes four listings
of birthdays and/or anniversaries. Additional listings may be purchased
for 50¢ each.
Each calendar has a color photograph of the seventh-graders
and advertisements by local businesses.
The calendars will be delivered in August and cover the 12-month
period from September 2005 to August 2006.
For more information or to place an order, contact any seventh-grader
or call Lynda LeFave, 561-2502.
Artists invited to head
If you’re an artist and/or photographer and need an
excuse to escape the heat for a day this summer, here’s an opportunity
that should fit the bill.
Silver City Resort will host their “Mountain Magic
Art Show & Sale” on Sunday, Aug. 7, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Artists
will be provided with six-by-eight feet of space (no wall space available).
There is no registration fee and lunch will be provided for
all who participate. Call Connie Pillsbury, 561-3223, to reserve a space.
TIME WILL TELL
Ten years ago:
FRIDAY, MAY 19, 1995— By a vote of four to two, the
local Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) voted to disband due to differences
within the community and on the appointed board of directors as to the
exact mission and responsibilities of the organization.
A 19-YEAR-OLD paraplegic, Anjie Wardean, visited fourth and
fifth-graders at Three Rivers School and explained that on her 19th birthday
she was injured when she dove into the North Fork of the Kaweah River
at Paradise Recreation Area. The presentation was sponsored by the Army
Corps of Engineers at Lake Kaweah to promote water safety.
INDIAN OAKS RESIDENTIAL Care in Three Rivers announced a
June 1 opening date. The licensed senior-care facility is owned and operated
by Dan and Elizabeth Weaver on the 22-acre South Fork property that was
formerly the home of Dan’s parents, Clarence and Laura Weaver.
Forty people participated in a tour of the historic South
Fork, sponsored by the Kaweah Land Trust and Three Rivers Historical Society.
Participants visited the Wells Ranch, the Conrad Alles homestead, and
Garry Kenwood’s Cahoon Meadows Ranch.