Imagine traveling in
a foreign country, thousands of miles from home. It’s a fine day
for sightseeing, but when you reach for cash to buy gas and suddenly
notice that the bag containing literally everything necessary to continue
the vacation is missing, then what?
That’s what happened to a young French couple that
stopped by for morning coffee at The Cabin in Three Rivers on Thursday,
July 15. It was several hours before anyone knew the origin of the unattended
canvas bag that owner Ken Woodruff noticed by the window.
“I thought it
was a little strange that someone would leave the purse-like bag,”
said Woodruff. “We placed it behind the counter for safekeeping.”
Around noon, when the coffee house and used-book emporium
closed for the lunch break, Woodruff realized that nobody had claimed
the lost bag. That’s when the staff decided to take a look at
Woodruff was astounded by what he saw.
“There was hundreds
of dollars in cash, traveler’s checks, credit cards, passports,
and more,” he recalled. “I wondered how long it would take
somebody to miss something like that while on vacation.”
Woodruff left to run some errands, but Greg Fox, Three
Rivers resident CHP officer, was in the shop on his day off to install
some shelves. When the phone rang, Fox answered and on the other end
of the line were the frantic French tourists.
The couple had since traveled to just outside the south
entrance of Yosemite National Park where they stopped for gas. When
they looked for their bag to pay for the gas, they discovered its absence
and began to retrace their morning itinerary.
Woodruff said it was fortunate that they remembered the
name of the place where they had stopped. A couple hours later they
were back at The Cabin to claim the lost bag.
The cashier at the Texaco gas station in the Yosemite gateway
community, hearing of the couple’s plight, loaned them a tank
of gas if the stranded tourists promised to return and make good on
“The woman offered
her engagement ring as collateral but the gal at the gas station said
that wouldn’t be necessary,” Woodruff said. “I was
so relieved that they were relieved that I gave them a round of espressos.”
So these French tourists learned firsthand what so many
Kaweah Country visitors have experienced in the past. People are wonderful
and life is terrific... when you’re on vacation.
areas of interest
Now that the
current round of public meetings has been concluded, it’s time
for the public to identify specific areas of interest and submit some
meaningful comments on the Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks draft
General Management Plan. The period to accept comments was
recently extended until October 6.
As of early July, Susan Spain, National Park Service planning
specialist from the Denver regional office, said that approximately
30 comments had been received. One correspondence mentioned a hotel
to avoid located nearby but outside of the parks.
not the type of input we’re after,” Spain said. “We
want comments that identify errors in the text of the document, adds
new information, or offers solutions that are good for the public and
Spain said that the plan identifies several areas of “public
interest” including stock use, pack stations, commercial services,
hydroelectric facilities, and the special-use cabins at Mineral King.
It is from these areas, Spain said, that the planning team expects the
majority of comments.
all of the alternatives outlined in the plan call for the removal of
the hydroelectric facilities,” Spain said. “The permit to
operate these facilities is currently held by the Edison Company. It
cannot be renewed and expires in September 2006.”
These facilities include Power House No. 3, located on
the Middle Fork near the Ash Mountain entrance station, the flume and
intake, and the dams in the Mineral King area that help furnish a consistent
flow of water from the East Fork during the summer season.
But Spain said that because of recent energy concerns, especially in
California, there is already legislation pending that would allow Edison
the opportunity to renew its current license.
The Mineral King hydroelectric facilities in Sequoia Park
are part of one of the oldest systems in the nation. Some components
are more than 100 years old, being placed into service by the Mt. Whitney
Power Company in 1898.
Several years ago, a Santa Cruz environmental review firm
conducted a historical evaluation of the system and concluded that no
parts of the system were significant within the park because the powerhouses
had been changed and updated. But the findings of that study, summarized
by planners, contradicted James Williams, the consulting historian.
Williams, a college professor and an authority on the history
of technology, was the principal who conducted the evaluation of the
Kaweah resources for the contracting firm. After the study was released,
he stated components within the Kaweah hydro-system were some of the
oldest and most significant hydroelectric resources extant in the West.
What this means is that the GMP could be calling for the
removal of hydroelectric resources that possess national historical
significance. Even if and when they are no longer needed to generate
power, according to at least one expert, some or all of these resources
should be preserved.
AN ACT OF CONGRESS...
According to the GMP planning team, input of this nature
suggests that more study is needed and comments like these would be
appropriate to the NPS mission.
authorization could really change the situation relative to the hydroelectric
facilities in the GMP,” Spain said.
There is also a bill pending that could affect the Mineral
King cabins currently under special-use permits. The bill was introduced
by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-District 21) and would strike certain language
from the National Parks and Recreation Act of 1978.
That omnibus legislation added the Mineral King valley
to Sequoia National Park. It was viewed at the time as a compromise
that allowed special-use permits to be continued until the leaseholders
of record (1978) die.
The most significant change since 1978 has been the inclusion
of the Mineral King Road Cultural Landscape District in The National
Register of Historic Places. The Nunes bill seeks to allow the current
permittees and members of the historic community the ability to continue
as leaseholders for an indefinite period to ensure preservation of the
See an onscreen version of the draft GMP at: www.nps.gov/seki.
Click on “Management Docs” in the index on the right, then
“Draft General Management Plan,” then “What’s
New.” The plan is also available for review at local public libraries
or by calling 559-565-3131.
Sierra balloon haul
For a decade, our family
has taken a weeklong backpacking trip into the Sierra. These trips usually
cover quite a bit of ground, averaging about 60 miles.
And out of those ten years, there hasn’t been one
that we haven’t returned with a helium balloon or 30 in our already
overloaded packs. And this year, as you will read on pages six and seven,
our trip was very abbreviated, but that didn’t mean that we didn’t
come across a balloon that had arrived via air currents from parts unknown.
The portion of the Sierra range that we have explored on
foot is miniscule. The ratio of balloons found to area traveled is astronomical.
In fact, it’s commonplace for a balloon to be seen;
a foreign, festering blemish on the pristine landscape. And the majority
of balloons found has been at waterways — creeks, rivers, lakes.
These wild places are untouched by the litter that is seen
daily along roadways and in other public places — no cigarette
butts, diapers, candy wrappers, fast food containers, soda cups, beer
cans. The segment of the population who would throw down such items
rather than take responsibility for properly discarding them is not
those who are willing enough to make the extreme effort to get into
There is ignorance involved with letting a helium balloon
go, whether knowingly or accidentally. If thought is first given to
where these items will land, then it may not become the responsibility
of surrogate trash collectors to retrieve them.
This year’s balloon (in photo, right) was found creekside
on the south side of Farewell Gap, more than seven miles from the Mineral
King area and 30 air miles from any Central Valley community.
Viewpoint is an opinion column written by Sarah Barton Elliott, editor.
the best-laid plans...
JULY 4TH, FAREWELL CANYON—
Since I first became acquainted with Mineral King in 1986, I've enjoyed
many wonderful Fourth of July weekends in this special place. This year
marked a transition for our family raised upon the seasonal splendor
of the high country.
For the last several summers, Mineral King has been a jumping
off place or — even better — the friendly, familiar confines
to which to return after eight to 10 days in the backcountry. This season
was to be our final exam of sorts — 20 miles to the Kern Canyon
via Farewell Gap and Coyote Pass — a thruway used more in yesteryear
by pioneers and packers coming from the south.
So with great enthusiasm we departed Mineral King on Saturday,
July 3, ready for more adventure and a 68-mile loop trip. At four miles
out something happened that had not plagued our family in 10 previous
trips. One in our all-for-one-and-one-for-all party of four sustained
a debilitating foot injury. For the first time in all our packing experience
— since our children were four and fives years of age —
we were forced to abandon several weeks of the best made plans.
With late-afternoon showers building in Farewell Gap a
decision had to be made — turn back or make camp. Just above the
junction where the trail divides Franklin Lakes hikers from Farewell
Gap travelers, we opted to set up at an old packers' camp. Located 90
minutes below the Gap, at 9,300 feet, the campsite proved a good fit
for hikers coming or going.
While we nursed a stressed heel, we enjoyed three nights
in upper Farewell Canyon, especially its diversity of terrain and critters.
We cohabitated with a prolific herd of deer that accepted us immediately.
The marmots weren’t quite as hospitable, making certain that we
left neither food nor gear unattended or they would claim it as their
Coyotes howled day and night. Golden eagles soared high
above our camp.
Most of all, the forced layover reminded us what we love
most about backpacking. Each trip is the chance to live outside and
get in touch with who we are as individuals and as part of an ecosystem.
For three days we explored our camp's environs. One day,
our daughter, Jennie, 15, and I went over Farewell Gap to Bullfrog Lakes
to learn firsthand that the restoration of these scenic waters to golden
trout habitat is not yet complete.
Along the way, we discovered the old cutoff trail that
hugs the west wall of the Little Kern Canyon just below the old Bullion
Mine. We marveled at how each creeklet seemed to bubble forth from solid
This rugged, austere land somehow produced the very headwaters
of the Little Kern drainage — some of the best and only remaining
native trout habitat in the West. This very region inspired California's
state fish — can you name it? — the golden trout.
Climbing up and out of the Kern side and back down into
upper Farewell Canyon, more mining landscape is visible along steep
canyon walls at elevations from 9,000 to 9,600 feet. In the 1870s to
1890s, many prospects were worked by setting dynamite along dozens of
During mining days, many prospectors with families in tow
made their way through Farewell Gap and set up housekeeping in Beulah,
Dog Town, Barton's Camp, and Silver City. Most returned home with dashed
hopes of finding mineral wealth, but all were enriched by high country
experiences of their own.
So for three nights and four days, we lived with the kindred
spirits of Farewell Canyon. Dashed hopes of our aborted backcountry
journey were now exchanged for a trip of a more relaxed pace as we returned
to spend a couple more days in Mineral King and then home in Three Rivers.
While in our Farewell Canyon camp, our 14-year-old son,
Johnnie, reminded us what it’s really all about:
“You know, we
really can't be disappointed that we didn't get to the Kern [River]
this trip. At least we are all here and enjoying our time together.”
And, therein, lies the greatest riches of the region.
Besides, we have a sneaking suspicion that the Kern River and the Sierra
aren’t going anywhere and will be waiting for us next year.
With Mineral King making news this summer by being in the
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks draft General Management Plan
spotlight, now is the time to experience this unique place. After all,
where else does history come alive in one of the most beautiful settings
on the planet?
That’s why the preservation of Mineral King and its
community is, without a doubt, the local Park Service’s greatest
Ironically, when it comes to the Mineral King region, the
more things change, the more they remain the same.
* * *
Makin’ History is a column that depicts
the life and times of Kaweah Country places and people.
Kids get free
Making a commitment to keep
children safe at all costs, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Sequoia
Natural History Association have teamed up to participate in a national
effort that loans life jackets to boating families.
It’s a state law that all children under 12 must
wear an approved personal flotation device while on the water in any
vessel less than 26 feet in length. According to statistics, drowning
is the prevalent cause of death in a boating accident, and the majority
of fatalities result from not wearing a life jacket.
The “Life Jacket Loaner Program for Kids” is
sponsored by the Boat U.S. Foundation. It ensures that families will
properly equip their children before boating and saves them money since
PDFs can cost $40 or more, which can be an annual investment as children
Life jackets are available at the Kaweah Heritage Visitor
Center, which is located at the Lemon Hill Recreation Area at Lake Kaweah.
Several sizes are available — infant, child, and youth.
Life jackets may be signed out for the day or an entire
weekend. The visitor center is open Monday through Thursday from 10
a.m. to 4 p.m. and Friday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Other ways to ensure that a boating excursion is safe for
everyone is to always have the following equipment onboard: PDFs for
all passengers, fire extinguisher, anchor, oars, tool kit, horn or whistle,
spare fuel, pump or bailer, mooring line, flashlight, first-aid kit,
and food and water.
For more information on safe boating, call Lake Kaweah
park headquarters, 597-2301.
File now for
Nomination papers for open
seats on school boards, city councils, and more are available now through
Friday, Aug. 6, at 5 p.m. There is no cost to file as a candidate.
The following local nonpartisan, elective offices are available
Woodlake Union High School, two governing board members;
Three Rivers Union School, two governing board members;
Sequoia Union School (Lemon Cove), two governing board
Tulare County Board of Education, one trustee;
City of Woodlake, two council members;
Woodlake School District, two governing board members.
Also on the upcoming election ballot will be a measure
by the Three Rivers Memorial District that, if approved, will levy an
annual tax of $26 per parcel to assist the district with maintenance
and operation funding.
Arguments for or against this measure that are no more
than 300 words in length may be submitted to the Tulare County Elections
Division through Friday, Aug. 6. One argument for and against this measure
will be selected.
Woodlake voters will be asked whether or not a one-half cent sales tax
should be implemented. The sales tax would be collected within the city
limits for a period of 10 years.
The Presidential General Election will be held Tuesday,
Nov. 2. The last day to register to vote in this election is Monday,
Oct. 18. Voters may request an absentee ballot beginning Monday, Oct.
For more information on these measures or how to file for
an open seat, call the Tulare County Registrar of Voters at 733-6275
or go online:
Dorothy J. Stuart,
formerly of Three Rivers, died Wednesday, July 14, 2004, in Visalia.
She was 81.
Dorothy was born April 30, 1923, in Buffalo, Mo., to Edward
and Ella Long Self. When she was 12, here family moved to Lemon Cove.
Dorothy attended elementary school in Lemon Cove and graduated
from Exeter Union High School in 1942. Two years later — on June
3, 1944 — she married William “Bud” Stuart in Exeter.
The Stuarts moved to Millbrae where they raised their children.
Upon retirement, they returned to Tulare County, settling in Three Rivers.
Dorothy and Bud moved to Visalia this past year.
Dorothy was an avid
fan of the High Sierra Jazz Band, and the couple enjoyed traveling with
In addition to her husband of 60 years, Bud, Dorothy is
survived by two sons, Larry H. Stuart of Millbrae and Darrell W. Stuart
of Sandy, Utah; two sisters, Edith Bence of Exeter and Gladys Montgomery
of Sacramento; several grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter.
A service was held Tuesday, July 20, 2004, at Evans Miller
Exeter Chapel. Burial was at Woodlake District Cemetery.
historic... the odd...
founding of Lemon Cove
LEMON COVE— The history
of the community of Lemon Cove begins with James William Center (J.W.C.)
Pogue (1839-1907) who arrived in California in 1857.
In 1879, he built a home in what is now Lemon Cove, and
it served also as a hotel for many years. The home is still in use today,
as the Lemon Cove Woman’s Clubhouse, and was listed on the National
Register of Historic Places in 1991.
Pogue Hotel, 1879-1903
The Pogue Hotel, originally called “The Cottonwoods,” was
constructed by a ranching partnership formed in the 1870s by J.B. Wallace
and C.W. Crocker of San Francisco, and J.W.C. Pogue, resident superintendent.
At the height of the Mineral King silver rush, the Wallace, Crocker,
and Pogue Company was organized for the purpose of buying ranch land
to raise livestock.
Pogue also built summer residences in Mineral King for
himself and his children, some of which are still standing and used
by his descendants. Wallace’s cabin, which was located between
the Mineral King Pack Station and former Aspen Flat Campground, is no
In 1881, Wallace died and the company was reorganized.
Mrs. Wallace took her one-third, and J.W.C. Pogue purchased the Crocker
share and became sole owner of the hotel and 6,000 acres.
J.W.C. Pogue, who served two terms as a Tulare County supervisor,
is solely responsible for the introduction of lemons to Tulare County
and the development of the Lemon Cove townsite.
The Pogue Hotel, with its two stories and 13 rooms, accommodated
travelers on the road to the Mineral King mining district and the Kaweah
Colony. It was here that the Mineral King stage changed from horses
to mules for the long uphill journey. Timber teamsters, tourists, and
other travelers found the hotel a convenient stopover for meals and
lodging, and the hotel was also a popular gathering place.
In 1894, J.W.C. Pogue subdivided 15 acres of the family
ranch into 48 town lots. He named the town Lemon Cove, though later
the post office changed the spelling to “Lemoncove” to avoid
confusion with Lemon Grove. The Pogue Hotel and Store evolved as the
town center and, in the early part of the 20th century, the town’s
population grew to 500.
Although there was a hotel, store, post office, blacksmith
shop, and more, there were no saloons. J.W.C. Pogue, who never smoked
or drank, outlawed them within the town limits.
Montgomery-Pogue House, 1904-1936
In 1904, Nora Alice Pogue (1884-1984), the youngest of J.W.C. and Melvina
Blair Pogue’s nine children, was deeded the Pogue Hotel, which
was her birthplace. In that same year, she married Dr. Robert Bruce
Montgomery (1880-1966), Lemon Cove’s first resident physician
and justice of the peace. The Montgomerys remodeled the hotel and changed
it into a single-family residence. After the hotel was converted to
a residence, a small business block was developed in the vicinity.
J.W.C. Pogue returned to live with his daughter and her
husband during the last years of his life. In 1907, he died there at
the age of 68.
Lemon Cove Woman’s Clubhouse, 1936-present
In the 1930s, there was a consciousness on the part of local residents
as to the historical significance and community function of the former
hotel and current residence. In 1936, Nora Pogue Montgomery, who had
been a founding member of the Lemon Cove Community Club in 1924, deeded
conditional use of the house and the one-quarter acre of land on which
it is situated to the club. This conveyance coincided with the official
charter of the community club as the Lemon Cove Woman’s Club.
The historic setting of the Pogue Hotel has changed very
little since its construction in 1879. The original decision as to building
placement was influenced by the location of a nearby wagon road that
connected Visalia and Mineral King. In later years, the old county road
was improved and realigned, and the historic building is now on the
southeast side of and adjacent to State Highway 198.