Category Archives: General

EMERGENCY – NO POWER, NO CELL PHONE, NO LANDLINE! NOW WHAT???

In an article below, my friend Dale Knutsen discusses safety and communication while in the forest.  His suggestion regarding the use of Citizens Band (CB) Radios has me thinking about all the times when our regular means of communication was unavailable.  The Almanor Basin area has suffered through a number of instances when we were without power, no cell coverage available and landlines down too.

Now, what if you or a loved one is suffering a major health emergency?  How do you call for help?  I am thinking having a CB would be a good solution.  CB requires no infrastructure; only needing a charged battery.  If we could get our emergency responders to pick a channel(s) to be used in emergency situations in the Basin, we would have at least a chance of contacting someone who could relay a call for help.  CBs are relatively inexpensive and as I said, require no infrastructure.

Our Fire Chiefs meet on a regular basis.  I suggest you contact yours and ask that they establish this additional means of getting help.  I have mentioned this to them a number of times; however, they did not seem to be receptive to the idea.  Perhaps if they received enough encouragement from citizens in their area, they might work on providing us with yet another possibility to save a life in an emergency!

I hope you enjoy the following article regarding safety and communications in our beautiful forests.  My thanks to Dale for providing this valuable information!

Enjoying Your Forest Outings

By Dale Knutsen

The passage of winter brings out the urge to go visit the forest once again.  Fishing and hiking beckon, and there are delightful sights, sounds and even smells to enjoy in the woods.  But there are a few cautions to keep in mind if we want to keep our outings pleasant.

First is the matter of planning.  Know where you are going, and let a responsible person know your destination, your planned route and when you expect to return.  That way, if you don’t reappear by the appointed time, someone will be able to get help on its way without delay.

Be sure you are dressed and equipped for the outing.  An unexpected rain shower can dampen more than spirits, and running out of water on a warm hike starts to raise safety concerns.  There are numerous sources of advice for what to carry for various kinds of outings; it’s smart practice to consult those lists from time to time.

Most of us rather enjoy the quiet time of a forest outing and we’d just as soon be “disconnected” from electronic devices while we’re enjoying nature.  But we’d also like the ability to communicate with someone if we should experience a vehicle problem, a turned ankle or some other unplanned issue.  And this can be a challenge in our neck of the woods.

 

Cell phones are great … when they have service.  It’s no surprise that cell service is very spotty in our region, so you may not be able to connect with anyone when you really need to.  Walkie-talkies are a good way to stay in touch with nearby forest companions, like fellow hikers, as long as they aren’t very far away.  People who spend a lot of time in the forest sometimes a carry personal locator beacon, like SPOT, that can send a one-way distress message via a satellite link.

Another communication alternative is the good ol’ Citizens’ Band (CB) radio.  It turns out that the timber people who work the forest use CB radio for safety, to communicate their location on those narrow dirt roads.  That way they know when to pull over at a wide spot to let an oncoming big rig come by safely.  Here’s how it works:

  • At the highway on an active logging route you will find a paper plate or some other sign attached to a tree with a CB channel number listed; this is the channel being used on that particular route.
  • Along the route there will be other paper plates attached to trees with distance numbers printed on them (e.g., 1, 2, 3, etc.); these indicate the approximate distance in miles from the highway entrance.
  • Inbound trucks will report their location on the designated CB channel with words like “inbound, marker 3” or “coming in, mile 7”.
  • Outbound (heavily loaded) traffic will do the same with words like “loaded, mile 9”, “heavy, marker 5” or “coming out, at 11”.

Just by listening to the CB and keeping track of the paper plate markers you can tell when it’s time to get out of the way.  If you actually transmit your location as well, it will help the truckers know what traffic is coming up (e.g., “red pickup coming in, marker 5”).  And, if you should encounter a problem, contacting a trucker by CB may cause them to make your situation known when they reach civilization.  It’s worth a try!

Of course, it helps to know your location when you call for help.  That’s where maps and GPS come in.  But that’s a story for another time.

THIS IS WAR – THE PEOPLE VS. THE USFS!

In war, battles are lost – ultimately winning the WAR is what counts. We intend to win this war!

On 5 April 2017 the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) filed the “Notice of Appeal” in our law suit against Plumas National Forest/Forest Service’s 2012 Travel Management Rule. The Rule, if left in place, attempts to close hundreds of miles of roads and trails on the Plumas National Forest to motorized travel and recreation thus denying us access to our lands.

This denial has huge impacts on our County and its residents. Perhaps the most significant result of the closures is the inability of our citizens (those who are disabled, including disabled veterans, and elderly) to use their forest. They have every right to enjoy our forests, lakes and streams that will be inaccessible to them without the use of a motorized vehicle. Remember – these are our lands!

I am one of those older people who cannot hike like I did when I was 20; I still love the forest and want to be able to visit some of the areas that will be closed to me unless I can drive there.

In addition, we rely upon the user-created routes for access in emergency situations such as wildfire, law enforcement and other government services to our residents. Once a route is closed it will no longer be maintained, ultimately making access in an emergency by that route impossible.

There is also significant impact to our economy due to the adverse impact on recreation and tourism. Years ago, as timber management and logging on National Forests was all but discontinued, the U.S. Forest Service management presented the “golden carrot”, stating they would increase recreational opportunities for the public. This has not been true; instead they have opportunistically taken every relative step to reduce access and thus recreational opportunities.

PLF will be completing our briefing on the appeal by the end of this year and hope to be before the Ninth Circuit Court in 2018.

Please see the press release (below) issued by Pacific Legal Foundation for more detail and information.

PLF files appeal in challenge to Plumas National Forest road closures

 

SAVE OLSEN BARN – PROTECTING A COMMUNITY TREASURE

Olsen Barn Background:

The Olsen Barn property is 107 acres of meadow, creek side forest,Olsen Barn and wetland adjacent to Lake Almanor at the eastern entrance to the town of Chester, California. Besides the stunning vistas of Lake Almanor and Lassen Peak, the property is best known for the over 130 year old historic barn. The Olsen Barn property is both environmentally and culturally significant and has long been treasured by the surrounding community.

Save Olsen Barn–Now or Never! The Olsen Barn property appears frozen in time, altered little over the last century, but that could change if the property is not conserved. The property has recently changed hands several times and is again up for sale. Because of the threat that future landowners could diminish wildlife habitat or block public access, Feather River Land Trust secured an agreement in late January 2015 with the owner to purchase the property for permanent conservation and public recreation. Now comes the fun part–raising the money to make this happen.

We have until April 15 to raise the initial $65,000 to secure an option to purchase it. Once we secure the option we will have until October to raise the additional funds. Once the option is in place we gain access to $400,000 in state water bond funding for protecting river parkways. We have raised over $50,000 to secure the option and need a little more help from the Almanor Basin community to raise the remaining few thousand.

We plan to hold a number of events this spring and summer to engage the community and help raise the additional funds needed to make protecting this community treasure forever.

There will be another tour of the Olsen Barn property this Saturday, 28 March, at 1 p.m. Meet at the end of the Causeway on Highway 36 just east of Chester. Parking at the Collins Pines Rail Trail. Co-leaders will be Mike Yost, Ryan Burnett, Greg McIntire and Paul Hardy.

http://www.frlt.org/saveolsenbarn

ALMANOR RECREATION CENTER – A WORK IN PROGRESS

Our Almanor Recreation Center is about to undergo a change!

I am very excited to announce the Almanor Recreation Center will be undergoing some very positive changes. The Center will be taken off line for a few months, starting the first week in January, in order to allow for much needed improvements.

Once again our community has stepped forward with the offer of help where help is badly needed. It has formed a team of volunteers who are willing to donate their time and skills to enhance what they see as a valuable resource to the Almanor Basin. This type of spirit is what makes living in our small, mountain community so wonderful!

The Center was originally constructed with grant funding. There were a number of things that were not completed due to lack of money, as well as the need to complete construction within the timelines of the grant. Since completion, we have been looking for opportunities to finish the work we began almost eight years ago; however, the County budget never presented the ability to fund the work.

When the senior nutrition site was closed in Greenville a few years ago, we were able to get their kitchen equipment donated to the Center. This equipment has been stored, awaiting the day that Plumas County could fund and complete that phase of the work. Last June, the County budget process presented an opportunity and money was allocated to the upgrade. While the funding will cover the costs of materials, the project would be unattainable without the dedicated community volunteers.

Changes will include an upgrade to the kitchen, electrical service, exterior lighting and any other needs that we are able to address within the resources available, in the labor pool and money. The Center will continue to be a work in progress, and someday, a future phase will include completion of the parking lot. The present phase of work has been scheduled for the winter months when the volunteers are available during our “off-season”.

While planning work for the Center, it became obvious that we needed to include the Memorial Hall in a coordinated approach at best utilizing both without redundancy. Achieving a balance between the two facilities is indeed a challenge. There is never a lack of needs and wants; only a lack of available dollars. Future upgrades to Memorial Hall, which serves many community needs as well as that of our designated emergency shelter, will certainly enhance her functionality. Improvements to the Recreation Center and Memorial Hall will be evaluated in a coordinated manner so as to compliment one another. This work is truly a community driven project.

Please revisit my blog as we progress with the plans for the Memorial Hall and her role in our community.

The Center will be unavailable for any use during this time; individuals and groups who regularly use it shall be directed to the Memorial Hall. Although work on the ARC will continue to be a work in progress as time, funding and community support allow, it is such a pleasure to finally see this phase, scheduled for months and planned for years finally becoming a reality!

ON MY MIND

The Board of Supervisors constantly hears concern expressed for the economic health of Plumas County and our communities. Believe me, this is one of the top concerns of the Supervisors as well. We would love to have large companies locate here and bring the jobs we so badly need. However, in this economy, this is most likely not going to happen anytime soon. That got me thinking about what we can do, which brings me to looking at the businesses that are already here and in most cases struggling to keep their doors open.

Around Christmas each year you will see encouragement to patronize our local businesses in the “Buy Local” campaign which asks us to spend $100 in local shopping over the holidays. You have all participated and have given our businesses a boost they so badly needed to get through our long winters. But, what about the rest of the year? Think about the difference it would make if we all spent $100 locally every month or even every other month. I am thinking things like new tires, auto repair, clothing, and professional services.

Looking at our local businesses and their needs started me thinking about our Chambers of Commerce. Chambers of Commerce have been in existence since the early 1900’s. Their functions and purpose have changed over the years with changes in business and technology as they adjusted to new and different demands. Our Lake Almanor Chamber of Commerce has been in existence since around 1939. That is a long history of service to our businesses and community.

http://pics4.city-data.com/cpicv/vfiles39644.jpg
A Mountain 4th

It is my observation that all of the Chambers located in Plumas County are struggling with lack of staffing, lack of members and lack of money to do the things they would like to do to promote our area. I’ve been thinking about the role the Chamber has played over the years. Some examples: they field events, such as the 4th of July parade & fireworks, that bring visitors to our area, their mixers give business owners and the public an opportunity to meet and share ideas and concerns, they provide a listing of local business members by category so if you are looking for lodging, a service or the like it is easy to access the appropriate information. They are usually the first place a person planning a visit or looking to move here goes to obtain information.

The Lake Almanor Chamber of Commerce currently has about 210 members out of approximately 400 businesses in the area. In recent years there have been efforts on the part of some members to break away from the Chamber and start other merchant groups/associations. While I can understand this movement, I can’t help but think there is such power in numbers and we have such a small population to draw from, it seems banding together, addressing any services that they find lacking and effecting change within the Chamber organization would be a better, more effective method to address those needs.

Many of us tend to think of the Chamber as purely providing service to business owners however, over the years I have seen the positive impact an active, healthy chamber brings to the residents of the community at large. This brings me to thinking about how we, as a community, can help the Chamber prosper thereby helping all of us prosper. First thing that comes to mind is we could volunteer to help at events. Recently some of the events the Chamber sponsored have been cancelled or are no longer Chamber events due to lack of volunteers. Not only would we be helping the Chamber but the events are fun and a chance to meet our neighbors.

Secondly, the Chamber has numerous categories for membership. If you own a business and are not currently a member please consider joining. They also welcome Nonrofit organizations as members. For those of us who benefit from having healthy, successful businesses to provide for our needs, there are ways to contribute as a “Friend of the Chamber”. Friends of the Chamber are described as “individuals and families who want to connect to, invest in and support the community organization that is working to enhance the quality of life in the Basin”. Sounds like that would fit most of us. Let’s do what we can to support our businesses and an organization that has been serving us for more than 70 years!

IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO VIEW BOARD OF SUPERVISORS’ MEETINGS!

Plumas County Board of Supervisors meetings have been live streamed since 4 Feb 2014. More importantly, we now have most of the bugs worked out! I could really use some feedback from you about whether or not you see this as a valuable resource, that which could be done to improve upon it and, any other suggestions you might wish to convey. While streaming is quite useful to the Board members and staff, for reference to specific agenda items, it is for you that the system was implemented.

Plumas County Homepage

Proceedings are easily viewed while the Supervisors are meeting, in “real time”. However, suppose you read a newspaper article or heard about something the Board discussed, or a report that was presented and you wish you could have attended the meeting or watched while it was live streamed. It is not TOO LATE – all video records of meetings are archived and can be accessed through the Plumas County website. Click on the button titled “Live Board Meetings” in the table on the left of the screen, beneath the County Districts interactive map. This will take you to a listing of the meetings by date; select the appropriate date and then click on “View” which will take you to the video and agenda for that meeting. If there is an agenda item for that meeting that is of particular interest, click on that agenda item in the listing below the video to view that specific agenda item; you may have to scroll through the list.

Plumas County BOS Streaming Website
Plumas County BOS Streaming Website

At the 6 May 2014 (1:30 p.m.) meeting of the Board of Supervisors, for example, we received a presentation from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife regarding the removal of trout from Gold Lake in the Bucks Lake Wilderness area. The trout are being removed in hopes that the Yellow Legged Frog population (there are 10 of them in the vicinity) will migrate to the lake and take up residence. The Board room was packed to the extent it was standing room only inside the chambers, with many standing in the adjacent hallway – outside the chambers. This is not atypical of a hotly debated issue. Even if you attended the meeting in person, you may well have missed part, or most of what was said. If standing in the hall, you would also have missed the interaction throughout, always an important element of the process. To better illustrate this, you should visit the frog presentation & discussion – Agenda item 24.  While you might find this report and discussion of interest, you will definitely get a feel for why streaming (with archives) is so beneficial to you, when issues of interest arise. Or those you would like to refer to others.

As I have expressed in the past, while we as Board members appreciate those of you who attend our meetings and engage, there are many of you, who for a number of reasons (time, weather, distance to Quincy …) cannot do so. It is for all of you we have taken the long overdue step in providing streaming technology to you, wherever you may be, at your leisure.

In the near future, many of the other committees and commissions are planning to live stream their meetings as well, having seen the benefits in outreach and participation. Plumas County is finally joining the modern age!

Please take a moment to visit the website and let me know what you think!!! This is your government; we are making decisions on your behalf.

DROUGHT, FLOOD, SNOW, RAIN …

Today a friend sent an interesting article from the Wall Street Journal with this notation:

“You gotta love it – drought’s bad, rain’s bad, snow’s … The bureaucrats had better get going on the theft of water rights, boondoggle / pork laden projects …; this is bad news for their agenda! But wait – it’s just another phase of decades worth of cycles?”

I would say I have to agree with his comment. One minute we are anticipating food shortages and huge price increases due to the drought; the next minute we are to worry because the El Nino will cause all kinds of shortages and drive prices up. Meanwhile our State officials are proposing any number of Water Bond issues to raise funds to fight the drought and reducing or totally eliminating water deliveries to farmers and ranchers. Guess the State will continue to utilize whatever emergency allows them to change water laws they have wanted to change for years.

“Never let a good crisis go to waste.” – Winston Churchill

A wall of mud on an Orange County Calif. road in 1998, after a record-breaking El Niño caused heavy rainfall and mudslides. Associated Press
A wall of mud on an Orange County Calif. road in 1998, after a record-breaking El Niño caused heavy rainfall and mudslides. Associated Press

Mother Nature has a way of doing whatever she wants, whenever she wants. Weather is cyclical; I blogged a three-part series (Water) in anticipation of just this – “Markets Gird for Return of El Niño”! It would be good to get to the point where we are not always reacting to crisis and could take the time to plan well for change, remembering that we have spells of floods and drought and need to be prepared to deal with both.

A MUST ~ PLUMAS COUNTY VISITORS GUIDE

Have you picked up your copy of the latest 2014-15 Plumas County Visitors Guide? Or the 2013 publication. This excellent guide is produced and published by Mike Taborski and his talented folks at Feather Publishing. It is loaded with beautiful photographs of our area and articles that make you want to get out and see all that Plumas County has to offer.

Plumas County Visitors Guide

Their resource page lists facts such as population by area, annual temperature averages, contact information for such things as banks, airports, hospitals/clinics, libraries, schools, etc. You will find a calendar listing “not to be missed” events along with extensive guides to lodging and campgrounds.

I think this year’s edition is the best yet! You can pick one up at most all stores, businesses, and restaurants. This is not just a guide for visitors; you will find it a valuable resource as you plan your outdoor activities for the coming seasons.

Take a look – you’ll enjoy every page!

WHO WROTE THIS?

A friend recently forwarded me an article from the Wall StreetGetty Image Journal.  Most of the ideal propounded by the author seemed to me to be spot on!  He talks about his ideas for a free society; a society whose vision is based on respect for people and what they value.

He quotes Thomas Jefferson who warned that “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.”  As I read the article I couldn’t help but revisit something that has been on my mind of late and wonder when it was that we started expecting government to take care of all our needs and the freedoms we have given over to government in return for that care.  Are we truly headed to a complete “nanny state”; or, are we perhaps already there?

Over the years, it has been my experience that government over-regulation and interference has acted to stifle innovation, cost many businesses out of existence, or cause entrepreneurs to give up before they begin.  I have also noticed that government usually does not do a very good job when it attempts to do things that are better done by private industry/business.  As the author says, “This is what happens when elected officials believe that people’s lives are better run by politicians and regulators than by people themselves.”

Read the article.  There are some thought provoking ideas expressed – Who do you think wrote it?

I would love to hear your thoughts on the issues raised by the author.

ELECTION BY DEFAULT

In a previous blog I announced that I am seeking reelection for a third term as Plumas County Supervisor representing District 3.  The last day to file papers to run for election in June was the 7th of March.  As of that date, I am the only candidate seeking that position.

It has been my honor to represent you for a little over 7 years.  I want you to know that I take that responsibility very seriously and will do my utmost to be your advocate and represent your interests for the next 5 years.

It is interesting to note, however,  that all Plumas County elected officials, with the exception of the District 5 Supervisor position, are running unopposed in this election.  On my good days, I like to think that is because we are doing a good job; on my bad days, I fear it is because people are simply so fed up with government at all levels that they do not wish to be involved.  It is disappointing and of great concern to me that no one was willing to seek any of the numerous positions currently up for election.  I can’t help but wonder why?

I have asked the League of Women Voters to consider hosting an election forum in our area so that those of us who will be your Plumas County elected officials, even though we are running unopposed, will have a chance to introduce ourselves and answer any questions you may have about Plumas County government. If the League is unable or unwilling to host such a forum, I will set one up giving you the opportunity to interact with your Plumas County elected officials on a personal, one on one basis.

I sincerely appreciate your questions or comments; they help frame my decisions on your behalf. You may use the comment link at the top of this blog, the Contact form or email me at sherrie.thrall@almanorpost.com.

I sincerely thank you for the support you have given me these past 7 years; it has been a privilege to serve my community and Plumas County!