Our Hero is an understatement.
Sometimes, here at FOP, when we are in the middle of all the rebolting, the updates, the newsletters, etc. and one more person says, without thinking, "Hey, why haven't you replaced the anchors on...?", we can't help feeling a bit unappreciated. Of course, in our hearts we know that people are aware of our work. The occasional donations and pats on the back from FOP members and the Park Service are greatly appreciated and do go a long way towards keeping our spirits up.
Teagan on the West Side classic, Twinkle Toes
But every once in a blue moon something amazing happens. In this instance, it took the rather surprising form of a 9-year-old girl from Monterey.
Teagan started climbing when she was 4 and has made several trips to the Pinnacles to climb with her father, Charles.
When Teagan and her fourth-grade classmates were assigned to organize fund-raisers for the non-profits of their choice, she researched her options. Instead of going with a well-established, large non-profit group, Teagan decided to focus on local groups related to rock climbing. She finally chose Friends Of Pinnacles, not just because they fit the criteria, but also because they were not well known. Teagan liked the idea of teaching people about an unfamiliar group and what it is doing to help, along with raising funds to support an activity in which she participates.
With a little help from her father (who runs the Sanctuary Rock climbing gym in Monterey) and her mother, Melissa, Teagan planned a bake sale to be held at the climbing gym. Demonstrating cunning market strategy, she put up announcements a few days before the event, and a donation jar, so people would know to bring their appetites and pocket books, while also giving those who could not attend an opportunity to contribute.
The night before the event, Teagan baked dozens of muffins from scratch and prepared several pitchers of lemonade.
The Bake Sale was a huge success and Teagan brought in over $120 on the day. Additional donations brought the total to just over $220.
We here at FOP are blown away. This kind of effort is truly above and beyond. We are sending this special thank you to Teagan with additional thanks to her parents, Charles and Melissa, and all of those gym patrons who were willing to contribute to Teagan's cause.
Charles Schrammel runs Sanctuary Rock Gym in Monterey.
As many of you are already aware, the trash problem has increased dramatically since the Park officially became a National Park. Visitor counts are way up and along with it seems to come the garbage.
As you can see from the correspondence below, FOP is trying to do what it can.
Climbers are generally already aware of the need to clean up after themselves, but there is more that we can all do.
Next time you go climbing you might:
- Carry several, medium-sized garbage bags in your pack
Clip one outside your pack and fill it as you hike
- Inform the Park of what you find and/or collect
It is best if you send an email on the day of your cleanup; this way there is a record of your work
- Let FOP know what you did and we will post it in our ongoing effort to raise awareness and document efforts
- We are talking about organizing some cleanups, but don't wait for us - you can organize your own cleanups.
A great way to do this is to get a group of people together for a climbing day, knock off a couple hours early and do cleanup on the way back to the cars.
Please feel free to contact FOP if you have other information or suggestions.
Here's a copy of the note Bruce sent to the park:
Clint and I were at the Pinnacles to rebolt the Hatchet yesterday(which, as it turns out has already been rebolted) and ran across all this trash in and around the climber's trail as it passes Ridge Rock. The final tally was:
- 43 glass bottles
- 46 aluminum cans
- 3 tin cans
- 13 plastic bottles
- 23 oyster shells(!)
See the attached photo.
Clearly, some group of people have been going up there and having some sort of party/ritual and just tossing their refuse in the bushes. As a bit of forensic intel, the date markings on some of the bottles was 7/2011. It would be nice to ban glass bottles on the Park's trails though maybe that would just mean more aluminum cans.
Bruce Hildenbrand (FOP)
For those who don't know me, my name is Gavin Emmons, and I have returned for a 13th season as the raptor biologist at Pinnacles National Park. I just wanted to send everyone an update as to the status of raptors for the past month.
Prairie falcons (PRFA) have returned to Pinnacles and are establishing territories and engaging in courtship displays. Two peregrine falcon (PEFA) pairs – one that nested last year for the tenth consecutive year at Hawkins and another that nested at Balconies for the first time in 50 years – wintered at the park. The peregrine falcon pairs have both been observed in the Hawkins and Balconies areas respectively, calling to each other, engaging in courtship displays, and defending the territories by chasing other birds (condors, hawks, and ravens) out of the areas. A third PEFA pair was briefly observed chasing pigeons at Drywall Slide. Additional surveys will help us determine if this pair was migrating through the park or may be preparing to occupy the Drywall territory. The first prairie falcons were confirmed at Resurrection Wall, Crowley Towers, and Egg Rock by the beginning of 2015. At present the following have been documented: 4 territories with PRFA pairs, 3 more territories with single prairie falcons, and the 3 PEFA territories. These are listed below:
- Goat Rock / Resurrection Wall: Single PRFA, pair likely
- Teapot Dome / Tunnel / Egg: PRFA pair
- Hawkins Peak: PEFA pair
- General Balconies: PEFA pair
- Crowley Towers: Single PRFA, pair likely
- Machete / Citadel: PRFA pair
- Willow Spring Slide: Single PRFA, pair likely
- Drywall Slide: PEFA pair
- North Chalone Peak: PRFA pair
- NE Section 15: PRFA pair
The following territories are currently unoccupied, with no prairie falcons observed within them:
- Pig Canyon
- Little Pinnacles (Yaks)
- South Balconies
- North Balconies
- Scout Peak
- '''Western Front
- Discovery Wall
- Pipsqueak Pinnacles
- Frog / Hand
- Piedras Bonitas / Gargoyle / Prescribed Burn Cliffs
- D. Soto Canyon
- Guard Rock
- Rocks West of Chalone Housing
- Mating Rocks / Tugboat
- North Wilderness Rock
- South Wilderness Rock
South Chalone Peak and Marion Canyon have not yet been checked for raptor territorial status.
In general, PRFA activity this season seems to be proceeding normally in regards to annual occupancy and courtship schedules. Some of the unoccupied territories listed above will likely have active falcon pairs that arrive later in the season by February or March. The territorial PEFA pair at Balconies is also occupying the Machete territory, and advisories are in effect to include the upper southwest face of Machete as a partial advisory area for the season.
Please note that climbing and hiking advisories are in effect as of January 20th. Raptor advisory signs have been placed at Hawkins, Scout, Balconies, and Little Pinnacles, to protect these sensitive species from the pressures of off-trail hiking and climbing during the upcoming nesting season. Updated raptor advisory brochures / handouts are available at the east side Pinnacles Visitor Center and the west side Visitor Contact Station. Any assistance park staff can provide in diverting visitors from advisory areas, and reporting incidents of climbers and hikers in advisory areas to law enforcement staff, is highly appreciated!
Golden eagles have also been seen regularly in and near the park over the past month. No occupancy or nesting activity has been confirmed yet.
Other raptors observed in the park in January include American kestrels, and red-shouldered hawks have been seen in the Pinnacles Campground, near the Bacon barn, and in McCabe Canyon, perching in valley oaks and vocalizing, and beginning to add stick material to nest constructs. Cooper’s and sharp-shinned hawks are active throughout the park along riparian corridors. Owls have been quiet so far this season but will likely pick up as the breeding season proceeds. Great-horned owls have been heard vocalizing in Condor Gulch, Bear Gulch, the Pinnacles Campground, Pig Canyon, near Scout Peak, and near Machete Ridge.
Thank you to all the staff who have continued to provide me with raptor observations; every detail on raptor behavior helps to provide a more complete picture of raptor breeding at the park. If anyone on staff wishes to report raptor observations, I would greatly appreciate it if you please fill out a wildlife observation card, and deposit it in my box in the RRM Office. Also note that Joseph Belli and Aly Schmidt will be part of the raptor monitoring team for 2015 and will be assisting with surveys. If you can't get a hold of me for questions, feel free to ask or pass along observations to them as well.
In addition, thanks to Paul Johnson, Sierra Willoughby, Lori Frusetta, Linda Regan, Dan Ryan, Jennie Jones, Mike Shelley, Brent Johnson, Danielle Powell, Rose Fielding, and Alacia Welch for raptor observations. I appreciate the support!
If you have any observations within the park to report, or any raptor-related questions, please contact me through email or extension 276. Thanks!
Pinnacles Partnership is excited to announce the receipt of a grant from The Fund for People in Parks to fund the purchase of four binocular viewing scopes for Pinnacles National Park. Through a joint collaboration between Pinnacles National Park, Pinnacles Partnership, and The Fund, the scopes are being installed in January and February and will be ready for visitor use by the end of February.
The addition of these scopes provides viewing access from areas near parking lots on the east and west sides of the park. The scopes offer an enhanced view of scenic features of the park, especially for visitors who may have difficulty hiking the trails.
Two scopes are currently being installed on the east side of the park at the Peaks View parking area. In the next few weeks two more scopes will be installed on the west side of the park in the Chaparral parking area. These locations were strategically chosen to provide visitors with accessibility, convenient parking access, views of the iconic Pinnacles rock formations, and possible condor and other wildlife viewing. The scopes are located in areas with restrooms, parking, and trailheads. In addition to convenient locations, one scope on each side of the park is wheelchair accessible.
You can support Pinnacles National Park and projects like this by joining Pinnacles Partnership today! Pinnacles Partnership is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring excellence in education, resource stewardship, and visitor experiences at the park. We are seeking new members, additional board members, and volunteers. Join us or learn more by visiting www.PinnaclesPartnership.org.
The Fund for People in Parks provides private funding and resources to complete inspirational projects that directly benefit visitors in the western National Parks. The Fund continues the early tradition of private philanthropy for National Parks and concern for the visitor that was at the heart of the founding and subsequent growth of the National Park system. By providing private funds and other resources for worthy projects that cannot be accomplished through public funding alone, The Fund develops public/private partnerships that create the critical margin of excellence that enhances the visitor’s experience in Parks.
Pinnacles National Park will be holding open forums to discuss possible fee increases from 2015 through 2019. The current park entrance fees have been in place since August 2014. The National Park Service is proposing to increase the entrance fees as follows:
- Per Person (Entry Valid for 7 Days)
from - $5.00 to $10.00 in 2015 and $12 by 2017
- Per Motorcycle (Entry Valid for 7 Days)
from $10.00 to $15.00 in 2015 and $20 in 2017
- Per Vehicle (Entry Valid for 7 Days)
from $10.00 to $15.00 in August 2015to $20.00 in 2017 and to $25.00 in 2019
- Park Annual Pass (Entry Valid for 1 year form Date of Purchase)
from $15.00 to $25.00 in 2015 to $35 in 2017 and $50 in 2019.
These rates will bring the park in line with other similar National Parks.
Entrance fees are not charged to persons under 16 years of age or holders of the Interagency Annual Pass or Federal Recreational Senior, Access, or Military Passes. These passes may be obtained at the Park.
"We recognize the need to keep the park experience affordable while at the same time balancing the need to improve the park facilities," said Pinnacles National Park Superintendent Karen Beppler-Dorn. "The money from the most recent fee increase was used to implement a shuttle system throughout the park. Increasing entrance fees will be used for improvements at the park in visitor facilities such as restrooms, campgrounds, a visitor center, and improved trail signage."
Other projects that have been completed as a result of fee money include: Trail improvements on the High Peaks Trail, new road signs, and rehabilitation of resource damage.
Pinnacles National Park is a strong economic engine for the surrounding area. In 2013, more than 237,677 park visitors contributed $13,000,000 to the local economy and supported 158jobs related to tourism.
Comments on the Fee Increases may be posted on the park's Facebook page. Comment cards will also be available at park visitor centers. Comments may be emailed to the Park Public Affairs Officer Jan Lemons or call: 831-389-4486 X237.
Following the public engagement feedback will determine how, or if, a fee increase would be implemented.
A public meeting is scheduled:
- Day: Saturday December 13th
- Time: 2:00pm
- Location: Pinnacles National Park Campground Amphitheatre.
Comments will be accepted via telephone, online, and in person until January 4th, 2015.