Hatchery tour reveals efforts to increase fish population

Hatchery tour reveals efforts to increase fish population

 

Fish making their way to the Oroville hatchery pass through the stream profile area. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

Man-made problems often take man-made solutions.

That’s what’s happening at the Feather River Fish Hatchery in order to help increase the Chinook salmon populations. It’s people that have depleted the numbers of fish and it is people trying to rectify the problem.

“… beginning in 1970, the population experienced a dramatic decline—a low of approximately 200 spawners by the 1980s. The run was classified as endangered under the state California Endangered Species Act in 1989, and as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act in 1994,” according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The California Department of Water Resources, which runs the hatchery in Oroville, has set up a guided walk that explains much of the process.

Fish enter the ladder on the Feather River to start their journey to the hatchery. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

From a viewing platform near the man-made barrier that was created to prevent the fish from going farther upstream is the start of the fish ladder. This is how the fish get to the hatchery.

About 20 percent of the spawning fish end up at the hatchery, while the remainder stay in the river. Either way, the end result is death.

The way to know if it’s a wild fish or a hatchery one is at the hatchery the adipose fin is removed before release.

Fish at the hatchery are tranquilized before the eggs and milt are removed by workers. On average 2,000 eggs are harvested per female.

“The fertilized eggs are transferred to the hatchery incubator trays. Each tray contains about 10,000 eggs. Fresh Feather River water circulates in the trays to mimic nature,” a sign at the hatchery says. “The salmon’s chances are survival at the hatchery are increased 70-80 percent as compared to in the wild.”

The fry, fingerlings, and yearlings are taken to what’s called the raceway. This is where they will grow large enough to be released back into the Feather River, Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta or San Francisco Bay. They get to those locations via oxygenated tanker trucks.

The incubation center at the Feather River Fish Hatchery. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

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Deets:

  • Address: 5 Table Mountain Boulevard, Oroville
  • Phone: 530.538.2222
  • Cost: Free
Quaint Mendocino County town opens its doors to everyone

Quaint Mendocino County town opens its doors to everyone

Point Arena is proud of its inclusiveness. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

Driving in from the north are signs tacked onto trees telling people exactly what Point Arena believes in—no human is illegal, women’s rights are human rights, love is love, all lives have value when black lives matter, science is real, water is life, diversity is strength.

That’s a big welcome from the 470 people who call this Mendocino County town home.

The lighthouse is one of the big draws for tourists—and for good reason. The views from the top are outstanding.

The sun drops into the distant fog bank. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

South of the lighthouse is Arena Cove with a pier that has been built more than once after being destroyed in storms. A plaque talks about how logging ships used to transport product to San Francisco, while fishing is now the main use of the wharf.

The city’s website says, “The Point served as a prominent navigational site. The first wharf was built in 1866 and made Point Arena the busiest town between San Francisco and Eureka, producing 200,000 board feet of redwood lumber a day and serving as the main Mendocino coast shipping port for agricultural products. As more and more timber was shipped south, Point Arena became known for not just its wharf but also its dangerous coastline for ships.”

Vegetarians will be happy at The New Museum Brewers+Blenders. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

A couple restaurants at the pier cater to locals and tourists. This is a fantastic location for watching the sunset; assuming the fog has lifted to be able to see the sun actually set.

The Wildflower Boutique Motel was perfect for a couple nights’ lodging. Breakfast was delivered to our door both mornings, which was ideal for being able to linger in our comfortable room before starting the day.

Downtown Point Arena is easily walkable. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

With the town so small, from the hotel we could walk up and down main street with ease. At the other end we found The New Museum Brewers+Blenders. The locally handcrafted beer and veggie tacos were great nourishment after a day of exploration.

The city incorporated in 1908 largely to have control over liquor licenses because people feared the county would become dry. We were glad to have benefited from alcohol being legal in town.

The rugged coast line goes on for miles. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

Hiking along various points on the coast is what enthralled us the most. This is the real reason to visit Point Arena—all the access to the rugged coast line, whether being right on the water, or perched above the Pacific on a bluff.

Driving Highway 1 back to Santa Rosa, our starting point, was a perfect way to enjoy the scenery of this swath of Northern California for just a little bit longer.

Point Arena Lighthouse a symbol of the past and present

Point Arena Lighthouse a symbol of the past and present

 

Point Arena Lighthouse is open almost every day of the year for tours. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

Something about a rugged coastline is so mesmerizing. It’s also so very dangerous.

That’s why boat captains rely on lighthouses along coasts throughout the world to help them navigate the waters so they don’t run into a land mass.

The Point Arena Lighthouse in Mendocino County was first built in 1870. The 1906 San Francisco earthquake so severely damaged the structure it had to be condemned. After all, the San Andreas Fault is about four miles away.

The Point Arena Lighthouse continues to be a resource for those on the Pacific Ocean. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

Today, the 115-foot tower is as much a navigational tool as it is a tourist destination. For a small fee people may climb the 145 steps to reach the lens that flashes every 15 seconds.

When the new lighthouse opened in 1908 it did so with a 1st Order Fresnel Lens. Today, that 7-foot wide, 4,700 pound relic from the past is on display in the museum. It’s still operational, but isn’t used for navigation.

Before electricity came to the building in 1929, lighthouse keepers used a hand crank every 75 minutes to keep the light working.

The lens used today is an eight tier VLB-44 LED array that was installed in 2015. It has a range of 14 nautical miles. It looks like it is about a foot tall and maybe the same in diameter. Clearly, technology has evolved in the lighting world.

The lighthouse is on a point surrounded by the ocean. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

Expansive views of the coastline can be seen from the top, with the beaches of Manchester State Park to the north and the Point Arena-Stornetta Unit of the California Coastal National Monument to the south. The lighthouse is just north of the actual town of Point Arena.

The lighthouse is perched on a small peninsula of sorts; when at the top of the tower looking toward the land it’s easy to imagine one day with enough erosion the ocean will turn this section of land into an island.

The views from the top are outstanding, and well worth the climb.

A wealth of information is in the museum—including past ship wrecks and current whale sightings.

Pelicans and sea lions were the predominant wildlife we could see.

The nonprofit Point Arena Lighthouse Keepers owns the 23-acre site and is responsible for the beacon’s operation.

The museum and rugged coastline from the top of the lighthouse. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

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Deets:

  • Address: 45500 Lighthouse Road, Point Arena
  • Cost: $5 for access to the grounds and museum, another $5 to go up the lighthouse
  • Phone number: 707.882.2809, ext. 1
  • Website
NorCal casino adds indoor venue rivaling anything Tahoe has

NorCal casino adds indoor venue rivaling anything Tahoe has

The Venue at Thunder Valley Casino is less than a year old. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

When Thunder Valley Casino near Lincoln was being built more than 20 years ago, casino operators and tourism officials in Lake Tahoe and Reno called it a threat. The $100 million, 4,500-seat music venue that opened earlier this year could be even more of a problem.

The Bally’s (former MontBleu and Caesars) showroom holds 1,700 people, Harrah’s Tahoe seats about 1,900, while the new event center at Stateline will accommodate more than 5,000 people.

The Venue—as the facility in Placer County is called—is outstanding. The 150,000-square-foot structure is beautiful, functional and welcoming. Three levels offer fantastic views of the performer from comfortable seats. Two large screens brought her into better view from our vantage point. In many ways it felt like being in a large theater, which is much better than a stadium.

Slots are mostly the new style, left, with a few of the older ones, right, still on the floor. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

The acoustics are state of the art. Which was perfect for listening to Jewel earlier this month.

The Venue replaces Thunder Valley’s 5,000-seat outdoor amphitheater, that was built in 2011. Plans are for the new building to host 80 to 90 musical, comedy and sporting events a year.

I look forward to seeing a performance at the Tahoe Event Center to be able to compare it to Thunder Valley. Yes, I know the two are different, but still, the Stateline facility intends to bring in musical acts.

Roulette is available electronically. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

Thunder Valley, which is owned and operated by the United Auburn Indian Community, opened in June 2003. When it first started Las Vegas-based Station Casinos operated the site.

What was striking is how big the casino floor was. It seemed to go on forever. Multiple aisles separated various games, allowing for easy walking and never feeling closed in.

It has 250,000 square feet of gaming space–including more 2,700 slot and video machines, 103 table games and a live poker room with space for 240 players. This is more square footage than all of the South Shore casinos combined.

Jewel plays to a nearly sold-out crowd Sept. 15 at The Venue. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

Harveys in Stateline has 88,000 square feet of gaming, Harrah’s Tahoe 65,000 square feet, Bally’s 45,000, and Golden Nugget (formerly Hard Rock Lake Tahoe) 22,750.

Few of the slot machines I’m used to existed. In their place are large, colorful, tall machines. I was even surprised to see electronic roulette. I know, I don’t go to casinos often—so all the games might be what every casino offers. They were so colorful and inviting, though I was able to walk on by.

Two reasons I don’t often go to casinos are because they are not where I want to spend my money and the smoke makes me want to run for the exit. In the short amount of time I was in Thunder Valley my eyes hurt and clothes wreaked. Thank goodness The Venue is a smoke-free site.

The front of Thunder Valley from a bar inside The Venue. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

The upside to the casino that night was I left the blackjack table with enough chips to buy a round of drinks for the two of us, so it was a profitable experience.

Another thing about Thunder Valley—free parking inside the garage. Free parking at a Tahoe casino?—not a chance. Oh, and that new event center in Stateline—no parking at all; in other words, you have to pay somewhere else to park.

Popular Lake Tahoe roadway and summit full of history

Popular Lake Tahoe roadway and summit full of history

Kingsbury Grade transports people between Lake Tahoe and Carson Valley. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

Thousands of people drive up and down Kingsbury Grade and over Daggett Summit every day without thinking about how they got their names.

Charles Daggett may have one or two T’s in his last name. The sign atop the 7,334 foot summit that splits the South Shore of Lake Tahoe and Carson Valley has two T’s in Daggett. The state historical marker along Foothill Road uses one. An 1889 U.S. Geological Society map calls the route Daggetts Pass, no apostrophe. The Nevada State Library Archives (NSLA) uses two T’s.

Daggett was Nevada’s first doctor. Born in 1806 in Vermont, he attended Berkshire Medical College in Massachusetts where he also earned a law degree. In 1851, he moved to Mormon Station, now part of Genoa. In 1855, he became prosecuting attorney, county assessor, and tax collector of Carson County.

Image: Kathryn Reed

The Foothill Road historical marker says: “Originally named Georgetown Trail, the Dagget Pass Trail and Pass was named after Charles Dagget who acquired the land at the base of the road in 1854. In 1859-1860, David Kingsbury and John McDonald received a franchise from the Utah Territory to operate the toll road. At the time, the area was part of the Utah Territory. The men spent about $70,000 to construct a wagon road to meet the demand for a more direct route from California to the Washoe mines and to shorten the distance between Sacramento and Virginia City by 10 miles. The new 16 foot wide road, supported in some places by granite retaining walls on both sides, made the passage easier for travelers on this main route from California. Merchants and teamsters frequently traveled this road moving goods and people in and out of Nevada. In 1863, some of the tolls were 50 cents for a man and horse and $2 for a horse and buggy. That year the estimated tolls collected were $75,000.”

 

 

“People in Carson Valley had never paid taxes before and were outraged. Dr. Daggett’s life was openly threatened over this,” NSLA states.

Hours before trying his first case, Daggett became Nevada’s first “resident” attorney on Nov. 2, 1855. The area previously had legal counsel from a Placerville man.

“One of his last known distinctions occurred when he was appointed a member of the Committee of Arrangements for the formation of the Second Convention to form a separate territory out of the Utah Territory. With Dr. Daggett’s persistence, this territory became the state of Nevada,” NSLA documents state. “After his political career he settled down in the Genoa area and there is no official surviving document attesting to the year or age at which he died.

“Kingsbury Road, where (his) cabin was located, was a trail that had been established shortly before Daggett moved to the community.”

Visit Carson Valley contends the route was first a footpath established by the Washoe Tribe to get from one side of the mountain to the other.

Helen Carlson in “Nevada Place Names” wrote: “… in 1854, (Daggett) staked out a claim to 640 acres embracing its debouchment. After this considerable acquisition the name Georgetown gave way to that of Daggett Trail and Pass.”

Daggett Summit is one of a handful of routes into and out of the Lake Tahoe Basin. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

Georgetown refers to the California Gold Rush town that was promoting this route as a faster than going over what was called Carson Canyon, which was actually the better road.

Carlson’s book introduces Kingsbury Grade: “… named for the Kingsbury brothers, who built it. The trail was opened as a wagon road in 1860 by D.D. Kingsbury and John M. McDonald. A.B. Kingsbury, one of the brothers, was killed in a snowslide in the mountains in 1861.”

Visit Carson Valley called this new Kingsbury route a 7-mile wagon road that ranged from 8 to 16 feet in width. Today, it’s 11.08 miles, with a grade less than 9 percent.

No one disputes today’s route is different.

“Old Kingsbury Grade is located in Haines Canyon, west of and below Daggett Summit, earlier known as Daggett’s Pass. The route started at a point approximately 2.65 miles north along State Route 206 (Foothill Road) from its intersection with the current Kingsbury Grade, State Route 207,” emailed Meg Ragonese, Nevada Department of Transportation spokeswoman. “Today, the alignment differs from the original alignment which ran from Foothill Road next to the old Van Sickle station and Muller Lane, straight up Haines/Dagget Canyon across the current Kingsbury Grade and continuing onto Dagget Summit near the Nevada side of Heavenly Valley. Much of the old alignment was at one time designated as SR19 and FAS559.” (FAS = Federal Aid Secondary.)

In the 1923-24 Department of Highways fourth biennial report, it calls Kingsbury Grade the “oldest road over the Sierras (stet) with grades up to 30 percent.”

It became part of the state highway system in 1929. However, “a road connecting Lake Tahoe to the Carson Valley appears on the first official state highway map of 1919,” Ragonese said.

She added, “Small sections of Kingsbury Grade are recorded as being paved in 1951, 1958, and 1959. … beginning in approximately 1965, other sections were paved as part of a U.S. Bureau of Public Roads National Forest Highway System project. By 1968, the entire route was paved as part of the construction of the current Kingsbury Grade alignment, which was still designated as State Route 19 around that time.”

When it started being called Kingsbury Grade and more about who it’s named after could not be ascertained from historical agencies in Nevada.

Note: A version of this story first appeared in the Tahoe Mountain News.

Once thriving Nevada town reduced to roadside marker

Once thriving Nevada town reduced to roadside marker

A marker in Douglas County on Foothill Road commemorates the town of Sheridan. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

Sheridan was once a metropolis in Nevada.

Do you even know where this Douglas County town is located?

Well, it’s not a town anymore. As with so many towns that sprouted in the West, settlers moved on and the town withered away.

A marker on Foothill Road in the Carson Valley tells a brief story about the area.

The historical marker in full says, “In 1861, a blacksmith shop, a store, boarding house, and two saloons comprised the village of Sheridan. The village had grown up around Moses Job’s general store, established prior to 1855. The Surveyor General, in his 1889-90 biennial report, stated that Sheridan was the metropolis of the Carson River West Fork farmers. The Sheridan House, erstwhile boarding abode, has been converted to a dwelling. It may be seen across the road. It is all that remains of the ‘metropolis.’ Moses Job, an irrepressible man, climbed the peak above this location, planted the American flag and with a shout named the peak after himself. Job’s Canyon is above, and to its left is Job’s Peak. To its right is Job’s Sister.”

1861 is when Job sold the store and 800 acres that included the original town site to J.W. Haines and I.W. Duncan, according to Clairitage Press.

The town’s name supposedly came from Union Army Gen. Philip Henry Sheridan. However, he didn’t become a general until 1888.

Until reading the marker last month I didn’t know how Job’s Peak, which is prominent from the South Shore, got its name.

At 10,638 feet, it the fourth tallest peak in the Tahoe area. Freel Peak is at 10,886 feet, Job’s Sister is 10,823 feet, and Mount Rose is 10,785 feet.

Sprawling outdoor museum pays homage to logging industry

Sprawling outdoor museum pays homage to logging industry

A fresh log becomes wood planks at the Oregon museum. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

Remnants of the logging industry are scattered about Oregon like sawdust.

One place this is evident is at the Collier Logging Museum, which is less than two hours south of Bend, Ore., on Highway 97.

People have been cutting down trees for millennia—for fire, shelter, weapons, tools, money, environmental health. You name it. The evolution of tools to cut that timber and move it are on display at the Collier museum, which culls history from the late 1800s to present day.

The name of this state-owned site comes from brothers Alfred and Andrew Collier who gave Oregon 146 acres in 1945 to honor their parents. The state parlayed that into a 536-acre park, with the museum occupying the 146 acres the brothers intended for preservation.

The museum lost about 100 of its 10,000 artifacts in the 2020 Two-Four-Two Fire that burned through the park. Damage is still evident.

Free self-guided walking tours allow for one to set the pace of exploration. Relics from the 1860s to today fill the landscape. The trail is sectioned off with Horse and Oxen—1860-1900, Steam—1890-1920, and Internal Combustion (1920-today).

Some of the equipment is so rusted it looks like it belongs in a scrap heap, while most appears to be useable today.

While signage with explanations of what various apparatus were used for are plentiful, it was still at times hard to imagine how exactly these things worked. To see them fired up would be an incredible experience.

Logging equipment that looks like something out of an erector set. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

The innovation, creativity, know-how to understand how to develop these tools and then use them is amazing. To see a machine limb a tree and be able to stack the “poles” in piles is mesmerizing.

Fresh cut planks at the museum proved that some of the machines are still put to use at least for demonstration purposes.

At the museum an old blacksmith shop with tools from another era show the ingenuity of those tasked with creating and maintaining instruments for the industry. With how little use my chain saw gets these days, maybe I should donate it to the collection here.

Timber was once big business in Oregon.

“In the 1970s, timber employed over 80,000 Oregonians. This accounted for roughly 1 in 10 private sector jobs, 12 percent of Oregon’s gross domestic product, and 13 percent of private sector wages. By 2019, Oregon’s logging industry amounted to only 30,000 employees, closer to 1 in 50 private sector jobs,” according to the Secretary of State’s office.

Much of the equipment at the museum is large in size. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

A key advance was the railroad. As one sign says, “The railroad pushed into the Klamath forest in 1909 to haul the timber out where roads weren’t feasible. It allowed loggers to penetrate more deeply into forests and gave them access to many more trees than before. Logging operations could now move their mills far from the logging site.”

In the section starting in 1980, it says, “Engineering took the upper hand in the late 20th century logging. Both machinery and roads reflected the ingenuity and changing times. Powerful caterpillars, skidders, yarders, machines with grapple hooks, helicopter sky cranes, and balloons with ‘sky hooks’ enabled loggers to move trees from canyons and hillsides. New roads with bridges, rather than culverts, heavy gravel or paving and special grades to prevent erosion were part of lagging mandated by state forest practices laws.”

I recognize there are plenty of reasons not to like the logging industry—raping of the land being a big one. But I live in a wood house. I have a wood fence. I have burned wood for fuel. I work in the newspaper industry and want people to buy my books. I don’t see wood products not being part of my life in some aspect even if it’s not something I think about on a daily basis. That’s why I won’t condemn responsible logging.

I will advocate for better management of forests, while at the same time admiring the innovation that allows for growing, harvesting and milling of that wood.

Big blades are needed to saw through large-diameter trees. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

According to OurWordInData website, “10,000 years ago 57 percent of the world’s habitable land was covered by forest. That’s 6 billion hectares. Today, only 4 billion hectares are left. The world has lost one-third of its forest—an area twice the size of the United States.”

The museum acknowledges the pains of decades of logging.

“Workers, sawmill owners, and corporate investors confronted bad news in the late 20th century. The mosaic forests—old-growth, regenerating trees, and brush fields from fires were nearly all cut. The flow of timer from national forest dropped dramatically because of part harvest rats, set asides of wilderness area, and impact of environmental legislation.”

At the same time, part of the blame for the decline in logging and lumber manufacturing, according the museum, is put on “protection for fish, birds, mammals, rare and endangered plants, and cultural resources.”

While this is true, the tone came across as an either/or scenario instead of embracing cooperation, understanding and compromise. That was unfortunate.

Information goes on to say, “Timber companies developed habitat protection plans and set aside protection zones along streams. Reforestation became essential for the company that wanted to have a future. Some saw the logger and mill worker as yet another obsolete profession.”

The Collier Logging Museum in Chiloquin, Ore., offers free walking tours. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

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Deets:

  • Address: 46000 Highway 97 North, Chiloquin, Oregon
  • Phone number: 541.783.2471
  • Hours: 8am to 8pm June-September, and 8am to 4pm October-May
  • Website

 

Tina Turner musical a high-energy tribute to a legend

Tina Turner musical a high-energy tribute to a legend

What a force. That energy. The resiliency. And that voice.

There aren’t enough superlatives to describe Tina Turner.

While I never saw her in person, on Sunday I saw The Tina Turner Musical in San Francisco. Outstanding.

As most people will know, Turner’s story is filled with abuse—physical, mental, emotional, financial—probably more. But that voice of hers, that determination, finally that belief in herself propelled her to become a force to be reckoned with. To become the queen of rock ’n roll.

I find it amazing how playwrights can capture the essence of one’s life in just a couple hours. The Broadway production closed in August 2022 before launching a 30-city tour in the U.S. It seemed even more special to see the show with Turner’s death in May at the age 83.

Two actresses—Zurin Villanueva and Naomi Rodgers—take turns portraying Turner in this traveling production. It’s understandable two people are needed for the role because of the intensity and athleticism needed to be Tina.

Many of the songs people will know, others were new to me as I’m not a Turner devotee. Nonetheless, it was all captivating.

The adult concepts might make it not age-appropriate for youngsters, but otherwise most everyone is likely to enjoy the show.

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Deets:

  • The show runs through Aug. 27 at the Golden Gate Theater, San Francisco.
  • It will be at the San Jose Center for Performing Arts Aug. 29-Sept. 3.
  • The show is coming to the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts in Reno Sept. 26-Oct. 1.

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