Sierra Summit

Conversations and observations about California's mountains

July 11, 2009
A plea for parks (and a history lesson too)


My recent posting about Bodie State Park yielded a number of interesting observations. It's obvious that people care deeply about their parks and are astonished that the Governor would propose to close them. But is the Governor listening? 

Here are two e-mails worth sharing - the first from Rachael Woods, director of public relations at Alpine Meadows ski area and the second from Phil Pister, a retired Sierra Nevada fisheries biologist and conservation legend who lives in Bishop.

 From Rachael:

"I wrote to every state and district representative I could get addresses for; hopefully everyone does it.  I'm no economist, but it wasn't state parks which got us into this mess; I'm not certain they should bear the burden of removing us from it.  It would be a shame to see parks - which serve as wildlife refuge for so many animals - close.  They are an enormous part of the state's unique character; as well, represent income for so many."

Phil wrote to tell me about the history of Bodie State Park and what closure might mean for it:

"Bodie was rebuilt during my early years here in the early sixties when the local Conservation Camp was established. Fortunately, the guy who headed up their projects (the late John Clark - a good friend) was deeply interested in CA history, and his first project was rebuilding Bodie. Had he not done this I doubt that much would remain. A lot of material had already been carted off before he got here by collectors and other thoughtless people. The nearby settlement of Aurora was essentially lost, mainly by builders looking for old (and free) brick. If Bodie is denied its funding, there is little question in my mind that without a skeleton staff, most of Bodie will end up heading north and south along US 395. This would be tragic."


July 2, 2009
Losing history - Bodie State Park slated for closure
Lost in the sagebrush hills of eastern California, Bodie State Park is one of the most well-preserved mining ghost towns in the world. But now this historical treasure is in trouble, slated for closure by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger due to the state's budget crisis.

Walking through Bodie is like stepping back in time. The weathered 19th century storefronts, the horse-drawn wagons and rusting pieces of mining equipment don't just look real - they are real. Closing a place like this would be a shame. There are many state parks - but there is only one Bodie. Get out and see it while you can. And be sure to watch my video interview with Bodie supervising ranger Mark Langer by clicking on the play button in the box below.  

About Sierra Summit

The Author
Tom Knudson lives in the Sierra Nevada and travels widely throughout the range. His hobbies include fly-fishing, backpacking and cross-country skiing. He is the recipient of numerous journalistic awards, including two Pulitzer Prizes, one for a 1992 Sacramento Bee series "Sierra in Peril," a watershed work about environmental threats to the mountain range. E-mail Tom at

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