Vol. 4, No. 1 January 1985

Bristlecone Chapter
Dedicated to the Preservation of the California Native Flora




The next meeting will be Wednesday, January 30, at 7:30 p.m. in the Security Pacific National Bank, 362 North Main Street, Bishop. The program will be a presentation by Tom Dayak of CalTrans on experimental roadside plantings. Educational and entertaining!

President's message:

My gratitude goes to Vince Yoder and Mary DeDecker for ably steering the Bristlecone Chapter of CNPS through our first years. Those of us who have been able to attend most of the activities have reaped rewards of fond friendships, greater knowledge of our area and a wider vision for the preservation of nature's handiwork. Perhaps we will have a year of plentiful blooms in the valley and to the east. Whether or not, though, there will be fun and learning every time Bristlecone Chapter members get together. Be there!

         Doris Fredendall

Editor's note:

This is to announce a change in schedule for this newsletter.

Due to the difficulties in getting it all together for a December issue, we have decided to skip it and start 1985 with a January issue, to continue on alternate months. The changing of officers and chairmen, plus holiday activities require more time than a newsletter in December would allow. Besides, even Bristlecone news can hardly complete with cheery holiday greetings. We assure you that you. are not forgotten. So with this., we wish all our fine supporters health and happiness and an outstanding floristic year!

* * * * * * *

Please put these future meeting dates on your calendar. Don't miss the good programs we will have lined up for you. Programs and places to be announced in later newsletters and the local news media.

March 27 September 25     May 29     November 27 ?

There are no meetings during the summer. The November date may have to be changed.

        D I R E C T O R Y
        Inyo-Mono Region

LOGO: Pinus longaeva.
Office/Committee,  Name,  Address, Telephone (619)
President, Doris Fredendall, P.O. Box 146 Big Pine 93513, 938-2787

Vice President, Ann Yoder, P.O. Box 330  Lone Pine 93545,   876-4275

Secretary, Frances Cholewa, Rt. 1, Box K32 Bishop, 93514, 872-1709

Treasurer, Nancy Prather,   P.O. Box 406 Lone Pine, 93545,   876-5807

Membership,   Kay C. Wylie,    P.O. Box 775 Lone Pine, 93545,   876-5788 (H) 876-4252 (W)
Conservation, Vincent Yoder,   P.O. Box 330 Lone Pine, 93545,   876-4275
Hospitality, Doris Fredendall, P.O. Box 146  Big Pine, 93513,  938-2787
Sales,   Betty Gilchrist, Rt. 2, Box 89 Lone Pine, 93545,  876-4517

Field Trips, Mark Bagley,  P.O. Box 1909  Ridgecrest, 93555
Rare Plants, Mary DeDecker,   P.O. Box 506  Independence, 93526,  878-2389
Escaped Exotics, Mike Prather, P.O. Box 406 Lone Pine, 93545,   876-5807
Publicity, Pat Crowther, 3047 West Birch Bishop, 93514, 873-4565
Newsletter, Mary DeDecker,   P.O. Box 506 Independence, 93526, 878-2389
Historian,   Evelyn Mae Nikolaus, P.O. Box 396 Independence, 93526, 878-2149

Bristlecone Chapter CNPS 1985 Field Trips

Mark your calender and plan ahead for some fine field trips which are scheduled for this year. Eight trips are set from March through October, half are 1-day trips and half are overnighters. Members from other chapters are encouraged to join us.
Be sure that your vehicle is reliable, with good tires, and start out with plenty off gasoline. Essentials for desert camping are plenty of water and other thirst quenching liquids, sunscreen, sturdy shoes, and a hat and dark glasses. Remember to bring along field guides and a hand lens! Inquiries should be made to Mark
Bagley, Field Trip Chairman, at 619/375-5055.

March 23-24. Tecopa area. Meet on Saturday at 12:00 noon for lunch in the small park in the middle of the town of Tecopa. Be ready for a dry camp on Saturday night. Leader: Peter Rowlands.

April 27-28. Coso and Argus Ranges and the petroglyph area on the Naval Weapons Center, China Lake. Meet at 9:30 am Saturday in the parking lot of the Maturango Museum. The museum is located just east of the traffic circle on Inyokern Road, on the Naval base, about   ¢ mile east of the main gate. Camping that night will be at a dry campsite on base, bring wood if you want a fire. We are limited by the Navy to a maximum of 50 people, so call the Field Trip Chairman for reservations and information. Leader: Mark Bagley. NOTE: The Navy could cancel this trip at the last minute due to a change in their test schedule. If that happens an alternate trip is planned to the desert slopes of the southern Sierra in the Walker Pass area on Saturday and Short Canyon on Sunday.

May 11. East side of the Owens Valley. Meet in Independence at the Rock Service Station, located at the south edge of town on U.S. 395. Leaders: Paul and Mary DeDecker.

June 6 or 15. Lower Silver Canyon, west side of the White Mountains. Details and date to be announced later. Leader: Doris Fredendall.

July 13. North York Bishop Creek. Leaders: Pat and Jack Crowther. Everyone is invited to a pot luck dinner at the Crowther's home after the trip. Meet at 8:30 am at the Crowther's so you can put pot luck perishables
in their refrigerators. Directions: Take Hiwy. 168 (Line St.) about 2 miles west from U.S. 395 in Bishop, turn left on Meadow Lane (Manor Market on corner), take the first left onto W. Birch, go down about a block to 3047 W. Birch.

July 27-23. Northern Bodie Hills; Masonic Mountain area. Meet Saturday morning, 10:00 am in Bridgeport. Details later. Leader: Tim Messick.

August 17-18. White Mountains. Details to be announced later. Leaders: Paul and Mary DeDecker.

September. Haven't scheduled anything yet. Any suggestions or volunteer leaders?

October 12. Rock Creek Canyon, eastern Sierra. See some fall color in a beautiful canyon. Leader: Mark Bagley.


At the Bristlecone Chapter's meeting on November 28, Mark Gish of the BLM's Bishop Area Office was the featured speaker. He told of the development of the Coordinated Resource Management Plan Concept and how it is now being applied in the Bodie Hills. Basically, it is a means of bringing together representatives of as many interests as possible to deal with management of designated public lands. In the Bodie Hills it is being applied to the livestock allotments.

Representatives from livestock, private landholdings, fisheries, wildlife, mining, Mono County (roads), sensitive plants, vegetation, soils, wilderness, Forest Service, and BLM have been included in the process. They look at the various allotments, taking one at a time, determine the problems which need to be addressed, and then recommend procedures to correct the problems. It calls for cooperation, trust, and mutual respect. Compromises and tradeoffs may be necessary but every effort is made to achieve a fair balance. The objective is to achieve what is best for the land.

Two of perhaps a dozen allotments have been completed, and the process will continue in the spring. It is headed by a steering Committee. Then actual field work and on-the-scene discussions are done by Technical Teams. All members of this team must agree on a given recommendation to make it valid. Its recommendations go back to the Steering Committee. After clearing all of the hurdles, the final CRUMP recommendations on a given allotment to to BLM for implementation. Portions of this may become a cooperative effort between BLM and the parties involved.

It sounds impossible, but it works! When communication takes place on the actual scene, the major consideration becomes protection of the land. It is a far different situation than the extreme polarization which seems to prevail in public meetings. Differences can be worked out in an atmosphere of mutual respect.
Our Bristlecone Chapter is taking an active part in the Bodie Hills project. Vince Yoder is a member of the Steering Committee. Mike Prather and Mary DeDecker have been members of the Technical 'Teams. We highly recommend the process.

The Inyo-Los Angeles water agreement finally won approval by the Third District Court of Appeals on Christmas eve. This was the portion relevant to that court case. Significant improvements had been made along the way, largely as ordered by that court, so the final document is reasonably acceptable. It does call for watchdogging, however, if Inyo is to protect its rights. There is considerable doubt that the Inyo County Supervisors would ever make such a move.

The immediate issues will be the so-called "mitigation measures" called for in the agreement. Boondoggles would be a more appropriate term for most of the projects now under consideration. Most of them are merely cosmetic, things which would look nice from the highway but would do little or nothing to mitigate the effects of pumping. In fact, many of them call for additional pumping to maintain them. Thus, they would create new hostage situations under which the water would be cut off and the "mitigation" projects abruptly ended in case of termination of the agreement. Objections are already being voiced by the people of Owens Valley who insist on something meaningful. Some constructive suggestions have been made. It remains to be seen whether Inyo officials will risk the displeasure of Los Angeles by insisting on true mitigation projects of actual value to Owens Valley.

It had been hoped that each proposal would be weighed carefully to determine its long range value in saving water or mitigating the effects of pumping. It is rumored, though, that commitments already have been made to Los Angeles to accept what they want to offer. As was true in formulating the agreement, it may be only a gesture to hold public meetings to hear from the people of Owens Valley. The mitigation measures of real value are not showy and would be difficult to use politically.


People whose lives are affected by a decision must be a part of the process of arriving at that decision.

Long-range plans must replace short-term profits or our decline will be steeper still.

Learning from the environment . . . the dangers of the short-term approach.

Strategic planning is worthless--unless there is first a strategic vision.


Frederick Vernon Coville, Botanist of the Death Valley Expedition, tells of completing their supplies at Daggett January 7 to 9, 1891, and heading for Death Valley. He describes it as follows:

"From January 14 to 15 we were camped at Lone Willow Tanks, excursions being made to the summit of Browns Peak and into the Slate Range.

"January 19 we broke camp and set out for Death Valley by the old borax road. The excessive dryness of the region was evidenced by the fact that the pencil marks on a roadside graveboard, which had been twelve years exposed to atmospheric effects, still appeared clear and fresh, the surface of the wood retaining its natural appearance, not changing to the gray color of weathered timber. We passed the night in Long Valley, and in the morning continued down the canyon, emerging into Death Valley near the south end of its alkali-flat. On either side were high mountains and between them the narrow valley, not more than 10 miles wide. In the bottom of the valley was the snow-white stretch of salt and alkali, and to the northward, perhaps 50 miles away, mountains, valleys, and salt-flat vanished in haze. Creosote bush had been characteristic of all our route until we neared the salt-flat; but here, under the influence of clay and alkali, it gave way to greasewood (Atriplex polycarpa), that in turn to salt grass (Distichlis spicata), and the last a shrub (Allenrolfea occidentalis) related to the pickle-weed. Beyond this there was no vegetation whatever. At about the middle of the afternoon, traveling along the margin of the salt-flat, we came in sight of a large clump of mesquite bushes, and a litle further on we found another clump, where we made a dry camp. Near the margin of the salt-covered valley-bottom, the soil had the appearance of an area closely covered with cow-tracks, half obliterated, and with a little fine snow in the hollows. Farther out the soil was moist, smooth, and covered by a filmy, gray incrustation."

The above is from CONTRIBUTIONS FROM THE U. S. NATIONAL HERBARIUM, VOL. IV, issued November 29, 1893. The entire report is a valuable documentation of the country as he found it, along with descriptions of plants, their habitats, and other data from the expedition. It was before the invasion of exotic species, such as Tamarix and burros, so it provides some basis for comparison.

A more recent account from a desert visitor is by Mr. Oscar Odegaard of Alhambra. He described a trip to the Eureka Dunes by an Explorer Scout Troop, sponsored by St. Theresa Parish, in the Parish Newsletter under the heading, "A Desert Experience". A few selected paragraphs appear below: (1980)

"These empty valleys are serene, majestic savannahs of creosote bush and sage, of sand mountains and their lesser dunes, always shifting, but always in the same places. Empty? Well, empty of mankind, that is, except for us."

"I hiked over to the opening of a canyon coming out of the bluffs of the range--about two miles away, SE. As I walked up an alluvial fan, I found thousands upon thousands of a low growing flower, only 6 to 7 inches high, with golden-brown, almost hairlike stems, each very stiff and branching, and then branching out again, at perky angles. Each branchlet was tipped with a tiny bright-yellow pair of petals, like the wings of some small perched insect made of new gold. I hated to step on them, but they made an almost solid carpet in the late, grey afternoon, after the rain. I didn't have the camera, and intended to photograph them the next day. However, the next day they didn't look the same--they were flowers that did their thing on a grey afternoon, after the rain."

"Most mountains in the California desert have a serene and relaxed aspect--sedate, and of the past, so to speak. But the Last Chance Range is different, something special. It is bold, abrupt, busy, and muscular, bursting outward and rearing upward, both at once, with a show of geological exhuberance, suddenly arrested."

"The western face of the range is a wall of rock, miles wide, that cowers the onlooker. Gold, tan, and deep russet strata, metamorphosed into bands of bold color, ripple across the faces of the bulging cliffs, and folding back disappear into the recesses of each canyon, emerging again on the face of the next buttress."

And we end with a quote from a note written by our new President, Doris Fredendall. It should tempt anyone to join the White Mountain trip scheduled for next August. The flowers will not be the same then, but the trip should be worthwhile.

"I had friends from Riverside come up late Friday, and they were game to try the Methuselah Trail early Saturday. It was a perfect morning and enough flowers for interest. In spots, blue of flax, yellow of Cryptantha and Senecio, red of paintbrush, and some white of Cryptantha flavoculata made lovely pictures. Gaining the high return trail in the Mt. Mahogany, tiny plants of bead pod were lost under their many diminutive blooms, and the many Ipomopsis congesta were hardly seen because of the brighter bead pod. Circium nidulum was 18 inches high and budded, but no lovely flowers there. Lomatium was barely starting bloom up high. Hymenoxys looked a little weary on the sunny top. Streptanthus cordatus was blooming, but saw only a few bud stalks on Arenaria. It's a wonderful trail!"

New members are always warmly welcomed. We are happy that those listed below are starting the new year with us.
Steve Dowty
3250 Marlene Drive
Lafayette, CA 94549

Robert J. Gustafson
471 So. Almont Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90211

Ben Ownbey
8400 Grinnell
Sacramento, CA 95826

Don Reid
2941 Indian Creek Drive
Bishop, CA 93514

Sarah Signor
24445 Treasure Vista
Newhall, CA 91321

William P. Weaver, Jr.
Biology Department
University of California
Los Angeles, CA 90024

James Wilson
Route 4, Box 104
Bishop, CA 93514
WEATHER REPORT: The abundance of precipitation since last summer should bring forth an abundance of bloom on the desert, IF ONLY it is followed up with spring rains. That did not happen last year. So THINK RAIN!

Note that dues have gone up this year. Members may extend for one full year if they submit renewal by April 1, 1985.

The BRISTLECONE NEWSLETTER comes out bimonthly. It is mailed free to members of the Bristlecone Chapter, CNPS. For non-members the subscription is $5.00 per year.

P.O. Box 506
Independence, CA 93526