Oct 3, 2009


By Round-Up I mean a gathering of loose ends, thoughts. Not the herbicide, but I'll start with weeds anyway.

I'm heading to a conference in Visalia, Ca next week to present my research on the recovery of urban habitat fragments following removal of two very aggressive weeds. I'm going to be just 30ish miles from Sequoia National Park. However, there's no mass transportation to the park from anywhere nearby unless you're there during peak season, when a shuttle has some limited stops. I'm going to have to hitch, which is less worrying going from Visalia. But when I think of trying to return to Visalia to catch the coach to get to Amtrak (seriously, it's that convoluted), I get a little worried. Is anyone going to be in there on a Thursday in the middle of October to take me back to mass transit?

I just can't imagine getting so close to this amazing place, to which I've never been, and missing it. Not to mention, I need the feedback from nature. I took a few weeks to celebrate, then got right back in to tweaking the presentation of my research for this conference, producing slides, a talk, a paper of that talk, and a poster. These are all good steps given that I want to publish this work.

But I want to go to Sequoia NP for a break! I want to access "America's Best Idea". Anyone else watching the new PBS special, "National Parks: America's Best Idea"? You can watch them at that link right now, which is how I'm seeing them since I don't have a TV.

If you noticed the paper I posted from my course, in which I critique the protected area (park, national park, reserve) approach to conservation, then you know that I was looking forward to this series. It's as personally divisive for me as I anticipated. The scenery is beautiful, when they're not zooming in and out of an historic photograph of some colonialist character (note that I've only seen the first two episodes). And the history is interesting, even when I'm disappointed in its portrayal.

So far this series tries to acknowledge the complete injustices of white European settlement across the continent. It presents diverse perspectives from people alive today while trying to tell an old story which is obviously biased in the historical representation by information that largely comes from that colonialist class. Ok, they try. But how they can say in one breath that tribes were pushed out of this park, then that park ... then resolutely switch back to celebrating the parks with nationalist fervor is beyond me.

I'll get more into that after I've seen them all. For now, I'm looking forward to watching the rest, especially as I try to access a National Park, which is purportedly open to everyone. How do urban people, particularly those of us who cannot afford cars (not that we all want them), get to these places? We may love them, need them, pay for them, but do we get to use them?

One more thing! I read a great piece about consumption and population by George Monbiot on Alternet. Check it out.


Julie said...

There is a bus that goes to Sequoia: http://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/publictransportation.htm

rachel kesel said...

I saw that initially and thought all was good. Then last week I downloaded the schedule and found that it runs only in peak season, stopping after Labor Day.

I'm going to call the park tomorrow to see if there's another option in the off-season. That was the suggestion of a kick-ass NP ranger that I met today.

Meanwhile, I've posted rideshare ads on Craigslist SFBay and Hanford. Fingers crossed!

I can't see missing this chance to see Sequoia, but so far I can only seem to get within 30 miles or so of the park.

rachel kesel said...

I called the park and there is no mass transit to the park at all during the non-peak season. So unless you have private transportation, you can only get within 30 miles of SeKi between September and May.

I'm re-considering my bike options now. I'm not sure how steep the 30 mile ride is, but I could likely do it in a day. That's if the regional transit is equipped with bike racks to get me within striking distance.

But I'm pretty frustrated at this point!