‘Six Californias’ Plan and National Parks

I’ve heard of California falling of the US at the San Andreas Fault Line, but this is a new one.

Billionaire venture capitalist Tim Draper is proposing that California be split up into six different states. Mashable reports that after a proposal spear-headed by Draper received 1.3 million signatures, the “Six States Campaign” was born.

The plan for the split.

The plan for the split.

The proposal explains that splitting up California would help with current statewide problems in education, water issues, traffic congestion, business environment and government. The initiative, now housed in website form, would have to be approved by two-thirds of California’s 38 million population and passed by Congress in order to go into effect.

It is unlikely it will pass, but I am concerned about the National Parks! What would happen to them?

As the plan stands there will be six new states: Jefferson (including Humboldt county), Northern California, Silicon Valley, Central California, Western California (including Los Angeles), and South California (including LA suburbs, Disneyland and San Diego).

Very rough map of how the parks, monuments and recreation areas would pan out.

Very rough map of how the parks, monuments and recreation areas would pan out.

By my calculations, “Central California” would keep the biggest parks, which include Yosemite, Death Valley, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon. This “state” would also house Devils Postpile National Monument, Manzanar National Historic Site and Mono Lake.

Kings Canyon National Park

Kings Canyon National Park

The state of “Jefferson” is next in line, with Lassan Volcanic National Park, Lava Beds National Monument, Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area and Redwood National Park.

Lassan Volcanic National Park

Lassan Volcanic National Park

“Silicon Valley” has its share of smaller national lands areas, which include the Muir Woods National Monument, the John Muir National Historic Site, the Eugene O’Neill National Historic Site and Pinnacles National Park.

Pinnacles National Park

Pinnacles National Park

“South California” also keeps some beautiful national lands: the Mojave National Preserve, Joshua Tree National Park and Cabrillo National Monument.

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

“North California” will keep Point Reyes National Seashore and Lake Tahoe. “South California” will enjoy the Santa Monica National Recreation Area and Channel Islands National Park.

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe

This plan seems to split up the parks in their entirety, but leaves the question as to how they would be managed. Should this pass, the new states would have a lot of work to do!

For more information on the plan, outside of the public lands realm, watch below:

Outdoor Exploration: Red Rocks Trail in Boulder, CO

After traveling to Nebraska to visit family for the 4th of July, my sister Gemma made the trip back with me to Colorado! Even though she was only here for a short time, we got to do some hiking.

The first glimpse of the red rocks from the trail.

The first glimpse of the red rocks from the trail.

We headed over to the Settler’s Park Trailhead near downtown Boulder and started up the trail. It was an uncharacteristically humid day, so we were happy with the short (but steep) loop it offered.

Gemma climbing Red Rocks

Gemma climbing Red Rocks

Once you reach the peak of the rocks, you can climb them!

Gemma looking toward South Boulder

Gemma looking toward South Boulder

This one is for my parents: they don’t like when I/we hang off the end of rocks. She is fine! But don’t try climbing rocks if you aren’t completely sure of your footing.

red rocks trail 3

 

*All photos are mine!

First Assignment Collaboration: Best Backpacking Knots

I was assigned to a “best backpacking knots” story for Backpacker. Since I know virtually nothing about any advanced knots, I turned to my brother, Dan, who is an Eagle Scout and a Mountain Bike Director at a Boy Scout camp in Maryland.

Overhand on a bight knot - one featured in my article and tied by my brother!

Overhand on a bight knot – one featured in my article and tied by my brother!

So, for my first journalistic collaboration, I worked with my chemistry major Eagle Scout brother! This is his first brush with journalism, and he was fantastic to interview. He took all the photos (which are fantastic, by the way) and I wrote the text with his guidance.

Check out Backpacker’s Facebook page for another view of the article, which is being shared by a lot of outdoor recreation companies and backcountry associations! If you “like” the page, you can also see other content I created/produced. These stories I write for the website can also be seen on the “news stories” tab on the homepage of my blog.

Big thanks to Backpacker for allowing us to collaborate on this.. and thanks again to my brother!

Blogging for iPhone Life

I’m now a blogger for iPhone Life magazine!

I have been tasked with writing a couple of posts per month, but I can create and produce content as much as I want! I can blog about any topic, and my first post was about taking outdoor photos with your iPhone.

My first blog post for iPhone Life magazine!

My first blog post for iPhone Life magazine!

Click-through the picture to check it out!

Guanabara Bay Too Polluted for Sailing Events during Rio 2016

For me, it’s never to early to start reporting about the Olympics. I had a blast with London 2012 and Sochi 2014! Now, on to the early stages of Rio 2016. And Rio de Janeiro will be plagued with my favorite environmental problem: water.

According to the Associated Press, Brazil had previously promised to cut 80% of the sewage pollution flow into Guanabara Bay before the 2016 Olympics. Now, Rio’s mayer has announced that it would take more than a decade to clean the pollution out of the waterway, so it will not be clean for the games.

Guanabara Bay borders Rio - the site for the 2016 summer Olympics.

Guanabara Bay borders Rio – the site for the 2016 summer Olympics.

As you can see, the bay is right next to Rio – the home of the 2016 Olympics. In rio’s 2009 bid, they promised to have the waterway clean so sports like sailing could compete. But now, with the remaining pollution, the sailers will have to compete outside the bay or at the mouth of the bay where there is less pollution.

Pollution in the Bay

The pollution in the bay is really bad, to put it lightly. Some athletes who have visited Rio to train and check it out have ran into sofas and paddled into dog carcasses. The bay is also filled with human corpses and feces, according to the Independent.

It is not all bad news, however. According to Bloomberg News, other Olympics construction is underway and expected to be done by the time the torch reaches the city. Let’s keep an eye on Rio, and hope it doesn’t become another Sochi.

Exploration: Colorado Springs (Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods)

The last stop on our trip was one to Colorado Springs, where we had a pretty full day. At 7am, we started our journey (via cog) up to the top of Pikes Peak (14,114′)!

Cog map

Cog map

Once at the top (and after posing for a picture), we started our journey down – via bike! Charlotte and I hooked up with a biking company to bike down the 20-mile Pikes Peak Highway.

At the top of Pikes Peak!

At the top of Pikes Peak!

We took some selfies on the way down. The view was perfect and clear, which must have just been for us because the guides said it is usually hazy and hard to see.

pikes peak selfie

There were a few uphill parts, but for the most part, we jetted down the windy road (at about 30-40 miles per hour in some places!).

pikes peak 2

 

And, we made it! It took about three hours with stops to catch our breath, bathroom breaks, picture opportunities and snack breaks.

Almost at the bottom with the summit in the background!

Almost at the bottom with the summit in the background!

After having lunch at a winery (with the rest of the biking group), we headed to Garden of the Gods and took a leisurely drive through the park.

Pikes Peak in the background with Garden of the Gods in the foreground.

Pikes Peak in the background with Garden of the Gods in the foreground.

We stopped for a photo of the “Kissing Camels” rock formation (can you see the little hole at the top?)…

"Kissing Camels"

“Kissing Camels”

.. and at the “Siamese Twins” rocks.

"Siamese Twins" - the two similar rock formations on the right.

“Siamese Twins” – the two similar rock formations on the right.

We ended the tour at the entrance of the park at “Balanced Rock.”

Charlotte at "Balanced Rock"

Charlotte at “Balanced Rock”

I hope you enjoyed my travels this week, and have a safe 4th of July!

*All photos are mine

Exploration: Great Sand Dunes National Park

Next stop on our road trip: Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in Alamosa/Mosca, Colorado. The dunes come out of nowhere – you are surrounded in mountains and plains and then BAM: dunes.

Image

We rented a sand board, much like a sled, from a shop in town and attempted to sled down! We found out early that since the sand was so hot, we had to apply a lot more wax than we expected.

Dunes from the entrance road.

Dunes from the entrance road.

So, we spent the morning sledding in the dune field after off-roading to the Sand Pit area via the Medano Pass Primitive Road!

4-wheel drive only!

Check out some of these action shots:

Charlotte - the speck - heading up to the top.

Charlotte – the speck – heading up to the top.

Woohoo! Sledding down was super fast!

Woohoo! Sledding down was super fast!

Me heading up the dune!

Me heading up the dune!

..and me heading down!

..and me heading down (making sure to close my mouth – the sand went everywhere!)

Obviously, we got covered in sand. And it was so hot that our feet were feeling a little burnt.

The sand doesn't look dark, but it was dark on our skin. Check out how much sand stuck to my sunscreen!

The sand doesn’t look dark, but it was dark on our skin. Check out how much sand stuck to my sunscreen!

To cool off our feet, we sat in Medano Creek, which separates the road from the dunes.

Medano Creek

Medano Creek

After de-sanding and drinking some water, we headed over to the more popular Mosca Creek area to take more photos, of course.

Charlotte as a speck in the distance.

Charlotte (or is it me??) as a speck in the distance.

Well, now we can say we’ve sand-sledded in Colorado. Next stop, Colorado Springs.

Thank you, Dunes NP!

Thank you, Dunes NP!

*All photos are mine except Dunes map.