Ranger Headquarters

Ranger Headquarters
Big Pine National Forest, Knotty Pine

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Ranger Bill Anniversary Celebration!!!

It may be hard to believe, but RANGER BILL will officially turn 60 on October 2, 2010!!! To celebrate this milestone in Ranger Bill's career, The Ranger Bill Fan Club is starting the Ranger Bill "You CAN Do It" Celebration. The club is asking YOU members and all YOU who love and listen to Ranger Bill to say thanks for all the RANGER BILL fun and adventure YOU have enjoyed by supporting HisKids, or Moody Broadcasting, or your local Christian radio station in a RANGER BILL way. Try recycling aluminum cans or newspaper and taking the money you make from recycling and donating that. Donate a RANGER BILL CD to your church library or your local public library. You could even buy and plant a tree for Ranger Bill (maybe a pine tree!) with some recycling money. This is strictly my (Ranger Dave's) idea. None of the organizations mentioned above are part of or have any knowledge of this RANGER BILL project. If you have any suggestions for RANGER BILL "You CAN Do It" projects, send them to me at rangerbillclub@aol.com and I'll mention them in future notes regarding this 60th anniversary.
If you can't participate in the Ranger Bill "You CAN Do It" Celebration, then please take the time to mention Ranger Bill to a friend and let them know that Ranger Bill is available here at the club's Blogger site any time 24/7.
Yes Ranger Bill made its debut on a Monday afternoon in 1950 on Moody Radio with Pendleton Valley Fire. Pendleton Valley Fire was a three-part story broadcast in 15-minute segments. Part one of the story really featured Col. Anders who was leading fire fighting teams in the valley. It really wasn't until part two that we got to hear from Bill and Henry. Stumpy and Gray Wolf would join the team in subsequent episodes.
I need to also mention that the 200+ half-hour Ranger Bill stories that we all know and love so well began in 1954. So our 30-minute episodes are celebrating 55 years on the air!
There's just one more anniversary I need to mention. The Ranger Bill Fan Club's web site just turned 6 years old on the 4th of July. Thanks so much for your interest in and support of Ranger Bill. Your weekly support and your emails make operating this blog site most enjoyable and rewarding.
Have a wonderful and blessed day!

In Christ,
Ranger Dave

Friday, August 28, 2009

RB-042 Forest Fire

A warm spell late in the winter has melted most of the snow in the forests and left the forest litter exposed and tinder dry. A huge thunderhead shoots lightening throughout the regions south of Knotty Pine. The fire tower rangers are on their toes waiting to see if any of the lightening starts a fire. They don't have to wait long before not one but ten separate large forest fires are going. The towns of Silver Springs and Claytown are surrounded by fire and their citizens are trapped. The southern district rangers can't fight these blazes alone. They call Bill and his men and equipment to control the fires. This is one of the biggest fires the state has ever had. And to top it off, the train bringing equipment from Knotty Pine breaks down. Can Bill get these fires under control or will rangers and innocent citizens die?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ranger Horses Well Trained

A ranger candidate must take some rigorous training to become a ranger. A candidate must go through six weeks of police academy followed by ranger school just to become a ranger. A ranger must then take special classes in areas where he might be assigned, such as first aid or search and rescue. The ranger's training doesn't end there. At various times during each year, a ranger will take special classes to update or braoden his skills and knowledge.
A ranger's best friend, his horse, has to pass training that is just as tough, if not tougher than what his ranger gets. A ranger's mount will probably take two to four months of training. The ranger horse must remain calm and in control and do his job in any situation. A horse must be able to deal with horns, firecrackers, running children, objects blocking his vision, and even someone pulling his tail. All this training is much more difficult for a horse than any kind of show training. It's necessary because the ranger's horse may have to face any of those distractions while patrolling several miles of varied terrain, carrying his ranger securely.
A ranger and his horse can cover more miles of woods and trails than several men on foot. They may have a better chance of finding a lost child or hiker. The horse gives a ranger a better vantage point for observing the park. A horse is an ambassador to the public, making it much easier for the public and the ranger to make contact and get along. A horse may even be cheaper than a jeep to maintain.
So the next time you see rangers or police officers riding their mounts down your street for a parade, consider the training and hard work both man and horse go through to guard and protect you the public and the lands they patrol!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Piggyback Homes Built in Junction City

The union of Canyon City Truck Lines and the railroad in piggyback delivery service to the mountainous and snowy regions of the state has lead to a new home construction service in Junction City. Leonard Grant, owner of Canyon City Truck Lines, heard about a new idea for use of steel shipping containers (truck trailers, etc.), converting those containers; which are 40 feet long, 8 feet wide, and 9 feet tall; into safe and easily transportable homes. These container-homes could be quickly and easily transported to storm-ravaged places such as New Orleans on a train by piggyback service. The home could then be driven to a foundation and bolted to metal mounts in the foundation.
Container homes can withstand buffeting from 175 mph winds and days of soaking from flooding. Plasterboard walls and carpeting may be all that might need to be replaced from a flood or hurricane.
To make a container home, a shipping container has door and window openings cut out and the cut-outs recycled. The container can then be constructed to look like any other home or can be left "plain" for an industial look.
Mr. Grant is setting up container construction in Junction City for distribution all over the country. Keep you eyes open the next time to wait at a train crossing. You may just get to see your next home riding piggyback on that train!!!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Blue Mountain Tunnel Approved

The state legislature has approved the construction of a train tunnel to be bored through Blue Mountain by means of a tunnel boring machine(TBM). Rail officials tell the GAZETTE that Big Rock Mining LLC currently has the lead bid in for the Blue Mountain Tunnel.
The GAZETTE contacted Big Rock Mining about their construction plans for the Blue Mountain Tunnel. Big Rock president Samuel Flemming informed the paper that plans are to use their largest TBM called "Big Alice" also called "Teeny" by it's operating team. Mr. Flemming also mentioned that boring should begin on the north side of Blue Mountain. Big Rock plans to use Knotty Pine as its operations headquarters.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Missing Hiker in Big Pine Forest

A search is currently under way for missing hiker Daniel Mays. Daniel is a 21-year-old student at Brighton College, alma mater of Ranger Bill. Daniel arrived as part of a group of forestry students studying forest management and soil erosion prevention. Daniel apparently went hiking into the deep woods alone without notifying rangers or school officials of his plans. Deep woods rangers and SAR (Search And Rescue) teams are currently searching the deep woods due north of the public camping facilities in Big Pine.
Ranger Bill is grateful that each year the ranger staff is augmented by is summer volunteers, many of Big Pine's deep woods rangers and fire tower watchers. The summer fire tower watchers are almost solely female volunteers headed by Jane Reeves. These "petticoat rangers," as they have come to be known, free up full-time rangers for other summer work such as search and rescue. Ranger Bill says the fire tower watchers are invaluable to him and his rangers.
(Hear more about much of the above on RB053 Arson at Brighton College, RB085 The Deep Country, and RB107 Petticoat Rangers.)

The Big Pine Snowmobile

This week's episode The Jealous Stepfather begins with our rangers returning home to Knotty Pine down a remote snow-covered road. The boys are not riding horses or driving a jeep or truck. They are riding in the comfort of Big Pine's "snowmobile."
When I think of a snowmobile I picture something like a motorcycle on snow tracks and skis with seating for a rider and maybe a passenger. The Big Pine "snowmobile" that Ranger Bill and the boys built is nothing like my idea of a snowmobile.
Ranger Bill's "snowmobile" is actually a station wagon or SUV size car on great big skis. And this snow car doesn't use snow or tank tracks to get around. It uses a propeller like an airplane! The best way to describe this is to say it's an airboat or swamp buggy on snow. An airboat is a flat-bottomed boat that uses an aircraft type propeller to push the boat around swamps, everglades, and bayous. The "snowmobile" is pushed over the snow by a propeller on the rear. Bill's snow car keeps going in all kinds of weather and on all kinds of ice and snow. It is the winter workhorse of Big Pine National Forest.
You can hear about the "snowmobile" in RB034 Piggyback, this week's RB041 The Jealous Stepfather, and RB203 A Miss Is As Good As A Mile.

Ranger Bill mp3s at Moody Audio

Moody Audio now has five new Ranger Bill stories (8 episodes in all) for sale on their web site, individually or as part of CD #5. Go to our club web page (http://rangerbillclub.blogspot.com) to see summaries of these stories. Two shows are single-episode stories and three are two-part. One story is "The Spirits and the Spirit." Another is about a haunted church and organ and a third about Frenchy DeSalle and a man named Boris "The Bear." Go to the Moody Audio web page to order CDs and individual mp3s at www.moodyaudio.com. All of these shows probably haven't been aired in over 40 years. Moody Audio now offers 214 RB episodes on 5 CDs.

Moody Audio also offers 37 Sailor Sam stories. Each story consists of approximately 10 15-minute episodes, or over 2 hours of Sailor Sam per story.

Friday, August 21, 2009

RB-041 The Jealous Stepfather

It's the end of a cold day on a deserted road. Our rangers are driving back to Knotty Pine after a long day in the forest. They are just starting to get warm in the "snowmobile" when they pass a young boy walking out of town into the forest. The fellas pick up the boy, who reluctantly agrees to go back to town but not home. This young man Gary has been verbally abused and beaten by his stepfather. The stepfather Jake has trouble controlling his anger and lashes out at home and at work. Instead of getting angry at Jake, Bill is willing to help both Gary and Jake. But will Jake be willing or able to change his life - even with help? Jake's and Gary's lives both depend upon it!

By the way, the ranger snowmobile is very unusual. Look for some news about it in my next blog.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Knotty Pine GAZETTE - Worker Injured 2000 ft Straight Up

A worker on the new 2000-foot TV tower under construction east of the small town of Bent Creek was injured today. The construction crew was hoisting the main television antenna to the top of the tower when a sudden gust of wind caused the $200,000 antenna to sway and crush the worker against the tower. The worker was knocked unconscious and left hanging by his safety harness 2000 feet off the ground while the 11,000 lb antenna continued to sway. Fire rescue crews were unable to use the tower's elevator (a 6-ft triangular platform hoist) to reach the injured man because the tower's electrical power was knocked out by falling debris from the antenna.
Chief Ranger Bill Jefferson along with Ranger Gray Wolf of Big Pine National Forest near Knotty Pine were called in to rescue the injured tower worker. The two rangers flew by forest service "yellow banana" helicopter directly from Knotty Pine to the Bent Creek tower site. After several hours of climbing, Ranger Bill and Gray Wolf were able to reach the injured man. The rangers gave the man emergency first aid immediately to make him more comfortable for his return to the ground. The rangers with the assistance of other tower workers also trapped on top of the tower placed the injured man in a protective carrier. The rangers and tower workers then slowly lowered the injured man down through the tower. Power was restored to the tower and elevator at this time. The elevator was able to meet the rangers and their charge about half way up the tower. The three men were able to ride the elevator the final 100 feet to the ground. The forest service chopper life flighted the injured man to Central City Hospital. The worker is reported in fair condition and is expected to make a full recovery. The name of the injured man was not released to the press.

New Train Tunnel Proposed

The railroad has sent a proposal to the governor's office in Central City for a railroad tunnel to be bored through Blue Mountain in the Savage Mountain Range. This tunnel will shorten the rail route going north and south on the western half of the state.
The northwest region's rail manager tells the GAZETTE that the tunnel will be cut through the mountain by a tunnel boring machine (TBM). A TBM is a train-sized piece of equipment with a large circular cutting frame with 240-lb cutting teeth. The TBM braces itself against the walls of the tunnel as it cuts away at the mountain rock.
The railroad has several bids for the project on the table awaiting approval from the state. State officials say that this tunnel project will provide much quicker and safer rail travel and will give the state's economy a much needed boost.

A Ranger's Best Friend

If you've been a listener to Ranger Bill for any length of time, then you will be familiar with the following names: King, Bess, Maude, Matilda, and of course Storm. These are the names of the Big Pine National Forest's ranger horses. As in this week's story, Stumpy Gets 30 Days, ranger horses contribute an important part of the work and daily activities of our rangers - riding trail, herding animals, searching for missing hikers and campers, security and crowd control, carrying food and equipment, even marching in parades, and so much more.
I was curious what rangers look for in a horse. Do rangers use thoroughbred horses? How is a ranger horse trained? I asked Tennessee park ranger Marty Silver those questions. And Marty directed my questions to long-time horseman and park ranger Thurman Mullins. The following is an email Thurman sent me recently:

Our friend Marty Silvers forwarded your e-mail to me and asked me to respond. I love all breeds of horses and I guess at one time or the other have owned or worked the majority of breeds. At present I manage a Ranch in my other life and we raise American Quarter Horses and American Paint Horses which are extremely versatile and are used in some areas of the country for any and all Ranger type duties. The US Park Service primarily uses Thoroughbreds or at least they were when I attended their Training program in the early 1970's.
I was asked in 1973 to put together a Horse Mounted Program for Tennessee State Parks. We were fortunate that we had a versatile animal named after the State being The Tennessee Walking Horse. Although all animals are individuals, typically, the Tennessee Walking Horse breed is noted for a great temperament, an easy ride and easily trained for Patrol duties. In Tennessee State Parks they also provided a great opportunity for a living history program. We purchased the original horses but soon received quality donation horses and equipment from the Walking Horse Owners Association and the Tennessee Walking Horse Owners, Breeders and Exhibitors Association. The Carolyn Cross Family, the John Dunn Family, the Red Epps Family, The Bob Womack Family, Bob Cherry and others saw the advertising advantages of seeing their breed on display in Tennessee's State Parks and this was a big help in the initial years. Author and Artist Jack Knox (now deceased) spoke at our first training sessions and Rangers were furnished with his book on the Tennessee Walking Horse.
The primary reason it seemed to me that the US Park Police liked the Thoroughbreds was the consistent height more than any other factor. Many of the agencies across the Nation will argue the advantages of the American Paint, the American Quarter Horse or whatever breed they may be using and they are great versatile horses. Depending on the part of the country I was in, would have a great deal to do with my selection of a mount. I ranched 3500 acres in Tamulipas, Mexico several years ago and the terrain would go from desert to Jungle and our mount of choice were small mules.
Hope this helps and feel free to contact me if I may provide further information,
Thurman Mullins, Long Hunter State Park

Thurman also sent me several photos and newspaper and magazine articles about ranger horses. I will post some of that information in blogs over the next few weeks on the subject of A Ranger's Best Friend.

Friday, August 14, 2009

RB-040 Stumpy Gets 30 Days

If you love Stumpy then this show is one you can't miss! This Ranger Bill episode is a fan favorite, and you'll see why in Stumpy Gets 30 Days!
It's winter and the snows are deep. The rangers are moving a herd of buffalo to good grazing land. A young bull in the herd gets upset with Stumpy and his horse Maude. Bill and Henry see the bull too late. It gores both Stumpy and Maude, then prceeds to roll on Stumpy crushing his chest!!! Stumpy is rushed to the emergency room with little life or will to live in him. If the Old Timer lives will he have the strength and the will to go on? What can Bill and his rangers do to keep their dear friend alive? They begin with prayer.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Saturday Music Fest at River Races

Knotty Pine will host another of its popular Music Fests this Saturday evening following the River Races. Several area bands and singing groups are on the roster for the evening. But the highlight of the evening will be the amateur jug band competition. The GAZETTE has learned the local favorites the Knotty Pine Rangers headed by long-time ranger Stumpy Jenkins, will be competing in the jug band competition. There will be a number of opportunities for the public to sing along to old and new music.
The Knotty Pine town square will serve as a food court for this weekend's River Races. A picnic area with picnic tables will surround the green. All sorts of family activities are there for a fun time for the entire family. So stop by for a great weekend of boat racing, food, family fun, and great music and singing.

RB039 Mrs. Kane Wins the War

Mrs. Kane is a widow who lives alone in her home on the outskirts of Knotty Pine. Two gangs, the River gang and the Hill gang, are both hanging out on Mrs. Kane's ten acres of woods. The gangs are fighting one another for control of Mrs. Kane's land. Mrs. Kane calls the sheriff one evening when the gangs battle. Both gangs decide to scare or even hurt the widow to get their own way. Mrs. Kane is hurt when the gangs both show up at the same time to vandalize her home. She prefers to give the boys tea and cookies rather than have the boys arrested. What are Bill and the sheriff going to do to protect Mrs. Kane and end the gang violence? Why won't Mrs. Kane teach these boys a lesson?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

GAZETTE - Boat Races on Shady River

Residents of Knotty Pine and others up and down the Shady River are in for a real treat this summer. Knotty Pine will host riverboat races on the Shady River. These races will pit the River Queen, owned by Andy Coogan, against the Mountain Streak, owned by Jim Gunderson. Stern-wheel boatmen Coogan and Gunderson have been long-time competitors and bitter rivals until recent events nearly destroyed Coogan's ship.
Both Gunderson and Coogan have taken freight and passengers from Knotty Pine to Mirror Lake and the King's Islands. Chief Ranger Bill Jefferson refused Coogan's passenger license earlier this year for poor maintenance (see RB032 Floating Death Trap). Not long after, Coogan's boat caught fire moving freight on Mirror Lake.
Mr. Coogan tells the GAZETTE that the boat fire along with much support from Ranger Bill and his rangers made a major change in Coogan's life. "I was not satisfied with cutting corners to make a profit," stated Coogan. "My attitude about God and my relationship with the Almighty changed for the better. I decided to quit cutting corners and live a God-pleasin' life. Me and Jim Gunderson patched things up between us, and now we're good friends. And I didn't just get the River Queen repaired. I got her fixed up good. Now she looks and works like a brand new boat."
Andy's River Queen is now one of the most powerful and fastest ships on the Shady River.
The new and improved River Queen got Jim Gunderson to make a few changes of his own. "I decided the Mountain Streak needed some improvements like the River Queen if I was gunna stay in competition with Coogan," commented Gunderson. "So I got my engine fixed up like Andy did, so I could keep up with the River Queen."
Soon the two friendly competitors were having fun racing their ships. Folks along the Shady River started rooting on the two ships as they raced (with Ranger Bill's written permission) from Knotty Pine to Mirror Lake. There will be one race each weekend for at least the next four weeks between the two ships. Other ship owners along the river have gotten word of the Ranger Races, as they are unofficially called, and want to add races of their own. Ranger Bill says that permission for the races should be no problem.
City officials say that radio and TV stations from around the state have been flooding city hall with requests for further information on the Ranger Races. The mayor expects a large increase in visitor traffic for the races.