Ranger Headquarters

Ranger Headquarters
Big Pine National Forest, Knotty Pine

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Knotty Pine GAZETTE - SAD Strikes Big Pine Forest

Visitors and hikers to Big Pine National Forest here at Knotty Pine will find there is gold missing from the forest. No gold thief or mining operation has taken any of the precious metal out of the hills around Knotty Pine. But many of the Aspen trees in the forest are dying, which means that much of the red and gold Aspen leaves that paint those hills this time of year will not be here this year. SAD, or Sudden Aspen Death, has struck Aspen groves in Big Pine National Forest north of Knotty Pine.
Chief Ranger Bill Jefferson tells the GAZETTE: "The US Forest Service has been aware of the problem of Sudden Aspen Death along the Rockies for the last few years. my rangers and I became aware of SAD in Big Pine late last year. We didn't know how widespread the problem was until late this summer when my staff performed it's annual areal photographic survey of the forest. We use the survey to locate and analyse the extent of problems like tree disease or soil erosion."
"It appears that we have several hundred acres of Aspens suffering from SAD. We will have to find the causes of the problem and begin to cut down and replace diseased trees."
"Aspens are only a small fraction of the trees in Big Pine National Forest but a large portion of the deciduous trees that provide the forest's fall foliage. Most of our trees are evergreens which tend to grow mostly in the higher elevations. The Aspens grow in the valleys along the forest's roads and trails."
Ranger Bill goes on to say: "Our success in protecting the trees from fire and disease may have worked against us with the Aspens. Many of our Aspens are 70 to 80 years old. We have been dealing with drought or near-drought conditions in the West for the last 8 to 10 years. Drought combined with age has stressed the forest's Aspens more than other trees. This has made them susceptible to disease. Our younger Aspens are doing relatively well at this time."
Ranger Bill expects that Aspen recovery and replacement will take several years. But he also believes that a full recovery from SAD is possible.

Chinook winds and the Chinook people

Earlier this summer we aired the Ranger Bill episode Chinook (RB-033). In that story, the warm Chinook winds in the heart of winter melted huge amounts of snow. The melt was threatening Mid-Mountain Dam.
Those Chinook winds mentioned in the story are quite real and every bit as dangerous as mentioned on Ranger Bill. Chinook winds are warm, moist winter winds that blow to the east or southeast from the Pacific Ocean. These Chinooks generally blow across the states of Washington and Oregon. The winds are strong enough that they make it from the ocean to the Rockies. The Chinook winds drop moisture as they rise over the west side of the mountains. This warms the air. Then the air warms further as it travels down the east die of the Rockies from compression. These warm Chinooks can and do cause heavy melting and flooding in winter.
The Chinook winds got their name from the equally powerful Chinook Indian people. The Chinooks were the great trading people of western America. The Chinooks lived in the Washington/Oregon area. But they traded from Alaska all the way to Central and South America. The wealth of goods was legendary across America. Tribes as far away as the Great Plains traveled west to trade with the Chinooks.
The Chinooks were peaceful people, but were nearly wiped out by Europeans. They were not killed off by soldiers with guns and swords. They were killed by European hunters, trappers and traders who brought diseases from Europe that the Indians had no resistance to. The Chinooks barely survived the spread of disease. Only a small group of Chinook Indians remain today.

Friday, September 25, 2009

RB-046 The Handcar Race

The Fireball Express is streaking north toward the Knotty Pine region at 100 miles per hour with 400 souls on board. "Unc" McFadden is the rail dispatcher at Junction City. His job is making sure that the trains under his care get to their destinations safely. That includes the Fireball Express. Heavy rains followed by flash flooding threaten the rail trestles and bridges near Knotty Pine. To be safe, Unc sends a trestle tester engine to check the northern line especially the old trestle over 800-foot-deep Cougar Canyon. What will the tester crew find? This doesn't sound like any kind of a race to me. What does a handcar have to do with the whole problem? And what does this have to do with our rangers?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

How's Your Ranger Bill Memory?

John from Florida wrote to ask:

"In all the years I have listened to Ranger Bill, I do not recall the last three episodes, including this week. [The Crusher, The Old Diehard, and The Road Ghost] Has Moody been issuing programs which had been set aside for a few years?"

I don't know if I can answer John's question definitively. I think that these shows have been part of the regular list of RANGER BILL shows for some time, but I'm not absolutely sure. How about you? Do you know if these three episodes have always been part of the regular rotation of Ranger Bill programs? Or have these and/or possibly other episodes been taken out of the rotation for a time and are still out or have been added again?
If you know or have a good idea what the answer to John's query is, please email me at rangerbillclub@aol.com and I will post your answers here. We'll try this one on our Ranger Bill group on Facebook as well.
Thanks in advance for your help. And good head scratching!

Friday, September 18, 2009

RB-045 The Road Ghost

Buses heading for Knotty Pine are crashing. It's not poor weather or icy roads that are causing these accidents. Bus drivers on the night route from Junction City to Knotty Pine are seeing animals, ghost animals, crossing the road in front of them causing the drivers to swerve and wreck. Gus McDougal will go out of business unless the road ghosts and the wrecks stop. Gus asks Bill and the boys to look into the problem. Are the animals real? Are the road ghosts real? And what can Bill do about ghosts anyway?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Pet 18-foot Python Found in Florida

Shades of "The Crusher"!!! A 400-lb, 18-foot long, reticulated Burmese python was seized by Florida wildlife officials on Friday. The 16-year-old snake, named Delilah, was seized because the owner did not have the proper permits to keep the snake and the snake's chain-link cage was not secure enough to hold the snake. The snake appeared to be well cared for. It had eaten 7 rabbits for breakfast that morning. The had no signs of disease, pests, mistreatment, injury, or starvation. The snake's mid-section measured 30 inches around.
It took four large, adult men to pick up the snake and place it in a truck for removal from the residence in Apopka, Florida.
Pet snakes are an on-going problem in Florida. Laws have been passed recently in Florida limiting the sale and ownership of snakes. Last year a two-year-old girl was crushed to death by a python much smaller than Delilah.

Friday, September 11, 2009

RB044 The Old Diehard

Ranger Bill and the boys take a trip to State U. to give chemist Dr. Thaddeus Draper some soil samples to test. The fellas walk into an disagreement between Dr. Draper and his grandson Mel. Dr. Draper wants to Mel to follow in his footsteps and become a research chemist. Mel wants to be an agricultural chemist but won't buck his grandfather. Bill sees the tension building between the Drapers. Mel asks for Bill's help with his grandfather. Then Dr. Draper wants Bill to talk Mel into being a research chemist. Bill is between a rock and a diehard. What is he going to do in this situation? Can Bill make either Draper happy, or will both be mad at Bill and at each other?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Missing Hiker Found - Alive!

Missing hiker Daniel Mays, a forestry management student at Brighton college was found by loggers working late yesterday evening just before sunset. Daniel had fallen in a remote area know as Hidden Valley. Daniel had injured a leg and was suffering from hunger and fatigue, but was otherwise OK. Daniel fell near a small stream that provided him with ample drinking water. Strangely one of the logger's dogs from a crew run by Frenchy DeSalle had found Daniel and even brought Daniel some food scraps. The loggers went to find the dog when it did not come for dinner on time and discovered the pup caring for Daniel.
Ranger Bill and his crew arrived to provide first aid and to get Daniel air-lifted to safety at Knotty Pine Hospital. Daniel is doing well at KPH and hopes to see the pup and all the men involved in his rescue.

Little-known RB facts

Joel, one of our Facebook friends, mentioned two items that you may not remember or be aware of.
First, did you know that Stumpy has a long, white beard? Stumpy mentions that in RB183 Mystery Island, Mystery Man. Bill and Stumpy take a long-needed vacation cruise in the Caribbean in that show. This is the show where the ship's captain takes passengers on a tour of an island that he says mysteriously appeared out of nowhere.
Joel also mentioned that he found something in RB177 He Broke through the Ice that was new to him. In that show, Henry prayed to be able to forgive the boys that caused Bill and his car to plunge under the ice on the Shady River and drown Bill. Joel mentioned that he just realized that immediately after that prayer, a man arrives who is caring for Bill who managed to barely escape being trapped under the ice and is suffering badly from the effects of that.
Can you think of a little Ranger Bill fact that most people may have overlooked? Have you ever had one of those "Ah-Ha" moments while listening to a show? Why don't you share that with us? Email me at rangerbillclub@aol.com or leave a note on our Ranger Bill Facebook page. I'd love to include your note here and on Facebook. Who knows what we might learn about our favorite forest rangers!

Blessed Labor Day!!!

A Blessed and Happy Labor Day to all our Ranger Bill friends from Ranger Bill, Stumpy, Gray Wolf, and Henry!!!
Our rangers will be hard at work today on this last official day of summer. Bill and the boys will be watching over all the visitors, campers, and backpackers, as well as the trees, at Big Pine National Forest. Over the next week Bill will begin to scale back summer work and prepare for fall, especially fire fighting efforts.

Friday, September 4, 2009

RB-043 The Crusher

An Airfreight plane crash lands at Knotty Pine Airport. The plane's cargo is placed in a hanger for security and for inspection. An airport tower operator is killed while inspecting the plane's cargo for damage. The man appears to have been crushed to death by some animal. Bill and the rangers are called in to find and capture whatever killed the airport worker. What killed the man? Can the boys identify the killer? Will it kill again? Can the rangers find this menace before it finds them?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Title Correction

I got an email from Ranger Bill fan Jeremy asking me about the correct title for RB039 "Mrs. Kane." I mistakenly wrote the title as "Mrs. Kane Wins THE War." The correct title according to Moody and in the show's opening is "Mrs. Kane Wins A War." As I told Jeremy, I have been making that mistake for years and have always failed to fix my notes when someone catches that.
So thanks Jeremy for that email. My notes are now correct! ;)

Blessings to all,