Ranger Headquarters - Knotty Pine
Chief Ranger Bill Jefferson along with a team of his rangers will be traveling across Big Pine National Forest to perform a survey of the endangered species in the Knotty Pine District. leading the list of animals on Ranger Bill's endangered list are the gray wolf, the wolverine, and the pika. Gray wolves can be found all across the national forest, while wolverines are found mostly in the more mountainous areas in the forest's northern sectors. The Pika is a small (guinea pig size) member of the rabbit family and lives in the upper elevations in rocky areas for shelter.
Ranger Bill is including one family of endangered pine tree in his survey, the bristlecone pine. These trees are not impressive in size or appearance. Most only grow 20 to 30 feet tall. They grow in gnarled tortured shapes and often lose much of their bark. But the bristlecone is one of the oldest forms of plant life on our planet. Some individuals have been found to be well over 4,000 years old! This pine grows in the mountains near the tree line at 10,000 to 11,000 feet above sea level where few other trees can survive. The weather is often cold and windy, and there is little rain along the treeline. The little moisture that falls is usually in the form of snow or sleet and hail that tear off bark and scour the bare wood.