Thank you, Mother Nature, for some of the most amazing experiences in the last several years out here in the western United States!
No, it shouldn’t be surprising. Disappointing and distressing, but not surprising.
Since my article two days ago about a 4-mile-wide, 21,000-gallon oil spill near Santa Barbara, CA, the numbers have proven to be grossly understated. Estimates changed throughout the day, pinning the disastrous oil spill at 9 miles wide–the forgotten, damaged pipeline instead releasing 105,000 gallons of crude oil into an otherwise pristine coastline of the Pacific Ocean.
My article from two days ago. Please give it a read . . .
Again, please DO NOT turn a blind eye to the decisions being made by big oil and gas companies and the politicians and other entities that support them, decisions that are destroying our environment and permanently impacting the stability of our delicate ecosystem. SLOW DOWN and TAKE SOME TIME to GET INFORMED about what is happening right under your nose, under your feet, and in your own back yard . . . before it’s too late (and especially if you feel it’s already too late . . . your voice can and should be heard!).
Thank you, from the bottom of the heart,
Yesterday, an oil pipeline leaked 21,000 gallons of crude oil into the Pacific Ocean in an area most noted for its bountiful, yet already endangered, wildlife. See the following link to an article giving the details: May 19, 2015: 4-mile-wide oil spill near Santa Barbara, CA
Today, due to the callous neglect demonstrated by Plains All American Pipeline, a filthy, 4-mile-wide oil spill now coats every form of animal, bird, and sea life that exists in the already struggling, now permanently altered, environment west of Santa Barbara.
Today, and every day moving forward for quite some time to come, my friends and I will no longer be able to walk along this beautiful oceanfront area, or bring our dogs to one of the few remaining nearby beaches that still allows dogs to enjoy the surf.
Today, and in the foreseeable future, no longer will we be able to enjoy the spell-binding tidepools, sea caves, and reefs at the hugely popular beach-access campground at Leo Carillo State Park.
(Leo Carillo State Park also happens to be a favorite of the entertainment industry who used the beach for movie and TV show scenes, including scenes from the movie Grease. As the lyrics of a Frankie Valley song written for that movie suggest, maybe GREASE really IS the word–at least it is now at Leo Carillo State Park and nearby areas.)
One quote from the May 19, 2015, oil-spill article:
“With accidents and oil development, it is not a question of if, but of when.”
Take a look at the oil disasters of the last decade alone, and you’ll know this is the God’s honest TRUTH.
Another quote from the article:
” . . . the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management said the broken pipe operated by Plains All American Pipeline had been abandoned some time ago. He couldn’t say when, and noted, “I guess there was still some product in there.””
YA THINK? Now, 21,000 GALLONS of CRUDE OIL have made it to the pristine shoreline west of Santa Barbara not far from where I’ve lived for the past 4 years. The spill extends 4 miles wide now in the ocean. THIS IS WHERE WE CAMP EVERY YEAR!!!! Now, it is all but destroyed and will likely KILL many of the ENDANGERED SPECIES of magnificent WHALES and other rare sea and shoreline life that exists in this area.
I AM SADDENED BEYOND MEASURE. I DON’T CARE WHAT THESE OIL & GAS COMPANIES CLAIM, THEY ARE DESTROYING OUR REMAINING BEAUTIFUL PLACES & KILLING ALL ITS LIFE FORMS ON A DAILY BASIS.
GREED is so POWERFUL that it DEFIES ALL LOGIC and leads men in power to RISK EVERYTHING for a FISTFUL of MONEY.
DON’T LISTEN TO THE LIES. DON’T WAIT UNTIL IT HAPPENS IN **YOUR** BACKYARD. TAKE A STAND TODAY. PLEASE.
The cost of this country’s dependency on oil outweighs the benefits. And our next-in-line reliance on natural gas is just as costly. Oil spills are inevitable, as is the fact that spills destroy critical natural resources that we rely on for our very existence. And the flat-out reckless procedures used when fracking for natural gas lead to dramatically increased earthquake activity and toxic–often flammable–water in our aquifers, our main source of drinking water. The misguided ongoing quest for more oil and more gas is literally poisoning the planet and the human race.
PLEASE DO NOT SUPPORT THE ADDITION OF ANY MORE OIL PIPELINES IN THIS COUNTRY OR ANY NEW OFF-SHORE DRILLING SITES OR ANY NEW NATURAL-GAS-INDUSTRY FRACKING SITES!!
FORCE THE INDUSTRY TO PROMOTE AND PROVIDE SAFER & CLEANER ALTERNATIVES!
IF YOU DON’T HELP SHIFT THIS NATION’S THINKING AWAY FROM WHAT NO LONGER IS WORKING TO SOMETHING THAT WILL (WITHOUT DESTROYING OUR PLANET in the process), IT’LL BE THE DEATH OF US ALL.
Please DO NOT turn a blind eye to the decisions being made by big oil and gas companies and the politicians and other entities that support them. SLOW DOWN and TAKE SOME TIME to GET INFORMED about what is happening right under your nose, under your feet, and in your own back yard . . . before it’s too late.
Another interesting read about a potential leak scenario with Keystone 1 Pipeline . . .
One ton of locomotive-grade muscle vs. 140 pounds of brain matter-challenged human flesh.
Do the math . . . carry the nine . . . Bison beats Humans every time.
At Yellowstone National Park, I saw a brown blip on my visual radar. Binoculars confirmed my suspicion. I had spotted a wild animal–in this case, a bison.
I trailed it for a while from across a river until I saw it come to water’s edge and realized it may actually cross the river, and sure enough . . .
Eager to snap a good photo, I ran to the car for a camera, but by the time I returned, the bison was gone. Gone! What the? Where the? Who the?
Holy crap! That’s one fast bison!
I guess I was standing there quite a while searching for the behemoth mammal from roughly 200 yards away from the forested patch it slipped into when I turned around and saw the empty road behind me suddenly full of cars and curious humans. Nobody knew yet what they were looking for. They just figured I’d seen something good and were ready to get their chance to do the same.
That’s right. To the best of my knowledge, nobody else had seen the bison or how fast the steam engine of a mammal only moments ago crossed the waterway. Nobody but me had recently been reminded the impressive power of these animals.
This guy dressed in bright purple and yellow–part of a crew of three similarly dressed tourists who had literally ran INTO, and now out of, the forest in search of the beast–had no concept of its ability to maim.
This misguided photographer sure didn’t get a fresh reminder of the animal’s strength . . .
And this trio of clueless tourists were unconcerned, backs turned to the bison, carrying on like they were at a Hollywood photo shoot . . .
In the height of concern for these folks who clearly missed the entire common-sense series of lectures from their parents when growing up, I did the only sane thing I could. I switched the camera to video mode and waited to catch what would surely be the next viral video on YouTube: “Tourists skewed like toasted marshmallows at Yellowstone National Park”
To avoid being all sensationalist and melodramatic about this account, I did my research and wanted to share with you a few words from a National Park Service web page. It reaffirms the repeated warning on every handout we received at the entry gates to the park, “Federal regulations require you stay at least . . . 25 YARDS away from . . . bison . . .” and “If an animal moves closer to you, you should move to maintain the appropriate distance.”
Here is the additional information I researched directly from the National Park Service web page:
The best description of a bison’s temperament is UNPREDICTABLE. They usually appear peaceful, unconcerned, even lazy, yet they may attack anything, often without warning or apparent reason. To a casual observer, a grazing bison appears slow and clumsy, but he can outrun, out turn, and traverse rougher terrain than all but the fleetest horse. They can move at speeds of up to thirty-five miles per hour and cover long distances at a lumbering gallop.
Their most obvious weapon is the horns that both male and female have. But their head, with its massive skull, can be used as a battering ram, effectively using the momentum produced by two thousand pounds moving at thirty miles per hour! The hind legs can also be used to kill or maim with devastating effect.
So . . . I say . . . go ahead folks. Ignore the warnings at the national parks and get those winning photographs you so desire. I’m just sitting here with my video camera focused just right, waiting to strike gold with my video of YOU on YouTube. You might be infinitely famous as a result of my efforts when your name is as well-known around the world as McDonald’s or Michael Jackson, but you’ll be six feet underground and unable to cash in on your instantaneous fame.
Me, however . . . I’ll be raking in the dough and sporting me some fancy yellow and purple hiking duds like the guy below, only I’ll be . . . you know . . . alive.
Oh. And the bison? If this all played out the way it could have, the bison wouldn’t have fared any better than its victim. Instead of sauntering away, like it was trying to do, it likely would’ve been penalized with a death sentence for bashing its 2,000-pound head into a brightly colored humanoid traipsing into the unfortunate animal’s natural, 75-foot-diameter happy space.
Well done, Einstein. Happy now?
Folks, get out there and have fun. Visit your national parks. But, for the love of Pete, read the handouts you receive at the entry gates. Heed the warnings. Be a good global citizen and respect nature. Your life could depend on it.
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This was just one experience of many on our three-week Teardrop Trailer Summer Road Trip to eight national parks in the western United States. To see our original trip route map, click on the first post of this mini-series:
or check out any of our posts along the way . . .
For such a short trip, Maui commanded my camera’s undivided attention. Here are features of my Maui trip, Part 2, dominated by wildlife:
A few words about the wildlife I photographed:
I’ve included pink flamingos and a black swan in my collection. I doubt either is native to Hawaii but it was nice to see such beauties in the west coast resort area of Maui. On the east coast of Maui, chickens and roosters popped out of nowhere and ran across roads or out from deep rainforests. They were unexpected and amusing.
Lastly, we were surprised to come upon the green sea turtle who rested on a beach on the east coast. Fellow tourists alerted us to this rare viewing opportunity as soon as we stepped on the beach. They said we might miss it, so Mark ran ahead of me with camera in hand and took a few photos. When I caught up to him, I didn’t see anything where his camera was pointed. All I saw were a bunch of large black rocks strewn across the beach.
“Where is it?” I asked. I expected something smallish with an obvious trail in the sand where the turtle made its way on shore. Mark had to practically draw me a picture before I could see it. There, right before my eyes, no more than ten feet away, was this large Hawaiian green turtle. I’ve never encountered a reptile this big before, so was hesitant when Mark asked me to pose nearby the turtle to give a sense of scale. I did so by tiptoeing a considerable distance behind it. I settled for sitting on a rock about ten feet behind it. What an honor.
Common sense should prevail when taking photographs of wildlife. Generally speaking, enthusiastic photo takers are advised to stay 15 feet away from the turtles and use a zoom lens if necessary to capture the ideal shot. The green turtles of Hawaii are considered an endangered species and have many natural and unnatural threats to their lives. We need to try our best to not cause them any unnecessary anxiety. I hope I did not cause any in this case.
See other recent posts related to my trip to Maui, Hawaii: