Friday, October 2, 2015

Round Valley Reservoir Rainbows Headed to Shore

Today I imagined rainbows would come in, since temperatures never rose more than a degree or two above 50, with some wind and cold rain helping to stir the cooler temperatures into that warm reservoir, warm to the touch, in fact, though I never took the surface temperature with a thermometer. I can't believe it's still warmer than 70, though.

So I drove over after work, stopped at Behr's to find the bait shop closed early, drove into Lot 2, took some photos, and decided thereafter to drive to Flemington for mealworms. And then I came to the main launch area and baited up with small marshmallows to float the mealworms, anchored by 3/4-ounce steel slip sinkers. I fished two rods, instead of fiddling with a third in the rain.

Nothing happened, which proves nothing. I still imagine rainbows are coming in. While I sat in my car, I read an article by Matthew Copeland, "This land was your land Federal transfers rob the American people" in the Outdoor Writer's Association of America magazine Outdoors Unlimited.

51 of U.S. senators have voted for wide-scale divestment of public land, and not one has been voted out of office. Public land is, of course, essential to this country. Imagine having to pay to fish the South Branch Raritan or any other public waterway. It may seem extreme to imagine anything coming to the likes of that in America, but it could be worse; we could be shut out entirely from most of our waters, similarly as access is extremely tight in England. But don't think this is socialism that threatens us. It's the Corporate State and the corporate privatization fomented especially on the right. If you want to fish, protect your self-interest and the heart and soul of America. "This land is your land; this land is my land."

Sign a petition:


  1. The issue you bring up is a tough one for me to grapple. Public lands. Public waterways.

    1. Doesn't surprise me Catherine, but I don't agree with everything the Philosopher thought. In her daydream, companies were owned by great individuals. In the real world, places like Yellowstone would be owned by faceless corporations not amounting to capitalism, but a fascist state.

    2. I am curious as to what you really might think about it, because I think the issue defines a choice between fundamental American freedom or the lack. So long as governments protect individual rights to freely roam on public lands and waterways, people in America, whether anglers or just out for a stroll or thousands of other endeavors, remain free to enjoy this planet. Sell off the public domain and even if our local river, for example, then had an entry fee, which most of these places surely wouldn't, they'd just be off limits except to a few insiders: is that really capitalist benevolence or a cynical complication in the place of former open freedom? Honestly, do you think in the year 2015 the average citizen would possibly enter the benevolent conventionality of Atlas Shrugged? The idea of selling off land we all own as an American birthright is a robbery scheme, pure and simple. And it has little to do with Rand's dream, and a lot to do with corporate power in our governments usurping the voice and intentions of people who don't have that power. By definition, fascism is corporate control of a government. That's not capitalism. And capitalism flourishes not only by huge, faceless corporations but lots of smaller businesses comprising a thriving middle class. If you study your Aristotle, this was his idea of the best regime: a strong middle class. If public lands get sold off, it won't affect the destructive interests of mega-giant corporations, but it will adversely affect the middle economy, which thrives on interests associated with these free lands.

    3. And regardless to an appeal to the authority of any thinker, it's clear that a thriving middle class secures the flourishing civility of a society. People on the right, for example, use as stock ammunition to win votes the notion that anyone can rise in America. But it becomes more and more difficult down near the bottom if the middle class is vanishing. All that opportunity, whether by way of small business or opportunities to get published or jobs that aren't rotted by mediocrity and the fear to speak one's mind, makes it possible--when the middle class flourishes--to rise, whether into the middle class or to move beyond it. Take away the land we stand on and the water we float, and what do we have but an empty vacuum of sterilized statism in the form of corporate power? A husk that can't sustain itself for very long...

  2. I always think of two places, Yosemite and the cabin when thinking of these public lands. I love both places, they have been there my entire life. My life would have been much poorer without my experiences there. The first time I saw Yosemite, I was about 12 or thirteen, 50 some years ago, and we camped across from Camp Curry and were able to see the Fire Fall from our campsite. We cooked our meals over open campfires as well as camping gas stoves. Did lots of hiking, went up Half Dome. Several years later I went back with family members during a backpacking trip. Went up Half Dome, this time shocked by the smoke coming from those open campfires concealing the valley floor beneath us. They still had the firefalls.

    Back in those days you could drive in when you felt like it and find a campspot. I am told those days are gone, with reservations needed now. I suppose one could get in more easily during off season times. I am sort of glad I haven't seen it recently. I would imagine it to be rather paved over with human activity.

    I saw this 'paving' when hiking up to Silver Apron off Twin Bridges by the cabin. I hadn't seen the cabin for about ten years, and was shocked by the disappearance of the wild flowers and trees growing out of the crevices in the granite. It was now just rock and looking the poorer for it. That was public land, and anyone getting out of their car had access to it. The cabin is on a lot my father and his five sisters and one brother leased back in the late 1920's or early 1930's. Having cabins limits public access and the delicate plants growing along the river have a better chance of surviving.

    With the descendants of the orginal seven, the Mellor Family have kept up the cabin for our use. I am not sure how the other families along the tract are holding up. I do know some of the original leases are still held by the descendants. It brings a nice feeling of continuity and a lot of us feel like conservators of the land there, and we are. It's lovely up there.

    There is still public access to the river. Fishermen can walk along the river's edge from Strawberry upstream and downstream as far as they can, and I suppose there are those that sneak through along the lot boundaries from the highway.

    About ten of the cabins including ours have an association where we discuss common problems like maintaining the storage tanks for the water coming down from a spring. Other problems would be jumping hoops the forest service sets us.

    Here in Lodi, my parents bought the lot I live on now from the Masons down the street. The street dead ends where the 'wilderness' area begins. The Masons owned the whole thing at one time, and I used to swim in the little beach along the Mokelumne. How the Masons ended up owning it in the first place, I have no idea. After awhile the private beach area and the entire river bottom land were handed over to the city. My recollection is that it was given. So the city owns it now, and one of the biggest losses due to public ownership was the banning of dogs, even on leash. That one hurt!

    I would hate to see any of these places forbidden to me by a faceless corporation. And I believe faceless corporations are an offshoot of the type of statism we have now. I wouldn't start by selling off public lands, not ever, since ownership could be legally and perhaps hopelessly entangled by individuals who have commercial plans for them. But looking back at the cabin and how well that immediate area is maintained, I wouldn't be afraid of a world where places like Yosemite is privately owned. As a matter of fact, I can see it being owned by the public itself, where individuals own stock and there is a board overseeing maintainance. But this would be like the last thing to be done in cutting the government back, back to its original constitutional set up. We have to do that or Yosemite will be lost forever.

    1. You've had wonderful experience in Yosemite, and I think I've seen a photo of you by the river at the cabin. Growing up, a Headmaster of Princeton Day School who sang in my father's Episcopal Choir, granted me permission to fish on PDS lands, five ponds, any time. The Second Pond had a cabin beside it, and friends and I were free to stay overnight in it any time we wished, and we did so a number of times. Along with Stony Brook, which was public and full of smallmouth bass, these ponds and the land associated made my youth happy and I guess you could say bearable, since I was too sensitive & in need of flourishing experience to ever well adjust in school.

      I'm sure the bass fishing was all the better for the ponds being private, although plenty of public waters are great too. And that included Stony Brook right nearby, although now, with more private development and impervious surfaces, water tables have fallen and the Brook no longer flows full, lost its abundant bass.

      We live in a messy world full of many problems, and yet I manage to go places freely where I overcome them all for a time. And that's not escapism, as we both know, and many have written to substantiate that the best originators have always spent time outdoors, just as it's said it's a rare good story that doesn't take place outside.

  3. We do live in a messy world, and I was quite taken with your comment about having a strong middle class. The more oppressive this government becomes the more the middle class is disappearing. You emphasize the role corporations play, I emphasize the role the government plays. As long as there is no constitutional separation of state and any economic role there is the inevitable growth of crony capitalism or fascism. I long for people to wake up and start eliminating the government presence in our lives. With a really strong middle class, I can easily imagine enough people forming a corporate organization to buy up stretches of land of extraordinary beauty and to keep them wild. You would visit the parks as hikers with or without pack animals. No cars, no improvements. Would that work?
    I hate the government as few people do. Almost an anarchist. Not quite because there seem to be too many psychologically unhealthy people, and I do see the need for policing bodies.

  4. Whatever the case, I'm just trying to earn enough self-employed to withdraw from so much, I guess besides answering to readers. Second consecutive day of perfectly blue skies and a yellowed tree beyond a taller pine makes all the world in my purview outside the window wild enough for me.


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