Graffiti Artist “Tagging” in Joshua Tree

A reader of Modern Hiker’s website alerted the author to what looked like the tag of a well known street artist on a rock in Joshua Tree National Park. I guess he’s well known, well I don’t know him or care about him, at least until he did this vandalism on our public lands. I guess he maybe gains some street artist capital by stunts like this.

Modern Hiker post with updates

Someone needs to give this fool a copy of Leave No Trace.

And some lessons in how to be a decent human being.

Mr. Andre Issues Legal Threat to Modern Hiker 

And some new lawyers, hahahah, funniest legal threat ever.

It was great to hear the response from the outdoor community and the park rangers! Now it appears that this kind of thing is becoming more widespread so it’s more important than ever to be vigilant about vandalism on our public lands.

Don’t Shrink the Superior National Forest

This is important. Sign this petition-

Petition by Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness

State Rep. David Dill was even more direct:

“What are we supposed to do, hold land so people can walk on it and see a partridge? No – we are going to cut the trees on it, and we should mine it … Once the exchange is done we are going to mine and log the hell out of it.”

Endangered San Joaquin River

CNN’s Change The List project and reporter John D. Sutter picked a great topic (and mission) to report on in “My 417-mile trip down ‘Apocalypse River'” about California’s endangered San Joaquin River. Driving through the Central Valley on the way to the Sierra Nevada, you can’t help but be struck by the contrast of the dusty hot desert-like valley interspersed with its odd rich bounty of irrigated agriculture, versus the thriving coastal areas to the west, and the pure mountain scenery to the east. Coming from the Midwest, it seems strange to see a place with so little water be a major breadbasket of the country. And then on top of that there are the very thirsty major cities along the coast where there has been quite a small amount of water to go around for a long time now.

Some things that struck me about the story:

  • I’ve seen the tip of Banner Peak and been very close to Thousand Island Lake (the source of the San Joaquin River) on the trail in our first backpacking trip actually. I need to make that lake part of a future trip for sure. That lake is in the Eastern Sierra so it surprised me to learn it actually drains to the west.
  • I’m reminded of the Elwha River in Washington’s Olympic National Park where I’ve visited a few times and the project to have the dams removed and the salmon run restored.
  • I didn’t know that three of the five worst U.S. cities for smog were Central Valley cities (Visalia, Bakersfield, and Fresno).
  • “Going up to Oregon” haha
  • The Central Valley is sinking, with many places 10 ft or more lower than they were in the 1930s due to groundwater depletion, and some places dropping a foot per year!
  • I’m loving all the John Muir quotes
  • The long term Sierra Nevada snowpack decline projection worries me a lot because it doesn’t rain much there, even in the mountains most of the precip is snow, unlike other mountain ranges in the U.S. All parties need the snow there.

A Brief Story of Wilderness Areas in the U.S.

This article I read on National Geographic’s website was a good short read about the Wilderness Act and wilderness areas. I particularly liked some of the quotes:

“In truth, ‘Wilderness’ is a state of mind and heart” is how photographer Ansel Adams once put it. “Very little exists now in actuality.”

And that actually means that ‘Wilderness’ is even more important now that ever. Lots of thanks to Aldo Leopold, the early conservationists, and President Johnson for putting the Wilderness Act in place in 1964.

50 Years of Wilderness

Great Articles on MO State Parks

When I picked up this week’s the Edge, a local weekly magazine, I saw a great cover with some nice colorful outdoor scenes and it showed one article inside was titled “Hiking in Missouri” so I knew I’d be reading through these. The Edge does a good job including a lot of outdoor activities in its pages, with local parks and such, so I often page through checking for those anyway. In this issue I came across two great articles by the Missouri Division of Tourism’s Scott McCullough. I had to post about them here since I thought they were very well done.

Lake Wappapello State Park

Courtesy of the Missouri Division of Tourism

I subsequently found these articles on so I could link them. The titles are slightly different in the Edge. The first was “Camping Around Missouri’s Lakes”, or “Lakeside camping at its best” that included info about lots of lakes and state parks I didn’t know much about, but would be something for a person to check out for sure if they were interested in camping, fishing, boating, kayaking, picnicking, swimming, etc. Hiking and even backpacking were mentioned for some including Lake Wappapello in the Ozarks.

Hawn State Park, Ste. Genevieve

Courtesy of the Missouri Division of Tourism

The second article was what I was really after, titled “Hiking And Biking Trails Are Abundant” at visitmo and “Missouri a trail lovers dream” by the Edge. Lots of parks were mentioned, some I’ve been to such as Castlewood State Park, several I’ve heard of, but also some I hadn’t heard of yet. These were from all around the state. I didn’t realize Missouri was given the title “Best Trails State” in 2013 by American Trails, a national nonprofit devoted to hiking, biking, and riding trails. This is due to the state’s contributions to promoting and improving its trails. Parks mentioned here included Ha Ha Tonka State Park, Weston Bend State Park, Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park, Castlewood State Park, Big Oak Tree State Park, Lake Wappapello State Park, Finger Lakes State Park, Thousand Hills State Park, Roger Pryor Pioneer Backcountry, Big Sugar Creek State Park, Watkins Mill State Park, and the Katy Trail which is the longest rails-to-trails trail in the U.S.

I will definitely have to check some of these places out.

Hawn State Park, River Aux Vases

Courtesy of the Missouri Division of Tourism

Possibly More Recognition on the way for Cahokia Mounds and Newly Found Sites

This is neat news for the amazing historical and archaeological sites of the mounds around St. Louis including Cahokia Mounds. In the radio hour they spoke about finding a site with evidence of 5,000 huts during the new bridge construction, and that was just 10% of the site they believe. I think the State of Illinois has done a great job as well and hope they continue to support in the future, but I also see great benefit to having some national recognition for Cahokia Mounds and the other sites with the National Park Service.

Monk's Mound at Cahokia MoundsI recommend playing the audio at the link below with the “Listen” thing under the second paragraph.

“Efforts Underway To Enhance National Designation Of Cahokia Mounds”

I’ve been to Cahokia Mounds many times and enjoy the place. You can imagine the thriving city that was there and with a large network of communities around it and feel the history.

Here’s a day hike report from there.