Outdoors

Friday, September 9, 2022

Looking Back: A Surreal Day Two Years Ago (Slideshow)

Posted By on Fri, Sep 9, 2022 at 1:51 PM

Wildfire smoke turned Humboldt County skies orange throughout the day in September of 2020. These pictures are from around 9:30 a.m. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • Wildfire smoke turned Humboldt County skies orange throughout the day in September of 2020. These pictures are from around 9:30 a.m.
On this date, two years ago, Humboldt County residents awoke to the apocalyptic glow of an eerie orange sky created by heavy haze in the air from surrounding wildfires, some of which had already been burning for weeks. For weeks, residents across wide swaths of the region would face choking smoke, a series of evacuation warnings or orders, fear and unease, with hundreds losing their homes amid the worst fire season in California history.

Here's a look back at photos from that day.
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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Red Flag Warning: Increased Risk of Fire Starts

Posted By on Wed, Aug 17, 2022 at 10:36 AM

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A swath of interior Humboldt County, and surrounding counties, is under a red flag warning today from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., the Eureka office of the National Weather Service reports.

The culprit is an upper level disturbance that will move through the region and mix with "monsoon moisture and an unstable atmosphere," the NWS reports.

"Thunderstorms producing abundant lightning across dry fuels are expected," a NWS post states, "resulting in an increased threat for fire starts."
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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Meet the New Condor Cohort: Introducing A4, A5, A6 and A7

Posted By on Tue, Aug 16, 2022 at 2:03 PM

The now-free flying first cohort of California condors sits atop the enclosure where the new cohort is being introduced today. - SCREENSHOT FROM THE YUROK TRIBE CONDOR LIVE STREAM
  • Screenshot from the Yurok Tribe Condor Live Stream
  • The now-free flying first cohort of California condors sits atop the enclosure where the new cohort is being introduced today.
Mentor bird No. 746 is no longer alone in the enclosure at the management and release facility in Redwood National Park with a new group of young birds arriving today for him to teach the ins and outs of what it means to be a California condor.

The new cohort of A4, A5, A6 and A7 are being individually released into the large, open facility (which can be viewed live online here), with at least two (A4 and A6) inside as of 2 p.m. Aug. 16.

For a time, all four of the previously released condors, Ney-gem' 'Ne-chween-kah (A0), Hlow Hoo-let (A1), Ney-gem' 'Ne-chween-kah (A0), Poy'-we-son (A3) and Nes-kwe-chokw' (A2) came by to roost on the enclosure.

“We are extremely excited to receive the second condor cohort. I can’t wait to see all eight condors flying free over Yurok Country,” Tiana Williams-Claussen, the director of the Yurok Tribe’s Wildlife Department, said in a Facebook post. “The first group of birds are adjusting well to their new home in the redwood region.”

This new group of three males and one female are expected to be set free to fly in the wild in staggered releases between mid-September and mid-October, just like the four others now soaring in the skies over Humboldt County, as part of a Yurok Tribe-led effort to return the endangered bird they know as prey-go-neesh to the northern reaches of its former territory.

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Flooding Raises New Concerns for Spring Chinook

Posted By on Tue, Aug 16, 2022 at 1:04 PM

Photos of the South Fork of the Salmon River before and after the inundation. - PHOTOS BY  SCOTT HARDING
  • Photos by Scott Harding
  • Photos of the South Fork of the Salmon River before and after the inundation.
Nearly 300 wild spring Chinook salmon made the 85-mile trip to cool mountain waters for spawning this year, up from a mere 90 last year.

While still far below, according to the Karuk Tribe and Salmon River Restoration Council, the numbers were at least moving in a positive direction.

But soon after the count was complete, disaster struck in the form of flash floods that sent torrents of "silt, wood and other debris" into the South Fork of the Salmon River in early August, "dropping the dissolved oxygen in the water to dangerous levels, and threatening all species of fish in the river," a news release from the tribe and council states.

“I have watched the numbers of these fish steadily decline in my lifetime, and it feels like we are at a breaking point,” said Karuna Greenberg, SRRC’s restoration director. “The state approving our petition to list Springers as an endangered species was a good start, but this event underscores the need for a holistic approach to habitat restoration and highlights how important better fire management is to the wider ecosystem.”



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Sunday, August 14, 2022

New Cohort of Condors Set to Arrive in Humboldt

Posted By on Sun, Aug 14, 2022 at 7:10 PM

A2 and A3 interact after A3 returns to the enclosure site after a two-week absence. - YUROK TRIBE FACEBOOK
  • Yurok Tribe Facebook
  • A2 and A3 interact after A3 returns to the enclosure site after a two-week absence.
Another cohort of four California condors is scheduled to arrive Aug. 16 in a Yurok Tribe-led effort to bring back the endangered bird they know as prey-go-neesh to reestablish a population on the North Coast.

This new group of the largest birds in North America, which boast a nearly 10-foot wingspan and the ability to soar for more than 100 miles a day on thermals, will join four others already flying free in the skies of Humboldt County as part of the Northern California Condor Restoration Program, a partnership between the tribe and Redwood National and State Parks, which plans to reintroduce a new group of prey-go-neesh every year for at least the next two decades.

"In May, the NCCRP released the first of four condors to fly over Yurok skies in more than a century, " the NCCRP Facebook post states. "The fourth bird was reintroduced to the wild in July. The birds include: Hlow Hoo-let (A1), Ney-gem' 'Ne-chween-kah (A0), Poy'-we-son (A3) and Nes-kwe-chokw' (A2). Monitored seven days a week, the young condors are flourishing in the redwood region. The birds consistently exhibit healthy behaviors, such as feeding, soaring, and finding safe roosts."

On May 25, the sole female, A0, joined the group,and was given the name "Ney-gem' 'Ne-chween-kah," which means, "She carries our prayers."


After being screened, the arriving three males and one female will be placed into the NCCRP’s Condor Release and Management Facility with mentor bird No. 746, where they can be viewed live on the Yurok Condor Cam at 



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Friday, August 12, 2022

UPDATE: New Evacuation Zone, Hazardous to Unhealthy Air Near Six Rivers Complex as Fire Continues to Grow

Posted By on Fri, Aug 12, 2022 at 10:57 AM


The Six Rivers Complex on the evening of Aug. 10 from the Incident Command Post. - PHOTO BY FIREFIGHTER STEVEN DOUGLAS WITH CEDAR MOUNTAIN FIRE
  • Photo by firefighter Steven Douglas with Cedar Mountain Fire
  • The Six Rivers Complex on the evening of Aug. 10 from the Incident Command Post.

UPDATE:

The Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services has announced a new Evacuation Order due to the Six Rivers Lightning Complex fire in the HUM-E063-B zone south of Willow Creek but states there is “no immediate threat to Willow Creek proper.”

The OES also announced that zone HUM-E057 has been downgraded to an Evacuation Warning, stating “residents in this zone may begin to return home with caution but should remain ready to evacuate again at a moment’s notice.”

Residents are also being asked to limit travel on Titlow Hill Road/Route 1 in zones HUM-E052 and HUM-E062 to essential traffic only “due to a large presence of fire personnel and machinery working to build containment lines for the Ammon Fire.

Find a map of evacuation zones here.



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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Photos: 39th Annual Lantern Floating Festival

Posted By on Tue, Aug 9, 2022 at 5:22 PM

A large crowd returned for the in-person 39th annual Arcata Lantern Floating Ceremony on Saturday evening at Klopp Lake in the Arcata Marsh & Wildlife Sanctuary after a two-year pandemic break.

The emotional event, linked to the 77th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, was described by organizers as "an opportunity to offer spiritual consolation for everyone affected by the pandemic, those we miss, departed loved ones, ancestors and all we hold dear." The event began with participants creating their own personalized lanterns at a workstation on the Arcata Plaza during the morning farmers market. The low cloud cover lasted until sunset, when the sky turned colorful. The lanterns entered the water after twilight.

The event was hosted by Arcata Mayor Stacy Atkins-Salazar and included Humboldt Taiko's drumming, poetry reading, shakuhachi flute music by Rick Kruze, songs by the McKinleyville Choir and the Raging Grannies, and other speakers. See the slideshow below for highlights from the event.
The city of Arcata’s Nuclear-Free Zone Committee started the Arcata Lantern Floating Ceremony 39 years ago to commemorate the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, and to affirm Arcata’s dedication to the cause of peace, to bring awareness to the dangers of nuclear proliferation, and to advocate for environmental sustainability. Community groups helping to create this event include: the city of Arcata, Humboldt Buddhist Peace Fellowship, GI Rights Hotline, Shinnyo-en, Humboldt Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Social Action Committee, Veterans For Peace, Humboldt Friends Meeting (Quakers), United States Servas and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.
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Tuesday, July 19, 2022

John Mayer Donates $10K to Redwood Parks Conservancy

Posted By on Tue, Jul 19, 2022 at 1:36 PM

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Musician John Mayer has donated $10,000 to Redwood Parks Conservancy, the official nonprofit partner to Redwood National and State Parks.

"We are so grateful to John Mayer for his generous donation to Redwood Parks Conservancy! John's donation will support us in our mission to protect and preserve the world's tallest trees," the nonprofit wrote in a Facebook post.

The donation comes after a production company that filmed a Land Rover commercial in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park and False Klamath Cove areas in Crescent City featuring Mayer in 2020 apparently did not follow through with a donation promised to the nonprofit.

According to a Redwood Parks Conservancy news release, Mayer came to the rescue by giving a donation through his charitable foundation after the nonprofit asked for help in contacting the production company.

Read the full press release below and see the Facebook post below.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify the contribution.
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Thursday, July 14, 2022

Fourth California Condor Takes Flight in Humboldt County (with Video)

Posted By on Thu, Jul 14, 2022 at 11:05 AM

A1 took flight early this morning. - MATT MAIS/YUROK TRIBE
  • Matt Mais/Yurok Tribe
  • A1 took flight early this morning.
A fourth California condor is now flying free in the skies over Humboldt County.

A1, a young male, left the enclosure just before dawn this morning during the third release attempt, according to the Northern California Condor Restoration Program, a Yurok-led effort to return the bird they know as prey-go-neesh to the northern reaches of the endangered species' former territory.

A1 now joins three other condors known as A0, A2 and A3 in forming the first flock in the region in more than 100 years.

Like his fellow cohort members, A1 was given a Yurok nickname. His is "Hlow Hoo-let," which means "At last I (or we) fly!" according to Yurok Wildlife Department Director Tiana Williams Claussen.

"In line with the heavier names this first cohort carries, I interpret that as reference to the joyous day that all four of our first cohort fly free together," she said in a statement. "On a lighter note, it's definitely also a reference to poor A1's extended wait to be let out, due to his faulty transmitter! We welcome Hlow Hoo-let to the skies of Yurok and surrounding lands, and look forward to his journey with us."

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Wednesday, July 13, 2022

UPDATE: ‘We are on A1’s Time’: Another Release Try is Set for Today

Posted By on Wed, Jul 13, 2022 at 12:40 PM

The three free-flying California condors sit on top of the enclosure today with A1 and the mentor bird inside. - SCREENSHOT OF THE LIVE STREAM
  • Screenshot of the live stream
  • The three free-flying California condors sit on top of the enclosure today with A1 and the mentor bird inside.

SECOND UPDATE:

Another release attempt is now scheduled for Thursday, with monitoring starting around 5 a.m.

UPDATE:

As of 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, A1 was still in the enclosure overlooking perched on the edge of a rolling prairie in Redwood State and National Parks.

According to a post from the Northern California Condor Restoration Program around 6 a.m., other release sites have had similar circumstances with birds “not comfortable to leave the trap on day one,” noting most birds take off before the cutoff time on the second attempt.

“A1 has entered the trap area and been hand captured. He has never entered the trap area and had it lead to the open environment, so it is unlikely he is avoiding the trap to avoid being released,” the post states. “He fed early yesterday and then all social activity occurred at the opposite end of the pen from the release trap. Likely just happenstance. Today, he also fed prior to us getting set up for release, so a repeat of yesterday is possible. Hopefully, the free-flying birds will get social on the trap end and A1 will be more active on that end of the pen.”

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For whatever reason, the California condor known as A1 just didn’t seem to be in a wild mood on Tuesday.

Biologists with the Northern California Condor Restoration Program — a Yurok Tribe-led effort to return the endangered species to the region after more than a century's absence — were prepped and ready just after 8 a.m. to let the young male out to join three other juveniles currently flying free over Humboldt County skies.

Then, the hours ticked by and ticked by and ticked by.

Just around 3 p.m., the program called it a day to ensure A1 has enough daylight on his first flight. The process will begin again Wednesday around 6 a.m.

As in the previous releases, carrion was set in a side cage to lure A1 into the area where access to main enclosure can be shut off and another gate to the outdoors is opened, allowing the bird to choose whether to venture on.

For whatever reason, A1 seemed more inclined to preen and sun and hang out with No. 746, an adult male condor who was brought in to teach the younger birds important life skills that they’ll need to survive on the outside and the intricacies of the condor hierarchical social system.

A1, left, sits with mentor bird No. 746 today, seemingly not interest in making his out-of-enclosure debut. - SCREENSHOT YUROK CONDOR LIVE FEED
  • Screenshot Yurok Condor Live Feed
  • A1, left, sits with mentor bird No. 746 today, seemingly not interest in making his out-of-enclosure debut.



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