Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Hunting Ground of BLACK KACHINA

Rising abruptly from the desert floor, the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument reaches an elevation of 10,834 feet at the summit of Mount San Jacinto. Providing a picturesque backdrop to local communities, the National Monument significantly contributes to the Coachella Valley's lure as a popular resort and retirement community. It is also a desirable backcountry destination that can be accessed via trails from both the valley floor and the alpine village of Idyllwild.

The National Monument’s boundary encompasses about 272,000 acres, including 65,000 acres within the San Jacinto Ranger District of the San Bernardino National Forest, and 89,500 acres within the Bureau of Land Management’s California Desert Conservation Area. The National Monument includes two federal Wilderness Areas: the Santa Rosa Wilderness which contains 61,600 acres of BLM and Forest Service lands, and 19,470 acres of the Forest Service’s San Jacinto Wilderness. Its boundary also surrounds lands owned and administered by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, California Department of Parks and Recreation, California Department of Fish and Game, other agencies of the State of California, and private landowners. An advisory committee comprised of individuals representing various jurisdictions and interests makes recommendations that help guide management of the National Monument.

The Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument was established by an Act of Congress on October 24, 2000 “in order to preserve the nationally significant biological, cultural, recreational, geological, educational, and scientific values found in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains and to secure now and for future generations the opportunity to experience and enjoy the magnificent vistas, wildlife, land forms, and natural and cultural resources in these mountains and to recreate therein” (Public Law 106-351). Establishment of the National Monument reflects the vision of local citizens and national leaders to ensure this special landscape is protected for all time.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Visit the Borrego Badlands in BLACK KACHINA

To the heart of southern California's Borrego Badlands, scientists come from all over the world to study millions of years worth of geologic and paleontologic history. According to Desert USA's website, the "stark desert landscape (features) conglomerates, sandstones, claystones and mudstones, compressed and hardened, (and) chronicles a variety of landscapes, fossil life forms and climates that no longer exist at Anza-Borrego."

This view from Font's Point was described by Father Pedro Font in his 1775-76 diaries as "sweepings of the earth." Father Font was the chaplain on Spanish explorer Juan Baustista de Anza's expeditions in the area.

Anybody can get lost in these rugged and dangerous Borrego Badlands.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Still More Stuff from BLACK KACHINA

The All-American Canal carries water from the Colorado River to half a million acres of prime farmland in California's Imperial Valley, and is nine desert cities' only source of water. For much of its eighty miles, the aqueduct runs parallel to California's border with Mexico, and since 1997, more than 550 people have drowned trying to swim across.

Some people south of the border believe the canal was constructed purposefully as a trap, although the revenue of 500,000 prime acres seems a more probable incentive than killing would-be immigrants. Fruits and vegetables are raised in the desert here all year round. But many citizens on both sides of the border would like the US to somehow make it safer.

The water moves dangerously fast. As the largest irrigation canal in the world, the All-American Canal transports more than 26,000 cubic feet of Rocky Mountain runoff per SECOND. Agricultural runoff from the All American Canal drains into the Salton Sea.

And if you're wondering what the lighter area around the Salton Sea might be, it is the outline of ancient Lake Cahuilla, a body of fresh water created over and over again by the Colorado River.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

More Stuff from Black Kachina

Naval Air Facility El Centro (NAFEC) is located in the heart of Southern California's Imperial Valley. It is a two hour drive from San Diego and Palm Springs, one hour from Yuma, AZ, and fifteen minutes from the Mexican border. With our year-round great flying weather and the proximity of several instrumented bombing ranges, NAFEC provides a singularly unique training environment that is appreciated around the world.

The proximity to ranges, ability to accurately simulate night field carrier landing practice and the harsh desert environment are capitalized on not only by Navy pilots, but also by pilots from all branches of the services as well as NATO allies. The ranges are a critical piece in the training cycle and one of the few places left where pilots can “train like they fight” to deliver ordnance to ground targets and are a vital part of the Southern California training complex.

Our mission is to ensure victory in combat through the superior training of our war fighters.

Our vision is to provide the highest quality facilities, services and products to the Naval Aviation community and all organizations using Naval Air Facility El Centro.

Thanks, ladies and gents of the U.S. Armed Forces. We appreciate what you do.

Friday, September 9, 2011

More Stuff in TFA's Thriller, BLACK KACHINA

In this satellite shot of Baha California and the Gulf of California (also called the Sea of Cortez) please note how the gulf's top seems to have been filled in with sand. Where did you think the Colorado River deposited all that dirt from the Grand Canyon? The gulf's water used to extend past Palm Springs, although that was so long ago, a few sabertooth tigers were probably still around. The blue oblong mark near the top of today's sand pile is California's Salton Sea, the surface of which is 200 feet below sea level. The border with Mexico is just to the south.