Trailblazer 15
Dear Friends,

Over the past five years, you have helped to achieve some standout projects that added new stories to parks and in some cases fixed what was broken. The "Forgotten Winchester" exhibit at Great Basin replaced a broken push-button exhibit with a slice of the park's pioneer history. The Dantes View project restored a vista point and added a bronze relief map for a new experience of Death Valley's landscape. The orientation movie for Haleakalā tells the story of the whole park, not just the popular mountain summit. The trail guide for Oregon Caves opens up exploration of nine miles of new trails recently transferred to the park. The Bacon Homestead educational signs reveal the history of ranching at Pinnacles. These projects connect visitors to parks, communicate the strength of the Fund's model, and bring us new friends. Thank you for being among them.
                                                                                             Happy Trails! 
                                                                  Bob Hansen
Wayside Educational Signs Installed this Summer
With a Fund grant, Point Reyes National Seashore has created three educational panels that offer visitors a perspective on the complex history of the land along the spectacular Estero Trail.  
  • “Butter and Cheese – Point Reyes Gold” focuses on the working ranchlands in the park, which date from the Gold Rush era when dairy products were shipped by schooner to San Francisco.
  •  “Many have called Point Reyes Home” describes the Coast Miwok, the explorer Sir Francis Drake, the people of the Spanish Missions, and of the ranchero period when California was governed by Mexico.
  • “An Accessible Wilderness” explains marine wilderness and describes how natural conditions were restored after the estuary was closed to the harvest of Pacific oysters and Manila clams. 
The full text can be read on the trail, after installation, or on the Fund website.

To enhance the visitor experience of Hosmer Grove in Haleakalā National Park, a Fund grant provided viewing scopes, a bench, and an educational sign which will go in the ground this summer. Photographs of Maui's endemic birds and tips to help visitors spot them will be available in the grove or can be read here .

San Juan Island National Historical Park used to offer people walking the Jakle's Lagoon Trail a nature guide linked to numbered posts en route. However, with the guide out of print and the posts rotting away, a replacement system was needed. The Fund provided a grant for 13 wayside educational signs, going in this year. Visitors will be able to read about the landscape as they walk the trail. Read more here .

Fund grants have completed seven such projects in five parks, with a total of $125,366 in grants, plus design and project management expertise.

Top: bridge on the Estero Trail, Point Reyes

Right: Kiwikiu (Maui parrotbill) sometimes seen at Hosmer Grove, Haleakalā

Below: Bob and Betsy Hansen at Jakle's Lagoon, San Juan Island
Fun Things for People to do in Parks

Join Bob Hansen and friends of the Fund for a picnic lunch on Sunday, September 22 before watching Eugene O’Neill’s masterpiece Long Day’s Journey into Night presented by the Eugene O’Neill Foundation and performed in the barn at Eugene O’Neill National Historic Site in Danville. For more information and tickets, go to the Festival website . Please l et us know if you'll be there!

Enjoy wine or cider and watch ospreys nesting on the Whirley Crane from Riggers Loft on the Richmond waterfront. The crane and the Red Oak Victory ship are Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park sites to be featured in a park guide created with a Fund grant. You can also watch the birds and their two chicks, hatched May 14 th , from a nest webcam .

Watch military fighter jets and other aircraft practice maneuvers in “Star Wars Canyon” at Father Crowley Overlook, Death Valley National Park, or on video , without hours of waiting in desert.
Forgotten Winchester Exhibit
A 137-year-old rifle found leaning against a tree in Great Basin National Park in Nevada is now part of an exhibit dedicated to the “Forgotten Winchester” at the park visitor center near the Utah border. Designer Dan DiVittorio worked with the park and Great Basin National Park Foundation to create an engaging display for this "gun that won the West." The exhibit, featuring the weathered rifle itself, lets visitors imagine what it would have been like to stumble across it, and speculate why the gun was abandoned and whether it belonged to a miner, rancher, or Native American. The mystery has raised many questions and inspired a new cocktail, "The Forgotten Winchester", served at Kerouac's bar in the hamlet of Baker, adjacent to the park. 
Below: Dan DiVittorio with upper exhibit panel showing the tree where the rifle was found
A Cool Cave with a Warm Hearth

Oregon Caves surprises visitors who come for the caves and find distinctive historic buildings with rough-cut, Port Orford cedar-bark sheathing, wood-shingled roofs, and rustic stone laid out by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930's. A Fund grant of $6,375 enabled creation of a brochure so that visitors can learn more about this architectural legacy. The centerpiece is the Chateau at Oregon Caves, a National Historic Landmark (currently closed for restoration through 2020). The brochure is already available digitally and can be read here .
OMG! At Drakes Estero in Point Reyes National Seashore work crews have removed five miles of wooden oyster racks weighing 500 tons and several acres of underwater plastic, metal, and shell debris weighing almost 1300 tons!
Read more about the restoration on the Park Service website .
Thank you for participating in the Fund's work to enhance the visitor experience in National Parks

Trailblazer editor: Bernadette Powell

The Fund receives its non-profit status by operating as a project of Community Initiatives, a 501(c)(3) group based in Oakland that provides fiscal sponsorship services to nearly 100 selected public benefit organizations.