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Re: Interesting info I heard about the phone line in Tuolumne Meadows

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Interesting info I heard about the phone line in Tuolumne Meadows
July 28, 2011 06:37PM
Ranger told us that the phone line up there literally lays on the ground. It's not buried, it's not hanging on poles, it rests on the ground. They had to walk the entire length to find the break, that's why it took so long. Also, the cell tower in TM routes through the land line, so no land line, no cell service either. When we were there last week, I saw several AT&T trucks along Tioga Rd just west of the meadows, presumably working on the break. Cell service began working on Thursday around noon, so I assume that the land line was also restored near that time.
Re: Interesting info I heard about the phone line in Tuolumne Meadows
July 28, 2011 06:41PM
so you did have cell service up there with AT&T?
Re: Interesting info I heard about the phone line in Tuolumne Meadows
July 28, 2011 06:48PM
Quote
ryanmj
so you did have cell service up there with AT&T?
Yes.
avatar Re: Interesting info I heard about the phone line in Tuolumne Meadows
July 28, 2011 07:32PM
IIRC, there's a phone cable that runs up Indian Canyon from the Yosemite Village to the high country. I think that cable ends up at Tuolumne Meadows and possibly White Wolf, but I'm not 100% sure.
Re: Interesting info I heard about the phone line in Tuolumne Meadows
July 28, 2011 08:54PM
Not sure the exact route the cable follows, she didn't mention that.
avatar Re: Interesting info I heard about the phone line in Tuolumne Meadows
July 29, 2011 12:17AM
Doing some quick research, I found that a member of this forum, QITNL, actually has some photos of the cable running up Indian Canyon on his website.

Here's a link to one of his photos of the phone cable running up Indian Canyon: http://www.qitnl.com/v/050210/yosemite050210-163.jpg

There are more photos of the cable on his website. (He and his friends climbed up Indian Canyon via this "cable route".)
avatar Re: Interesting info I heard about the phone line in Tuolumne Meadows
July 29, 2011 07:47AM
Pretty exciting, but, you can find junction boxes and such like this one:

(yeah, I take a LOT of stupid pictures)
(taken on the North Rim east of Lehemite obviously in winter)



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Interesting info I heard about the phone line in Tuolumne Meadows
December 22, 2011 11:56AM
Just wanted to add some data to this thread for those who might be interested for historical purposes; I was on the trail that runs along the west side of Lehamite Creek and saw a green AT&T phone box on the west side of the trail:




... as well as numerous (5-6) places where a thin 1/8" metal cable was exposed smack-dab in the middle of the trail and ran along the trail (no pictures). It was almost to the point of being a tripping hazard in some places, so I would agree that this was not buried but instead was ON the trail. It was pulled pretty taut but you could snap it and probably uncover more of it. However there was what appeared to be a buried cable, as at one point, I saw what appeared to be a thicker plastic conduit maybe 1" thick that was partially exposed. I would surmise that the thinner cable was routed flush with the ground in the same channel as the thicker conduit that was buried maybe 4-6 inches, and perhaps might serve to hold a charge to help location equipment find the "buried" cable.

Definitely about 2 feet too shallow to meet code!

Also, there were numerous protrusions from the ground that seemed to offer up some kind of receptacle:



... the plug behind it (very surprised it was not at least capped to protect it from the weather!)



If you walk the length of this trail from the low point (about 7000 ft) where it intersects to the North Dome trail, up to about 7853 ft where it intersects the Snow Creek trail and re-intersects the North Dome trail, you will see these 'features'. The green phone box was just below the steep hill section that is next to the origin of the blue Lehamite Creek markings on my topo.

I love finding stuff like this when I'm in the backcountry and trying to imagine the poor bastards who had to install it, and the stories they might tell about it. Probably more like "it was hotter than hell and mosquitoes everywhere" than what I'd like to romanticize to be "oh let me tell you about the Indian relics we found when we cut the channel for that..." but makes for interesting thoughts whilst plodding along.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/22/2011 11:59AM by jishaq.
avatar Re: Interesting info I heard about the phone line in Tuolumne Meadows
December 22, 2011 01:15PM
Thanks for sharing the photos.

I always have a problem reconciling these AT&T phone and cable boxes popping up in what is supposedly "wilderness" as defined by the 1964 Wilderness Act: "as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain." and further goes on and states "with the imprint of man's work substantially unnoticeable".

These phone and cable boxes extruding from the ground tend to kill that notion (""with the imprint of man's work substantially unnoticeable" ) for me. True wilderness areas shouldn't contain these highly visible man-made artifacts of high technology.



Re: Interesting info I heard about the phone line in Tuolumne Meadows
December 23, 2011 01:16AM
I admire your integrity on the definition of virgin wilderness, but I believe that was probably abandoned years ago. In 1969, I took part in a Sierra Club survey of the Tioga Road from Aspen Valley to White Wolf, and we were specifically directed to note manmade structures for exclusion. Now, I believe that "born-again virgin wilderness" is being protected.
avatar Re: Interesting info I heard about the phone line in Tuolumne Meadows
December 23, 2011 07:53AM
Yeah, if you look at a topo map you'll see there are numerous areas that are excluded.
High Sierra Camps, areas in Poopenaut, areas around Miguel, TM, Apsen Valley,
all the roads, etc.
I wouldn't get too worked up about it though and nit pick it too much.
There's other stuff out there like gaging stations that would't fit either.
And what about bridges? Heck, what about the intricate trail work?
And the 20,000 fire rings spread everywhere.



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Interesting info I heard about the phone line in Tuolumne Meadows
December 23, 2011 08:43AM
Quote
chick-on
Yeah, if you look at a topo map you'll see there are numerous areas that are excluded.
High Sierra Camps, areas in Poopenaut, areas around Miguel, TM, Apsen Valley,
all the roads, etc.
I wouldn't get too worked up about it though and nit pick it too much.
There's other stuff out there like gaging stations that would't fit either.
And what about bridges? Heck, what about the intricate trail work?
And the 20,000 fire rings spread everywhere.

I'm sure that all those structures and other man-made stuff was grandfathered in. Anything existing and useful also gets repaired like washed-out bridges and trail.



Old Dude
avatar Re: Interesting info I heard about the phone line in Tuolumne Meadows
December 23, 2011 10:27AM
Yeah, I know. That was my point. I wouldn't get too worked up about it.
Maybe I should have said that you need to look at when the thing-a-ding was
originally put in.
If you follow (you as in anyone) closely, you'll know that in recent years
they have removed some stuff out in the backcountry like gaging stations
and snow survey posts.

Not so sure the gaging stations on the Lyell and Merced Forks were in place
before the wildnerness act... but could very well be. For sure they are
"modern"...



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Interesting info I heard about the phone line in Tuolumne Meadows
December 23, 2011 11:09AM
I know this is could be considered very arbitrary on my part, and there's nothing in the official Wilderness Act definition of wilderness that supports it, but I don't mind so much manmade structures out in the "wilderness" that could have easily existed during the time of the Old West (the 1800's). So footbridges, trails (but not plastic resin boardwalks), metal (or wooden) trail signs and such don't really bother me as much as something that reeks of "high technology" like phone cables, but especially these totally utilitarian green cable boxes that look just like the ones I see around my suburban neighborhood back home.

(Excessive fire rings, while not "high technology", bother me for other reasons though: the visual blight they create, plus the environmental damage (in higher elevations) that can be caused by their use.)



avatar Re: Interesting info I heard about the phone line in Tuolumne Meadows
December 23, 2011 11:30AM
Yeah, I'm in agreement with you. I don't care for the stuff either really... but the old gunk... I love finding that stuff.
I mentioned the gaging stations b/c they are definitely modern.



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Interesting info I heard about the phone line in Tuolumne Meadows
December 23, 2011 04:58PM
Some of the old stuff is not only interesting, but has the potential to intersect with the National Historic Preservation Act as well. If it's associated with an important event, person, is an example of significant construction, or offers novel or new information about the past (archaeological sites typically), then it could be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The HSCs are primary examples in Yosemite of NRHP eligible structures. That's why I get so conflicted when I hear about parks pulling old stuff out of the wilderness: I get that we want to intrude on the wilderness as little as possible; however, what may appear to be junk, may still be significant historically. Plus, at some point, the old junk sort of becomes a part of the wilderness to me.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/23/2011 04:59PM by KC.
Re: Interesting info I heard about the phone line in Tuolumne Meadows
December 23, 2011 10:40PM
Quote
KC
The HSCs are primary examples in Yosemite of NRHP eligible structures.

Just a question as you seem more familiar with the NRHP than I am. The actually HSC's are old (Sunrise just barely), but all of the utilities for the camps are new(er) and would definitely not be eligible for the NRHP, but without those new utilities the HSC's would not be able to operate. Does the NRHP just preserve the structures or does it also preserve the functions of those structures?
avatar Re: Interesting info I heard about the phone line in Tuolumne Meadows
December 24, 2011 12:55AM
Quote
buster
Quote
KC
The HSCs are primary examples in Yosemite of NRHP eligible structures.

Just a question as you seem more familiar with the NRHP than I am. The actually HSC's are old (Sunrise just barely), but all of the utilities for the camps are new(er) and would definitely not be eligible for the NRHP, but without those new utilities the HSC's would not be able to operate. Does the NRHP just preserve the structures or does it also preserve the functions of those structures?

A lot of the park is excluded from the wilderness designation:

The area from the valley floor up just past Nevada Fall and between the Mist Trail and the John Muir Trail is not designated wilderness.

There is a strip of non-wilderness that runs up to Glacier Point just west of the Four Mile Trail and most of the Glacier Point area is non-wilderness.

The entire area south of Big Oak Flat Road and the old road from Hodgden Meadow and north of Wawona Road including Turtleback Dome is not wilderness.

Virtually everywhere it is necessary to put wheels on the ground is not designated wilderness.

Other stuff not wilderness:
Hetch Hetchy Resevour
Lake Eleanor
Tenaya Lake
A big chunk by Lake Vernon
A big piece at Miguel Meadow
Most of the flat area at Tuolumne Meadows
All of the High Sierra Camp areas
Badger Pass Ski Resort
All dirve-in campgrounds
Virtually all of the Wawona Area and the Mariposa Grove area
And other little areas too



Old Dude
avatar Re: Interesting info I heard about the phone line in Tuolumne Meadows
December 23, 2011 06:07PM
This is what I'm talking about:

Hetchy Hetchy Gauging Station:


Eleanor Gauging Station:


Merced Fork Gauging Station:


I find this stuff fascinating...



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Interesting info I heard about the phone line in Tuolumne Meadows
December 23, 2011 10:31PM
Quote
plawrence
I know this is could be considered very arbitrary on my part, and there's nothing in the official Wilderness Act definition of wilderness that supports it, but I don't mind so much manmade structures out in the "wilderness" that could have easily existed during the time of the Old West (the 1800's).

Not sure if you mean the telephone boxes per se, but the wilderness act does allow for permanent manmade structures in the wilderness.

Section 4(b) describes the Use of Wilderness:
"Except as otherwise provided in this Act, each agency administering any area designated as wilderness shall be responsible for preserving the wilderness character of the area and shall so administer such area for such other purposes for which it may have been established as also to preserve its wilderness character. Except as otherwise provided in this Act, wilderness areas shall be devoted to the public purposes of recreational, scenic, scientific, educational, conservation, and historical use."

Section 4(c) describes prohibitions of special uses:
"... except as necessary to meet minimum requirements for the administration of the area for the purpose of this Act (including measures required in emergencies involving the health and safety of persons within the area), there shall be no temporary road, no use of motor vehicles, motorized equipment or motorboats, no landing of aircraft, no other form of mechanical transport, and no structure or installation within any such area." [Emphasis mine]

So as long as it meets the 'minimum requirement' if it is for the purpose of the act, or the administration of the act, it is allowed. So I would think communications between park areas would meet the requirement of administration of the act. As for minimum requirement, you quickly get into a gray area there. I assume that the telephone lines here predate the wilderness act so is a nonstarter.

Another interesting thing with the Wilderness Act is that 'Wilderness Character' is mentioned 4 times in the act, always in reference to preserving or protecting it, but it is never defined in the act is left up for debate.
avatar Re: Interesting info I heard about the phone line in Tuolumne Meadows
December 23, 2011 11:46PM
Quote
buster

Not sure if you mean the telephone boxes per se, but the wilderness act does allow for permanent manmade structures in the wilderness.

These things:





And these things:



Re: Interesting info I heard about the phone line in Tuolumne Meadows
December 24, 2011 10:29AM
So, some of the stuff like junction boxes etc. may or may not be eligible for the NRHP. It has to meet the criteria, which I summarized above. That said, if some of this stuff is eligible, I think it would make it more difficult to remove from a wilderness area--or even a non-wilderness area--simply because the park would have to consider effects to the historic property. Since removing a historic property would certainly count as an adverse effect, the park would have to find some way to mitigate. It may be easier to leave the property intact rather than do mitigation, depending on what sort of mitigation is proposed. This is especially so if the property has a significant enough constituency behind it, like the HSCs for example.

In the case of the telephone line, you'd have to do your research to figure out how much of the original line, junction boxes, etc. are remaining--how much integrity the it has left--and investigate its context. Was it a significant engineering feat at the time it was installed? Or, given the circumstances surrounding its installation, can we consider it a significant engineering feat today? Who installed it? Was it installed more than 50 years ago? Those are likely a few of the questions you'd have to answer.
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