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Re: Killer-tree threat cancels Cupertino schools [Yosemite] field trips

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Killer-tree threat cancels Cupertino schools [Yosemite] field trips
March 10, 2017 05:05PM
Killer-tree threat cancels Cupertino schools field trips
By Sharon Noguchi | snoguchi@bayareanewsgroup.com |
PUBLISHED: March 10, 2017 at 9:55 am | UPDATED: March 10, 2017 at 2:13 pm

The threat of killer trees and menacing rockslides has prompted the Cupertino Union School District to cancel its annual field trips to Yosemite Valley, setting off a new episode of ongoing drama in the district.

When they learned last Sunday that a Ponderosa pine had crashed onto a tent-cabin in Half Dome Village, killing a sleeping woman, Cupertino officials ordered eight Yosemite-bound buses carrying Kennedy MIddle School students to turn back. Then they called off three more middle schools’ trips scheduled for successive weeks, disappointing 1,500 eighth graders and their parents.


http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/03/10/killer-tree-threat-cancels-cupertino-schools-field-trips/
avatar Re: Killer-tree threat cancels Cupertino schools [Yosemite] field trips
March 11, 2017 09:45AM
Sad.

These children probably face more danger when they walk to school, crossing busy intersections, or just hop on their bike for a ride.



Leave No Trace
avatar Re: Killer-tree threat cancels Cupertino schools [Yosemite] field trips
March 12, 2017 10:15AM
That's fine. Kids can do all that stuff while under their parents control. When the schools district is in control, they have to make sure everything they do is safe. For a school, they made the safe decision.
avatar Re: Killer-tree threat cancels Cupertino schools [Yosemite] field trips
March 12, 2017 02:46PM
There's no such thing as 100% safe, there's "acceptable levels of risk", and evaluations thereof based on the activity, circumstance, and other factors. The transportation risk plawrence mentioned is as much a part of that evaluation as the added risk associated with weakened trees and nearly liquid "soil".
avatar Re: Killer-tree threat cancels Cupertino schools [Yosemite] field trips
March 13, 2017 11:35AM
The specific area where this unfortunate incident happened I know well, as I cut through there often every year on my way from the campgrounds to and from Curry Village.
This area of tent cabins is often occupied by school children in the Summer and Fall taking part in the NatureBridge program, I have see them staying there, so I can understand the school district's position.
avatar Re: Killer-tree threat cancels Cupertino schools [Yosemite] field trips
March 13, 2017 01:38PM
A parent told me about this last Wed. They literally turned around on the
way to the park on Sunday. They had nowhere to stay... the park had
closed HD Village... so... I was a bit taken aback by the article.
From what I was told... this was the first of a number of trips and they
cancelled them all... I would think... cancel the first.. guess what?
no one gets to go.



Chick-on is looking at you!
So a question to all you hiking and camping enthusiasts who are out there a lot more than I am: what precautions, if any, do you all take to lessen the chances of this happening to you?
Re: Killer-tree threat cancels Cupertino schools [Yosemite] field trips
March 13, 2017 03:35PM
Quote
abetterpitchfork
So a question to all you hiking and camping enthusiasts who are out there a lot more than I am: what precautions, if any, do you all take to lessen the chances of this happening to you?
I don't think there is much you can do other than don't be anywhere with trees no matter if they are dead or alive. I am saying this because I live in LA and with the rains, trees are falling down all over the city and not even when there are high winds. We had two huge live ones fall across our road a week or so ago but no one was hurt and no cars or houses were hit. However, there was a girl in the LA area a few weeks ago that was walking to her neighbor's house and a tree fell down and killed her and trees are falling down on houses and cars all over the city. But along the same lines then you better not go anywhere where there is a river, a dam, a earthquake fault, tornadoes, hurricanes...... I think you get my point. Not to say I am not nervous when I am anywhere with trees that are over 100 feet tall when there are high winds but you can leave or you can stay. Chances are if you stay, nothing is going to happen to you. You have more chance of getting into a fatal car accident going to and from the park than getting hit by a tree.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/13/2017 03:40PM by parklover.
avatar Re: Killer-tree threat cancels Cupertino schools [Yosemite] field trips
March 14, 2017 08:41AM
Quote
parklover
...... I think you get my point. ...

I fully understand your point. I can't agree with it. At that point in time, with saturated soils, trees full of heavy snow, and winds, that part of the Park was not safe. Yes, bad things happen everywhere and can happen at any time. No one is disputing that. Those risks are factored in on trips like this. Being aware of added, unnecessary, risks and taking steps to mitigate those risks is the responsible thing to do. No one is advocating that anyone put a helmet on and live in a bomb shelter. Using reasonable precautions is prudent. Again, the school made a good, safe, rational, decision.
Re: Killer-tree threat cancels Cupertino schools [Yosemite] field trips
March 14, 2017 05:33PM
Quote
Dave
Quote
parklover
...... I think you get my point. ...

I fully understand your point. I can't agree with it. At that point in time, with saturated soils, trees full of heavy snow, and winds, that part of the Park was not safe. Yes, bad things happen everywhere and can happen at any time. No one is disputing that. Those risks are factored in on trips like this. Being aware of added, unnecessary, risks and taking steps to mitigate those risks is the responsible thing to do. No one is advocating that anyone put a helmet on and live in a bomb shelter. Using reasonable precautions is prudent. Again, the school made a good, safe, rational, decision.

I really wish you would read what I write. I never said the school didn't make a good, safe, etc. decision. Based on the fact that it is a school trip and they have a responsibility to their staff and students they have to make decisions based on school policies. In fact, I never mentioned the school at all. My reply was to abetterpitchfork and their question on what those here do when faced with the decision to go to the park or not to go and I told him what I felt - which that there are calculated risks in in many things we do and it is up to the individual to decided what to do. My comment had nothing to do with the schools decision but how I look at things and that is what I posted in response. Personally if I know there is a big storm heading towards the park and the warnings have been posted about the danger of wind, blizzard, flood, etc.then I don't go. Like mrcondron said, if you decide to go, you take precautions as best as you can to protect yourself from falling trees. While there are times when conditions are such that chances are higher that trees might fall down, they can fall down at anytime. So does one never go to Yosemite because a tree might fall? My point is that there are other things that you have more chances of dying or getting hurt by then having a tree fall down on you in Yosemite. Of course if there is a huge storm with high winds coming, then the decision to go or not to go is more clear - might not be a good idea to go. Again, I am talking about an individual's choice and not an organizations choice to go or not to go.
avatar Re: Killer-tree threat cancels Cupertino schools [Yosemite] field trips
March 14, 2017 07:37PM
Quote
parklover
I really wish you would read what I write......
I did read and understand your whole argument. Just because I disagree doesn't mean I didn't read or understand.
Re: Killer-tree threat cancels Cupertino schools [Yosemite] field trips
March 14, 2017 09:51PM
Quote
Dave
Quote
parklover
I really wish you would read what I write......
I did read and understand your whole argument. Just because I disagree doesn't mean I didn't read or understand.
I never disagreed with what the school did or even disagreed with your comment on how you felt the school made the best decision. You can disagree all you want with my comment on how I feel about risks personally but the bottom line is that I was answering abetterpitchforks question about what other people would do about visiting the park. I am really puzzle since I never mentioned anything about the school's decision and/or that you agreed with the decision, why you felt that my comment had anything to do with the school's decision and why you felt that you had to comment to me about it. That is why I asked you if you read what I had said. I just don't understand what was the point of you directing your comment to me as it pertains to the school when I was not even talking about the school's decision. If you were just commenting about my feelings about personal risks, then I could understand if you chose to say that you disagreed with my personal choice. I feel confident that both of us feel that the school made the best decision based on what their school policies are and their legal responsibilities for children under their care. And, that you and I might have different opinions on personal risk even though I am not a risk taker per say but feel that there are times that you have to weigh the slight chance of risk against the probability that it is going to happen. That being said, I think that it is time to drop this line of commentary so as to not impinge on the enjoyment of other's on the site.
avatar Re: Killer-tree threat cancels Cupertino schools [Yosemite] field trips
March 13, 2017 04:56PM
Quote
abetterpitchfork
So a question to all you hiking and camping enthusiasts who are out there a lot more than I am: what precautions, if any, do you all take to lessen the chances of this happening to you?

In developed areas, nothing. In the back country, check the trees, look for the way they are already leaning, camp in open areas. This year is a double whammy, lots or rain to loosen soil and bark beetle to kill trees. The dead fall in the next few years is going to be "epic".



Old Dude
So basically anyone camping in any of the Pines campgrounds is playing Russian Roulette? I know that a couple kids died when a tree fell on their tent last year; I wonder if we're going to be hearing about more of those incidents in the future.
Re: Killer-tree threat cancels Cupertino schools [Yosemite] field trips
March 14, 2017 06:11PM
The two boys you were talking about were killed in August 2015 when a tree branch fell off of an oak tree. They still don't know why the branch came off - it could have been the drought, age, disease or another factor. While many of the past tree incidents have occurred in the Pines campgrounds, if you go back and look at past incidents, some of them have happened in other locations in the park. So, I am not sure if you could say that you have more of a chance of having a tree come down in the Pines campgrounds than you would in other campgrounds in the park or in other non campground locations. Just by the fact that there are higher concentrations of people in campgrounds than say on a trail or someplace else in the park, could mean that the chances of someone getting hurt is higher than where there are few people. One thing that can be said of all campgrounds is that camping does affect trees because the activity means less ground coverage plants can grow and people, tents, vehicles and all the activities that camping involves compacts the soil and affects tree roots so it would be interesting to see if there are studies on the percentages of how many trees fall down in campgrounds versus other areas. With that said, with the drought, bark beetle and now the high levels of precipitation the park has had this winter and the possibility of flooding, I would not be surprised if we hear about more trees falling down this year than were seen last year.
avatar Re: Killer-tree threat cancels Cupertino schools [Yosemite] field trips
March 14, 2017 07:22PM
This is where my comment about "acceptable risk" comes in, I think.

In a designated campground I think the NPS, given the combination of wet soils and weakened trees, may end up being forced to err on the side of caution with various sites.

In the backcountry one has greater latitude to make choices which may mitigate risk, and further, one is expected to do so.
avatar Re: Killer-tree threat cancels Cupertino schools [Yosemite] field trips
March 14, 2017 07:40PM
Quote
ttilley
This is where my comment about "acceptable risk" comes in, I think.

In a designated campground I think the NPS, given the combination of wet soils and weakened trees, may end up being forced to err on the side of caution with various sites.

In the backcountry one has greater latitude to make choices which may mitigate risk, and further, one is expected to do so.
Agreed. And when you are in care of someone else's children that acceptable risk changes.
avatar Re: Killer-tree threat cancels Cupertino schools [Yosemite] field trips
March 15, 2017 07:34AM
Tom,
They have. This last wind event... well... it was kinda known it was going to get windy.
Just I think it kinda took them off guard in that it was a huge burst.
As I mentioned in another thread... they have been closing the campgrounds
since early December (well before the saturation point) ... whenever a wind
event has come up... due to the dead trees and all...
We fully expected them to close the campgrounds again...
Personally I was hesitant to even go into the backcountry into a place
I'd never been to and spend the night... luckily it didn't hit until we were
back at the car the next day... and WOW it came in a HUGE Bam!

Anyway... last weekend... we went into Redwood Mountain and the amount of
downfall and breakage was another wow... limbs of Sequoias on the ground
in quite a number of places.



Anyway...



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Killer-tree threat cancels Cupertino schools [Yosemite] field trips
March 15, 2017 08:02AM
Skiing at Alpine and Squaw, particularly at Alpine, I've seen trees where the top third appears to have simply snapped off and flown 20-30 feet away. So, 2/3 of the tree in one location, 1/3 of the tree 20 feet away and almost upside down. One such example was along the Scott chair.

Alpine is where the 199 MPH wind gust was recorded.
Re: Killer-tree threat cancels Cupertino schools [Yosemite] field trips
March 15, 2017 10:22PM
Re: Killer-tree threat cancels Cupertino schools [Yosemite] field trips
March 16, 2017 03:57PM
We have the damn trees and limbs falling in our yard. One branch fell today.

That being said, understand that we had some wet snow which piled up on the branches. Many, many branches cracked and it was downright scary to be out shoveling snow. A lot of branches did not fall, though, and they remain precarious until the next wind, or the following wind, or as today, just finally giving way. A whole tree may have been stressed under the same kind of weight and it's roots can eventually give way and the whole tree will topple.
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