Black Bear spotted at Lake Havasu State Park


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Authorities said they believe Lake Havasu State Park’s black bear may have moved on in the cover of darkness Sunday night.

“We didn’t trap the bear,” said Dee Pfleger, Arizona Game and Fish wildlife manager. “It could have slipped out under the cover of darkness. We will keep looking for signs of the bear at the park.”

Lake Havasu State Park officials said Monday that fresh tracks and bear droppings were found north of the park and that suggested the bear may have left Havasu. Pfleger confirmed the findings were on the access road heading down to the PWC ramp.

The state park, which was closed to visitors early Monday, has since reopened.

Shane Ray, 43, said he spotted the bear swimming offshore about 500 yards from the north ramp. He switched off his trolling motor and started making phone calls to friends, Arizona State Parks officials, Arizona Game and Fish Department to report the sighting.

“I saw this big black object in the water,” he said. “It was swimming toward the California side. It kept swimming out there for about 20 minutes. It never growled at me or never lunged toward my boat. It seemed scared and it looked tired.

“It was breathing very, very hard and I was afraid he was going to drown, and I didn’t want to see that happen. So I forced him up on the shore,” Ray continued.

Ray said he was within six feet of the swimming black bear.

Ray said officials from the agencies told him the animal was likely a wild pig or badger. Ray insisted it was a black bear, telling them he had photographs. Authorities then asked Ray how much he had had to drink that day, he said.

“I wanted everybody to see it. I couldn’t believe it myself,” Ray said. “It really surprised me. I was astonished.”

Ray, who is on the water fishing four or five days a week, said the bear is an unusual type of wildlife he has scene on the water.

“I really want to see (the bear) captured and relocated,” Ray said. “This is personal to me now.”

Pfleger said while hiking or walking make as much noise as possible to let any wild animals know you are nearby, don’t approach the animal and make yourself as big as possible.

“We are not actively looking for the bear, but are encouraging if someone sees the bear they need to call the Arizona Game and Fish hotline at 800-352-0700 to reach the dispatch center in Phoenix,” Plefer said.

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Activists launch effort to defeat ballot proposition on right to hunt and fish

[Source: Arizona Capitol Times]

Wayne Pacelle, president/CEO, Humane Society of the US. (Photo by Lauren Saria/Cronkite News Service)

A ballot proposition promoted as a way to safeguard the right to fish and hunt in Arizona would politicize decisions about wildlife by giving the Legislature sole authority, leaders of a new campaign against the measure said Friday.

“It’s just one more bad idea from one of the most dysfunctional legislatures we’ve seen,” Sandy Bahr, director of the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter, said at a news conference announcing the effort against Proposition 109.

Authored by Rep. Jerry Weiers, R-Glendale, and referred to voters by the Legislature, Proposition 109 would establish the “right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife lawfully.” It would prohibit any law or rule that unreasonably restricts hunting or fishing.

It also would give the Legislature exclusive authority to enact laws regulating the manner, methods and seasons for hunting and fishing. Lawmakers could still delegate rule-making authority to the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, which currently establishes policy for hunting and fishing.

Calling their effort Arizonans Against the Power Grab, the state Sierra Club, The Humane Society of the United States and the Animal Defense League of Arizona filed paperwork Friday establishing a committee to oppose Proposition 109.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, said that giving lawmakers exclusive authority to make laws involving hunting and fishing would hinder the ability of citizens to put forward their own ballot initiatives, and not just on hunting and fishing.

“Today it’s wildlife,” Pacelle said. “But it could be any other cause in the future.”

Weiers didn’t respond Friday to a message left with the House Republican spokesman. Cronkite News Service was unable to reach representatives of hunting and outdoors groups that registered support for the measure.

Twelve other states include the right to hunt and fish in their constitutions, while Tennessee, South Carolina and Arkansas are voting on similar propositions this year, according to Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy.

Bahr called the ballot measure a “proposition in search of a problem” that would undermine a system that now uses science rather than politics to regulate hunting and fishing.

“The people of Arizona support animal welfare,” she said.

Some provisions of Proposition 109:

  • Declares hunting and fishing a constitutional right of Arizona citizens.
  • Specifies that wildlife belongs to the state and its citizens.
  • Gives the Legislature exclusive authority to enact laws to regulate hunting and fishing.
  • Allows the legislature to delegate rule-making authority to the state Game and Fish Commission.
  • Prohibits any law or rule that unreasonably restricts hunting or fishing using traditional means.
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Arizona’s Parks In Peril: Kartchner Caverns State Park

[Source: Gretchen Mominee,]

Photo credit: Arizona State Parks

The volunteer leading our tour, John, tells us that being dripped on during the tour is good luck, sort of like a blessing from the cave. He says those drips are called “cave kisses.”

Kartchner Caverns is a living cave, which means that it is still in the process of becoming, still growing and changing. It is a work in progress. As you read this sentence, drops of mineral-rich water are slowly dripping from the tip of a stalactite or slipping from the end of a soda straw, a skinny hollow tube growing from the cave’s ceiling.  The stalactites and stalagmites are infinitesimally growing toward one another. The incredibly beautiful and majestic formation, Kubla Khan, continues to form.

This cave was forming long, long before the day in 1974 when two University of Arizona students, Gary Tenen and Randy Tufts, chiseled an opening wide enough to wriggle through and become the first human beings to ever stand inside it. Imagine the wonder of knowing that you’ve just discovered something miraculously beautiful that no one else has ever seen.

Tenen and Tufts knew they had made an incredible discovery. Because they were avid cavers and had seen the damage done to other caves by carelessness and vandalism, they kept their find a secret for a long time, eventually sharing it with the landowners. Together, they spent years ensuring that the cave would be protected, and that they could be shared with the public in a responsible way that would allow people to experience and learn about the cave without harming the fragile formations inside.

Kartchner Caverns State Park opened in 1999. It was one of the parks that Arizona legislators voted to be closed this year, despite the fact that Arizona State Parks make $260 million for the state annually. To call this decision short-sighted is an understatement.

The cave doesn’t need us. If they close Kartchner Caverns State Park and no human ever sets foot in it again, it won’t matter to the cave. Bats will continue to roost and raise their young in the Big Room. The massive 58 foot column Tenen and Tufts call Kubla Khan will still stand as a testament to what nature can do with water, minerals and tens of thousands of years. Stalactites and stalagmites will continue their inexorable journey toward one another and in time will be joined. Soda straws will grow and fall. The ghosts of the good intentions and efforts of many will linger in the cave, but the cave will be fine.

The cave doesn’t need us. But maybe we need the cave. Maybe we need the opportunity to see geologic time at play. To be able to access the fragile beauty of a place that has been forming for so long it’s almost unfathomable.

Maybe we need to be able to stand inside the cave and hear the story of two college kids who found something magical and wondrous and wanted to share it with the world in such a way that it would be available to all of us and future generations.

Maybe we need the possibility of being baptized by cave kisses, of receiving a blessing from a living cave, to be reminded that we are all, after all, works in progress.

Maybe, as John Muir wrote, “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul.”

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Arizona Lake Campgrounds



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Hikers, bikers and fishermen can definitely find themselves at home at some of Arizona’s lakes. Keeping active with a camping vacation can be a good way to stay healthy and release some stress. The spring, summer and fall months are prime season to get out to Arizona’s lake campgrounds, which are usually open from about May to the early fall. Some lake campgrounds, such as Fool Hollow Lake in eastern Arizona, are open to campers year-round.

Upper Lake Mary Campgrounds

Upper Lake Mary is a large lake in Flagstaff that’s well-stocked with a wide variety of fish. Located on federal land, this destination offers camping opportunities from early May to mid-September. In addition to two campground areas, the Upper Lake Mary recreational area offers boat ramps, picnic areas, hiking trails and fishing areas. The Upper Lake Mary campgrounds are fully developed with clean drinking water, cooking grills and maintained toilets. The fee for camping at Upper Lake Mary is $6, and for $35 campers can purchase a seasonal pass, as of August 2010.

Ashurst Lake Campgrounds

Like Upper Lake Mary, the Ashurst Lake Campground is managed by the federal government as part of the Coconino National Forest. This pristine campground, a mere 20 miles from Flagstaff, offers free camping from May to mid-October. There are 50 camping spots on the grounds, and each provides drinking water, toilets and cooking grill areas. According to the Forest Service, Ashurst Lake is unique among lakes its size in Arizona for its ability to hold water throughout the dry season. The lake is equipped with a boat ramp and excellent fishing opportunities. Anglers can expect to find rainbow and brook trout.

Patagonia State Park

The 250-acre Patagonia State Park in southeastern Arizona might be one of the state’s better kept secrets. The campground is positioned on a man-made lake, and opportunities abound for avid hikers, anglers and rowers. The lake is stocked for fishing from October through March, while campgrounds are available for $17, as of August 2010. Campgrounds are fairly well-developed with restrooms, showers and electric hook-ups. Park entrances are open to campers from 4 a.m. to 11 p.m., but overnight stays are allowed.

Lyman Lake State Park

One of Arizona’s lake campgrounds that provides cabin or yurt camping is Lyman Lake Park, located in the eastern part of the state. Lyman Lake Park is also fairly big, with over 1,200 square acres. It costs $50 to rent one of Lyman Lake’s cabins and $35 for a yurt, as of August 2010. Tent and RV camping sites are also available for less. Cabins and yurts are open from late May to early September. This Arizona lake campground is a good spot for hikers and tourists as well, who can participate every weekend in a guided tour of the area’s historical features–the former Rattlesnake Point Pueblo, a native American settlement.

Fool Hollow Lake Campground

Some Arizona lake campgrounds provide opportunities for year-round camping and recreation. One of these is the Fool Hollow Lake, also located in eastern Arizona. This area is a state park with developed campgrounds, featuring both electrified and non-electric campsites. In addition, these sites share showers, restrooms and picnic areas. Fishing is available and Fool Hollow Lake, too, including rainbow trout in abundant numbers, according to Arizona State Parks.

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