Reports from the Knowledge Labs about our recent findings, research topics, and interviews with lifestyle leaders who are creating their own futures.
How to stimulate your own powers of foresight. Consider the following thought provokers. Ask yourself, in these categories what are the brand new trends and forces? Which are the ones growing in importance? Which current forces are loosing their steam? Which have peaked or are reversing themselves? Which are the "wildcards" about to disrupt us in the future? POLITICAL AND TECHNICAL thought for food: Electronics, Materials, Energy, Fossil, Nuclear, Alternative, Other, Manufacturing (techniques), Agriculture, Machinery and Equipment, Distribution, Transportation (Urban, Mass, Personal, Surface, Sea, Subsurface, Space), Communication (Printed, Spoken, Interactive, Media), Computers (Information, Knowledge, Storage & Retrieval, Design, Network Resources), Post-Cold War, Third World, Conflict (Local, Regional, Global), Arms Limitation, Undeclared Wars, Terrorism, Nuclear Proliferation, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Governments (More/Less Power and Larger or Smaller Scale), Taxes, Isms: Nationalism, Regionalism, Protectionism, Populism, Cartels, Multinational Corporations, Balance of Trade, Third Party Payments, Regulations (OSHA, etc.) Environmental Impact, U.S. Prestige Abroad. SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC Food for thought:
Labor Movements, Unemployment / Employment Cycles, Recession, Employment Patterns, Work Hours / Schedules, Fringe Benefits, Management Approaches, Accounting Policies, Productivity, Energy Costs, Balance of Payments, Inflation, Taxes, Rates of Real Growth, Distribution of Wealth, Capital Availability and Costs, Reliability of Forecasts, Raw Materials, Availability and Costs, Global versus National Economy, Market versus Planned Economies, Generations: Y, X, Boomers, Elderly, Urban vs. Rural Lifestyles, Affluent vs. Poor, Neighborhoods and Communities, Planned or Organic Growth.
The Journal of 2020 Foresight
Thursday, March 17, 2005
McCoy’s Model-A-Ford-Rope-Tow, Fools and Compassionate Conservationists
Chapter Three: The Outpost
By Steve Howard, CKO
The Knowledge Labs
Table of Contents
Chapter One: Basecamp
Chapter Two: The Ridge
Chapter Three: The Outpost
Chapter Four: The Tribal Territories
“In describing the world in which Clark was born and raised, Jones presents us with a rich and often strange glimpse of "America's First West," as he calls it. Native Americans, for example, came to know when white settlers were approaching their tribal grounds by the appearance of what they called "white man's fly" — that is, the honeybees that were driven westward as the newcomers cleared the old-growth forests to make room for farms and towns. ‘The honeybees were thought to keep about a hundred miles in advance of white migration all the way across North America,’ explains Jones.”
MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN, California. He doesn’t suffer fools well. At least that’s what they told me the first time I spent any time with him in this area. Looking back now, he had plenty of opportunities not to suffer me – I mistook the region as part of the Rocky Mountains, instead of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. As hard as it was to pull ourselves away from the exotic beauty of Mono Lake, we needed to complete our rendezvous with Trailblazer.
Journal of 2020 Foresight: If you haven’t been to the Mammoth Lakes resort area for some time, you might not recognize it. While the mountain, itself, hasn’t changed, the town and the new developments have changed since Dave McCoy’s founding days. It’s enough to disorient someone who navigates by familiar landmarks.
Pathfinder: Remember Twain’s tale about trailing Whiteman in the night to discover the Lost Cement Mine?
Explorer: Of course.
Pathfinder: Well, four other prospectors hunting for the same mine “organized the Lakes Mining District on Mineral Hill near Lake Mary in 1877. The following year, General George Dodge of Civil War and Union Pacific fame bought the group of claims and organized the Mammoth Mining Co.”
J2020F: Did they strike it rich?
Pathfinder: Rumors about a strike – the largest outside of Virginia City, known for the Comstock Lode – and made famous years later by Mark Twain – drew a stampede of miners in 1877.
Eagle: I see here, according to Mammoth Properties Guest Services Directory. for two decades gold and silver fever fueled get rich dreams as silver discoveries at Aurora and Bodie led to ever more prospecting.
Pathfinder: The hype of working the “largest bonanza outside of Virginia City” sparked a two-year long gold rush stampede of roughly 2500 miners to Mammoth.
Eagle: The directory says that by 1880 the mines were shut down when reality failed to live up to the propaganda.
Explorer: Look, it says two decades later Old Mammoth Village formed to accommodate the pioneers drawn to the area to enjoy fishing, hunting, photography, camping, hiking, and horseback riding.
J2020F: That’s the story that repeated itself across the West. Most miners remained flat broke while the real money flowed to the merchants, tools and transportation providers. Even Twain gave up to write and soak up the scenic wonders on vacations in his spare time.
Pathfinder: After a highway connected Mammoth to nearby Bishop and ultimately Los Angeles, summer vacationers began to make room for winter ski enthusiasts.
Eagle: Here it says that in the 1930s the first ski lift was built at McGee Mountain near Highway 395. While other areas outside of Independence and Bridgeport sported rope tows as well, the McGee Mountain was the most popular.
Explorer: Isn’t that when Dave McCoy comes into the picture?
Pathfinder: Yeah. He’s the local “modern hero” in the town and on the mountain at Mammoth.
Eagle: How so?
Explorer: He started out as a snow surveyor for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, helped build the first portable rope tow as a member of the Eastern Sierra Ski Club.
Eagle: Oh yeah, Here in the Directory, it says at age 22 Dave was California State Champion for ski racing. In 1938 he purchased the right to operate McGee Mountain and purchased the Ski Club’s lifts for under $100.
Pathfinder: But, it was in the winter of 1941 that McCoy got the rights to take his portable rope tow to where the snow was best – Mammoth Mountain.
Eagle: Portable rope tow?
Pathfinder: He parked his Model A Ford on a slope where snow fell early and hard on Mammoth Mountain, jacked up the rear and tied one end of a rope to the back wheel and the other to a tree.
Explorer: He charged 50 cents a person for what became the mountain's first rope tow.
Eagle: There were only half a dozen people residing in Mammoth when McCoy bought a snowplow to allow year-round access. It says that right after World War II, he established the first permanent rope tow on Mammoth and began building out the ski destination with surplus snow equipment.
Pathfinder: Right. And in 1947 the Main Lodge was built primarily as a small warming hut. After building the first chairlift in 1955 McCoy completed the foundation for a ski area that grew beyond his wildest imagination. He purchased nearby June Mountain in 1986.
Eagle: I’ve got to believe that Mammoth didn’t mushroom into what it is today overnight.
Pathfinder. That’s right. Over the ensuing decades, McCoy and his staff launched the area's first water district, volunteer fire department, regional hospital, high school and college.
Explorer: Now Mammoth combines the summer Mountain Bike park with the winter recreation area for a year – round resort. There are more than 50 miles of mountain bike trails all over the mountain.
J2020F: Talking about mountain trails, knowing Trailblazer, I’m surprised we’re not meeting at Devil’s Postpile. Where did he want us to find him?
Eagle: He sent us a link and told us to look on the left hand corner of either the interactive or static trail map. What’s it called again?
Explorer: Your lodge, next to Juniper Springs Properties.
Eagle: Your lodge?
Explorer: Well your son’s. Little Eagle Lodge at the bottom of Eagle Express run. He says to look for him waving between the two webcams in the left hand corner on the interactive map.
J2020F: As predicted, the first words out of his mouth when we found him at the Starbucks-like counter in Little Eagle Lodge, “Where have you been?”
Pathfinder: Fine, thank you. How are you?
Trailblazer: No, I meant you were forced to take a few detours just to get this far after you left Sacramento.
Explorer: Pathfinder joined us in Bass Lake, outside of Oakhurst and North Fork on the outskirts of Yosemite.
Eagle: We tried to cut across the mountains over Tioga Pass, but that closed before we could get out of the park. So, we back tracked west and north up 49 and made it barely through Sonora Pass, before they closed that route.
Trailblazer: I thought you went to Carson City. Wasn’t that your plan? And, then straight down 395 to Mammoth?
J2020F: Don’t even go there! We got as far as Lake Tahoe, but reversed ourselves back to Placerville to pick up that hitchhiker.
Pathfinder: Yeah, but you would have missed my sparkling conversation.
Trailblazer: Tahoe, huh? Not too long ago they made the news here. So did Yosemite, come to think of it.
Pathfinder: Not too long ago? Well, twenty-two central Sierra Nevada hikers were rescued in the first early season blizzard.
Explorer: And, that storm killed two climbers while five others were airlifted out by helicopter from the face of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.
J2020F: Wasn’t there something more recently that pitted the “Governator,” San Francisco residents, the National Park Service, farmers, visitors and a few others against each other?
Trailblazer: You’re thinking about the controversial proposal to remove a Yosemite dam to restore Hetch Hetchy Valley to the way it was in 1922.
Explorer: Yeah. I heard about that. Isn’t it currently under 300 or 400 feet of water?
Pathfinder: Oh, yeah, I remember reading about recent UC Davis study that concluded the dam no longer needed for water storage in a drought-ridden state – like other western states -- since there are other reservoirs now available down stream.
J2020F: So what are they going to do, blow up the dam or something?
Trailblazer: I know you’re kidding, but the future scenario involves several competing forces – urban drinking water needs, hydraulic power alternatives, local and state economic factors, ecosystem preservation, tourist capacity planning, and competing government agencies – at the local, regional, and federal levels.
Eagle: I make no bones about my love of the natural world. It just seems to me that from a federal political and economic perspective the change in political parties running the federal government has been devastating to this region.
Pathfinder: You must be referring to the Sierra Nevada Framework to protect wilderness and old growth on the million acres of national forestland.
Eagle. You bet. I think it took eight years to hammer out an agreement among the special interests.
Trailblazer: You’re right. That compromise took almost a decade to hammer out between the timber industry, environmentalists and other stakeholders, including the public and the scientific community. The Federal Forest Service now has discarded the framework.
Explorer: Discarded? In what way?
Trailblazer: There’s a new plan that permits the tripling of logging and the consumption of that last stands or old growth trees in the Sierras.
J2020F: What? Where?
Trailblazer: They’ve begun clear cutting among the giant sequoia groves near here in the Sequoia National Forest.
Eagle: Many “compassionate conservationists” feel betrayed by the Forest Service.
Pathfinder: Part of the department’s bias toward timber and logging versus the health of the forest stems from their budgeting incentives and from their professional blindness.
Explorer: What do you mean?
Pathfinder: Forest professionals are taught that the growing of wood fiber is the highest and best use for timberland.
Explorer: Well, even Mark Twain envisioned profits from Tahoe timber ranches during the region’s mining heydays.
Pathfinder: Whether or not a timber sale turns a profit, the agency gets to keep a share of gross receipts, a funding quirk that encourages logging and, some would say, over-logging – to make up operating budget deficits.
J2020F: I guess you’d point to a shift in political forces as an indicator that a contingency plan might be activated, if the stakeholders who hammered out the plan had followed your scenario-methodology.
Trailblazer: Good point. Sometimes those forces outside of your immediate focus end up becoming major disruptions. Even though we may know on some level that they may operate against us, it’s as if we’re lulled to sleep over time.
J2020F: Like snowboarding or skiing on a Mountain volcano?
Trailblazer: Touché. You’ve been doing your homework.
Mammoth Mountain. lies in the southwestern edge of Long Valley Caldera in Inyo National Forest and Mono County.
J2020F: Seems pretty risky to invest in real estate in this region. Until you pointed out the mountain was a volcano, it didn’t register until I paid attention to the landscape on the trip southwest on 395.
Explorer: Speaking of which, isn’t time we hit the road on 395 to hit Bishop for gas and something to eat in an hour or so?
Trailblazer: Sure. Let me get my things and I’ll show you my newest hobby, geocaching.
Copyright ©2002 - 2006 Aarnaes Howard Associates. All rights reserved worldwide.
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