Fort Point, San Francisco
Fort Point is a masonry seacoast fortification located at the southern side of the Golden Gate at the entrance to San Francisco Bay. This fort was completed just before the American Civil War by the United States Army, the fort is now protected as Fort Point National Historic Site, a United States National Historic Site administered by the National Park Service as a unit of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. In 1769 Spain occupied the San Francisco area and by 1776 had established the areas first European settlement, with a mission and a presidio. To protect against encroachment by the British and Russians, Spain fortified the high white cliff at the narrowest part of the bays entrance, the Castillo de San Joaquin, built in 1794, was an adobe structure housing nine to thirteen cannons. Mexico won independence from Spain in 1821, gaining control of the region and the fort, following the United States victory in 1848, California was annexed by the U. S. and became a state in 1850. The gold rush of 1849 had caused rapid settlement of the area, military officials soon recommended a series of fortifications to secure San Francisco Bay.
Coastal defenses were built at Alcatraz Island, Fort Mason, the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers began work on Fort Point in 1853. Plans specified that the lowest tier of artillery be as close as possible to water level so cannonballs could ricochet across the surface to hit enemy ships at the water-line. Workers blasted the 90-foot cliff down to 15 feet above sea level, the structure featured seven-foot-thick walls and multi-tiered casemated construction typical of Third System forts. It was sited to defend the maximum amount of harbor area, while there were more than 30 such forts on the East Coast, Fort Point was the only one on the West Coast. In 1854 Inspector General Joseph K. Mansfield declared this point as the key to the whole Pacific Coast. a crew of 200, many unemployed miners, labored for eight years on the fort. In 1861, with war looming, the army mounted the forts first cannon, colonel Albert Sidney Johnston, commander of the Department of the Pacific, prepared Bay Area defenses and ordered in the first troops to the fort.
Kentucky-born Johnston resigned his commission to join the Confederate Army, throughout the Civil War, artillerymen at Fort Point stood guard for an enemy that never came. Troops soon moved out of Fort Point, and it was never again occupied by the army. The fort was important enough to receive protection from the elements. In 1869 a granite seawall was completed, the following year, some of the forts cannon were moved to Battery East on the bluffs nearby, where they were more protected. In 1882 Fort Point was officially named Fort Winfield Scott after the hero from the war against Mexico. The name never caught on and was applied to an artillery post at the Presidio
Ridgecrest is a city in Kern County, United States. It is located along U. S. Route 395 in the Indian Wells Valley in northeastern Kern County, the population was 27,616 at the 2010 census, up from 24,927 at the 2000 census. It was incorporated as a city in 1963, Ridgecrest is surrounded by four mountain ranges, the Sierra Nevada on the west, the Cosos on the north, the Argus Range on the east, and the El Paso Mountains on the south. It is approximately 82 miles from the Lancaster/Palmdale area and approximately 145 miles from both Bakersfield and San Bernardino, the three nearest major urban centers, private air travel in and out of the city is provided through the Inyokern Airport. There are currently no scheduled flights in or out of Ridgecrest. Ridgecrest is within two hours of the highest and the lowest points in the conterminous U. S, the settlement began as a farming community called Crumville in 1912, honoring James and Robert Crum, local dairymen. The first post office opened in 1941, by 1943, Ridgecrest had grown to 115 homes and 196 residents.
NOTS was established in November 1943, providing a strong job base for the years to come, during this era the growth of Ridgecrest was governed by the continuing needs of the high tech industries coupled to the Naval Stations programs for testing arms and guidance systems. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has an area of 21.4 square miles. Ridgecrest is located in Indian Wells Valley, which is a extension of Owens Valley. The area, associated with the Eastern California Shear Zone, has experienced numerous earthquake swarms in the past often with no obvious mainshock, the weather in the Indian Wells Valley is predominantly influenced by its high desert location. The climate is characterized by hot days and cool nights with extremely arid conditions prevailing throughout the summer months, the mean annual maximum temperature for the Ridgecrest area is 75 °F while the mean annual minimum temperature is 48 °F. There are wide annual temperature fluctuations that occur from a high of 119 °F to a low of 1 °F, the area is known to have wind as high as 75 mph on a sunny day.
Whenever winds exceed 30 mph dust devils and dust clouds form in the area, December is the coolest month with an average maximum temperature of 60 °F and an average minimum temperature of 30 °F. The all-time minimum temperature of 1 °F was recorded on December 23,1963, Ridgecrest is a desert, with an average of less than 5 inches equivalent rainfall per year, which includes less than 2 inches of snow. July is the hottest month with an maximum temperature of 103 °F. The all-time maximum temperature of 119 °F was recorded on July 31,1971, the 2010 United States Census reported that Ridgecrest had a population of 27,616. The population density was 1,289.5 people per square mile
Death Valley National Park
Death Valley National Park is a national park in the United States. Straddling the border of California and Nevada, located east of the Sierra Nevada, the park protects the northwest corner of the Mojave Desert and contains a diverse desert environment of salt-flats, sand dunes, valleys and mountains. It is the largest national park in the lower 48 states and has declared an International Biosphere Reserve. Approximately 91% of the park is a wilderness area. It is the hottest and lowest of the parks in the United States. The second-lowest point in the Western Hemisphere is in Badwater Basin, the park is home to many species of plants and animals that have adapted to this harsh desert environment. Some examples include creosote bush, bighorn sheep and the Death Valley pupfish, several short-lived boom towns sprang up during the late 19th and early 20th centuries to mine gold and silver. The only long-term profitable ore to be mined was borax, which was transported out of the valley with twenty-mule teams, the valley became the subject of books, radio programs, television series, and movies.
Tourism blossomed in the 1920s, when resorts were built around Stovepipe Wells, Death Valley National Monument was declared in 1933 and the park was substantially expanded and became a national park in 1994. The natural environment of the area has been shaped largely by its geology, the valley itself is actually a graben. The oldest rocks are metamorphosed and at least 1.7 billion years old. Ancient, shallow seas deposited marine sediments until rifting opened the Pacific Ocean, additional sedimentation occurred until a subduction zone formed off the coast. This uplifted the region out of the sea and created a line of volcanoes, the crust started to pull apart, creating the current Basin and Range landform. Valleys filled with sediment and, during the wet times of glacial periods, with lakes, in 2013, Death Valley National Park was designated as a dark sky park by the International Dark-Sky Association. There are two valleys in the park, Death Valley and Panamint Valley. Both of these valleys were formed within the last few million years, the result of this shearing action is additional extension in the central part of Death Valley which causes a slight widening and more subsidence there.
Uplift of surrounding mountain ranges and subsidence of the floor are both occurring. The uplift on the Black Mountains is so fast that the fans there are small
National Park Service
It was created on August 25,1916, by Congress through the National Park Service Organic Act and is an agency of the United States Department of the Interior. As of 2014, the NPS employs 21,651 employees who oversee 417 units, the National Park Service celebrated its centennial in 2016. National parks and national monuments in the United States were originally individually managed under the auspices of the Department of the Interior, the movement for an independent agency to oversee these federal lands was spearheaded by business magnate and conservationist Stephen Mather, as well as J. Horace McFarland. With the help of journalist Robert Sterling Yard, Mather ran a publicity campaign for the Department of the Interior and they wrote numerous articles that praised the scenic and historic qualities of the parks and their possibilities for educational and recreational benefits. This campaign resulted in the creation of a National Park Service, Mather became the first director of the newly formed NPS.
On March 3,1933, President Herbert Hoover signed the Reorganization Act of 1933, the act would allow the President to reorganize the executive branch of the United States government. It wasnt until that summer when the new President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, President Roosevelt agreed and issued two Executive orders to make it happen. In 1951, Conrad Wirth became director of the National Park Service, the demand for parks after the end of the World War II had left the parks overburdened with demands that could not be met. In 1952, with the support of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, he began Mission 66, New parks were added to preserve unique resources and existing park facilities were upgraded and expanded. In 1966, as the Park Service turned 50 years old, emphasis began to turn from just saving great and wonderful scenery, Director George Hartzog began the process with the creation of the National Lakeshores and National Recreation Areas. Since its inception in 1916, the National Park Service has managed each of the United States national parks, Yellowstone National Park was the first national park in the United States.
In 1872, there was no government to manage it. Yosemite National Park began as a park, the land for the park was donated by the federal government to the state of California in 1864 for perpetual conservation. Yosemite was returned to federal ownership, at first, each national park was managed independently, with varying degrees of success. In Yellowstone, the staff was replaced by the U. S. Army in 1886. Due to the irregularities in managing these national treasures, Stephen Mather petitioned the government to improve the situation. In response, Secretary of the Interior Franklin K. Lane challenged him to lobby for creating a new agency, Mather was successful with the ratification of the National Park Service Organic Act in 1916. Later, the agency was given authority over other protected areas, the National Park System includes all properties managed by the National Park Service
Golden Gate National Recreation Area
The Golden Gate National Recreation Area is a U. S. National Recreation Area protecting 80,002 acres of ecologically and historically significant landscapes surrounding the San Francisco Bay Area. Much of the park is land used by the United States Army. GGNRA is managed by the National Park Service and is one of the most visited units of the National Park system in the United States, with more than 15 million visitors a year. It is one of the largest urban parks in the world, the park is not one continuous locale, but rather a collection of areas that stretch from southern San Mateo County to northern Marin County, and includes several areas of San Francisco. The park is as diverse as it is expansive, it contains famous tourist attractions such as Muir Woods National Monument, the park was created thanks to the cooperative legislative efforts of cosponsors Congressman William S. Mailliard and Congressman Phillip Burton. In 1972, President Richard Nixon signed into law An Act to Establish the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the bill allocated $120 million for land acquisition and development.
The National Park Service first purchased Alcatraz and Fort Mason from the U. S. Army, the Nature Conservancy transferred the land to the GGNRA. These properties formed the basis for the park. Throughout the next 30 years, the National Park service acquired land and historic sites from the U. S. Army, private landowners and corporations, incorporating them into the GGNRA. Many decommissioned Army bases and fortifications were incorporated into the park, including Fort Funston, four Nike missile sites, The Presidio, the latest acquisition by the National Park Service is Mori Point, a small parcel of land on the Pacifica coast. In 1988, UNESCO designated the GGNRA and 12 adjacent protected areas the Golden Gate Biosphere Reserve, the property, located south of Pacifica and surrounding the communities of Moss Beach and Montara, is home to many diverse plant and animal species. The bill passed in the Senate, but did not pass the House of Representatives, Fort Baker - former Army post located on the northern side of the Golden Gate Headlands Center for the Arts - an artist residency program set in renovated military buildings in the Marin Headlands.
Nike Missile Site SF-88 - a decommissioned Army surface-to-air missile site located near Fort Barry, located at the southwestern corner of the Presidio Battery Chamberlin - one of the last remaining coastal defense disappearing guns on the U. S. Trails lead across the ridge and to Sharp Park beach, the site includes recently restored wetlands and a pond, protecting endangered San Francisco garter snake and red-legged frog habitat. Rancho Corral de Tierra - the GGNRAs newest park, Golden Gate National Recreation Area Scenery Video, a video showing the scenery observed from the GGNRA, including footage from Lands End
Sequoia National Forest
Sequoia National Forest is located in the southern Sierra Nevada mountains of California. The U. S. National Forest is named for the majestic Giant Sequoia trees which populate 38 distinct groves within the boundaries of the forest, the Giant Sequoia National Monument is located in the national forest. Other notable features include glacier-carved landscapes and impressive granite monoliths, the Needles are a series of granite spires atop a narrow ridge above the Kern River. Forest headquarters are located in Porterville, there are local ranger district offices in Dunlap, Lake Isabella, and Springville. The Sequoia National Forest covers 1,193,315 acres and its Giant Sequoia groves are part of its 196,000 acres of old growth forests. Other tree species include, Jeffrey Pine Red Fir Coast Douglas-fir Ponderosa Pine White Fir Lodgepole Pine The Needles are a series of granite atop a narrow ridge above the Kern River. There are six areas within Sequoia NF that are part of the National Wilderness Preservation System.
Some of these extend into neighboring National Forests, as indicated, two of them extend into land that is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The forest is adjacent to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, Sequoia National Forest was established on July 1,1908 from a portion of Sierra Forest Reserve. On March 2,1909 Theodore Roosevelt added land by Presidential Proclamation, on July 1,19101,951,191 acres was removed from the forest to create the Kern National Forest. This land was returned to Sequoia National Forest on July 1,1915, the Sequoia National Forest has 34 giant sequoia groves. It can be accessed by paved roads, the grove contains many young sequoias approaching diameters of up to 10 feet. Once the second-largest grove, but much logged around 1890-1900, nearly 100 widely scattered old-growth Giant Sequoias remain, good regrowth of younger trees. Home of the Boole Tree, which the loggers spared as it was by far the largest tree in the grove and is now identified as the sixth-largest tree by volume.
Although not among the very largest Giant Sequoias, the General Noble Tree was perhaps among the top 30 largest Giant Sequoias before it was cut, immediately north of the Agnew Grove, near Monarch Wilderness boundary. 36°48N 118°4930W 2050–2250 m. Agnew & Deer Meadow Grove, located between Converse Basin Grove and General Grant Grove, near McGee Overlook. Cherry Gap Grove is a sequoia grove of about thirty-five acres in Sequoia national forest. Listed by Rundel and Flint, very small, too few trees to qualify as a grove according to Willard, contains the 13th largest giant sequoia in the world, The Ishi Giant
The mountain peaks on either side reach above 14,000 feet in elevation, while the floor of the Owens Valley is at 4,000 feet, making the valley one of the deepest in the United States. The Sierra Nevada casts the valley in a shadow, which makes Owens Valley the Land of Little Rain. The bed of Owens Lake, now a predominantly dry endorheic alkali flat and these episodes inspired aspects of the film Chinatown. Towns in the Owens Valley include Bishop, Lone Pine, the major road in the valley is U. S. Route 395. Owens Valley is a graben—a downdropped block of land between two vertical faults, Owens Valley is the westernmost graben in the Basin and Range Province. It is part of a trough which extends from Oregon to Death Valley called the Walker Lane, the western flank of much of the valley has large moraines coming off the Sierra Nevada. These unsorted piles of rock and dust were pushed to where they are by glaciers during the last ice age, an excellent example of a moraine is on State Route 168 as it climbs into Buttermilk Country.
This graben was formed by a series of earthquakes, such as the 1872 Lone Pine earthquake. The topmost part of this escarpment is exposed at Alabama Hills, the Owens Valley is part of the Long Valley Caldera, a super-volcano that last erupted 260,000 years ago. It is filled with many mini-volcanoes, which look like hills, see also and Mono Craters. Smaller versions of the Devils Postpile, can be found, for example, the valley contains plants adapted to alkali flat habitat. One of these, the Owens Valley checkerbloom, is endemic to Owens Valley, the valley was inhabited in late prehistoric times by the Timbisha in the extreme south end around Owens Lake and by the Mono tribe in the central and northern portions of the valley. The Timbisha speak the Timbisha language, classified in the Numic branch of Uto-Aztecan language family, the closest related languages are Shoshoni and Comanche. The Eastern Mono speak a dialect of the Mono language which is Numic, the Timbisha presently live in Death Valley at Furnace Creek although most families have summer homes in the Lone Pine colony.
The Eastern Mono live in colonies from Lone Pine to Bishop. Trade between Native Americans of the Owens Valley between coastal tribes such as the Chumash has been indicated by the archaeological record, on May 1,1834, Joseph R. Walker entered Owens Valley at the mouth of Walker Pass. He and his group of 52 men traveled up the valley on their way back to the Humboldt Sink, fremont named the Owens valley and lake for Richard Owens, one of his guides. Camp Independence was established on Oak Creek nearby modern Independence, California, on July 4,1862, from 1942 to 1945 during World War II, the first Japanese American Internment camp operated in the valley at Manzanar near Independence, California
Hiking is the preferred term, in Canada and the United States, for a long, vigorous walk, usually on trails, in the countryside, while the word walking is used for shorter, particularly urban walks. On the other hand, in the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Ireland, the word hiking is often used in the UK, along with rambling and fell walking. The term bushwalking is endemic to Australia, having been adopted by the Sydney Bush Walkers club in 1927, in New Zealand a long, vigorous walk or hike is called tramping. It is an activity with numerous hiking organizations worldwide. In the United States, the Republic of Ireland, a day hike refers to a hike that can be completed in a single day. However, in the United Kingdom, the walking is used, as well as rambling. In Northern England, Including the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales, fellwalking describes hill or mountain walks, hiking sometimes involves bushwhacking and is sometimes referred to as such. This specifically refers to walking through dense forest, undergrowth, or bushes.
In extreme cases of bushwhacking, where the vegetation is so dense that human passage is impeded, the Australian term bushwalking refers to both on and off-trail hiking. Common terms for hiking used by New Zealanders are tramping, walking or bushwalking, trekking is the preferred word used to describe multi-day hiking in the mountainous regions of India, Nepal, North America, South America, Iran and in the highlands of East Africa. Hiking a long-distance trail from end-to-end is referred to as trekking, in North America, multi-day hikes, usually with camping, are referred to as backpacking. The idea of taking a walk in the countryside for pleasure developed in the 18th-century, in earlier times walking generally indicated poverty and was associated with vagrancy. Thomas West, an English priest, popularized the idea of walking for pleasure in his guide to the Lake District of 1778. To this end he included various stations or viewpoints around the lakes, published in 1778 the book was a major success.
Another famous early exponent of walking for pleasure, was the English poet William Wordsworth, in 1790 he embarked on an extended tour of France and Germany, a journey subsequently recorded in his long autobiographical poem The Prelude. His famous poem Tintern Abbey was inspired by a visit to the Wye Valley made during a tour of Wales in 1798 with his sister Dorothy Wordsworth. Wordsworths friend Coleridge was another keen walker and in the autumn of 1799, he and Wordsworth undertook a three weeks tour of the Lake District. John Keats, who belonged to the generation of Romantic poets began, in June 1818, a walking tour of Scotland, Ireland
International Union for Conservation of Nature
The International Union for Conservation of Nature is an international organization working in the field of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. It is involved in gathering and analysis, field projects, lobbying. IUCNs mission is to influence and assist societies throughout the world to conserve nature and to ensure that any use of resources is equitable. Over the past decades, IUCN has widened its focus beyond conservation ecology and now incorporates issues related to equality, poverty alleviation. Unlike other international NGOs, IUCN does not itself aim to mobilize the public in support of nature conservation and it tries to influence the actions of governments and other stakeholders by providing information and advice, and through lobbying and partnerships. The organization is best known to the public for compiling and publishing the IUCN Red List. IUCN has a membership of over 1200 governmental and non-governmental organizations, some 11,000 scientists and experts participate in the work of IUCN commissions on a voluntary basis.
It employs approximately 1000 full-time staff in more than 60 countries and its headquarters are in Gland, Switzerland. IUCN has observer and consultative status at the United Nations, and plays a role in the implementation of several conventions on nature conservation. It was involved in establishing the World Wide Fund for Nature, in the past, IUCN has been criticized for placing the interests of nature over those of indigenous peoples. In recent years, its relations with the business sector have caused controversy. It was previously called the International Union for Protection of Nature, establishment In 1947, the Swiss League for the Protection of Nature organised an international conference on the protection of nature in Brunnen. It is considered to be the first government-organized non-governmental organization, the initiative to set up the new organisation came from UNESCO and especially from its first Director General, the British biologist Julian Huxley. At the time of its founding IUPN was the international organisation focusing on the entire spectrum of nature conservation Early years.
Its secretariat was located in Brussels and its first work program focused on saving species and habitats and applying knowledge, advancing education, promoting international agreements and promoting conservation. Providing a solid base for conservation action was the heart of all activities. IUPN and UNESCO were closely associated and they jointly organized the 1949 Conference on Protection of Nature. In preparation for this conference a list of endangered species was drawn up for the first time
Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park is located in southeastern California. Declared a U. S. National Park in 1994 when the U. S. Congress passed the California Desert Protection Act and it is named for the Joshua trees native to the park. It covers a area of 790,636 acres —an area slightly larger than the state of Rhode Island. A large part of the park, some 429,690 acres, is a wilderness area. The Little San Bernardino Mountains run through the southwest edge of the park, in 1950, the size of the park was reduced by about 265,000 acres to exclude some mining property. The park was elevated to a National Park on 31 October 1994 by the Desert Protection Act, the higher and cooler Mojave Desert is the special habitat of Yucca brevifolia, the Joshua tree for which the park is named. It occurs in patterns from dense forests to distantly spaced specimens, in addition to Joshua tree forests, the western part of the park includes some of the most interesting geologic displays found in Californias deserts. The dominant geologic features of landscape are hills of bare rock.
These hills are popular amongst rock climbing and scrambling enthusiasts, the flatland between these hills is sparsely forested with Joshua trees. Together with the piles and Skull Rock, the trees make the landscape otherworldly. Temperatures are most comfortable in the spring and fall, with an average high/low of 85 and 50 °F respectively, winter brings cooler days, around 60 °F, and freezing nights. It occasionally snows at higher elevations, summers are hot, over 100 °F during the day and not cooling much below 75 °F until the early hours of the morning. Joshua trees dominate the open spaces of the park, but in among the outcroppings are piñon pine, California juniper, Quercus turbinella, Quercus john-tuckeri. These communities are under stress, however, as the climate was wetter until the 1930s, with the same hot. These cycles were nothing new, but the vegetation did not prosper when wetter cycles returned. The difference may have been human development, cattle grazing took out some of the natural cover and made it less resistant to the changes.
But the bigger problem seems to be invasive species, such as cheatgrass, in drier times, they die back, but do not quickly decompose. This makes wildfires hotter and more destructive, which some of the trees that would have otherwise survived
Muir Woods National Monument
Muir Woods National Monument is a unit of the National Park Service on Mount Tamalpais near the Pacific coast, in southwestern Marin County, California. It is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and is 12 miles north of San Francisco and it protects 554 acres, of which 240 acres are old growth coast redwood forests, one of a few such stands remaining in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Muir Woods National Monument is an old-growth coastal redwood forest, due to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean, the forest is regularly shrouded in a coastal marine layer fog, contributing to a wet environment that encourages vigorous plant growth. The fog is vital for the growth of the redwoods as they use moisture from the fog during droughty seasons, the monument is cool and moist year round with average daytime temperatures between 40 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Rainfall is heavy during the winter and summers are almost completely dry with the exception of fog drip caused by the fog passing through the trees.
Annual precipitation in the ranges from 39.4 inches in the lower valley to 47.2 inches higher up in the mountain slopes. The redwoods grow on brown humus-rich loam which may be gravelly and this soil has been assigned to the Centissima series, which is always found on sloping ground. It is well drained, moderately deep, and slightly to moderately acidic and it has developed from a mélange in the Franciscan Formation. More open areas of the park have shallow gravelly loam of the Barnabe series, one hundred and fifty million years ago ancestors of redwood and sequoia trees grew throughout the United States. Today, the Sequoia sempervirens can be only in a narrow, cool coastal belt from Monterey, California. Before the logging industry came to California, there were an estimated 2 million acres of old growth forest containing redwoods growing in a strip along the coast. By the early 20th century, most of these forests had been cut down, just north of the San Francisco Bay, one valley named Redwood Canyon remained uncut, mainly due to its relative inaccessibility.
He and his wife, Elizabeth Thacher Kent, purchased 611 acres of land from the Tamalpais Land and Water Company for $45,000 with the goal of protecting the redwoods and the mountain above them. In 1907, a company in nearby Sausalito planned to dam Redwood Creek. When Kent objected to the plan, the company threatened to use eminent domain. Kent sidestepped the water companys plot by donating 295 acres of the redwood forest to the federal government, on January 9,1908, President Theodore Roosevelt declared the land a National Monument, the first to be created from land donated by a private individual. President Roosevelt agreed, writing back, MY DEAR MR, responding to some photographs of Muir Woods that Mr. Kent had sent him, Those are awfully good photos. Kent and Muir had become friends over shared views of wilderness preservation, in December 1928, the Kent Memorial was erected at the Kent Tree in Fern Canyon
The pinyon or piñon pine group grows in the southwestern United States and in Mexico. The trees yield edible pinyon nuts, which were a staple of the Native Americans, the name comes from the Spanish Pino piñonero, a name used for both the American varieties and the Stone Pine common in Spain, which produces edible piñon nuts typical of Mediterranean cuisine. Harvesting techniques of the prehistoric Indians are still being used to today to collect the seeds for personal use or for commercialization. The pinyon nut or seed is high in fats and calories, pinyon wood, especially when burned, has a distinctive fragrance, making it a common wood to burn in chimineas. The pinyon pine trees are known to influence the soil in which they grow by increasing concentrations of both macronutrients and micronutrients. Some of the species are known to hybridize, the most notable ones being P. quadrifolia with P. monophylla, the two-needle piñon is the official state tree of New Mexico. Genetic differentiation in the pine has been observed associated to insect herbivory.
The nuts continue to be gathered and marketed, all species of pine produce edible seeds, but in North America only pinyon produces seeds large enough to be a major source of food. The pinyon has probably been a source of food since shortly after the earliest arrival of Homo sapiens in the American southwest,12,000 or more years ago. Hunter/gatherer Indians undoubtedly collected the edible seeds, but, at least in some areas, the suitability of pinyon seeds as a staple food is reduced because of the unreliability of the harvest. Abundant crops of cones and seeds occur only every two to seven years, averaging a good crop every four years, years of high production of seed tend to be the same over wide areas of the pinyon range. In 1878, naturalist John Muir described the Indian method of harvesting pinyon seeds in Nevada, the scorching burned off the sticky resin coating the cones and loosened the seeds. The cones were dried in the sun until the seeds could be easily extracted, Muir said the Indians closely watched the pinyon trees year-round and could predict the scarcity or abundance of the crop months before harvest time.
In 1891, B. H. Dutcher observed the harvesting of pinyon seeds by the Panamint Indians in the Panamint Range overlooking Death Valley, California. The harvesting method was similar to the foregoing except that the seeds were extracted immediately after the cones had been scorched in the brushwood fire. Both the above accounts described a method of extracting the seeds from the green cones, each pinyon cone produces 10 to 30 seeds and a productive stand of pinyon trees in a good year can produce 250 pounds on 1 acre of land. An average worker can collect about 22 pounds of unshelled pinyon seed in a days work, production per worker of 22 pounds of unshelled pinyon seeds—more than one-half that in shelled seeds—amounts to nearly 30,000 calories of nutrition. That is a high yield for the effort expanded by hunter-gatherers, the pinyon seeds are high in fat, often in short supply for hunter-gatherers