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Wilsonia Times: The Official Newsletter of Wilsonia Village Inc.
Volume 21, Issue 2 - February, 2021

Winter Planning Meeting

The Wilsonia Village Inc. Board of Directors will be holding their Winter Planning Meeting on February 27, beginning at 11 am. The meeting will be held over Zoom. If you would like to attend or participate reply to this email or send a message to
The meeting summary will be posted in the next Wilsonia Times.

Upcoming Events:

Saturday, February 27
WVI Winter Planning Meeting
11 am, on Zoom

Monday-Saturday, July 12-17
Quilters' and Crafters' Retreat

Full 2021 calendar will be announced after the Winter Planning Meeting.
The WIlsonia parking lot under a few feet of snow. Several cars are visible, almost completely covered in snow.

Cars buried under the snow on January 29, after the biggest of the storms. Photo: Dutch Scholten.

Snow Update

As of February 12, the total snowfall to date for 2020-2021 in Wilsonia is 82” (which is slightly below the average for this date of 96”). This is as recorded by Wilsonia resident Tim Christensen, a USFS employee, who measures and records the precipitation and snowfall data for the Kings Canyon Visitor Center. A series of storms from January 22 to February 3 left just under 36” of snow on the ground according to Tim’s measurements. (Other Wilsonians measured up to 48” on the ground.) With the warm, sunny weather since the 3rd, the snow has been melting, although some storms in the last few days have added a bit more. Currently there is about 9” on the ground.

If you follow Wilsonia Village on Facebook, you could have participated in a little contest to guess how much snow would be on the ground on February 3, at the end of that storm series. 28 people participated, and the winner of the contest was Lucille Martin Walter. She won a Wilsonia Village W100 mug. We may have a repeat of the contest as the next big storm (hopefully) approaches.

If you want to see how much snow is currently on the ground, Wilsonian Gerry Cargile has a snow-cam monitoring a snowstick in his yard (west of Park Road). The camera takes a still photo every five minutes from 6 am to 6 pm daily.

Burning Issues
by Mike Theune, Fire Information Officer for Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks

Welcome to the first installment of a reoccurring column in the Wilsonia Times. The goal of this column is to share information relevant to you and your family about the parks’ fire and aviation management program in a way that is conversational and open. There may be some anecdotes and humor from time to time as well.

The desire is to not make this another fire preparedness-type section re-telling you to check your smoke detectors when you change your clocks – because we all know that you did that already (hint hint). Nor will you find “breaking news” about emergencies.  So, I ask myself, where does one start when writing to a community that is already very wildfire aware and actively engaged?

For those of you that don’t know me, please allow me to introduce myself. Starting at SEKI in January 2015, I am the only full-time fire information officer based at an NPS unit – not at a regional or national office – in the National Park Service. My job is to connect you all with these parks’ stories relating to wildfires, structure fires, prescribed burns, and aviation. At the same time, I’m also the lead PIO on a California-based type-1 federal interagency incident management team, having national-level responsibilities for large scale emergencies and incidents – which means when we have a year like 2020, I’m gone a lot unfortunately.

Fire year 2020. Yes, we call them fire years now; no longer fire seasons. It’s no surprise that the Sierra Nevada, the rest of California, and even beyond are being hit by these long duration events for months on end. It’s why the defensible space that you all do around your properties is so important, but again, you already knew that. The efforts you are making continues to be a model for other areas in the National Park Service.

If you were in the area before the snowstorm in late January, you may have seen the smoke from fire crews burning the vegetation dump in Grant Grove and making more room. It’s great to see folks from the community using all  opportunities to contribute only their green waste in that spot, where we can safely and efficiently dispose of it. 

Speaking of burning issues, while we don’t have dates set yet, we are planning on conducting the Park Ridge Prescribed Burn this year. The 560-acre project located in the area north of the Wye will have smoke impacts to Wilsonia, but we will do what we can to minimize the impacts. The trade-off is this critical prescribed burn will reduce hazardous fuel loads and reduce the threat to the area from catastrophic wildfire – as demonstrated during the 2015 Rough Fire when that fire ran into the area’s recent prescribed burn footprints and stopped!

Thank you for all your time and support. Take care and stay safe.


P.S. As for the title for this section, it just seemed too good to pass up. 😊

Cabin for Sale

83793 Lily Lane
 1 Bedroom, 1.5 Bath
Modern & Fully Furnished

Contact owner:
(559) 638-9802
(559) 908-1013
In Memoriam

We are saddened to hear of our Wilsonia friends and neighbors who have passed away. We would like to mention their names and include photos in an upcoming issue.

Please reply to this email to provide any information you would like us to share with the Wilsonia community.
A display case at the Clubhouse, showing household artifacts from Wilsonia cabins.
Wilsonia Clubhouse Museum
by Jean Faszholz

The beautiful display case that Max Montgomery constructed a few summers ago is ready for this summer's viewing with some new items loaned and donated. If you have something you would like to share that pertains to the early Wilsonia time frame, even though it did not come from your cabin, contact Jean Faszholz. The big picture frames hanging on the walls of the Clubhouse each tell a story of a particular event or some historical facts of early Wilsonia. Volunteers are needed to put some more together. Some pictures and history are available for one on the horses of Wilsonia, another on President Wilson's story pertaining to the naming of Wilsonia and a reproduction of a poster of General Grant National Park. Does anyone have pictures of the General Grant Park sign? How about photos of square dancing? Or do you have an idea for a "storyboard"? We make copies of your photos so you do not have to donate them. Thanks to all who have helped with the museum, but remember that it is an ongoing project. 

Contact Jean at (510) 910-2855.

18th Annual Quilters' & Crafters' Retreat – 2021 

Are you ready for a few days of stitching, crafting and camaraderie? After this past year, we will all need to get together again. Join us at the Clubhouse for our annual retreat, Monday through Friday, July 12-16 (Saturday, July 17 is a maybe.) Doors will open at 9 am, and we’ll stay as late as we want.  A donation of $2 per person per day is used to offset the cost of electricity. This event is open to all quilters, needle workers and crafters. You may join us for as many days as will fit your schedule.

Interested in the details?

Carly Metcalf will be instructing the making of a pine cone wreath and a pine cone cross. If you are interested, you will need to prepare your pine cones ahead of time. (It’s easy.) There will be a small fee to offset the cost of supplies. Please contact Carly at (559) 573-4700 or for specifics.
Our retreat quilt project this year is going to be a block, Star(s) Over Our Cabin.  Some lucky person will win all of the blocks at the end of the retreat. We are enclosing  a fat quarter of background fabric to our regular quilters.  You may make the 12 ½” x 12 ½” unfinished block with one or more stars, or you may include a cabin with a star or stars above it.  Be creative!  But be sure your block measures 12 ½” x 12 ½” unfinished.
Bring your own project(s) and usual supplies. Please bring an extension cord for your sewing machine. We will supply two ironing boards and irons. We must limit the use of individual irons due to the limited capacity of the Clubhouse electrical panel.
Door Prizes: Please bring a jar (any size) filled with items to use in quilting or crafting. Make sure it will something you would like to win! We will draw for door prizes several times each day.

Bring your lunch to eat at the Clubhouse if you wish. This year we will have a potluck breakfast/brunch on Thursday morning. Friday morning will be Sew and Tell. Friday afternoon is cleanup.

All Wilsonians are welcome!  Even if you don’t participate, you are welcome to come see what we’re doing.  Questions?  Contact:
Mel Peters: (559) 877-5412 or (559) 335-2020 or 
Penny Burgin (559) 332-2817 or (559) 859-0294 or 

The kitchen of the Haile cabin following a bear break-in. Trash has been strewn everywhere and furniture has been upended.
A yearling bear caught in a bear trap canister.
Bear Trouble in Wilsonia
by Neal Mixter

This past fall, the village had numerous break-ins from bears. The series of problems began on September 19, at Mary Anne Smith’s cabin on Park at Sierra. The bear broke her back door latch and made a mess of her kitchen, including damaging her refrigerator beyond repair. In the following days, the culprit(s) also looted a refrigerator sitting on the porch of a cabin on North Park Road. That individual was fined by the NPS for having unsecured food. The NPS was made aware of these incidents immediately, and NPS Bear Technician Sandra Herrera brought in a bear trap and installed game cameras in the vicinity of the first break-in. Herrera reported that 4 or 5 different bears have been seen in the area: a sow with two cubs, a yearling, and a larger, possibly lighter colored bear. 

In October and November, several more break-ins occurred. One cabin outbuilding, with an empty, unused refrigerator, was damaged. Another had an exterior water heater closet broken into. After these break-ins, the trap and cameras were repositioned to the Collin cabin on Fern, the site of the outbuilding break-in. Neither the trap or cameras were able to capture any activity.

A bear also raided the recycle bin in mid-November, which had likely been filled with garbage in the absence of the dumpsters. (Please pack out your garbage until dumpster service restarts in May!)

The Haile cabin on Willow suffered three separate break-ins. The bear first broke in the front door, and thoroughly thrashed the kitchen. It returned a second time, once again breaking the recently repaired front door. At this point, the trap and cameras were moved to this location, and netted a yearling bear, although it did not appear to be the culprit, based on the size of the bear tracks at the Haile cabin. The yearling was tagged with an ear transmitter and released.

A third break-in took place at Haile’s on November 20. This time, the bear made a huge mess of the living room and found some canned foods. Paul Finck, who witnessed the mess, said “you couldn’t have destroyed the cans any better if you blasted them with a shotgun and then ran over them with a lawnmower.” The bear also made another break-in at the Collin cabin and to the Ledbetter cabin water heater closet around the same time. There have been no other reported bear break-ins since.

“You couldn’t have destroyed the cans any better if you blasted them with a shotgun and then ran over them with a lawnmower.”

The NPS was able to trap a larger female bear shortly after the last break-in. That bear was fitted with a radio collar and released. Ranger Ned Kelleher indicated that the bear was hazed (humanely) to dissuade it from returning. Bears are no longer relocated, as they are likely to return to familiar territory, especially if they know that food is readily available there. GPS tracking is prohibitively expensive, but radio tracking is sometimes used. Unfortunately, radio transmitters only work at relatively close range, they occasionally fall off when bears lose weight, and transmitter batteries eventually die.

Please remember to store your food inside, out of sight (and smell) of wildlife. Keep your garbage secured inside, or in the summer months, dispose of it in the dumpsters. Never leave garbage outside your cabin, or on top of the dumpsters. If your cabin will be empty for an extended time, remove all food. Please report all damage and break-ins to the NPS. In an emergency, call 911.

Remember: we live in the bears’ natural territory, and some encounters are inevitable. Many of these cabin owners were very responsible with food and garbage storage, and still suffered cabin break-ins. By taking these precautions, however, we can reduce damage to our cabins, and help keep the bears healthy and wild.

Cabin Classified
Cover art of Jana Botkin's book The Cabins of Wilsonia, featuring a pencil drawing of a cabin.
Ad for Paul Finck, General Contractor. Contact Paul at (559) 358-5797.
Jana is a freelance artist and compiled this wonderful book of pencil drawings of Wilsonia Village scenes. Preview and order the book here.
Paul is a Wilsonia resident, and has many work references in the village. He can be contacted at (559) 358-5797.
Want to contact a Board member? Click here for their contact information.

Do you need to pay your dues? Would you like to buy a sweatshirt? You can do both at our store.

Bear problems? Contact the NPS Bear Tech at (559) 565-4490 or Park Dispatch at (559) 565-3341.
Copyright © 2021 Wilsonia Village Inc, All rights reserved.

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