So Long Becky and Bill

June, 2014






So Long Becky and Bill

Long-time Sierra Club hike leader Becky (Lina) Kent passed away on April 15 at the age of 84. At her memorial service, one of her daughters read Becky’s self-penned eulogy. Several North Group members recalled backpacking hikes she had led, as well as less-strenuous outings closer to her McKinleyville home. Among her favorites were the Patrick’s Point State Park Rim Trail, Trinidad State Park, and Lyon’s Ranch and Skunk Cabbage Trail mushroom hikes in Redwood National Park, as well as Mother’s Day rambles in Prairie Creek State Park and New Year’s Day walks along the Hammond Trail, capped by a potluck at her house. Born in Calgary, Becky moved to San Diego, where she received degrees in music—a lifelong love--and nursing. After the death of her first husband, she joined the Sierra Club and led wilderness outings. In the mid-1990s, she moved to Humboldt with her second husband and continued leading hikes, as well as serving as North Group membership chair. In August 2006, she contracted Lyme disease from a tick bite while picking blackberries at the Blue Lake Fish Hatchery, which recurred and contributed to her death.

Bill Knight, North Coast outings chair and long-time hike leader, passed away April 24 after a struggle with cancer. Bill was an avid backpacker who loved the outdoors, particularly the North Coast. He had hoped to recover enough from his illness to end his days among his beloved redwoods and dunes, but that did not happen. Bill was an outgoing, adventurous spirit who loved to travel and had lived in such exotic places as Africa, India, and New Zealand. Yet he always said that his favorite place to live and hike was the North Coast. A favorite hike was from Manila Dunes to the Mad River, but he also loved Big Lagoon (for hiking and paddling) and Tall Trees. He was happy that he had scaled back his life to enjoy nature and hike, and the rewards he got from this far exceeded anything money (or prestige) was worth. His enthusiasm for the outdoors led him to give up a lucrative, demanding career to spend more time outside. Bill was in his late 40s when he passed and will be greatly missed by the many whose lives he touched.



Help Support
Campers This Summer
North Group’s Lucille Vinyard/Susie Van Kirk Environmental Education Fund has been providing camping experiences for children in Humboldt, Del Norte, and western Trinity counties for the past 20 years. Our goal this year is to send four children to overnight nature camps in Orick: two to Towering Trees & Tidepools for grades four and five and two to Redwoods Ecology for grades six through eight. The camps in Redwood National and State Parks are operated by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.

EcoNews readers are invited to help fund campers by sending a check payable to “North Group Environmental Education Fund” to North Group at PO Box 238, Arcata CA 95518.



Science Projects Receive Awards
For the eighth year, North Group sponsored an award at the annual Humboldt County Science Fair held in mid March.

The $50 first-place award went to “Fresh Water from the Sea” by Ava Killoran, a 7th-grader at Pacific Union School in Arcata. She built a solar desalination device using funnels, drinking straws, modeling clay, coins, cling wrap, and a heat lamp to investigate how much fresh water it would produce. She hypothesized that higher temperatures and larger surface areas would be more effective at removing salt. Ava tested the device at two temperatures: 80 and 90 degrees F. She found that the average yield at 90 degrees was triple that obtained at 80 degrees. She also tested two sizes of desalination boxes, discovering that the box that was three times larger yielded four times the fresh water. Ava sent an ingenious pop-up thank-you card to North Group, informing us that she had been selected to take her project to the California State Science Fair in Los Angeles in May.

A $25 second-place prize was awarded to “Cloudy with a Chance of Radiation” by Oliver Grant, a 7th-grader from Petrolia who attends Mattole Charter School. The purpose of his research was to discover whether West Coast residents were in danger from radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster. He wanted to find out whether rumors of seashore and seafood radiation were true. Oliver predicted that he would find no dangerous levels of radiation during Geiger counter readings of seafood, soil, homegrown food, regional produce, and air. He took measurements at home (carrots, celery, mushrooms, bananas, asparagus, raw milk, canned tuna/salmon, fresh albacore, coconut oil), the beach (plants, fire pit, car tire, bird carcasses, sand, shells, rope, beach wall boulders, salt residue, air), and the fish market (ling cod, ahi, two types of oysters, albacore, crab). As he predicted, no dangerous radiation levels were found. Oliver also sent North Group a thank-you note.




The North Group offers the following hikes during April and May. All our hikes are open to the public. Contact hike leaders for more information:

Sunday, June 8 — Prairie Creek State Park, Friendship Ridge Hike. 8 miles, medium difficulty. Loop route includes redwoods, flowers, views, waterfalls, possibly elk. Some steep, rough, soggy sections. Bring food, water, hiking footwear. No dogs. Carpools: 9 a.m. Arcata Safeway parking lot. 10:30 a.m. Fern Canyon Trailhead (exit Davison Rd. off Hwy. 101). Leader Melinda, (707) 668-4275.
Rain cancels.

Thursday, June 26 — Trinity Wilderness Canyon Creek Hike. 9 miles, medium difficulty. Out and back past creek, meadows, cliffs to meadows above Lower Falls. Bring lots of food and water, sun protection, hiking boots. Carpools: 7:30 a.m. Blue Lake 1st & G St. 10 a.m. Canyon Creek Trailhead (13.5 mi. N of Junction City on County Road 401). By reservation only. Leader Melinda, (707) 668-4275 or

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