Below are comments from the late Page Perrin and VP of the CSG, Kurt Jorgensen. Adding insult to the damage already caused by this annual event are the repeated attempts to deny responsibility and to sugarcoat the truth. My comments (in parentheses) are meant to clarify the misinformation found in these public postings.
Who am I? I'm a H-5 pilot who gives a shit about the Hat Creek Rim flying site. I started flying in '74 and earned my H-5 in '84. I've been part of our club's efforts to develop the site from 1975 thru the current level of development there today. Combined, our club has thousands of volunteer hours, and thousands of dollars caring and developing the Rim. For myself, and the rest of the Hat Creek Committee, we believe firmly, and have conducted ourselves accordingly, that all decisions and actions at the site should have the wellbeing of the site and the flying community foremost. I believe that our history has shown that's exactly what we've done. I currently fly a Sport 163 and a 220 Freedom and have over 300 flights at this site. - Phil Sergent
Dear Pilots, (story by Page Perrin) Posted on OZ Report.
Since there are always two sides to every story I feel compelled to write
this post to state a different side to the recent Hat Creek Rim rant and
pictures posted by Phil Sergent.
Phil has an intense dislike for some members of the Cloud Street Gang and
his posts reflect that hatred. His purpose of getting the flying community
stirred up against the Cloud Street Gang has certainly worked. Just look at
your responses. They sound like a lynch mob.
(those negative responses represent the outrage for the actions of a handful of pilots misusing a public flying site. I do have a dislike for the condition the LZ was left in so do a lot of other pilots)
The CSG did not "trash" the LZ. The few items left were an oversight, not a
uncaring act of a bunch of slobs. They would have been picked up the next
time one of us went into the LZ and if it wasn't for Phil showing up to take
staged pictures nobody would have seen any of it anyway. It's the members of
the CSG who are mainly responsible for keeping the Rim site clean. Picking
up after the beer drinkers leave cases of cans on launch and in the LZs is
done by the people who regularly use the site, not by people who show up two
or three times a year and then make a big deal about it on their web site.
We clear the brush off the launch ramp and hand pull the star thistle from
the set up area. We pick up the trash on the road to launch. I make the
windsocks and put them up, contrary to what Phil's web site would claim to
the contrary. We just don't make a big deal out of it. I hope the irony of
the fact that the people who are accused of trashing the place are in fact
the ones who keep it spotless, isn't lost on you.
-(Didn't trash the LZ? Few items left over? Hardly! There are logs laying in the LZ, exploded and blackened ground, shards of twisted plastic, a huge hole in the ground, etc., etc.? This is hardly a few items!! As far as real maintenance to the site readers only need to go here to see who is doing the tough job of keeping this site "nice". ANY windsocks placed at the site are there because there is a use permit at the site. Without that permit no permanent windsocks would be allowed. BTW, there have never been windsocks replaced in the #3 LZ except by us and any windsocks missing anywhere else are replaced by us in April or any other time we are at the site)-
Cutting downed dead trees for our campfire isn't illegal and I'm not sure
what "resources" were supposedly damaged. As to ruts, as you can see by the
pictures when the ground thaws is turns into the consistency of loose
pudding. Although the LZ is a dry lakebed in summer, in the winter and
spring it fills up with water from snowmelt and rain. This turns the ground
into runny slop and any ruts or other imperfections tend to smooth out by
themselves. It's how the LZ got to be flat in the first place. Any ruts you
may see in summer are the result of jerks who like to drive into the LZ and
do donuts around the windsock before its has a chance to fully dry out.
-(so when others leave ruts they're jerks but when a group of pilots leave deep ruts they just disappear - wow. I'd be willing to bet that most of the trees were not down until someone cut them down and they have no business being left in a public LZ for a pilot to HIT!!)-
Yes, in 2005 the Forest Service did have a problem and we easily corrected
it to their satisfaction. Since that time we've held camping to another part
of the LZ and there hasn't been any more complaints.
-(You're right, in 2005 the FS did have problems WITH RUTS!!! We were called to repair the resource damage because we hold the permit!! I don't recall even seeing Page when we cleaned up that mess)-.
Some of the local ranchers and their families show up to enjoy the campfire
and to shoot off the fireworks they've brought also. The locals enjoy coming
and it helps maintain the excellent relationship we have with them and
promotes their continuing support of our flying at the Rim. While it may be
technically illegal, shooting off fireworks in an open field in the dead of
winter hardly constitutes a danger to the forest.
As to the logs we left, they're slated to be either flattened to make
benches for the LZ or cut up into firewood for warming fires for the pilots
to stand around while they discuss that day's glass-off flight. We do this
every year. Making big heavy benches keeps the party animals from using them
for firewood when they have their beer fests. Since nobody flies the Rim in
winter anyway, they pose no safety hazard and would be long gone by the end
of May when the winds stop blowing over the back. If it wasn't for the call
to the Forest Service they would never have been involved. All they care
about is if there's a porta-potty on launch and the place is clean. All it
did was bring a negative light to pilots in general. Believe it or not the
public just lumps us all together. Using the internet to pursue one's own
vendetta is underhanded at best.
-(We arrived a week after the event, on a weekend. There was no one there cleaning up the mess as you imply would have happened. Also, had the FS found the mess, as they did in 2005, we would have been called again to clean up this mess. Page is right about one thing, we are all lumped together by the public and Forest Service - the condition of the LZ is not something most of us want to be associated with. And I just love how Page makes up his own rules - If the forest won't burn, the laws are void, geez!! As far as leaving logs in the LZ for any amount of time, that's not subject to one individual's discretion. The LZ shall remain safe for landing year 'round per the Use Permit. The idea that the wind blows down at the Rim until May is ridiculous. There can and have been soaring flights at the Rim every month of the year!!!)-
I sure hope seeing another side to all this lets you make a more informed
decision about what went on and who the CSG really is. We take great pride
in the Rim and it's unique flying conditions. No member of our club ever has
or ever would do anything to jeopardize the flying at the Rim. Because most
of the CSG lives close enough to drive up and catch a glass-off after work
we fly the site regularly. No other club does. The flying is why I moved
here when I retired instead of to the Owens Valley or Telluride. I would
encourage you to come up and see for yourselves what the site has to offer
and what a non-impact our activities have. While I mostly like to boat
around in the glass-off, I did manage to crack off a 33 miler at Lakeview
last August, so you could say I'm a fairly active pilot. I usually get 40 to
60 hours of airtime per year, mostly here at the Rim. It's that good. I
think I saw Phil fly here once last year. I'm not a site guide, I just live
here, so please don't call me asking what the flying has been like or if
it's gonna be soarable on Aug. 24th when you're going to be here. You can
check the soarcast.com web site like I do. But, if you'd like to discuss
this thread feel free to give me a call. Best of lift to you always,
-(don't call me about conditions at the site I live at but do call me so I can explain how the pictures of a trashed LZ and illegal activity are all OK. And while I'm at it I can tell you all about what assholes those permit holders are!! Chico is a 2 and a half hour drive from the Rim and Page says they use the site after work?!?! Considering 5 hours of drive time round trip, setup, breakdown and flight time that would be a full 8 hours of time "after work" to use the site - seems like a stretch of the truth, again. To leave an LZ in this condition and to misuse the site does jeopardize the site and gives us all a bad name!!! I sure do see the other side of things and it's as disgusting as the trashed LZ)-
Kurt's post was originally posted on the Wings of Rogallo web site on 1/30/08; Here's part of that post.
I have read many of the posts here and elsewhere with increasing disbelief and alarm. I and others in our HG/PG club, the Cloud Street Gang, feel wounded and hurt by the words written in this thread or emailed directly to us. I hope the damage done not just to us, but to the increasingly small HG/PG community, is not long-lasting and permanent.
I am the Vice-President of the CSG; I was elected in 2007 to that position and re-elected in 2008. Glenn Rose is our President, not Bob Bay.
I’ll bet by writing this I and my fellow local pilots are in for more abuse, but I just can’t help but try to clarify a few misconceptions and falsehoods, and attest to the character of several who have become the undeserving targets of slander and pettiness.
First of all, I was not at the “Blue Balls” Campout, nor have I ever attended one. Maybe that was sheer luck, because I would have been there had it not been for my 3 boys’ typical Saturday wrestling tournament endure-thons that consume my winter weekends.
Here are some things to consider before you pass judgment on your fellow pilots residing in the North State (not just Chico):
1. The Blue Balls Campout was started and named 24 years ago by Phil Sergent. Having fashioned the activities (large fire pit near LZ-1, fireworks, social drinking, sled ride flight from launch) for many years following he participated in the event and its activities were acceptable to him. At some point, due at least in some part to personal conflicts, he stopped attending.
-(Kurt, you need to get your stories straight. Even after Bob posts the truth about the event above, you never did go to the flying community and tell them the truth. I had nothing to do with the creations of this event and only found out about it years after it had been going on. I did attend a few of the campouts but quit going in 1996 when the site started operating under a Special Use Permit.)-
2. Blue Balls is not a CSG event. We didn’t organize it, but some of our members participated in it. It pre-dates the CSG (see above). It is held on National Forest land and as such is usable by everyone.
-(Again, scroll up and see Bob's proud posting about who sponsors the event and you will again see Kurt just isn't being truthful)-
3. CSG members were a minority of the approximately 20 people who participated this year. There were pilots from other clubs, as well as local community members (with their kids).
-(Really? You're going to throw the local community and other clubs under the bus for an event you are responsible for holding?)-
4. We have no idea why trash was left behind. Bob Bay was the next to last person to leave. Bob told me that he offered to grab the two buckets and trash seen in the pictures, but the last guy (who I will not identify and is neither a Chico resident nor a Cloud Street Gang member) said he would grab it. Obviously leaving trash behind is completely unacceptable and is entirely regrettable. I do not recall anyone in our club ever leaving trash behind anywhere we have flown.
-(Again, Kurt can't won't accept that their club was responsible for what is shown in the photos - it's always someone else's fault with this club. Even if two buckets were pulled out by Bob, why the Hell was all the other trash and resource damage left)-
5. The wood cut down or dragged to the bonfire was all dead wood. It can’t be stated any plainer than that. There is no National Forest regulation that prohibits people from collecting dead wood surrounding their camping sites and using it for a fire. Yes, there is extra wood. See Page’s post on the Sonoma Wings site for more explanation of that.
-(that's the freshest dead wood I've ever seen, but OK let's assume it was dead and down - WHY DRAG IT OUT IN THE LZ AND LEAVE IT???)-
6. The logs are not located in the LZ, but adjacent to it. To land on it would require running into a stand of Ponderosas. We have a video of Bob Bay landing in the LZ with the logs seen at the bottom of the screen.
-(Clearly Kurt did not know the pictures above existed. The logs are clearly shown in the landable part of an already small LZ. It's one thing to make this mess, but what shows the true character of this group in the extent to which they went to deny responsibilty and to place blame on others.)-
7. The ruts are not located in the LZ, but adjacent to it. The ruts should not have been made, but at least they were not made by any CSG member. According to Page Perrin, a pilot who lives fulltime at Hat Creek, the LZ and adjacent land is a shallow lake in the Spring. The tracks will get flooded and will eventually disappear.
-( Funny, we have and email from a CSG member asking who got the award for the deepest ruts - like it was a task!!. There's no excuse that makes it OK to leave an LZ in that condition)-
Publicizing dirty laundry like this does nothing but diminish us all. Getting the Forest Service involved is a negative for us all. I sure hope you reading this didn’t send off some nasty note to the NFS in a fit of self-righteous rage.
-(this dirty laundry went public to get it stopped and only went public AFTER our attempts to handle it privately were ignored. On the subject of diminishing us all, how about trashing an LZ? This page and the pictures wouldn't be here had your group acted responsibly. And, as a matter of record, our permit does require we deal with vandalism and disorderly conduct!!)-
We must all “get along”, because there’s so few of us and flying sites are getting rarer. You can be absolutely confident that CSG members will not allow anything like this to happen again at an event they participate in.
-(even in ending his letter, Kurt just can't admit the truth; "this will never happen again at an event they participate in." How about this never happening again at an event your club organizes and sponsors???)-
Kurt Jorgensen #85001