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#224169 - 05/23/11 10:40 PM Fairy Tales on ETS
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7705
Loc: southern Cal
This is the problem: http://www.equipped.com/0601rescue.htm
Having done a bit of research, I believe this account is fabricated. How can we dis the media when we are posting fiction on ETS?

The account, "Lessons Learned So Near, Yet So Far" by Chris Kavanaugh, doesn't make any sense to me.

I was the park archaeologist at Channel Islands National Park from January 1985 until January 1, 2001, when I retired. Since then I have been a sometime volunteer and contractor, maintaining close ties to the staff there, particularly in the early years of the decade. For one thing, the name of Chris Kavanaugh was completely unknown to me until I discovered this forum, sometime around 2003.

The year is not given in the account, but it occurred during the month of May. Since CK initiated a thread "just back from the island," on 06/12/01 at 8:14 PM, I believe 2001 is year of the misadventure.

In order to be sure, I just check with my former boss to see if somehow this event had happened and I had somehow missed it. She also had never heard of this story or the name of Chris Kavanaugh, nor do the names of any of the other participants ring a bell with either of us.

Several things do not ring true. If someone is working on a Park Service project ("Park Service job"), you would be traveling on Park Service transportation, either the concessionaire, Island Packers, a Park Service boat, or an NPS chartered plane, not a private boat. You would certainly not be traveling separate from your supplies, especially your drinking water. I have never heard of any exceptions to this, for anyone, on any project on the park islands - for clear and obvious reasons.

Why is the specific island not named? If anyone happens to know, please inform me. The normal landings on the islands have something like signs, piers, and information. Most of these are also close to natural water sources, although in May they might have been dry?

More telling is the description of the project as an "excavation." I can assure you that archaeological excavations do not occur overnight. If this dig was projected for May, 2001, I would surely have been aware of it while still working in the park. We did carry out work on Santa Rosa Island in the spring of 2001, and I can assure you that Chris Kavanaugh and his cohorts were not there, because I was, along with many from the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

The more I read of CK's tale, the more suspicious I become. Note that in his story, he grabs a Sawyer Extractor Kit, a item that assumes pivotal importance in the ensuing tale. The point is, there are no poisonous creatures on the island (the water is a different story), but a kit for venomous critters is hardly necessary for the field archaeologist. I worked there very happily for many years without one..

I object to fairly tales masquerading as the truth on ETS. There are plenty of good, authentic stories which can be profitably analyzed without creating fiction. And with this whopper on our website, we can hardly fault the big time media for their errors. Evidently we did not fully vet this tale either.

And finally, the NPS is owed an apology. I can guarantee that the NPS is not a perfect outfit, but they definitely do keep better track of groups on the island than this story would lead you to believe. Groups are sent out adequately supplied, food, water, and radio, and these days, quarters that to a grizzled old field hand like myself, seem borderline luxurious.

If I have gotten my facts twisted, please let me know, but I would appreciate specifics - what island, what project, and just when did this occur?


Edited by Alan_Romania (05/25/11 12:06 AM)
Edit Reason: Fixed hyperlink
Geezer in Chief

#224173 - 05/23/11 11:14 PM Re: Fairy Tales on ETS [Re: hikermor]
Hikin_Jim Offline

Registered: 10/12/07
Posts: 1804
Loc: Southern California
Any response from the "powers that be" here on ETS?

Adventures In Stoving

#224175 - 05/23/11 11:22 PM Re: Fairy Tales on ETS [Re: hikermor]
Hikin_Jim Offline

Registered: 10/12/07
Posts: 1804
Loc: Southern California
Just looking back through the annals of ETS, it seems like Chris dropped out of sight under "unusual" circumstances some time ago.

Adventures In Stoving

#224180 - 05/24/11 12:10 AM Re: Fairy Tales on ETS [Re: ]
Richlacal Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 02/11/10
Posts: 778
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
I've seen his name registered here about 2 months ago,though no writing in & As I recall His Apartment bldg burnt down,Somewhere in the realm of Santa Barbara ways & after that Doug announced his departure from Sheriff duties!I also recall some many stories of time spent in The Borrego badlands on digs there,& He definitely knows the area very well as,His writings depicted area's I was familiar with.He was a Well spoken Man with much Knowledge,& I beleive he would correct any misgivings,should he read the above.There should be No conclusion till he has been heard from!

#224181 - 05/24/11 12:21 AM Re: Fairy Tales on ETS [Re: hikermor]
comms Offline

Registered: 07/23/08
Posts: 1502
Loc: Mesa, AZ
I retract my comment in the other thread. I know now of which article and person you speak of.
Don't just survive. Thrive.

#224189 - 05/24/11 01:55 AM Re: Fairy Tales on ETS [Re: hikermor]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 3116
Loc: Alberta, Canada
I have no idea if that particular story was a tall tale. I leave that to wiser heads than mine.

I do know that CK made many useful contributions to this forum. We should keep that firmly in mind.

#224196 - 05/24/11 03:47 AM Re: Fairy Tales on ETS [Re: dougwalkabout]
MDinana Offline

Registered: 03/08/07
Posts: 2201
Loc: Beer&Cheese country
I think there's all good points in this thread.

Yeah, CK dropped off and Blast picked up the reins. But the OP's been around long enough to have known that and probably been involved in threads with CK.

It would be interesting to hear an official comment on the post. I don't think we really need to know why CK had to drop his moderator duties.

#224208 - 05/24/11 08:02 AM Re: Fairy Tales on ETS [Re: hikermor]
ducktapeguy Offline

Registered: 03/28/06
Posts: 358
I'm not entirely surprised. I always thought some of his posts should have had some sort of disclaimer like they use on movies. "Inspired by actual events" or something like that. I just assumed there was quite a bit of embellishment for entertainment purposes. There isn't a much Doug could do to have prevented this, I think people just have to take what they read with a grain of salt, regardless of how many posts the person has or if they're a moderator or not.

Hey, it's the internet, half the people on it are Navy Seals/Special Forces, but somehow find the time to spend most of their day arguing on online forums. You just have to remember the old saying, "Don't believe anything you hear, and only half of what you see". When it comes to forums, I'd guess 95% of it is regurgitated information taken from other online forums or old wives tales.

#224223 - 05/24/11 03:56 PM Re: Fairy Tales on ETS [Re: ducktapeguy]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7705
Loc: southern Cal
I am afraid you are spot on about the general level of discussion on the typical internet site, but ETS is not a typical internet site, especially with respect to the survival stories which are some of it best features. They are intended to be factual accounts of real world occurrences from which valid lessons can be learned to improve the actions of others who will be confronted with similar situations.

Some of you have commented on CK's fine services as a moderator and the puzzling circumstances under which he left ETS. Others have voiced suspicions about some of his stories; I concur; at times, his tales seemed just a little too pat. Nontheless,I would certainly agree that CK was an excellent moderator, maintaining positive discourse on a site that generally provides solid, useful information.

I have held off making this post for some time, hoping that someone might provide particulars which would resolve the inconsistencies in CK's tale, allowing us all to hold hands and walk into a glowing sunset, singing gloriously...

It ain't gonna happen. CK's story is a complete fabrication. There has never been an archaeological project remotely like the one he describes at Channel Islands National Park, ever, and especially not at the time he describes - May of 2001. The more I check out facts, the more improbable and contrived it clearly becomes.

This fabrication is completely at odds with the cornucopia of useful and relevant data and information characteristic of the rest of ETS. Its presence, although not prominent, besmirches and degrades this very fine site.

"Mr. Ritter, tear down this story!" (with apologies to Ronald Reagan).
Geezer in Chief

#224227 - 05/24/11 05:05 PM Re: Fairy Tales on ETS [Re: hikermor]
Blast Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3760
Loc: TX
Well, this is a bit of a bad pickle, isn't it?

It is very disturbing to hear that that CK's story doesn't match any records/memories from that time, especially since that was one of the stories that really drew me in to ETS. I can imagine all who read it pictured themselves replacing CK as the level-headed hero of the story, saving the day and earning the affection of the cute co-ed. perhaps those very plot developments should have been a sign. Survival is rarely as "Hollywood" as that.

My boundries as Sheriff end at the forumn's edge. Beyond that it falls to Doug, who is a wise man. I ask that you give him time to act upon this information and trust his response.

Foraging Texas
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