This is the problem:
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