Photo of Humpback Whale Feeding in Santa Barbara Channel

A Whale of a Tale

Photo of Humpback Whale Feeding in Santa Barbara ChannelOut of Ventura Harbor we sailed this past November, in pursuit of a long-held dream. My wife Kathy and I had been waiting for years to visit Santa Cruz Island, the largest of California’s Channel Islands and part of the five-island Channel Islands National Park. We spent the day hiking the island and learning about the indigenous plants and animals that inhabit this fascinating archipelago, just twenty miles from the mainland. Being scuba divers, we were especially impressed by the crystal clear waters that surrounded the island, beckoning us to return someday with our scuba gear and underwater camera.

Photo of Wally Callan on Newville Hotel porch

Game Wardens and Ghost Towns

Photo of Wally Callan on Newville Hotel porchWhile working on a sequel to Badges, Bears, and Eagles, I recently returned to my old stomping grounds near Orland, California, and the ghost town of Newville. Located twenty-two miles west of Orland, Newville thrived from the early 1850s until 1929, when all but a few buildings burned to the ground. During its heyday, Newville boasted a general store, two livery stables, two saloons, a blacksmith shop, two hotels, a post office, and at least one service station. I mention the service station because as of this week, it remains the only building left standing.

Photo of Author Steven T. Callan at Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge

Author Event at Refuge Makes Hometown News!

Photo of Author Steven T. Callan at Sacramento National Wildlife RefugeWhat an honor it was to return to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge for my author presentation and book signing last week. I enjoyed visiting this special place to speak with other wildlife enthusiasts about the importance of conserving our precious natural resources.   An added bonus was meeting Susan Meeker, a reporter for my hometown newspaper, the Glenn County Transcript.  Susan wrote a wonderful article, “Author Visits Wildlife Refuge in Willows,” for which I am very grateful.

Picture of Author Steven T. Callan planting trout for the California Department of Fish and Game

Fish Tales and Fond Memories

Picture of Author Steven T. Callan planting trout for the California Department of Fish and Game

Trout Planting Days

In 1966, as a high school graduate about to enter college, I was fortunate to find a summer job at the Mount Shasta Fish Hatchery—the oldest and probably the most beautiful operating fish hatchery in the western United States. The other seasonal aides and I found ourselves at the bottom of the proverbial food chain, so we spent most of the summer mucking fish waste out of the raceway ponds, cleaning fish troughs inside the hatchery buildings and loading fish planting trucks at six o’clock in the morning. Every Monday morning, I eagerly checked the weekly work schedule in hopes of being assigned to one of the trout planting details. Although I only planted trout once or twice that summer, I remember it as one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life.

Saving Our Precious Marine Resources

Big Sur Coastline, CaliforniaFor decades, there have been major concerns about the depletion of California’s marine resources.  In 1999, the Marine Life Protection Act was established, mandating that the California Fish and Game Commission designate marine protected areas where fish, habitat, and other priceless marine resources are allowed to recover. This statewide network was completed at the end of 2012, with 124 designated protected areas from the Oregon border to Mexico.  Specific regulations may exist for individual marine protected areas (MPAs), so contact the Department of Fish and Wildlife before fishing or conducting any type of outdoor activity in these areas.  Maps, GPS coordinates, and specific information are available.  To learn more, go to