Outdoor Writers Association of California Tag

Setting out on our Safari West adventure, we left civilization behind. Photo by Alex Coburn.

On Safari

Setting out on our Safari West adventure, we left civilization behind. Photo by Alex Coburn.

Everyone was excited as we left civilization behind and set out on our Safari West adventure. Photo by Alex Coburn.

With camera in hand, Kathy and I have spent much of the last thirty years enjoying nature and searching for wildlife wherever we could find it. We’ve meandered through mountains, marshes, and meadows in seven states; we’ve trekked across deserts in California, Arizona, and Nevada; we’ve kayaked with great whales in Monterey Bay; and we’ve dived to the depths of the ocean in California, Hawaii, Key Largo, and the Caribbean. One place we’ve never gone in search of wildlife is Africa.

Revisiting the Eastern Sierra

Mount Whitney, the tallest mountain in the lower forty-eight states, is the peak in the background with the jagged spires. Photo by author.

My first opportunity to visit California’s magnificent Eastern Sierra came in late April 1975, while I was a young Fish and Game warden stationed on the Colorado River. During the next three and a half years, I was sent to the Eastern Sierra six more times. My assignments included working the opening weekend of trout season at Crowley Lake, the opening weekend of deer season near Walker, and covering the June Lake Loop while district warden “Bigfoot” Johnson was on vacation. Regardless the duty, I couldn’t wait to go.

Author Steven T. Callan receives the "Best Outdoor Book of 2016" award, from the Outdoor Writers Association of California, for his sequel, The Game Warden's Son.

“Best Outdoor Book of 2016” — The Game Warden’s Son

Author Steven T. Callan receives the "Best Outdoor Book of 2016" award, from the Outdoor Writers Association of California, for his sequel, The Game Warden's Son.

Outdoor Writers Association of California president Tom Martens and yours truly.

Last week, the Outdoor Writers Association of California presented me with the “Best Outdoor Book of 2016” award for my sequel, The Game Warden’s Son. What an honor to be recognized by this prestigious group of outstanding professional writers. I couldn’t be more excited!

The Middle Fork American River and Ruck-A-Chucky Falls. Photo by Eric Peach.

Rafting and Reflecting on the American River

The Middle Fork American River and Ruck-A-Chucky Falls. Photo by Eric Peach.

The Middle Fork American River and Ruck-A-Chucky Falls. Photo by Eric Peach.

When I looked at the list of outdoor activities for this year’s Outdoor Writers Association of California (OWAC) spring conference, a rafting trip down the American River practically jumped off the page. “Let’s do this!” I said to Kathy. “I haven’t rafted the American River since 1973, when I was a graduate student at Sacramento State.” I had also worked as a paid intern for the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors during that time and learned firsthand about a fledgling organization called Friends of the River. Friends of the River was mounting a campaign to stop the proposed Auburn Dam project. It seemed that certain political heavyweights were pushing to bury the breathtakingly pristine north and middle forks of the American River under several hundred feet of water. Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed and the project was eventually abandoned. Natural treasures like the American River Canyon are never completely safe, however. Like a bad cold that just won’t go away, the plan to build Auburn Dam still rears its ugly head from time to time.

Outdoor Writers Association of California President Tom Martens presents Steven T. Callan with the 2016 "Best Outdoor Magazine Column" award. Callan also won the 2014 and 2015 "Best Outdoor Magazine Column" awards.

“Best Outdoor Magazine Column” Award Third Year in a Row

Outdoor Writers Association of California President Tom Martens presents Steven T. Callan with the 2016 "Best Outdoor Magazine Column" award. Callan also won the 2014 and 2015 "Best Outdoor Magazine Column" awards.

Outdoor Writers Association of California President Tom Martens presenting me with the award. Photo by Kathy Callan.

What a thrill it was to receive the “Best Outdoor Magazine Column” award from the Outdoor Writers Association of California (OWAC) for the third year in a row, at the OWAC spring conference in Auburn. Thank you to OWAC and to the faculty of the journalism department at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, who were the judges in the competition.

Author Steven T. Callan with one of three orphaned black bear cubs, circa 1981

Those Wonderful Wildlife Caregivers

Author Steven T. Callan with one of three orphaned black bear cubs, circa 1981

Author with one of three orphaned black bear cubs, circa 1981. Photo courtesy of author

One of the more disheartening, sometimes discouraging, aspects of a wildlife officer’s job is dealing with injured, orphaned, or imprinted wildlife that cannot be released back into the wild. Wildlife rehabilitation facilities, most of them operated by dedicated volunteers, are generally equipped to care for birds and small mammals, but not for large potentially dangerous carnivores such as bears, mountain lions, and exotic big cats.