Books by David Carle CLICK ON COVERS FOR BOOK DETAILS CARLE grew up in Orange County, California, received his bachelors degree at UC Davis in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology and a masters degree from CSU Sacramento in Recreation and Parks Administration.  He was a ranger in California State Parks for 27 years; including the Mendocino Coast, Hearst Castle, the Auburn State Recreation Area (in the gold country of the Sierra foothills), and the State Indian Museum in Sacramento. From 1982 through 2000, at the Mono Lake Tufa State Reserve, he shared the unit ranger position with his wife, participating in the long effort to protect that Eastern Sierra inland sea from the effects of stream diversions to Los Angeles.  He taught biology and natural history courses at Cerro Coso Community College, the Eastern Sierra College Center in Mammoth Lakes.

You can e-mail David Carle at






May 15, 2018 by Phalarope Press

214 pages, 45 photos/sketches and 13 maps or order from Phalarope Press,

ISBN-13: 978-1987736434 ISBN-10: 1987736435


When Allexey Waldemar von Schmidt lived in California, from 1849 through 1906, the young state developed a reputation as a society of innovators and energetic problem-solvers.  Von Schmidt was a surveyor and civil engineer, an involved citizen of San Francisco, a father and husband, and a pioneer whose triumphs and tragedies enlarged the California Dream.  This biography is the first comprehensive telling of his life and of his leadership in the shaping of 19th century California. 

“No undertaking seems too grand for his vigorous grasp.  The stamp of success seems to be indelibly impressed upon all his undertakings …the result of fertility of resource and indomitable perseverance.”  Daily Alta California, August 24, 1870

My father always thought he was the first white man to look down from the top of the mountains into Yosemite Valley.  I recall his telling us children:  I said, boys, we’ll stop here for grub, although it is only eleven o’clock, while I make a sketch of those beautiful falls.”  Lily von Schmidt Tilden, 1906 the 38th Parallel: A Water Line around the World

by David Carle and Janet Carle

published April 2013 by University of California Press

UC Press or Barnes & Noble or

also as an Ebook at Google books;through UC Press (Adobe PDF format); or in Nook (B&N) or Kindle (Amazon) formats

Between extremes of climate farther north and south, the 38th North parallel line marks a temperate, middle latitude where human societies have thrived since the beginning of civilization. It divides North and South Korea, passes through Athens and San Francisco, and bisects Mono Lake in the eastern Sierra Nevada, where authors David and Janet Carle make their home. Former park rangers, the authors set out on an around-the-world journey in search of water-related environmental and cultural intersections along the 38th parallel. This book is a chronicle of their adventures as they meet people confronting challenges in water supply, pollution, wetlands loss, and habitat protection. At the heart of the narrative are the riveting stories of the passionate individuals—scientists, educators, and local activists—who are struggling to preserve some of the world's most amazing, yet threatened, landscapes.

Traveling largely outside of cities, away from well-beaten tourist tracks, the authors cross Japan, Korea, China, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Greece, Sicily, Spain, Portugal, the Azores Islands, and the United States—from Chesapeake Bay to San Francisco Bay. The stories they gather provide stark contrasts as well as reaffirming similarities across diverse cultures. Illustrated with photos from the authors’ travels, Traveling the 38th Parallel documents devastating environmental losses but also inspiring gains made through the efforts of dedicated individuals working against the odds to protect these fragile places.

David and Janet's travels are described, along with hundreds of color photographs, at the Parallel Universe 38N blog


THE GOOSE, July 2014: "Beyond [its] informative value, Traveling the 38th Parallel [is] very much [a] tribute to the joys of travel and the richness of learning firsthand from place. ...something like pressing your nose against the glass of an all-youcan-eat buffet —you’ll finish with a longing to get your feet wet, and push away from shore." -- Sandy M. Bonny, University of Saskatchewan

CHOICE, October, 2013: "The stories are inspiring, sometimes heartbreaking, and should whet the appetite for more information about the history and environment of the areas.  Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates and general readers.   --R. C. Hedreen, Southern Connecticut State University"

Goodreads, August 11, 2013: “The perfect combination of arm-chair travelogue and environmental treatise. I learned as I joined them on their journey, and I saw things I will most likely never see. I came away with an important message: It is the power of place that moves us to do things we might never have considered doing, like standing up for the environment against incredible odds. It is the power of one that truly makes a difference. Thank you, David and Janet, for reminding me of this.” Debbie Boucher, author of Oblivia, Back to Normal, and Millennial Fears

Skift'sTop 5 Smart Travel Reads of Summer of 2013: Skift Take: A...fascinating geological premise of this travelogue: exploring the faultlines of water shortage, pollution and environment and the human stories that emerge out of them, beyond the news headlines. An ode to fragile places and the people trying to rescue themHere's the link to Skift

From Foreword Reviews, Spring 2013, pages 20, 21: David and Janet Carle illuminate an environmental discussion on waterways and wetlands with accounts of their travel across the Northern Hemisphere. The authors acknowledge the complexities of these issues while also recognizing the many like-minded people around the world who are working to address the issues in meaningful and sustainable ways. .The authors are passionate about preserving the diversity and richness of the natural world and are attuned to the complexities of related issues. ...[teaching] us much about what we need to be doing—and why it is vitally important to care.” Kristen Rabe

Sanctuare, Quintessential Hideaways travel blog, April 4, 2013: “What a great organizational device for a fascinating book.” at

We gave a slide talk at the California Parks Conference in March, 2013, and received a glowing endorsement by retired Park Superintendent and Parks Resources Chief Bud Getty, who told the audience that “TRAVELING THE 38TH PARALLEL, A WATER LINE AROUND THE WORLD is not just a good read, but an important work, maybe the new SILENT SPRING (by Rachel Carson) of our time.

"A Grand Adventure," Mammoth Times, Feb. 17, 2013,  Here's the Mammoth Times link: "Who would have thought something as seemingly mundane as
 a number could underlie much of the world’s most productive cultures? That is what local authors and former Mono Lake rangers David and Janet Carle 
found when they set out four years ago to walk around the world following the same latitude that their home—Mono Lake—lies on—the 38th parallel.    
...a lucid, well-written book that moves the reader from the salty shores of Mono Lake to the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea with equal ease.
 It reads more like an adventure novel than a non-fiction travel book, and includes stories about people from around the world.  "These stories remind the
 reader that humanity is related by more than just similar DNA, but also by dreams, worries, and challenges that are often mirrors of each other."      
Wendilyn Grasseschi,
"Regardless of our differences, all humans share an utter dependency on water. We will run out of oil eventually, but if we allow reason to
 prevail, we need not run out of water. This beautiful book both reveals the threat to our water resources and gives us hope. Read it for 
your sake and your children’s sake.”  -James Lawrence Powell, author of Dead Pool 
David and Janet Carle's journey along the 38th parallel turned into something quite different- an exploration of diverse global environments, of exploitation and heroic efforts at renewal
 with long-term planning forrecovery. This is a treasure of a book that provides both hope and foodfor thought. Everyone who cares about the future of our environmentshould read this
 remarkable volume.” -Brian Fagan, author of Elixir: A History of Humans and Waterand Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara

"The 38th Parallel is a compelling read with wonderful tension between the environmental problems- the true reason for their journey- and the  extraordinary sights they encounter following the 38th parallel. Pushed off the typical tourist path, David and Janet Carle's striking account of their journey addresses larger issues of deforestation, pollution and degradation of the land." -Dean MacCannell, author of The Tourist and The Ethics of Sightseeing

"David and Janet Carle's journey along the 38th parallel provides a unique approach to exploring the world's struggle to maintain water resources. Their exploration of diverse cultures and landscapes combines wonderfully with their well-considered examination of water issues." -Robin Grossinger, Senior Scientist at the San Francisco Estuary Institute

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The Spotting Scope

a mystery novel

Phalarope Press

210 pages, softcover, published April 2012

ISBN-10: 1475200544 ISBN-13: 978-1475200546


also at or Barnes & Noble and as a Kindle E-book


I thought I was in the forever business. National and state parks are supposed to preserve special places for all time. A certain job security had always gone along with that idea if you were a park ranger. But I've learned to never say forever.” Jack Morgan had been a park ranger at Saline Lake until the National Monument was shut down by a Congress determined to push back against environmentalism. Leading a search for a 17-year old boy hiking alone in the Sierra Nevada mountains, Jack uncovers connections with a dead man on the shore of Saline Lake, bludgeoned with a birdwatcher's spotting scope. Tensions build in the local community as Jack's knowledge of the landscape reveals a murderous plot that may end his own life, fueled by the inflammatory rhetoric of "People First!" radicals.


From the Inside Flap

"The Spotting Scope is an apt title for a novel focusing with vivid clarity on sharply escalating tensions following a murder. Ex-park ranger David Carle draws on deep knowledge of the terrain and the people who live in it to create a plot where spiraling suspense feels as natural as the surrounding wilderness. I was taken by how clean and clear the writing was, easing from good-natured wit into the darkness of murder and anger unleashed as warring parties hunt a killer.  ""
                     Kirk Russell, author of Redback
and the John Marquez series


"The Spotting Scope is...great! It's a murder mystery ...set near a lake much like Mono, and it draws on his experience as a ranger and an environmentalist in the Eastern Sierra. Even if you don't read murder mysteries ( I don't) you will like this one."    Debbie Boucher, Goodreads

From, a 5 star review: A new Edward Abbey? May 30, 2012 ; By Roscoe A tautly written mystery with an environmental theme. Remind you of anyone? I read this book in two evenings and couldn't put it down. For those of us who enjoyed and miss Abbey's perspective on the environment, as expressed in his fiction, this is a voice we should listen to. Like Abbey, Dave Carle was a park ranger, though for an entire career. He knows the eastern Sierra country and its politics having written a compelling history of water development in California. He projects the current conservative trend toward access to publically held resources to it's logical conclusion, the return of National Parks to local control and the dedesignation of Wilderness to allow private development. Pretty scary stuff, not to mention a double murder and a very realistic search and rescue operation. I really enjoyed this book and hope Carle continues to mine this vein.

From Midwest Book Review, Sept. 2012, “Vogel's Bookshelf”: Environmentalism has many enemies, and some may be out for blood. "The Spotting Scope" follows ex-park ranger Jack Morgan as Saline Lake's protection as a National park is removed and he finds himself leading a search for a lost teenager in the Sierra Nevada mountains. But his search evolves into something more, as there may be those who will do anything for profit, even murder. "The Spotting Scope" is an environmentalism influenced novel of adventure and mystery, worth considering for fans of the genre.

From “Toiyabe Trails,” Spring 2013: "The [Spotting Scope] doesn’t lack for action. I found myself fully engaged in the hunt for our missing “person of interest” high in the Sierra and worrying about who was going to be found on the shoreline of ancient “Saline Lake.” The story [shows] the complex motives of people and their view of the lands they love and also use to make a living. The book is well paced -­-­ you won’t want to put it down until the end."......Dennis Ghiglieri Visit to Mono Lake

a children's book

by Monica Jones with David Carle

Phalarope Press

32 pages, softcover, published November 2011

26 color photographs, 1 map

ISBN-13: 978-1467953245; ISBN-10: 1467953245

Now available online at and or Barnes & Noble

Salty water, tufa towers, brine shrimp, and birds are some of the things 9-year old Monica Jones learned about from rangers at Mono Lake. Her book explains the basic natural environment of California's beautiful inland sea and nearby tourist sites.

Written for 4th grade level readers and up, this is a great souvenir for every visitor to Mono Lake.


Monica Jones' voice was chosen by David Carle for this introduction to Mono Lake for elementary school children and adults.


Phalarope Press

226 pages, softcover, first published November 2010

ISBN/EAN13: 1475069812 / 9781475069815 , Library of Congress Control Number: 2010915725
NOW AVAILABLE at or Barnes & Noble and as as a KINDLE E-book

Between 1934 and 1941, the City of Los Angeles sent 2,000 men to work on aqueducts and an 11-mile tunnel beneath volcanic craters in the Mono Lake Basin of the Eastern Sierra. MONO tells the story of biologist Justin Hearth, as he surveys the waters of the Mono Lake watershed, falls in love with that landscape, and also with Alisa Stohler. Her family was forced from a farm in the Owens Valley in 1930 and is now caught up in changes brought by the distant city's unending thirst for growth. This historical fiction explores the minds and hearts of a generation shaped by the Great Depression and facing the threat of world war. MONO confronts the question, “What were they thinking back then, as choices were made that endangered Mono Lake and its tributary streams?”

Mammoth Times, December 2010: "'Full as an egg,' describes the satisfaction after reading..."Mono."  [That Cornish miners'] expression...typifies the way Carle built believability...with period specific language, historical facts and setting." --Leslie Willoughby

Midwest Book Review, June 2011: "Mono" is a novel with an environmental slant as author David Carle tells a story of biologist Justin Hearth, as he finds love and the environment is under conflict by the aqueducts that are being built in Depression era Los Angeles. Creating...a romance while investigating the value of the environment during the rough times of the depression, "Mono" is an interesting and recommended read.

Toiyabe Trails, Summer 2011: “Carle introduces us to people whom most of us have met before. They are the ones who persevere inthe face of overwhelming odds. Those who do what they have to do despite the powerful forces which are arrayed opposing them and end up achieving things even they never expected. Pick up Carle’s book and you’ll enjoy getting to know them again.— Dennis Ghiglieri\

The four books about Water, Air, Fire, and Earth in California are in a sub-series of the California Natural History Guides: "CALIFORNIANS AND THEIR ENVIRONMENT." According to UC Press, books in this sub-series are "the definitive guides to understanding human influences on the state's ecology and natural resources."

"As environment and society, California depends upon premises of earth, air, water, and fire. Explicating the intricacies of these elements as they function on their own and in the web of life, David Carle—briefly and with unassuming elegance—introduces us to the basic requirements of our continuing existence on this Planet and, in the process of so doing, suggests for California a shared social stewardship of sustainability."—Kevin Starr, University of Southern California to Earth, Soil, and Land in California

August 2010 UC Press catalog Barnes & Noble

"David Carle has produced another gem of a book that should be in easy reach of every lover of California, along with its companion volumes on air, fire, and water. Introduction to Earth, Soil and Land in California is a portable encyclopedia—fun to read and filled with photos and facts about everything from earthworms to earthquakes to Earth Day."—Peter Moyle, author of Inland Fishes of California

Fresno Bee, November 2010: Somehow, he made earthworms and other stuff interesting From my growing stack of unread and often very technical books, I unexpectedly became consumed with [this] little paperback... It's a fascinating look at the land in California. Carle takes us from earthworms to mountain tops. He explains how this amazing ecosystem functions, and he does it in an understandable way. Best of all, there are lots of photographs. Carle has written guides on air, fire and water. His work goes on my recommended list. Mark Grossi

Mountain Democrat, November 2010: “You wouldn't believe what can be found in a teaspoon of dirt.” Michael Raffety,

From UC Press: A fascinating exploration of one more primary element of the natural world—the land beneath our feet. From earthworms and earthquakes to Earth Day, this concise, engaging guide is a multifaceted primer on the literal foundation of California’s environment. Carle tells how soil ecosystems function, discusses what lives in the soil, and examines various soil types. He then turns to the relationship between humans and the land, and investigates the various uses and abuses that land in California endures: large scale agriculture, mining, and development, as well as fires, floods, and erosion. The guide also details the history of land use in the state, making it an essential resource for understanding our total reliance on soil, the marvelous substrate that is the basis of life.

--Covers the entire state, including California’s wildlands, farmland, cities, and landfills
--Assesses California’s ecological footprint on planet Earth
--Discusses many different life forms found in soil, including bacteria, fungi, insects, and mammals
--Features 92 color photographs and 18 maps

Introduction to FIRE IN CALIFORNIA in July, 2008, by University of California Press. UC Press catalog webpage webpage or Barnes & Noble

"Carle does an excellent job of telling complex social, biological, and physical stories in a way that makes them not only accessible, but also interesting."–Neil G. Sugihara, coeditor of Fire in California's Ecosystems

"A welcome contribution to the California Natural History Guides series that integrates the natural and cultural history of fire in California in an engaging style."–James K. Agee, author of Steward's Fork and Fire Ecology of Pacific Northwest Forests


Natural Hazards Observer, November 2008: "A primer not only for Californians, but for anyone interested in wildland fire hazards. What's actually burning when something burns? How do the physics of fire work? How do forest, grass, and chaparral fires behave differently? Carle answers these questions and more thoroughly and entertainingly."

California State Park Rangers Association newsletter, The WAVE, November-December 2008: "Dave Carle's book comes just in time. It's compact, concise, and a great read. It is lavishly illustrated and comprehensive...must reading for Californians who live in what is known as the wildland-urban interface. The bibliography indicates the author's careful research, indeed mastery, of the subject." Robert Pavlik

Pacific Horticulture, October, 2008: "The University of California Press continues to put out an exceptional series of introductory texts and field guides to the natural history of the Golden State. This latest could not be more timely. Following (hot) on the heels of his introductions to Air and Water, David Carle has addressed the subject that is on everyone’s minds this year—fire in the state’s forests, chaparral, grasslands, and, most importantly, along the urban wildland interface. ...Carle helps us to understand the critical role that fire plays in nearly all the state’s—and the West’s—plant communities and, in turn, to understand our need to develop, build, and landscape in ways that will accommodate the inevitable fires without resulting in unnecessary loss of life and property. An ...Introduction to Fire in California should be required reading for all those living in close proximity to potentially flammable landscapes." Richard G Turner Jr, editor

BayNature, October-December 2008: "The thorough reader will be rewarded with an understanding of forest fire as a natural and necessary phenomenon that shapes California's ecosystems as dramatically as it does the lives of those in its path. Given the current focus on the destructive power of fire, you may find this is a timely perspective." Laura Hautala

Chico Enterprise-Record, July 24, 2008: FIRE IN CALIFORNIA, WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW: -- "The chapter on "Getting Ready: Life on the Edge" is worth the price of admission. It diagrams creating a defensible space around your home and what to do during a fire evacuation . . . . One way to thank the firefighters and volunteers is to become more informed about fire. This book will help."

East Bay Express, July 30, 2008: "THAT'S HOT:  Like a scary souvenir of 2008, David Carle's Introduction to Fire in California, new from UC Press, explains how and why. A pyro would slaver over its pictures, including one of Richard Nixon — in neatly pressed slacks, necktie, and button-down shirt — hosing down his roof during the 1961 Bel Air fire."

Palo Alto Online, August 13, 2008: "ABOUT WILDFIRES ... It seems timely, with the sun obscured by smoke from statewide wildfires this summer, for the University of California Press to publish Introduction to Fire in California... a small, sturdy field guidebook, except that fire, not birds or trees, is the subject. Richly illustrated, it tells everything readers need to know about wildfires: how they spread and what their effects are."


KVMR Radio, Nevada City, "Booktown," July 21, 2008:

Michael Olson's syndicated radio show "Along the Food Chain," July 26, 2008:

Peter Laufer's Washington Monthly on the Radio, August 3, 2008:

Capital Public Radio, "Insight," July 28, 2008 (second half of hour):


PUBLISHER'S DESCRIPTION: What is fire? How are wildfires ignited? How do California's weather and topography influence fire? How did the California Indians use fire? In the spirit of his highly acclaimed Introduction to Air in California and Introduction to Water in California, David Carle now turns to another fundamental element of the natural world, giving a fascinating and concise view of this complex topic. His clearly written, dramatically illustrated book will help Californians, including the millions who live near naturally flammable wildlands, better understand their own place in the state's landscape. Carle covers the basics of fire ecology; looks at the effects of fire on wildlife, soil, water, and air; discusses fire fighting organizations and land management agencies; explains current policies, and explores many other topics.

91 color illustrations and 15 maps

o Tips on what to do before, during, and after fires

o An overview of major wildfires in California's history

o A discussion of the effect of climate change on fires in natural landscapes

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Introduction to AIR IN CALIFORNIA October 2006 by University of California Press UC Press online catalog webpage or Barnes & Noble


"Before you take another breath, find out everything you need to know about what's in your air. David Carle has made California's most complicated environmental resource problem accessible and interesting."    --Mary D. Nichols, Director, UCLA Institute of the Environment; former Chair Calif. Air Resources Board; former Asst. Admin. of Air and Radiation, U.S. EPA; former California Secretary for Resources.


Los Angeles Times, January 14, 2007: "Elegantly written, copiously researched and illustrated, this is a Baedeker of the atmosphere, a guide not just to the sky's corpus but also to its soul."

San Luis Obispo Tribune, Dec. 10, 2006: "A fascinating look at how weather patterns, geography and pollution impact the air we breathe. Don’t be thrown off by the title. This book tackles some weighty subjects. ...Carle’s guide to air and all its aspects — climate, pollution and flight — is ideal for budding weather watchers, nature lovers and environmentalists."

Mammoth Times, Dec. 7, 2006: "Carle's style is friendly and most importantly, digestible. . . . The guide gives some good food for thought."

East Bay Express, Nov. 22, 2006: "Shopping for someone about whom you know virtually nothing? In such blind-date cases you're no better off giving books than giving antlers or a syringe, but go for the universal. Everyone breathes, right? Try David Carle's Introduction to Air in California (University of California, $16.95)."

KVMR Radio, Nevada City, on the show "Booktown" on Nov. 27, 2006. Listen to the interview at:

KQED public radio's program "Forum," Nov. 22, 2006, included an interview with David Carle about both books: Introduction to Air in California and Introduction to Water in California. The program is archived at:


PUBLISHER'S DESCRIPTION: What is air? Why is the sky blue? Why do people react favorably to mountain or sea air? How does desert air differ from the air of California's Central Valley? How is air pollution affecting plants and animals?

This book is a unique guide to the air we breathe in California. More than a natural history guide, it approaches this fascinating topic by recognizing the overwhelming role played by humans in the story of California's air. In a highly engaging style, David Carle explains daily weather patterns, seasonal climate, characteristic winds, and sky phenomena. He explores air as the gases in our atmosphere, but also considers the aspects of air that influence all of our senses--its taste, smell, feel, and look. The guide discusses California's history of air quality management, air pollution and its effect on humans and the environment, and the technological and individual measures needed to address these challenges. The book also functions as a handbook for more environmentally conscious living by providing information on alternative energy sources for consumers and tips for cleaner running cars.

* Features 80 color photographs, 23 figures, 18 maps

* Covers regional differences of topography, weather, and the character of the air in California's fifteen designated air basins

* Includes a field guide to the sky, explaining color and light, clouds and wind, and the nature of flight

* Addresses issues surrounding global climate change in California

CONTENTS:  Introduction: The Nature of California Air; THE THIN BLANKET -- the atmosphere: Layers of the Blanket; The Elegant Balance—Photosynthesis and Respiration; Why is There Air?; The Essence of Air; Weighty Matters—Air Pressure; Highs and Lows—California's Mediterranean Climate; El Nino; “It's Not the Heat, It's the Humidity;” Temperature Upside Down; AIR APPARENT – A Field Guide to the Sky: Why is the Sky blue?; How to Find Cloud 9; Air in Motion; Motion in Air; CALIFORNIA AIR BASINS: San Diego County; South Coast; South Central Coast; North Central Coast; San Francisco Bay; North Coast; Lake County; Sacramento Valley; San Joaquin Valley; Mountain Counties; Lake Tahoe; Northeast Plateau; Great Basin Valleys; Mojave Desert; Salton Sea; FOOTPRINTS IN THE AIR: The Breath of Life; What's a PPB to Me? The Pollutants; The Enemy is Us; Sharing Air with the Wildlands; SHARING AIR WITH THE GLOBE: Adrift from Asia; Ozone Depletion; The Enhanced Greenhouse Effect and Climate Change; Climate Stewardship; BREATHING EASY: Who Takes Regulatory Responsibility? Cleaning the Car; Renewable Energy—Here Today, Much More tomorrow; What You Can Do Every Day; Finally, Think About Numbers.

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#76 in the California Natural History Guide series. Published 2004.


Thoroughly revised and updated second edition will be available December 2015, by University of California Press in an enlarged format with 348 pages.

New to this updated edition:
* Additional maps, figures, and photos in a larger format
* Expanded coverage of potential impacts to precipitation, snowpack, and water supply from climate change

* Updated information about the struggle for water management and potential solutions
* New content about sustainable groundwater use and regulation, desalination, water recycling, stormwater capture, and current proposals for water storage and diversion
*Additional table summarizing water sources for 360 California cities and towns"Water is the foundation upon which California's ecosystems and economic vitality rise. . . .This is a must read for anyone living in California, whether they are students, politicians, farmers, environmental activists, or corporate executives."--Arthur Guy Baggett, Jr., Chair, California State Water Resources Control Board

"This book engages readers at a personal level." --Donald Pisani, author of Water and American Government

"This is a comprehensive, readable natural history guide to an extremely complicated subject. It interweaves the historical, human, and technological factors with the ecological and environmental realities."-Pam Lloyd, former Chair of the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, S.F. Bay Region



BOOM, a Journal of California, March 2011: If California high school students were required to study this inexpensive treasure as part of their fundamental curriculum, the state would be well on its way to more effective water policy.” --Michael Ziser, “Backs to the Well.”

COAST & OCEAN, Spring, 2007: "...should be in every home, within easy reach, because we all need to understand the basics about water... It's written with the kind of elegant simplicity that only a master of his material can achieve." --Rasa Gustaitis, Editor

    HIGH COUNTRY NEWS, Feb. 2005:  "Lavishly illustrated with maps and color photos, the book is a sort of field guide to the state’s watersheds, canals, reservoirs, groundwater basins, legendary water contamination problems and colossal endangered species issues, and to the ways all these parts intermesh with — or grind against — each other.   "We can only hope that, someday, such a guide is available for every state in the West, perhaps handed out like voter’s guides, or Gideons’ Bibles."  --Matt Jenkins

    JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN WATER RESOURCES ASSOCIATION, Oct. 2004:  "The highlight of this book for me is the straight forward manner in which Carle explains the many complexities of the California water distribution system using tables, figures, and dozens of maps.  It is the best, most concise, explanation of this system that I have seen.  For others, the highlight may be his consistent use of analogies and attempts to raise awareness of just how integral water is to our lives in California. 
    "The type of book you would hope to see in every welcome basket for every lawmaker coming to Sacramento for the first time. California, with its diversity in climate, natural water wonders, and massive expenditures on water based infrastructures deserves such a book. Anyone living in or interested in California should read such a book."      ---E. George Robison 

   AEOE (ASSOC. FOR ENVIRONMENTAL & OUTDOOR EDUCATION) NEWSLETTER, Fall 2006, EDUCATOR RESOURCE OF THE SEASON:  "This book is a tremendous resource for educators throughout California, ripe with a rich array of statistics, visuals, history and up to date information on the use and importance of water in California. A major strength of this great resource is its focus on cause and effect. Interconnectedness is a running theme. It does not claim to have all the answers - just lots of questions, lots of possibilities, and lots of information. It is important in Environmental Education to keep it relative. Kids and adults - your students - should know how the choices they make affect the earth and how the earth affects them. David Carle's INTRODUCTION TO WATER IN CALIFORNIA will help us all tell some of the story."      ---Brett Tillman

    CHOICE REVIEWS, Oct. 2004:  "This book is easy to read and understand, with comprehensive explanations of each issue.  ...provides a valuable overview of the problems facing California, but it has implications for the rest of the country, where there is also a dwindling water supply."  Highly recommended."  ---M.E. Lenczewski, Northern Illinois University

    TERRAIN MAGAZINE, Fall 2004:  "David Carle makes what could have been a forbiddingly technical subject accessible to anyone with an interest in water policy and politics.  With 27 maps, this is also a useful water atlas. It's sobering to contemplate the Central Valley's vanished wetlands, the lost salmon streams, the maze of plumbing that shunts water all over the state. The book is testament to William Mulholland's dictum: "Whoever brings the water, brings the people"—and sustainability be damned."   —Joe Eaton, “Essential Reads”

  MAMMOTH TIMES, Nov.. 2004:  "Get a library card and check this guide out for a week or two, and then make it a part of the natural history library at your home. It's a comprehensive look at a very complicated subject and a fascinating journey about water."--Christina Reed

PUBLISHER'S DESCRIPTION:  It takes 8 gallons of water to grow a tomato; 616 gallons to make a burger patty. In fact, the food each of us consumes per day represents an investment of 4,500 gallons of water, according to the California Farm Bureau. In this densely populated state where it rains only six months out of the year, where does all that water come from? This thoroughly engaging, concise book tells the story of California's most precious resource, tracing the journey of water in the state from the atmosphere to the snowpack to our faucets and foods. Along the way, we learn much about California itself as the book describes its rivers, lakes, wetlands, dams, and aqueducts and discusses the role of water in agriculture, the environment, and politics. Essential reading for a state facing the future with an already overextended water supply, this fascinating book shows that, for all Californians, every drop counts.

* Includes a table "Where Does Your Water Come From?" that answers the question for 315 California cities and towns

* Provides up-to-date information on water quality in California, covering such timely topics as Giardia, groundwater contamination, fluoride, and the bottled-water phenomenon

CONTENTS:  IntroductionWater Web—Connected Californians; TAPPING INTO A PLANETARY CYCLE A Great Water Wheel;  Vital Molecule; “Normal” Weather—Anything But “Average”;  CALIFORNIA WATER LANDSCAPE Pristine Waterscape; Groundwater; Hydrologic Regions:  THE DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM: Expanding Watersheds; State Water Project; Central Valley Project; Colorado River Delivery Systems; Los Angeles Aqueduct; Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct; Mokulumne Aqueduct; The North Bay; Where Does Your Water Come From? (Table III); CHALLENGES TO CALIFORNIA WATER MANAGEMENT: Extinction is Forever;  A Thirsty Garden;  Salton Sea;  Animal Impacts;  Beneath Your Feet; Out of Sight, Out of Control; Can You Drink the Water?;  Giardia;  Mass Medication;  The Bottled Water Phenomenon;  The Problem is Us;  Where Does Your Dog Go?;  Unchecked Growth, Messing with the Cycle; MEETING THE CHALLENGES—CALIFORNIA’S WATER FUTURE The Public Trust; Restoration;  CALFED;  The Debate Over Dams--Build More Behemoths?  Offstream Dams?  Raise Existing Dams?  Raze Existing Dams? -- Storage in the Bank; Transfers: Water as a Commodity;  Short-cutting the Cycle;  Squeezing the Sponge;  Clean Water;  Lemonade from Lemons;  What Future Do You Choose? California Water Timeline; Agencies and Organizations;  References,  Index         

back to top  Burning Questions:
 America's Fight with Nature's Fire

Praeger, 2002

 Praeger online catalog or Barnes & Noble

   Contents:    Preface: America's Hundred Year's War on Wildfire; Part I: Questioning the Dogma of War; "Professional" versus "Indian Forestry;" Burning the Southern Woods; Harolds of Change; Only You; Harry the Torch; Part II: Who were Anti-War Activists of the 60s and 70s? Tall Timbers; Dog-hair Thickets in the National Parks; Burning California State Parks; National Fire Management;  Part III: To Burn or Not to Burn, Is NOT the Question; Yellowstone, 1988;  On the Edge; Escape!;  Peaceful Coexistence; Bibliography;  Index

"An important and timely work of wildland fire history. The voices in this book warn us about past mistakes that we must not repeat."  Bruce Babbitt, Former Secretary of the Interior:

"Carle joins Ashley Schiff and Stephen Pyne as the preeminent fire historians of America. At a time when we are suffering the consequences of a century of fire suppression, Carle brings forth for the first time the story of the Western fire ecology pioneers, who began fighting for a more rationale fire policy in our Western fire environments. The careers of Harold Weaver and Harold Biswell, spun within the suffocating context of 20th century fire suppression, will be inspiring for new generations of fire managers and scientists." James Agee, Professor of Forest Ecology, University of Washington:

"Carle has done a great job of covering the story of the evolution of fire suppression to RX fire management over the past century. A lively narrative style picks up individual historical comments and conveys attitudes that portray the essential roles the Harolds and Komareks played in setting forth fires various functions in Southern and Western ecosystems. The patience and persistence of Biswell and Weaver, their students and colleagues, and researchers with the park service and forest service, are finally given fair recognition! And the stories of the 1910 fires, the 1988 Yellowstone fires, Oakland 1991, and the Cerro Grande fire of 2000 are all included!" Bruce M. Kilgore,  formerly Associate Regional Director Science and Resources Management, Western Region, National Park Service:

"The nation is in its early stages of what could be called a 'paradigm shift' related to how both wildfire and controlled burning are addressed in natural resources management. This shift has been a long time coming and David Carle documents those changes through the stories of the pioneers in fire ecology and controlled burning and their disciples--and in a most entertaining fashion."    Jack Ward Thomas,.Chief Emeritus, U.S. Forest Service, Boone and Crocket Professor of Wildlife Conservation, University of Montana:

"Carle offers a perceptive and informative discussion of this compelling ecological and natural resource management issue. The book provides an excellent background for understanding the continuing fire suppression versus prescribed burning dialogue and why current wildland fire issues are drawing national attention. Recommended for all readership levels and especially for scientists, resource managers, 
ecologists, and environmentalists. --M. J. Zwolinski, University of Arizona

"...a detailed and highly readable history....  The heavy use of primary sources makes this work an invaluable window into a controversy which...has a widespread if little recognized impact on American culture and its approach to the use and management of woodland resources."                                                              --Robert B. Ridinger, Northern Illinois University

ENVIRONMENT (April, 2003):
Recommended for anyone who wants to understand (at a deeper level than the dramatic but often misleading headline stories and television video footage) the role of fire in our public lands and how fire policy came to its current state."  --Janice Coen, National Center for Atmospheric Research


This timely book chronicles the controversies of the last 100 years surrounding fire suppression and the debates over prescribed burning. The impacts of the effective public relations campaign of Smokey Bear begun in 1944 and the historic fires of Yellowstone and the Oakland Hills are detailed. An historical account of the prescribed burning in Calaveras Big Trees State Park pioneered in 1970 is particularly interesting.

 back to top
  Drowning the Dream
 California's Water Choices at the Millennium
Praeger Publishers. Westport, Conn. 2000. 256 pages
ISBN 0-275-96719-0. C6719
clothbound(hardcover); illustrated-- 20 photographs/prints, 6 maps

Greenwood Publishing Group catalog webpage or Barnes & Noble  PAPERBACK EDITION with new title published in APRIL, 2003, BY SIERRA CLUB BOOKS


 Since 2015 with Counterpoint Press
 Revised, updated second edition will be published April 2016 available for pre-ordering at

Water and the California Dream
Choices for the New Millennium
                Barnes & Noble  

** CONTENTS **  -- Introduction: Changes and Choices; Frontierland to Fantasyland: In Grizzly Days; Save the Cows... Horses Off the Cliffs; Gold Fever: Sick Forefathers; Statehood, State Hoods and State Laws; R&R Railroads and Real Estate, Citrus and Sunshine; Water Choices    (1)--Eastern Sierra Water: Melodrama on the Right Side of California;  Life in the Big City--How Did They Get Away With It?;  Did They See Where They Were Going?; What If the Los Angeles Aqueduct Had Never Been Built?; Water Choices (2)--Colorado River Water:  "And Lest Our City Shrivel and Die...";   Boom! Postwar, Postaqueduct Arrivals; People Fumes: Just Don't Inhale; Water Choices (3)--Northern California Water: The Northern End of the Pipe; Too Much Is Not Enough;  Sprawling Gridlock; Tomorrowland:  Today's Choice (1): Who Needs Farms?;  Today's Choice (2): The Environment--Has Mono Lake Really Been Saved?;  Visualizing Tomorrow--Just Say No to Water?;   References;  Index


"Water has always been the defining element in California's history, driving its dreams of expansion. Carle tells that story well--but what his inventive and informative text also demonstrates is that if the state does not turn back on its own history, its infatuation with limitless growth and the water to supply it may create a world too ugly to contemplate."                                  T.H. Watkins, Wallace Stegner Professor of Western American Studies, Montana State University

"For anyone genuinely concerned with the continuing loss of a finer California, David Carle offers a high moral and technological challenge, together with a desperate (and perhaps final!) hope."                             Dr. Kevin Starr, State Librarian of California

"David Carle, born and raised in Orange County, knows first hand the changes in Southern California during the past 50 years. For 20 years, the ranger at Mono Lake Tufa State Reserve...learned how water exports can devastate a productive and scenic ecosystem....This book belongs in the hands of anyone interested in California's history and future."                                         Sally Gaines, Co-founder, Mono Lake Committee

"For anyone at all interested in water issues in California, this book must go on your bookshelf alongside your DVD of Roman Polanski's Chinatown.  Masterfully researching his subject--from newspaper clippings to first-person accounts--David has done a wonderful thing in his book.  He not only brings the history of the state alive through his writing but he does something else--which I consider very difficult and very smart--he uses this history as a foundation for a deeper consideration of the future--for helping us understand where we might go from here."
                                Thomas Curwen, Deputy Book Editor, Los Angeles Times (introductory remarksfor LA Times Festival of Books author panel, April 30, 2000)

"Discussions of population and growth control are often difficult, but in Drowning the Dream David Carle brings a new, strongly reasoned approach to the table. In the process, Carle takes on the ultimate questions of California water politics: What kind of state do we want to live in? How much more growth does California really need? Can we keep the California Dream alive? California is naturally limited by its water supply...and, therefore, water can be the tool to limit the state's future growth naturally--once we finally abandon the untenable proposal that more water can always be found."
                                       Geoffrey McQuilkin, Co-Executive Director , Mono Lake Committee

"A well documented history of boosterism, population growth, water development, and the loss of the quality of life in California. We have lost many of the natural and esthetic resources to reckless greed and growth in an exceedingly short time frame, but more losses are coming fast if we don't change our policies on water development and the population growth it enables. Carle brings the water development history current, i.e., the present CalFed bureaucratic attempt to restore fisheries, have water security for everyone, and end the water wars. Carle inspires us to save what is left of California. Californians can choose population growth control rather than the continuing spiral of population increase and never-ending demand for water in the water-short West. After reading this book I think most would agree that we had better hurry up and make this choice."        Lee W. Miller, Fishery Scientist and Board Member of  Californians for Population Stabilization

"Drowning the Dream dramatically illustrates the connections between water supplies and population growth.  It clearly explains the role of water development in promoting sprawl.  David Carle uses fascinating historical anecdotes and quotations to demonstrate the choices Californians have had in managing the water wealth of their state.  He details the current threats to the most productive agricultural lands in the world and dares to question the inevitability of growth. He cautions us that indifference will allow growth to accelerate and makes a strong case for consciously choosing stability and sustainability."                                   Rick KattelmannPh.D;  hydrologist, Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory

**Publisher's description:
Imported water has transformed the Golden State's environment and quality of life. In the last one hundred years, land ownership patterns and real estate boosterism have dramatically altered both urban and rural communities across the entire state. The key has been water from the Eastern Sierra, the Colorado River and, finally, Northern California rivers. "Whoever brings the water, brings the people" wrote engineer William Mullholland, whose leadership began the process of water irrigating unlimited growth. Using first-person voices of Californians to reveal the resulting changes, Carle concludes that the new millennium may be the time to stop drowning the California Dream.

With extensive use of oral histories, contemporary newspaper articles, and autobiographies, Carle provides a rich exploration of the historic change in California, showing that imported water has shaped the pattern of population growth in the state. Water choices remain the primary tool, he claims, for shaping California's future. The states damaged environment and reduced quality of life can be corrected if Californians will step out of their historic pattern and embrace limited water supplies as a fact of life in this naturally dry region. 
Media Reviews
AGUANOMICS.COM BLOG, Dec. 17, 2009: “
I wish that I had read Carle's book before I finished my dissertation (on MWD), since he filled in some facts on LA that I hadn't known. For example, I had thought that the "we're running out of water, quick go get more" rhetoric began with the CRA [Colorado River Aqueduct], but Mulholland had lied about current water supplies and shortages with the LAA [Los Angeles Aqueduct] as well. That lie is still happening today, with the propaganda for the desalination plant in San Diego, Mulroy's pipes into rural Utah, and the Peripheral Canal in the Delta. None of these infrastructures are needed -- they are just about further real estate development. Bottom Line I give this book FIVE STARS for, despite occasional over-the-top tree hugging, its clear thesis and exposition on the perils of relentless growth. California is a wonderful place, but we've done more harm than good in our mismanagement of its resources. Let's get back to quality, not quantity; sustainability, not endless growth.” David Zetland,

CHOICE Reviews , July 2000: "Carle's analysis of the impact of an ever-expanding need for water on the past and future of California is well done, so much so that his book has enormous value to those wrestling with issues of sustainability anywhere.  This well-written study, which is suitable for anyone interested in growth and related environmental issues,  joins other powerful books on water use in the West, e.g., Donald  Worster's Rivers of Empire ...and Marc  Reisner's Cadillac Desert . Overall, strongly recommended."                                                                         -- J. W. Green, University of South  Carolina--Spartanburg

NATURAL RESOURCES FORUM , United Nations, August, 2002:  " any endlessly growing population, the challenges of dealing with fixed water supply become more and more difficult, the pressures to develop new sources become greater, and the risk of a renwal of ecological decline and loss returns. Any efforts we make will be undermined or even reversed by a population that continues to endlessly grow. Sustainability can only be achieved with a steady-state population, and while Carle is not the first to make this point, it deserves a higher place in the debate over our water future."

JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION, March 22, 2001:  "This outstanding book provides a concise and well-documented environmental history of California as context for the ongoing question: "Where will the water come from for the future?" The discussion of California's environmental history from the "Grizzly Days" to the railroad tycoons is very well done and provides a solid foundation for the discussion of water demand, supply, and manipulation by politicians, developers, and agribusinesses."  Carle's review of California history should be required reading for all students in California schools. The most valuable part of the book, however, is the discussion rarely heard, "What if?" What if the Owens Valley project had not been built? What if the massive water bonds of 1960 had not passed--what would California look like today? These lead to the final discussion, "What should California do for the future?" Carle proposes a series of thoughtful and conservative steps California could take for a stable future. Unfortunately, like the "knockers" of earlier projects, who were most often correct, he is likely to be categorized as a backward thinker and buried by the "boomers" of today. --David Bainbridge

San Diego Union Tribune    March 5, 2000  "It's no secret that California, particularly its Southland, has been involved in some of the most noxious water wars imaginable. The details of these down-and-dirty fights receive a fascinating airing..."  -- Paula Friedman

 Mammoth Times March 9, 2000  "Primary sources...were a big part of Carle's research; they bring voices from the past to life in this environmental history. [T]his book is ultimately hopeful and positive. By examining California's watery past, perhaps we can avoid making the same mistakes."  -- Stacy Corliss

San Diego Union Tribune, March 15, 2000.  Quest-Eureka, Daily Discoveries for the Scientifically Bent .
 Page E2.  "Using oral histories, newspapers, and autobiographical material Carle describes how California has been transformed by the distribution and use of water.  Whoever brings the water, brings the people," said engineer William Mulholland.  He was right."

Los Angeles Times   April 5, 2000  "West Words:"  "...none of it was inevitable, or so Carle argues, and he invites us to imagine what Los Angeles would have been like today if we had learned to live with the natural water resources of Southern California."  -- Jonathan Kirsch

BookNews   Using Californians' own voices to filter the impact of imported water on the Golden State's environment, the  author concludes that the new century is high time to visualize alternatives to drowning dreams of the good  life."  -- Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

The Western Historical Quarterly Spring, 2001:  "That the growth of the state...has depended upon enormous water diversions that have had terrible destructive environmental consequences is not a new story, although Carle...puts some interesting ecological spins on it.  He also personalizes his narrative with interesting first-person recollections at significant points.  He shows how each step in water development has led paradoxically to a dimming of the prospect of the California dream for the ordinary people of the state."  -- Robert Bonner, Carleton College

The Western Historical Quarterly Winter, 2004 (Review of paperback edition):  "In his conclusion, Carle turns to contemporary environmental issues facing California and here he does a good job delineating how ecological disaster can only be avoided through population control.  And he analyzes how such control can only be achieved if increased water supply is perceived as part of the problem--and not part of the solution.  The books final a thoughtful consideration of the urban West's future that deserves a wide readership."  --Donald C. Jackson, Lafayette College

Several readers reviews can be found on the catalog webpage

back to top  Mono Lake Viewpoint
   Mono Lake Committee bookstore or Barnes & Noble
Artemisia Press, Lee Vining, CA.  1992. 128 pages
ISBN 0-932347-06-1
paperback; illustrated by Carl Dennis Buell

A collection of entertaining and factual essays on Mono Lake. Tufa State Reserve ranger Carle writes fondly of birds, brine shrimp, hay fever and freezing fog. The illustrator, Carl Buell, captures the mood of the landscape and animals. A sensitive and accurate description of the natural history and moods of Mono Lake.  This is a collection of essays on Mono Lake compiled from a regular column in the Mammoth Times . Ranger Carle knows his subject well enough to write entertainingly and fondly of birds, brine shrimp, tufa, tourists, hay fever and freezing fog. His humor is matched by his knowledge of the natural world and his skill with words.

CONTENTSBeginnings: Beginnings; Mono Lake Gourmet;  A Star is Born;  Tufa Thoughts; Spring:  Is It Spring Yet?;  Flies of Fancy; The Once and Future Shrimp; The Annual Invasion of Mono Lake;  The Natural History of the Easter Bunny; What's Biting You?  Summer:  The Longest Day; A Love Story; The Phalarope; Take a Tour; Tsk Tsk Tamarisk; A Summer Gathering and a Woman Scorned; Autumn:  Falling!;  The Mystery of the Red-eyed Bird; Noses, Roses and Roots;  Drought Dreams;  Winter:  Happy Quiet; Pogonip; Ouzel Omens; Some Winter Voices; In Search of Happily Ever After:  Drain It and Pave It; Money Talk$; In Search of Happily Ever After;  Ten Years Later

            Author's note:  I've been told that we should have put the retail price much higher on this book; that people will not value it adequately otherwise.  But the publisher and I aimed to keep the price down; books cost too much these days! The wonderful line drawing illustrations and cover illustration by Carl Dennis Buell make this book worth the price, alone.

                  "A witty, easy-to-read tribute to the little mysteries that make the Mono Basin unique. Above all Carle maintains an imaginative approach to his
                  material. Carle has ingenuously turned this book of facts and expertise into delightful tales of the Mono Basin, to be shared by everyone."
                                                        Denise LaVerde for the newsletter of the Mono Lake Committee

back to top   BODIE'S BOSS LAWMAN
The Frontier Odyssey of Constable John F. Kirgan

by Bill Merrell with David Carle
Foreward by Stanley W. Paher
75 illustrations, including 15 color photographs
Published by Nevada Publications, June, 2003. purchase from Friends of Bodie online
                                                                Barnes & Noble or from  Stephens Press
After serving with the 1st Illinois Regiment in the Mexican War, John Franklin Kirgan made his way westward, where his saga intersected with that of the new state of California's constitutional convention in 1850.  Years later, the Comstock excitement brought Kirgan to Carson City and a stint as a prison guard at the Nevada State Prison.  Finally, fate delivered him to Bodie in 1877, where he worked as constable, jailer, and deputy sheriff during the mining town's boom years.  Serving as the "boss lawman" of Bodie was the culmination of Kirgan's life--an odyssey that placed him in contact with the emerging history of the American West.  Merrell unearthed the story of a Western lawman who was responsible for law enforcement in a violent town far better known for its "Badmen of Bodie."  Carle finished the final chapters of the book and prepared it for publication after Merrell passed away with his text unfinished.

CONTENTSForeward (photo essays):  Commerce; Gambling & Saloons; Mining & Speculation; Bodies 'High' School; A 20th Century Tribute to Contable Kirgan's Castle; Fire; Bodie Outside and In; At Home in Bodie; Transportation; Law and Disorder; Constable Kirgans Bodie (maps); Part I - The Mexican War:  Buena Vista; Prarie Horizons; The Ravine; Part II - California and Nevada:  North with the Cavalry; The Mysterious Mr. Houston; Penal Politics in Nevada; Part III - Boss Lawman of Bodie:
  Bound for Bodie;  A Most Gentlemanly Attendant;  The Alex Nixon Affair; Yellow Gold in Spangles;  Nothing But a Plain Marble Headstone; The Tiger and George Daly; Part IV - Badmen of Bodie:  The Man Who Brings Them In;  The Miners War;  Many Homicides, No Convictions; He Stands Well Among the People;  'A Crime Sitting in Judgement on Degradation; Hanged by Judge Lynch; Notes; References; Index  
back to top Lake Basin

by David Carle and Don Banta

Published November 2008 by Arcadia Publishing in the "Images of America" series

Arcadia Publishing catalog or Barnes & Noble

Mono Lake dominates the volcanic landscape east of the Sierra Nevada between Yosemite National Park and Nevada. The lake’s unusual water chemistry produces algae and brine shrimp, feeding millions of birds and creating strange mineral formations called tufa, for which the lake is famed. From the early days of the Kuzedika Paiutes to the arrival of miners and settlers in the late 19th century, the lake has stood sentinel for the surrounding camps, mines, and towns. Around the lake, the town of Lee Vining has served travelers and residents since 1926, and Carson Camp has been a recreational destination for generations. Some of the world’s earliest hydroelectric plants were established here, and Los Angeles began diverting streams and channeling their waters beneath the Mono Craters to the city’s aqueduct in the 1940s. Impacts of those water diversions gradually became apparent, generating controversy around this otherwise placid landscape.

Authors Don Banta, a 75-year Lee Vining resident, and David Carle, a Mono Lake ranger for 19 years, present here a collection of vintage Mono Lake photography. Working with archival materials from local families and the Mono Lake Committee, Carle and Banta show the lake, its environs, and its history through stirring imagery, including the lengthy court battle over the lake and its tributary creeks.


CONTENTS: Introduction; 1. Forming the Watershed; 2. The Natural History of Mono Lake; 3. The Kuzedikas; 4. The Search for Gold; 5. Early Farms and Ranches; 6. Mono Lake Resorts and the Town of Lee Vining; 7. The June Lake Loop; 8. Winter Challenges and Recreation; 9. A Source for Water and Power; 10. Saving Mono Lake; Bibliography; Index.

You can e-mail David Carle at                              last updated May 16, 2018
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