A judge has ruled that a Los Angeles real estate developer must allow hikers on the trail that cuts across his private property in Franklin Canyon. The popular Hastain Trail has been open to the public since before 1972, the last year that the law allowed private property to be presumed to be for public use if members of the public had been using it for five or more consecutive years. Mohamed Hadid, who purchased the 97 acres and has expressed interest in building luxury Mediterranean-style homes on the property, has attempted to block access to the trail and its access to a small peak with barricades and fencing. Eric Edmunds, attorney for the hikers, environmentalists, and mountain bikers that sued for restored access, said he thought that the judge's visit to the trail, at the request of the plaintiffs, swayed her opinion. "Once she actually saw the trail, once she saw the panoramas and views, she knew right away what was at stake here," Edmunds said.
Authorities closed a Santa Barbara county beach after a surfer died in a shark attack on Tuesday. Francisco Javier Solorio Jr., 39, was surfing off Surf Beach near Vandenberg Air Force Base when he was bitten in the torso by what experts say was likely a great white. A friend who witnessed the attack brought him to shore and attempted to give him first aid, but he was pronounced dead at the scene. Local authorities say there has been a recent increase in shark sightings in the area. "In the fall, there are more juvenile great whites migrating up from Baja, going up north," said Nigella Hillgarth, the executive director at the Birch Aquarium. In October 2010, a 19-year-old bodyboarder was killed in a similar attack off the same beach.
Via NBC San Diego
A storm system traveling south from the Gulf of Alaska has brought good news to ski resorts across the Western United States and Canada. The snowstorm, which knocked out power in some parts of the Sierras, dropped 28 inches on Squaw Valley and 36 inches on Alpine Meadows. Snowfall is expected to continue at least through Wednesday, with the possibility of another six to nine inches by Thursday. Some resorts are even opening up early. Squaw Valley will be running its lifts on Thursday, nearly a month ahead of their official opening date. Nakiska Mountain, near Calgary, will open Saturday, the earliest opening for a Canadian resort in history. The nearby Lake Louise and Sunshine ski resorts will open November 9.
After being invited to a U.S. bobsled competition last month to “help boost team morale,” two-time Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones might actually make the team. On the opening night of the U.S. team-selection trials last Saturday, Jones, who is trying out as a push athlete, and her pilot Jazmine Fenlator finished in second place with a time of 1:57.01, only 0.05 seconds behind first. "I'm just trying to take it all in," Jones said of her competitive bobsled debut. "It's a new sport for me and there's a ton of room for improvement.” The next day of competition is this Friday, and the announcement of the national team will follow soon after.
Via Associated Press
Next month, Arizona residents will be asked to decide whether the Grand Canyon belongs to all Americans, or only to Arizonans. The controversial ballot measure put forth by Republicans in the state legislature is intended to wrest control of millions of acres of federal land, including Grand Canyon National Park. Proposition 120 asserts Arizona's right to complete control over "air, water, public lands, minerals, wildlife and other natural resources within the state's boundaries." The Sierra Club estimates that the area of land in contention constitutes between 39,000 and 46,700 square miles, or about 40 percent of the entire state. Conservation organizations, such as the Arizona Wilderness Coalition, have come out against the proposition, claiming that the transfer of federal property to state control would result in mismanagement and massive sales of public land.