Santa’s helpers arrive in Alpine County seat |

Santa’s helpers arrive in Alpine County seat

Record Courier Staff Reports

Who were the mysterious perpetrators pulling off the Christmas Caper in “downtown” Markleeville?

Since Markleeville is not incorporated, holiday decorations cannot be installed simply by asking a nonexistent mayor or town council to requisition them.

It’s true that Wolf Creek and Creekside Lodge once again are celebrating the season in inimitable style by displaying wreaths in windows and festoons of festive lights. Though several other businesses also decorated for the holidays, a unifying theme was lacking.

Santa’s helpers quietly arrived in the “Nick” of time to hang a multitude of fir boughs tied with red bows on almost every fence and pole, and an elf strung white icicle lights under all of the undecorated eaves. Now, even Rudolph-the-Red-Nosed Reindeer would be proud of Markleeville’s green and red swags and white icicles!

Modest and unsung, Santa’s helpers were spotted gleefully hanging the boughs and wearing “red caps with fuzzy white balls.” After serious investigation, they have been revealed to be town-enhancers Gary and Barbara Howard and part time residents Ron and Beth Andrews.

The icicle elf is otherwise known as Teresa Burkhauser, Director of the Alpine Chamber of Commerce.

Other helpers are arriving in Alpine County this week. Since the fear of wildland fires lurks in the hearts of almost all mountain dwellers, the Carson Field Office of BLM is playing Santa Claus by sending manpower and machinery to reduce “ladder fuels” near Markleeville. Tim Roide, BLM Prescribed Fire and Fuels Specialist, explained, “We will be thinning out brush in a mosaic pattern, and we’ll cut some firs and piñons in the understory that are creating ladders for fire to climb.

“Our project involves the mechanical mastication of 260 acres of shrubs, trees, and down logs for the purpose of hazard fuels reduction and forest health improvement. A large tractor with a cutting head will chew up the material and deposit it on the ground to achieve both nutrient recycling and erosion control. We are starting now, with operations ceasing as the weather dictates. Our goal is to complete the work before July 1, 2006, creating minimal impact to campers, hikers, fishermen, and residents.”

Indian Creek Campground will be the first treated, followed by an area near Summit Lake; then Milberry Creek, south of Turtle Rock Park; and lastly, land near Poor Boy Road, south of Markleeville.

n Gina Gigli is a Markleeville resident.