Former park rangers share 38th parallel stories

Laurie Sisler, Guest Writer

Retired State Park rangers, David Carle and Janet Carle, walked onstage in Cosumnes River College’s Recital Hall with welcoming smiles, ready to present their lecture on the 38th parallel in California on April 24.

A crowd filled a third of the room, containing a range of people from CRC students, to faculty and even adults from outside of the campus. Everyone looked up at the stage where the Carles took turns presenting a slideshow of pictures of their travels along the entire globe on the 38th parallel.

“The 38th parallel goes right through our home in the salty Eastern Sierra Lake, and we often thought it would be interesting to just see where that parallel goes from here,” Janet said.

Their journey started at their home at Mono Lake in the Sierra Nevadas, where the Carles had already participated in the “water battle” of sharing the waters from the Mono Lake ecosystem with the Los Angeles area, Janet said.

“We had seen a really inspiring story, we lived it and had been in the middle of it,” Janet said. “We wanted to learn more about water in our home state.”

After the Sierra Nevadas, their journey eventually branched out to the rest of the globe. In other parts of the world, they found similar aspects that related back to their home at Mono Lake, David said.

“The Yellow River is a lot like the Colorado River in this country, and both are named for their silt,” David said. “Both have a lot of problems in terms of how they’ve been used.”

Debra Sharkey, a CRC geography professor who was involved in setting up the event, introduced the Carles at the beginning of the lecture.

“I hope that people learn about issues in other parts of the world that encourage them to learn more,” Sharkey said.

Steven Coughran, a music professor at CRC, had also helped setup this event.

“I think it’s fascinating how a place on the parallel, many miles removed, could be so similar,” Coughran said.

Kathie Griley, the Culinary Academic Department Director at the Art Institute in Sacramento, attended the lecture.

“That just makes me want to be more active in doing my part,” Griley said after she listened to the presentation.

Griley also had her students attend the presentation. Griley said she hopes her students will “see the bigger picture; it’s not just the water and the food, it’s everything else.”

The Carles wanted to inform the audience about the water in the rest of the world so that they can help with the water in the future.

“All you young people in the room give us hope,” Janet said.