California Travel Articles
THE ALABAMA HILLSDEDICATION On May 24, 1969, the BLM dedicated nearly 30,000 acres of public land west of Lone Pine, CA, as the Alabama Hills Recreation Area. Management plans are being considered that will eventually include a scenic trail system that people may walk and enjoy this geologic phenomena at a leisurely pace. The full intent of the BLM management plan is to preserve the hills in as close to a natural state as possible, for the enjoyment of future generations of Americans. A BIT OF PLACE NAME HISTORY........ The Alabama Hills gather their name from a Confederate warship responsible for wreaking havoc to northern shipping during the Civil War. Prospectors sympathetic to the Confederate cause named their mining claims after the Alabama and eventually the name stuck to these unique hills. The fame of the C.S.S Alabama was both brilliant and short lived. Yankee warships finally cornered the Alabama off the coast of Normandy. There, in a running gun battle with the Northern steamsailer, U.S.S. Kearsarge, she was sunk in the summer of 1864. This event provided northern sympathetic miners to indulge in the art of "one-upmanship," by naming a whole mining district, mountain pass, a peak and a town, "Kearsarge". A BIT OF GEOLOGIC HISTORY........... The rounded, weathered contours of the Alabamas, form a sharp contrast between the crisply sculptured ridges of the Sierra. This leads the viewer to believe the Alabamas are almost antique in nature. Actually, both geologic features were shaped by the same cataclysmic uplifting 100 million years ago. Millennia of wind, snow and eons of wind blown sand have blasted across their contours. These were the tools that sculpted the outstanding formations of weathered granite in the Alabamas. A BIT OF FILM HISTORY.......... The outstanding features and environment of the Alabama Hills have attracted movie makers, commercial companies and tourists from all over the world. Since the early 1920's, movie stars such as Tom Mix, Hopalong Cassidy, Gene Autry and the Lone Ranger, have been shooting it out with outlaws. Classics such as Gunga Din, Springfield Rifle, and How the West was Won, were filmed at sites now known as "Movie Flats" and at Movie Flat Road. During 1993 portions were filmed with Mel Gibson for Maverick , released in 1994. A massive set was built in the Alabamas formations and filming continued for three weeks. Portions of scenes for the movie The Shadow were filmed during 1993, starring Alec Baldwin. Portions of the movie Digital Man were filmed during 1994. Recent advertisements and commercials filmed within the Alabama Hills during 1992-1994 include: BFCS - Ford commercial; Coppos - Volvo commercial; Burnett- Peugeot commercial; Price - backpacking ad; River Run - Clarion commercial; LeBon - Isuzu car; Smillie - Rebok commercial; Lovinger - Miller Beer; Blue Goose - Finnish gum; Sandbank - Jeep commercial; Vamos - Suzuki ad; ACC - Citron commercial; Jackson - Nissan; Bendari - Sprint; Taub - Nissan; Thorson - Mountain bikes; Coppos - EverReady batteries; Art on Film - Chevy; Miller - Toyota; Angel City - CA lottery; Axiom - Japanese Music Video; Konkal - Saab commercial; Jackal - Viper car; Stevens - Mazda; Sandbank - Honda; RSA - Jeep commercial; McCuire - Apple computer; Conkle - Ford; Bush - Yamaha; Momentum - Jeep/Eagle; Lammers - Nissan. TAKE CARE While enjoying the scenic and recreational values of the Alabama Hills, hikers, rock climbers and sightseers should use the utmost caution at all times. The few remaining mine shafts and tunnels in the general area should be avoided because of the extreme hazards they represent. False bottoms might give away or tunnels collapse because of deteriorated shoring timbers. The Alabama Hills are beautiful, but there are hazards that could injure the unwary or unprepared visitor.
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