Sal Elizondo, 1927 - 2011

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Re: Sal Elizondo, 1927 - 2011

by Farley » Thu Aug 18, 2011 12:20 pm

This remembrance that Boon posted was penned largely by Pat Bailey, MRD Wilderness Manager. Thanks, Pat.
Those who care about Wilderness and public lands need to do what we can to make sure there is still a place for people like Sal - people who embody a love of Wilderness and are Rangers in the truest sense of the word - in the professional ranks of our land management agencies.

Re: Sal Elizondo, 1927 - 2011

by kevincc4 » Wed Aug 17, 2011 9:25 pm

I remember Sal from a summer spent at the Indians with the YCC, back in 1975. Sal lived in a small house near the main adobe, and I recall he had a small vineyard on the property from which he made his own wine. Can't say I really knew the man, but the brief time he spent with our crew, you could tell Sal was as genuine as they come.

Godspeed Sal.

Re: Sal Elizondo, 1927 - 2011

by K Vandevere » Wed Aug 17, 2011 8:30 pm

Thanks, Boon, for passing along the news. While it certainly marks the passing of an era in Santa Lucia history, and it is certainly sad to think that he is gone, few are lucky enough to spend as much time as Sal did doing exactly what he loved.

Sal Elizondo, 1927 - 2011

by Boon » Wed Aug 17, 2011 4:53 pm

Some very sad news about Sal out of Santa Barbara, but what a life he led! He was a true Los Padres backcountryman and a hell of a nice guy.

From the Santa Barbara News Press ... 1595276351

August 16, 2011 5:15 AM

ELIZONDO, Solomon (Sal)

Long time U.S. Forest Service employee and volunteer passed away Saturday, August 6, 2011 after a short battle with cancer.

Sal was born on October 6, 1927 in Santa Barbara, California into a family of 10 brothers and sisters. He attended local schools, graduating from Santa Barbara High School.

Sal served in the Navy from 1946 to 1955 and one of his duty stations was Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Sal started his career with the Forest Service on the Ojai Ranger District as Laborer 3 in 1961. In February 1962 he became a Fire Control Aid and stayed on the Ojai until his promotion as a TTO (Tank Truck Operator) to the Santa Barbara District in 1967.

Sal transferred to the Monterey Ranger District in 1970 as the Strawberry Backcountry Patrolman, working out of the Big Sur Station. Sal then moved to the Indians area as the San Antonio Backcountry Patrolman in 1973. During this time Sal's primary mode of transportation was by horse and mule. Sal patrolled the area during the "Hippie" days, when the Pine Ridge Trail camps, especially Sykes Hot Springs and Barlow Flat, became major a hang out for the hordes of foot loose, free spirits wishing to "get back with nature." Sal and his mules, along with his Cocker Spaniels Snoopy and Hombre became known to many hikers and backpackers as "The Ranger". Stalwarts of the local hiking community still remember Sal and his beloved companions.

Sal was then promoted to the Indian's FPT (Fire Prevention Tech.) in 1974 and quickly became a fixture in the Indians area and was a friend to many of the regular forest visitors. Sal remained in this position until his retirement in June 1986.

Sal, being a patrolman and not attached to an organized fire crew, could always be counted on to provide a hand when the Forest Service needed a special task, as in last minute grocery or water runs to the backcountry lookouts, such as Junipera Serra and Cone Peak.

In his career Sal worked on many of the major fires in California and many other noteworthy projects on the Forest, among others being the Black Cone Trail construction.

After retirement Sal was employed on the Rancho Rio Escondido (Hidden River Ranch) in the Indians area as a care taker and ranch hand. Trust for Public Lands purchased the Rancho 1991 and which then was turned over to the Los Padres National Forest. During this time Sal was once again united with the Forest Service pack stock in 1992, when the Forest Service stock was moved from Big Sur to the Rancho. Sal stayed on as the care taker and a National Forest Volunteer until his passing.

Sal is remembered for his love of the backcountry, horses and mules, his Cocker Spaniels, and his quick, sharp wit. Sal was a tireless walker and always had a new joke to tell. Sal enjoyed a simple life, living for the most of his life with no electricity and few modern conveniences and he liked it like that. He had several indulgences, such as photography, San Francisco 49er football and right wing radio talk shows.

Sal is survived by six sisters and one brother, preceded by the death of two brothers and one sister. Per his request, there will be no services.

A special thank you to the nurses of Serenity House for making Solomon's last week peaceful and comfortable. You may donate to the Serenity House in his memory.