It was a few days before the beginning of Lent when I spotted the tree, a valley oak standing at the trailhead. I was on retreat at the Bishop's Ranch, a bucolic spot deep in California wine country and I had intended to take a brisk solo hike in the woods. But the old valley oak, its deadness, stopped me in my tracks.
Without a public hearing, and without any research that this measure would actually save water, the Parks agency has deceptively used the drought as an excuse to shut down an essential public water service that was used by 15 million park visitors last year (that's more than one-sixth of all park visits).
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