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    Simplify, Simplify… A Full and Joyful Life in the Foothills of the Trinity Alps, in Northern California

    In harmony with wildlife, in tune with nature’s rhythms, Crow and Linda Munk live a life of genuine contentment on their 31-acre mountain wilderness property in Burnt Ranch, California. Relying upon the land and their own resourcefulness—gardening, canning foods for winter, gathering and drying nuts, among other practical endeavors -- they are able to meet most of their own needs. Keeping expenses to a minimum, they are able to spend their days enjoying their surroundings, their music-making, daily Tai Chi, and other creative pursuits.

    “We feel very blessed with our simple yet abundant life enjoying each day,” says Linda. “We love being here among the many animals, seeing them and understanding their lives and what makes them happy. It’s pretty wonderful, and something exciting is always happening.”

    The lushly forested land claimed the Munks’ hearts when they first saw it over forty years ago, but it was not available at the time. One of the world’s most pristine rivers flows through the property, supporting both resident wildlife and migratory birds, and its canyon borders on a half million acres of wilderness. When the Munks finally had a chance to purchase the property, there was no hesitation. Once the land was theirs, they fixed up the cabin as a self-sustaining home and began restoring the areas formerly grazed to forest, adding to the rich and diverse habitat for wildlife.

    “It’s pretty amazing what you get to see if you create and restore habitat,” says Crow. “If you have plenty of water and make them welcome by providing the things they look for in life, you’ll see all kinds of wildlife.” Indeed, the Munks have seen mountain lions, bobcats, black bears, gray foxes, Pacific fishers, raccoons, and skunks. They’ve watched as American dippers forage about in the riverbed, and they’ve heard the calls of spotted owls, an endangered species that may well be nesting here. Another rare voice they hear is that of the Pacific tree frog.

    Spending much of their time outdoors, the Munks often begin to recognize some of the wildlife as individuals. Crow recalls a white squirrel—not an albino, but a gray squirrel with all white fur—who lived near their cabin for seven or eight years. The local ravens—who engage in aerial exploits, catching air currents over the river, riding them down the canyon, and flying back to do it again and again, apparently for the pure joy of playing with the wind—have become familiar to the Munks. Hawks they often see include Cooper’s, ferruginous, sharp-shinned, red-tailed, and American kestrels.

    The Munks’ love of the land and its wildlife led them to seek permanent protection for both with the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust. “We’re so happy that we found the Wildlife Land Trust,” says Linda. A conservation easement protects the land as a permanent wildlife sanctuary and protects the wildlife living here forever from commercial and recreational hunting and trapping. “You don’t know what will happen in the future,” Linda observes, “and we would hate to see this land that has been a host to so many wild creatures disappear. At least we know they will have this place where they’re safe, and that gives us peace of mind.”


    Raccoons talk? Researchers have identified 13 unique calls, 7 of which are exchanged between mothers and their young.


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