A very special and unique place.

Book Review: Mono Lake Viewpoint
By David Carle, Park Ranger, Mono Lake Tufa State Reserve

Now a Book!

Mono Lake Viewpoint is a collection of essays on Mono Lake compiled from a regular column in the Mammoth Times. Publisher Sally Gaines, of Artemesia Press in Lee Vining, called the book, "A sensitive and accurate description of the natural history and moods of my favorite place, Mono Lake."

Gaines adds that Carle, a state park ranger at the Mono Lake Tufa State Reserve, " knows his subject well enough to write entertainingly and fondly of birds, brine shrimp, tufa, tourists, hay fever and freezing fog. His humor is matched by his knowledge of the natural world and his skill with words."

Buell illustrated the book with exacting representations of the landscape and wildlife. His other work ranges from calendars to giant museum murals. Buell will soon be a resident of Mammoth Lakes.

In the introductory chapter of Viewpoint, Carle wrote, "This is not a guidebook (several excellent ones are already available on the Mono Lake area). Many of these essays do not fit the mold of traditional nature writing.

"Yet I set out to inform. Environmental education is part of my job as a ranger, after all. It's just more fun to learn about brine shrimp from Merlin the wizard in 'The Once and Future Shrimp,' to take one example."

Since 1990, Carle's somewhat different approach to nature writing has appeared as a column in the Mammoth Times. Readers of that column now have a chance to reread the collection, organized here with a section for each annual season.

Each chapter and each major section of the book have been illustrated with Buell's detailed ink drawings. Buell drew coyotes howling at the moon to appropriately accompany a final, more philosophical section, titled "In Search of Happily Ever After."

Mono Lake Viewpoint retails for $5.95. The publisher and author were determined to keep the price low, despite the exceptional quality of the illustrations. "We wanted most of all to keep the essays available to new readers. At this price, perhaps people will consider them as stocking-stuffers for their friends and family," Carle said.

"I hope the book is entertaining," he added. "But there are lessons lurking here too. I see Mono Lake as a unique place of example and hope for many other environmental problem-spots and issues."

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