Castle Valley Comments: Nov. 14, 2019

The Castle Valley Fire Department has eight fire engines. Some are specific to structure fires and others are intended for wildland fires. All but one was purchased used and most were purchased from funds that were provided by grants.

Others were donations or long-term loans through the Federal Excess Personal Property (FEPP) program for fire departments. The Castle Valley Fire Department is always looking for newer vehicles to upgrade their fleet of fire-fighting apparatus. As a result, once a piece of equipment is retired from the fire department there is not much value left in them for resale as fire engines.

Over the last few years as the older equipment was replaced, the older vehicles were parked waiting to find a buyer for two that are owned by the fire department and have the State of Utah pick up the three trucks that were on loan through the FEPP program. There are quite a collection of old fire trucks in the “boneyard” at Station 1 as a result, but they are starting to find homes now.

A 1978 Chevrolet C-65, which was equipped with American LaFrance fire apparatus, was retired several years ago. It was purchased and put into service Nov. 1, 1995 by the fire department after it saw service in New Jersey and was rebuilt in Arkansas. The apparatus recently sold and the new buyer plans to transform the vehicle into a motor home. It still ran well but the tank developed a leak and was no longer suitable for fire service without a lot of work and money to replace the 750-gallon tank. It is nice to know that the old truck will be repurposed and live on after retirement.

The other engine was a 1975 Mack pumper engine that was donated to the fire department by the City of Syracuse, Utah Fire Department in January of 2006. The engine was still in good working order but was replaced by a newer engine. The old Mack recently found a new home as a working fire engine in the small settlement of Brown’s Hole, about 30 miles south of Moab.

The settlement has four permanent families and several part-time residents who are understandably concerned about fire danger in their little community because fire-fighting resources are so far away. The old Mack fire engine will be a great benefit to those residents and it will be put to a good beneficial use as a viable and reliable firefighting apparatus.


As of several days ago there was still some bear activity in the valley and it seemed to be mostly at the Dorr Hatch residence near Castle Creek. The bear was hanging around his place every night while scrounging for food before winter. He didn’t mind it cleaning up the fruit off of the ground but was concerned that it might damage his beehives.

Several weeks ago he tried an experiment that he heard about years earlier that would discourage bears from entering his property. He placed a radio near the hives and tuned it to the KCYN Canyon Country station, letting it play all night. The experiment didn’t seem to work. A neighbor watched the bear eating an apple near the radio and seemingly enjoying the country music while eating the snack.

In the meantime, Dorr has been trying to keep vigil over his beehives by checking on them periodically during the night. One evening he went out to his vehicles, which were parked side-by-side out in the yard. As he squeezed between the car and truck, he turned around to see the bear in the bed of the truck looking at him less than two feet away. He quickly scurried out of there but the bear just leisurely climbed a nearby tree where it spent the night.


Our grandson, Westyn Drake, the son of Bobby and Lisa Drake of Neola, Utah, called us the other day to announce that he had just proposed marriage to his girlfriend, Kiley. Westyn served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Peru and is in his second year at Utah Valley University, majoring in Computer Science.

Westyn lured his bride-to-be up Provo Canyon to a little park where a friend of his was waiting with a camera under the pretense of completing a photo assignment for a college class. The friend asked if she could take their picture for the assignment and, of course, they complied. While the friend took pictures of just Kiley, Westyn produced the ring, which was hidden in a predetermined location, and made the proposal. Fortunately for Westyn, Kiley accepted his proposal and a March wedding date is planned.