In Marin / CURRENTS
A 1944 Mount Tamalpais
Mount Tamalpais is renowned for its lush nature and gorgeous vistas, but hidden among the redwoods are
the remnants of a tragedy that occurred 74 years ago this month. On November 30, 1944, a PBM- 5 Mariner
seaplane took off from an air station in Alameda, bound for Hawaii. The pilot quickly realized that something was wrong and radioed the station’s tower to report an emergency. According to Matt Cerkel — a
seasoned Marin Municipal Water District park ranger — the pilot was told to stand by as there were two
other aircraft currently experiencing issues as well.
“This was probably around 11:30 p.m.,” Cerkel says. “That was the last thing anyone heard from the
crew of the plane. People heard it flying low, heard a crash, saw a flash, and then after wards saw a fire up
on Mount Tam.” Fortunately for the mountain, rainy weather helped prevent the fire from spreading.
Tragically, all eight people aboard the PBM- 5 were killed on impact. At first, local law enforcement told
concerned citizens calling to report what they’d heard and seen that they were mistaken, as no planes were
missing from nearby Hamilton Air Field. It wasn’t until the next day, when five middle-school-age boys
decided to find the source of the fire, that the horrific truth was uncovered. Interested parties can still visit
what remains of the aircraft, which is but one of several planes to crash into Mount Tam in the years before
and during World War II. Those who decide to seek out the wreckage should be advised that the area is considered a grave site. Recently Cerkel oversaw the implementation of a sign there to commemorate the event
— and to remind visitors not to take any souvenirs home. Overall, Cerkel estimates that there have been
over 60 airplane crashes in Marin County. It’s hard to imagine any of them can offer the lingering intrigue
of the twisted metal that lies nestled in the splendor of Marin’s favorite mountain. ZACK RUSKIN
We all want to do our part when it comes to recycling, but sometimes we become wishful recyclers
when we guess at what is and is not accepted. Turns
out, it’s better to throw away a questionable item
than contaminate the batch. And with all the rules
and details to consider, it’s no wonder many people
are confused. Even the greenest of us are sometimes
left holding an empty milk carton wondering where
it goes (hint: Mill Valley Refuse won’t accept these).
Here are some top tips to help you sort out the often
confusing world of recycling. KIER HOLMES
On Top Leave the plastic caps on your bottles
New Mantra “When in doubt, throw it out.”
Bin There Recycle flimsy plastic grocery bags (and
other types of plastic bags) at the drop-off bins
available at most grocery stores.
No Joe Most to-go coffee cups are not recyclable,
so they go into the trash.
Clean Act Thoroughly rinse and dry all
Bagged Down Don’t bag up your recyclables in
plastic because the trash bags can damage equip-
ment and make the contents hard to sort. Instead,
put everything in loosely.
Just Ask Always check with your local recycling
company for specific instructions, as each center
follows different rules.