On May 22, 2017, the Mules crossed over Donner Pass, elevation 7135′, using Old Highway 40 and over the historic Rainbow Bridge. We went down the grade past Donner Lake. Having walked about 15 miles, we came upon Donner Memorial State Park. It was about 4pm. We decided to stop for the day and Donner Memorial State Park was the obvious place to rest for the night.
We entered the park, tied Little Girl to a lamp pole in the parking lot and went to the park’s visitor center. We approached the ranger behind the desk and asked if the Mules could spend the night. The ranger responded, “Absolutely not. Park regulations forbid any equestrian use inside this park.”
The Mules pay taxes. We pay between 9% to 10% sales tax on everything we buy. Everybody knows business doesn’t pay taxes, people do. When the Mules buy a product, they have paid most of the taxes that were levied by the State to get that product inside the store and onto the shelf.
The Mules ask only for the most bare bones use of the park. Simply put – enter the park, walk to the corner behind the maintenance yard, secure the mules to the fence, remove the packs, make the Mules comfortable for the night, put our bed roll on the ground, sleep, rise in the morning, clean up after ourselves and leave as we came living and walking with respect and reverence for the Natural World.
To deny the Mules or any equestrian this most bare bones use – pennies on the dollar cost to the Park system is blatantly illegal.
The Mules will be bringing the creative, magical energy of the nation, the Three Mule Nation, to make this request for an equestrian to use a state park to stop and rest for a night to every park by which we pass on our endless journey through time and space.
Upon arriving here last night within the city limits of Ripon, we the Mules were informed by the Ripon City Police that the Ripon City Council had recently passed a no camping law forbidding anybody traveling by foot, bicycle or horseback from stopping anywhere within city limits of Ripon on public space to sleep for the night.
The above being understood, we the Mules have taken it upon ourselves to deliver this day 4/24/2017 Mule Proclamation number 2645-A to the Ripon City Council.
PROCLAMATION #2645-A states:
Anybody traveling by foot, bicycle, horseback, crutches or wheelchair using their own physical resources to do said within the constitutional boundaries of the United States is doing so under the constitutional guarantees to move freely in anyone of all four directions, how you choose, when you choose. Stopping to sleep for the night is a necessary component for our right to move freely. For if the necessary function of sleep is denied, all other human activity and living experience is also being denied. To put it short and sweet without sleep, you die.
The Mules have come to the inevitable conclusion we cannot obey this law for to do so will be our death.
For any municipality and its city officials within the constitutional boundaries of the United States to spring forward and declare this most necessary function to life itself sleeping to be illegal and subject to heavy fines and jail time is a slap in the face in blatant disregard to all those who have given life and limb throughout this country’s history to protect and preserve humanity’s God given right to move freely.
The Mules will not give up this right. We’ve been here for hundreds of thousands of years. We haven’t given it up then nor will we now. The Mules invite the mayors and city council members of the many towns which the Mules will be traveling through to send their explanations and justifications as to why they have passed the no camping law in their town. The Three Mule Nation will be interested to hear the rational for enactment of such laws to be used against people traveling via non-motorized vehicles by foot, bicycle, horse. The Mules will gladly post their response in its entirety on our website 3Mules.com, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages.
Highways are Public Thoroughfares. They are the means by which the Mules or anybody else moves freely from one place to the next. The Public Thoroughfare is public for the general public. It cannot be claimed exclusively by any singular use – in particular the high speed machines be they private or commercial.
Anybody traveling by horse, bike or foot all day has the absolute common sense right to stop and rest on the Public Thoroughfare. Any law, regulation or constructing the thoroughfare to limit its use to any one venue over others is absolutely illegal.
The Mules will continue to use the Public Thoroughfare to move freely and responsibly in all ways applicable to our nomadic way of life. We have been here for hundreds of thousands of years and will remain here for hundreds of thousands more.
On Friday, June 24, 2016, the Mules arrived in Clovis, CA. We got onto a nice multi-use trail in the afternoon and were heading north. Upon walking for awhile, we met a TV news crew from KMPH and they asked if they could ask questions and take film for their FOX26 KMPH 10:00 news broadcast. We said sure.
We went to Trader Joe’s to buy some cranberry juice, then went back to the trail.
It was getting late so we decided to stop off to the side of the trail and rest for the night. A lady named Janeen brought the Mules some hay when we were at Trader Joe’s so they (the kids) were set. [Thank you Janeen for unexpectedly appearing out of nowhere and bringing the kids hay and carrots for their dinner.]
After fixing and eating my dinner, I was sitting on the water bucket on the Fresno-Clovis Trail, relaxing and enjoying being off my feet. At about 9:30pm, two officers with flashlights from the Clovis Police Department came upon us wanting to know what we were doing. We said that we have stopped here to rest for the night. The officer said the city council of Clovis says no camping in the city limits of Clovis. We said we were not camping, we have stopped here on this public right of way to rest for the night.
The officer said they were responding to calls from citizens about us being here. We said we were exercising our legal right to use a public thoroughfare and any attempt by the use of codes, regulations or laws to deny us that right shall be considered blatantly illegal.
The officer returned to his cruiser, came back in a reasonable amount of time, used discretion, in regards to the no camping law and said we could stay for the night if we would agree to leave in the morning. We said yes we would, which was stated intention.
So the kids and myself slept peacefully through the night, arose in the morning, ate breakfast, packed up and were on our way for another day living in balance with the Natural World all day, every day
Note: The Public thoroughfare in a free country must be open to all comers. The Mules are one of those comers. Our use of this thoroughfare is not the same as those who live, eat, play, and sleep inside houses then come out of those houses for some fresh air and exercise.
The Mules wander freely throughout the day then stop and use the public space to rest for the night. Any law that prevents the Mules from resting and sleeping, a most necessary function to sustain life, must be considered by any common sense mind, to be illegal.
With the above being said and understood, the Mules will not and cannot obey these no camping laws. For to do so will be the end of us. This place of any one human being wandering with his or her animal companions, has access to many dimensions. This dimension on this earth is the one we love the most. The Mules will not be removed from it. Long live human beings and their connection to Earth. There is no future without it.
What happened last weekend in Lake Shasta (link to Los Angeles Times article) is when people are disconnected from nature and live separated from the Natural World.
Living our ages old, nomadic way of life for over three decades, we the Mules hold Mother Earth with very high value and respect. We leave no trace wherever we stop for the night.
The article states that “Rangers don’t want to ban the students because their visits stimulate the local economy.”
In May 2014, the Mules were sleeping at night and woken up by federal rangers. Monk was arrested and the mules were impounded because we refused to leave in the dark for our safety. The Rangers refused to let us wait until sunrise.
Even though one 68-year old monk and his three animal companions have high respect for Mother Earth all our lives and never have and will never do something as atrocious as these hundreds of adults at Lake Shasta, our ages old, nomadic way of life is not acceptable in the suburban model, so we are jailed, penalized and convicted for our way of life of living outside all day every day.
However, large groups of college students (who are also all adults and not kids) that descend to Lake Shasta each May is acceptable, because they fit the suburban model by stimulating the economy even though they have no respect for the Natural World and Mother Earth. Their penalty for their behavior is suspension from participating in university’s social activities.
The Mules are still waiting to hear from the 9th Circuit United States Court of Appeals in our appeal to clear our conviction.
Saturday, April 30, 2016, we left Griffith Park where we stayed for the night. While grazing the kids, we met Brian. He rode 12-miles with us on his really big horse to the United States Court of Appeals Ninth District courthouse in Pasadena.
Thank you Brian and friend for giving your hope faith energy to this most important case of one human being (all of us) traveling with his or her animal companions across this country and the absolute right to stop and rest (sleep for the night) on public space.
Synopsis: On May 9, 2014, the Mules were arrested by the National Park Service and issued three citations for camping outside of designated area, violating order of a government agent, and conditions concerning use of pack animals in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
On July 16, 2014, the Mules attended an arraignment at the United States District Court in Los Angeles and pleaded not guilty and a trial date was set for November 6, 2014.
At the trial on November 6, 2014, the Mules were charged with 1) not obeying an order of a federal employee; and 2) camping in an undesignated area on national park land, while the third charge related to the pack animals was dropped. If found guilty on these charges, the maximum penalty for this petty offense was term of six months imprisonment, $5000 maximum fine, $10 special assessment for misdemeanor conviction, $25 processing fee payable to the Central Violations Bureau, and five year probation period. The Mules pleaded not guilty and were found guilty on both charges with no imposed penalties or fines, but were assessed a $35 court fee.
May 2, 2016: Oral Arguments. The Mules attended Oral Arguments before a three-judge panel in the U.S. District Court of Appeals Ninth District in Pasadena. The defense for the Mules and the government prosecution each had 15 minutes to provide their argument in front of a three-panel judge. Click to watch U.S. Court of Appeal Ninth Circuit Oral Argument court video recording:9th Circuit Court of Appeals video recording United States of America v. John C Sears 5/2/2016.
On June 15, 2016, the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed the magistrate judge’s finding that the Mules were guilty of violating two National Park Service regulations.
Click to read ruling 9th District Decision 6/15/2016:
——————————————————————————————— Statement from the Mules in response to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision: On May 2, 2016, the Mules appeared at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Pasadena to hear our appeal before three judges brought forth by the Megatropolis to decide whether the Mules or anybody else, hiker, bicycle or somebody traveling in a wheelchair, in this continental United States has the right to use public space to stop and rest for the night.
The National Parks are without question public space. They belong to all of us and they must be open to all who seek use of them in ways which conform to the mission of bringing people into the Natural World with reverence and respect.
The Mules and the way of life they live are a stellar example of that mission. When the Megatropolis uses its courts and judges to deny the Mules that most necessary function of life (rest) on a National Park, its subverts the mission of the Natural Parks – bringing people and the Natural World together in a natural way as opposed to the Megatropolis way (man-made world way) arriving in an air-conditioned bus with all the comforts of home.
The Mules on this day, September 13, 2016, have declared themselves to be the official mascots of the Natural Park system. One human being wandering in one of all four directions with his or her animal companions with reverence and respect for this totally unique sparkling jewel in the universe – our home EARTH.
Hence, the Mules, in the process of performing their duty as the official mascots of the Natural Parks, will bring clarity, direction and purpose to administering the mission of the National Parks. Rather then continuing down the slippery slope of the commercialism which is destroying the National Parks.
3/2/2015 Reply Brief. Mule’s legal representative Daniel Kapelovitz has submitted the Reply Brief to the Government’s Answering Brief Outcome: The Judge stood by the initial ruling and rejected the appeal.
The price of freedom is eternal vigilance so said somebody…can’t remember who, it’s been quoted by many. The Mules are a venue of that vigilance providing a real live moving scene of eternal vigilance by which anybody at anytime can open the window and watch the Mules moving freely when they choose , how they choose across this country and across this earth.
You take a pause in your busy day, look through the window, you see the Mules there moving freely and unhindered. They’re strong, healthy and well. Now you know your personal freedom and your children’s future is still here.
You look through the window and you see the Mules limping then you know you must jump through that window and give your strength and support so the Mules can continue their journey which is to protect and preserve their freedom as well as yours.
In these complicated and troubled times, the Megatropolis is taking full advantage. Our case in Pasadena at the United States Court of Appeals is a perfect example. The National Park Service arrested the Mules for stopping to rest – one of the most necessary functions to sustain life.
The Megatropolis must come to understand it cannot meddle or tread on the Mules or anybody else’s basic functions of sleeping, eating, walking, etc. that are necessary to living. For allow it to do so will certainly be the end of freedom.
The two pictures shown represent the two basic ways of living on this earth. The picture on the top represents the Natural Earth model, a strong healthy, natural environment supporting a varied and diverse web of life, living in balance and harmony for the sake and well-being of all. The picture on the bottom represents the Megatropolis (man-made world) model. A place of dirty water, poison air and food. Outrageous sickening noise, personal and collective isolation for those who live under its influence and within its boundaries which turns out to be where most of us find ourselves.
No human being with a good common sense mind knowing beforehand the consequences of leaving the Natural World and entering and residing in the Megatropolis would ever do so. The Human race has been tricked, lured by the carrot of gadgetry and glitz, comfort and ease, now addicted to what the Megatropolis provides and unwilling to leave, no matter what the consequences.
For those who would break their addiction and leave the Megatropolis, they are being faced with an ever increasing amount of laws, codes, regulations, permits, fees, to prevent their escape.
The Mules case going before the Ninth Circuit in Pasadena on May 2, 2016 is a perfect example of the Megatropolis sealing the cracks, tightening the noose to prevent any escape from its vessel of containment and control of all energy on earth be it human, animal, wind, sun, heat, cold, etc.
If you are willing to live within the boundaries of the Megatropolis, sleep is allowed. If you are not willing to live within those boundaries, the basic function necessary to all life, SLEEP, is being denied.
The Mules will be leaving the Wind Wolves Conservancy in a few days and be on our way to the U.S. Court of Appeals in Pasadena and bring our ages old nomadic way of life to the steps of the court. We will be carrying the energy of thousands of steps made by ourselves and the many others who have practiced this most revered and cherished way to live and be on this place called Earth. We will carry the energy of the thousands of people who we have met on our journey and given their support and kindness to see that this endless journey never ends.
The Mules are working, living every day feet on the ground example of this most valued gift bestowed to the human race to move freely how you choose, when you choose across this beautiful earth. The Mules will never give it away and neither should you.
Give your hope and faith to this endless journey through time and space and experience true wealth – the things money can never buy. The freedom to move on this earth and experience the mystery and magic of doing so can only be kept by using it all day every day.
The Mules do this most necessary job and reap the awards bestowed upon us by the hope and faith we give to this place of one human being moving freely with reverence and respect for earth and all her inhabitants.