02 October 2020

About That-Ark: There Just Ain’t Noah Way

This was taken from a US newspaper, about 1973 or 1974. I guess it had been sent to one of my missionary companions.

About That-Ark: There Just Ain’t Noah Way

by Jack V. Fox

United Press International

Willits Calif. – If Noah were alive today and forewarned of another great flood, could he build an ark and get the animals aboard?

The creative writing class of Willits High School decided to find out after the woeful conclusion of a local businessman, exasperated with governmental red tape, that "you couldn't even build an ark in this county."

A Serious Level

The class approached its inquiry on a serious level, writing letters on plain stationery with only the high school's street address to governmental bodies, banks, zoos, construction firms, trucking outfits and the Coast Gaurd.

A decision, was made to sign the applications with the name Noah Lamechson since the Bible that Noah was the son of Lamech.

The Old Testament also was the basic source of information for building the ark and selecting the animals.

It was necessary to translate the biblical cubits into feet and inches. The student planners decided on an ark 300 cubits or 450 feet long, 50 cubits or 75 feet wide and 30 cubits or 45 feet high.

A Bit of Gopher Wood

The Bible says Noah used "gopher wood and pitch." A Willits pastor said that gopher wood was probably cedar or cypress that pitch was probably bitumen found in the Dead Sea area.

A decision was made to build the boat on a property known as "the old city airport" which was owned by the City. Class member Rich Wilkinson paced off the area needed and a passerby, asking what Rich was doing was told “Measuring for an ark."

"Oh," said the man. “Well, have fun.”

But the word spread quickly and was taken seriously. One businessman was overheard to comment: "Do you know what those hippies are trying to do now? Build an ark on city property."

"Lamechson" first applied for a use permit to the city engineer and was turned down, so he appealed to the planning commission.

Meantime, attempts were made to collect and transport the animals. Letters were written to several trucking agencies, all bringing a negative response, including one from a company which advertised "No job too big for us."

Sorry, It’s Too High

"Lamechson" wrote the California Division of Highways about transporting giraffes from San Fransisco. A reply was received warning that “some way will have to be found to keep their heads down to within 15 feet of the pavement — the lowest bridges over Highway 101 are at this height,"

An inquiry to the Department of Fish and Game for permission to obtain two rare condors got this answer.

"Under state law, California Fish and Game Code Sections 2052 and 3511, it is illegal to take or possess certain fully protected and/or endangered wild life species. The California condor is a species found on this list. Thank you for your interest and your offer to raise endangered species for, their perpetuation. Unfortunately, we do not feel that this is possible under present law."

The Coast Guard was one of the agencies that quickly tumbled. Its reply said that women crew members were perfectly acceptable so long as they were properly licensed.

Following All the Rules

"If the-ship should go aground on a mountaintop, it should display as distress signals three black balls, each not less than two feet in diameter.” The coast guard added.

Bank of America turned down an application for a $500 000 financing loan, saying neither the animals nor the boat would be sufficient collateral and suggesting something could be arranged if the ark promoters could put up “marketable securities”.

"Lamechson" filled out an environmental impact study form including the question “Could the project result in the displacement of community residents?”

"Yes," said "Lamechson." "About 30 billion of them.”

We're not going to tell you how it came out. You may get a hint from the title of the student report, "You Can't Build an Ark in Mendocino County."