Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Public Access: Lost?

For several years now I have been urging Tahoe National Forest to try to acquire the private lands at the head of the trail from Lost Camp down to the North Fork of the North Fork American. This trail, in Section 23, T16N, R11E, quickly passes onto TNF lands as it proceeds south to the river. It is sometimes called the China Trail, or the China Bar Trail. It used to continue up the other side of the North Fork of the North Fork to Sawtooth Ridge, with one branch bearing east to Burnett Canyon, the other south to Helester Point, I believe, but over the past thirty years that area has been heavily logged, and that part of the old trail destroyed.

It is still intact on the Lost Camp side of the river.

This trail is depicted on the 1962 TNF map of the Foresthill and Big Bend ranger districts. It is also one of the sixty-odd trails declared to be public trails in the famous 1953 Placer County Board of Supervisors' ordinance. The Lost Camp part of the trail is also shown on the USGS 7.5 minute Westville quadrangle.

I am not aware that Forest Supervisor Steven Eubanks has ever responded to my letters regarding this trail.

Today I learned from someone who hiked the China Trail last year, and tried to reach the trail today, that the road down to Lost Camp and the trailhead is now gated closed.

This, if true, is intolerable.

I wonder whether, when CDF approves timber harvests, or TNF plans and approves timber harvests, which absolutely ruin and obliterate historic trails,--I wonder in what way such actions can be considered consistent with NEPA or CEQA.

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