Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Re: Public Access: Lost?

Hi Bill, you wrote,

The historic trails can and should be protected from project effects under
NHPA. Do you have any particlar concerns within the Blue Canyon Project

Yes, as mentioned in my recent letter, to District Ranger Vivian Kee, of about May 15. I mentioned the China Trail, the Bradley & Gardner Ditch, etc.

As to historic trails not in project areas, but that are being impacted by
various agents, we do have a responsiblity to address those situations. I
would like to get map locations of the trails you are concerned with and
work w/David Michaels to try and address the problems you are bringing to
our attention. From a heritage resources persprective it would be
important for me to get the historic trails on our hertitage resources
atlas as a first step in trying to protect them. David might be able to
get out in the field with you.

Most of these trails are depicted on your own TNF maps! This partly why my friends and I are so amazed and horrified by the *complete obliteration* of one trail after another! And, so far as timber harvests on private lands, you guys at TNF review and sign off on every such harvest plan within the broader outlines of TNF, right?

I would be more than happy, I would be ecstatic, to help identify these absolutely precious, historic trails. My friends and I sometimes GPS these trails. I can draw many of them in on maps. Heck, many are already on the TNF special 7.5 minute topographic maps. These once formed a large interconnected network of trails. Don't forget, among all these many historic trails is the one which goes through the Rawhide Mine up to Sawtooth Ridge. Suppose this one trail was still open to the public, as it should be. One could walk from Iron Point to Big Valley Bluff, Loch Leven Lakes, Devils Peak, and on to Cascade Lake and Soda Springs--that is, if the intervening trails had not been obliterated.

Currently we are working on trail development in Burlington Ridge area. We
are developing RR grades and ditches as trails. What has happened is that
members of the public have pioneered bike and motorbike trails, some of
which have impacted the grades and ditches, or are poorly engineered, and
we are trying to get the situation under control. Also we are planning
alterations to Loch Leven Trail. If you have concerns in these areas let
me know. I realize this is a different issue than the one you raise about
historic trails.

I absolutely hate the new Loch Leven Trail! What was wrong with the old one? The new one is in extremely bad repair, and is even dangerous to walk on in places; I was on it Monday, to my regret. I refer to the section between old Hwy. 40 and the railroad.

Thanks so much for taking the time to consider these issues, Bill, I greatly appreciate it.


Russell Towle

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