Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Meadow Vista Trails Association

Last night I gve a talk to the Meadow Vista Trails Association (MVTA), in the back room of Mountain Mike's pizzeria. The largely equestrian audience was interested to hear about the old trails in the Placer high country, and the gradual loss of these trails to logging, subdivisions, gates, and so on. They were very well informed, and most seemed to know of the 1953 Placer County Board of Supervisors' ordinance, in which sixty-odd historic trails were declared to be "County roads" so as to secure continued public access.

It all went off well, though if I had a video projector to show pictures and maps it would have been even better.

I learned that some members of MVTA have been GPS-ing trails in that area and supplying maps to Placer County, so that, possibly, in the course of future land subdivision and issuance of building permits, the County will be in a position to protect such-and-such trail. For who can really blame the County when it allows an old trail to be blocked, if the County never knew it existed?

We of the NFARA have discussed doing this same thing. It is such a good idea, to develop a database of mapped trails, and provide the information to Placer County, Tahoe National Forest, and the BLM. I have supplied Placer County with GPSed maps of the Canyon Creek and Green Valley trails, but so much more could be done!

Ron Gould and I have been making minute examinations of various old maps, and correlating the old trails depicted therein with the modern USGS 7.5-minute topographic maps. The old maps are full of errors, large and small. Somewhat strangely, our modern USGS maps have plenty of errors too; for instance, some of the trails shown down in Green Valley on the Dutch Flat quadrangle never existed.

Ron recently discovered 1928 and 1939 Tahoe National Forest maps showing quite a few trails which no longer appear on modern maps. The trail from Gold Run to Iowa Hill by way of Fords Bar crossed the North Fork on a bridge, labeled "Warner Bridge" on the 1939 map. Ron asked me what I knew of that. Yesterday, while leafing through my own "Dutch Flat Chronicles," I found the very legal notice, published in the "Dutch Flat Forum" newspaper in 1875(?), in which one J.E. Warner applied to the Placer County BOS for permission to operate a toll bridge at Fords Bar.

Hence Warner Bridge on the 1939 TNF map! The bridge is long gone. Curiously, this map shows the Blue Wing Trail, on the Iowa Hill side of the North Fork at Warner Bridge, as a road! 'Twas never.

Unfortunately, the Gold Run terminus of this historic trail has a brand-new subdivision plunked right atop it, and public access there has ended.

No comments: