Monday, September 8, 2003

Siller Brothers & Lost Camp

Thinking that some attempt must be made to communicate directly with Siller Brothers lumber company, about their lands at Lost Camp, today I sent the following to Siller representative Rick Frey, with whom I've spoken in the past, about yet other Siller properties in our area.

September 8, 2003

Rick Frey
Siller Brothers
P.O. Box 1585
Yuba City, CA 95992

re: Lost Camp, and THP 2-03-040-PLA

Dear Rick,

We spoke on the telephone a few years back, when I called to ask about property belonging to the Siller Brothers near Bear River, here in Placer County. That small acreage is of interest to me because it is along the line of the historic Towle Brothers lumber company's narrow-gauge railroad, which would make a lovely trail from Drum Forebay north into Nevada County.

Today I write about another Siller Brothers property, south of Blue Canyon, comprising 600 acres, and spanning the site of the old mining town known as Lost Camp. Siller Brothers is planning a timber harvest on 590 of the 600 acres (THP 2-03-040-PLA). Lost Camp dates back to the late 1850s, and was a hydraulic mining town. It was connected by road to Dutch Flat, a few miles west, and trails radiated away from Lost Camp to other, more remote mining camps. One of these trails remains in use, the China Trail, which drops south to the North Fork of the North Fork American.

The Lost Camp area is an important part of Placer County's heritage, and the China Trail is a wonderful little remnant of the vast complex of trails which once threaded through Placer County generally, and the high country in particular. Many of these old trails have been destroyed by logging. For several years, without knowing who owns the lands around Lost Camp, I have written letters to Tahoe National Forest (TNF), urging that TNF seek to purchase these lands. I have also brought Lost Camp and the China Trail to the attention of Placer County District Five Supervisor Rex Bloomfield, and to the attention of the Placer Legacy.

Many people are concerned about Lost Camp and the proposed timber harvest. TNF has been purchasing lands in the nearby North Fork American, and elsewhere, for years, using Land & Water Conservation Act funds. I am fairly sure that TNF can eventually obtain funding to purchase the Siller Brothers property at Lost Camp, along with other Siller parcels, for instance, in Green Valley on the North Fork American.

I beg Siller Brothers to look favorably upon these land acquisitions-to be a willing seller-and also to defer timber harvests on these lands for ten years. Experience has shown that the process of obtaining money to make land purchases is slow.

Thanks for your consideration of these matters!


Russell Towle

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