Saturday, November 22, 2003

North Fork News

Some minor news, or lack of news:

So far as the Siller Bros.' timber harvest at Lost Camp, I have not heard a word, either from CDF, or from Siller Bros. themselves. Quite a number of people wrote letters to CDF criticizing the proposed harvest. I believe that CDF is still reviewing the timber harvest plan, and that technically the publc comment period remains open. For those new to this subject, briefly, Lost Camp is an old gold mining town near Blue Canyon. One of the nicer trails in Placer County descends to the North Fork of the North Fork American from Lost Camp. The upland areas around the townsite have already been logged, but under the current plan, will be logged even more intensively, several thousand feet of new roads will be constructed, and rarely huge old trees down in the canyons, which have escpaed every previous timber harvest due to the steep slopes, will meet their dooms.

Tahoe National Forest Forest Supervisor Steven Eubanks responded to my letter of October 29, which asked that a vehicle closure be imposed upon the road leading to Big Valley Bluff, a 3500-foot cliff looming over the upper North Fork. His letter was polite but entirely non-commital, and he said that no TNF personnel can even look at the site until the snow melts, next spring. He mentioned that the Big Valley Bluff area, as of 10/1/03, passed under the management of the Foresthill Ranger District, along with all TNF lands south of I-80 and west of the Truckee RD boundary near Devils Peak. It so happens that I had emailed the text of my letter to Eubanks to Rich Johnson, District Ranger of this Foresthill Ranger District. Rich, at least, seemed receptive to the idea of a vehicle closure.

Last Tuesday, the North Fork American River Alliance (NFARA) met at the Dutch Flat Community Club to consider various business. The Board of Directors remain somewhat undecided about whether to incorporate as a "voting" or "non-voting" type of non-profit. Jim Ricker got us signed up to receive a copy of the Memorandum of Understanding Placer County is formulating with regard to the proposed Capital-to-Capital Trail; so NFARA can sign the MOU, without committing ourselves to any one trail alignment whatsoever, and be more or less formally "in the loop" of future decision-making processes.

Bob and Judy Suter reported that yet another blow is about to be struck against the historic Fords Bar Trail, which led from Gold Run to Iowa Hill. The trail was suddenly closed to the public about 20 years ago, and the land near the top of the trail was subdivided. Use of the trail has been limited to a few local insiders, as it were, but now even that is threatened, as one more house is about to be built on the trail. Bob and Judy suggested that perhaps an alternate trail route can be negotiated with the property owners. It would be very nice if this trail could be opened to the public once again, at least for foot and equestrian uses.

Our own Larry Hillberg of Colfax will be honored by the Placer County Board of Supervisors for helping some hikers stricken with heat stroke on the Stevens Trail last summer. I wonder if the Supes know that Larry hauled load after load after load after load of garbage miles up the Stevens Trail, from a squatter's camp on the North Fork, this spring. He more than deserves some recognition for that, too.

Such is some news.

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