Thursday, December 1, 2005

Equinoctial Storm Hits Gold Run!

I have some diverse material.

Re the "Equinoctial Storms" of diarists I.T. Coffin and Josephine Freeman--rain storms marking the end of the summer dry season, and the beginning of the winter wet season, around the autumnal equinox. OK. I am reminded that Julius Caesar noticed such storms, in Book Five of his De Bello Gallico (Rome, 50 B.C.).

Caesar and his legions had crossed to Britain and subdued the warlike natives, wild Celts, fighting from taloned chariots in blue war paint; the Romans prevailed, hostages were taken, the summer waned, and it was time to return to Gaul. Confronting the passage across the Channel with so many troops, he worried "... , ne anni tempore a navigatione excluderetur, quod aequinoctium suberat, ... ," which I freely translate as "that the time of the year might exclude navigation, because the Equinox was near."

So this business of the Equinoctial Storm has an ancient heritage.

Recently I rec'd a message from friend Tim Lasko that, in attempting to visit Canyon Creek, using the Paleobotanist Trail (PBT) to cross the Gold Run Diggings, he and his friends had found the road into the marvelous pine grove off Garrett Road, where one always parked to use the PBT, blocked by a large log, with a "no trespassing" sign nearby. Tim wrote, "It was my understanding that this was BLM land. Were you aware of this and is this BLM land? I will probably try to locate a BLM office on Monday and give them a call. Any idea who a contact would be?"

To which I replied, more or less, "Hey, don't you ever read my many lengthy emails, I wrote all about the log and the sign and the property line, last winter." And I directed him to Deane Swickard at the Folsom office of the BLM.

Tim called Deane and Deane said he would look into it and get back to Tim.

Apparently, though, in making a number of inquiries about the situation at Gold Run, from many sources, Tim found that the American River Conservancy (ARC) is making an effort to find funding to purchase at least some of the "800 acres now for sale," in the Gold Run Diggings.

I knew of this, and enjoyed a conversation with Alan Ehrgott, who heads up ARC, a few weeks ago. I guess the upshot of all this is that *there is hope for Gold Run*.

Yes, the aggregate mining interests are trying to buy the 800 acres. Yes, the issue of mercury contamination in the old mines clouds everything.

But don't count the ARC out. So, I say, many thanks to Alan Ehrgott and the ARC, and to Deane Swickard and the BLM, for moving forward. I only wish the BLM would set its sights upon the entire 800 acres, not just the southerly portion within the "Gold Run Addition" of the "North Fork American Wild & Scenic River [corridor]."

It could be that the one thing really needed, to go after the more northern part of the 800 acres, is a non-profit environmental organization of some kind, willing to accept title to these particular lands. (For the BLM, currently, does not wish to take title to these more-northern lands.)

To accept title is to accept, possibly, some measure of liability for existing mercury contamination on the property. The remediation of such contamination might be very expensive. Hence there is risk.

I guess that's all I have for now.

Oh yeah. PARC is hosting a get-together event at the Beecher Room of the Auburn Library, beginning 6:30 p.m. Friday, December 2, and I am slated to speak about trails, and show some photos, or something of the sort. It is open to the public. Tom Petersen of Georgetown will also talk about trails,and there will be some discussion, too, about a feared revival of the bad old Auburn Dam project, per the events in New Orleans.

No comments: