Monday, March 24, 2008

More from the Tahoe National Forest

From Joe Chavez:

"Due to scheduled helicopter logging activity along and adjacent to the South Yuba Canal near the Burlington trail system, the Forest Service will be implementing a Forest Order to close the area 300 feet south of highway 20 and south of the 20-12 Road (Burlington Ridge Road).

The logging needs to happen during the scheduled dewatering of the canal starting April 14. The closure would be scheduled from April 14, 2008 through June 1, 2008. It is hoped that the need for the closure will only be three weeks, but the extra time is added just in case don't go as planned. Because of the need to complete the activity in three weeks, and due to the costs involved, the loggers will be working seven days a week. As soon as the helicopter
logging is done, the closure order will be lifted. The Memorial Day recreation event will still happen, regardless of their schedule, as we will require them not to fly during the days of the event (if they are still in the area by then).

I know this will be extremely inconvenient as the trails will just be opening up at that time. But, I hope that you can understand the safety need to not allow people to be underneath flying logs and falling limbs. The helicopters will be all over the place when they start the logging. The Pioneer Trail, Hallelujah Trail and Omega trail east of the staging area (can access the Steephallow area north of Highway 20) will remain available and open. Sorry about this inconvenience. Joe"

Downieville Shuttles

There is some controversy as to Downieville shuttle usage and new USFS fees. Joe Chavez of the Tahoe National Forest wrote me this morning and had this to say:

"Certainly the discussion is distorted. The reality is that in 2004 the Forest Service, nation wide, has changed its regulations to close the loophole that commercial businesses used to run shuttles and guiding when they only used Forest Service roads or trails, without having to be under permit. Now these commercial operations, like all other commercial operations using National Forest Lands, are also required to be under permit. We are not curtailing their business, in fact I have asked each shop to give me their past numbers over the last six years to set the capacity of shuttles to Pack Saddle at a level that reflects their highest use year's numbers. They would be required to pay a fee of 3% of their gross ($0.45 added to a shuttle fee of $15, or $1.80 added to a bike rental of $60) for the permit. This is part of the national policy that all commercial users benefiting from use of the National Forest must pay a fee.

There is nothing personal about putting the two shops under permit, it is our national policy. Based on user conflicts and trail impacts, the Forest Service would have the option to restrict their use numbers, but we are not proposing this because we do understand the importance of this economic engine to Downieville. The Forest Service also requires being additionally insured to protect the public's liability. Other areas, like the Forest Service in Moab, implemented the permit requirement back in 2004.

Appreciate any objectivity and reality you can shed on the issue with the community, thanks. Joe"

Monday, March 03, 2008

Killer Trailwork on Round Mountain

Yesterday was a great day for BONC. On the Rock Creek Flume Trail, we built fantastic re-routes that will be hella fun to ride, restored a masticated section, built up some erosion control features and completed it all in one outing. All on a gorgeous 60+ degree sunny day.

The re-routes involved blazing through lots of manzanita with chainsaws and hand tools, cutting new trail and building Zachi's extremely cool bermed switchbacks. The singletrack restoration up above was about clearing debris and restoring the trail. I thank all of the 12 volunteers who showed up and you should too. I am as proud of this project as any trailwork I've done with this club. In fact, after the trailwork, I drove back out to Round Mountain again to show Shannon our work and take pictures.

The new sections will be a bit loose and duffy until we see some wet weather, so please ride gently.

Big thanks to:

The Salvation Army, who allowed this project to occur on their private property.
Hyland Fisher, who coordinated with the SA.
Bill Haire, who plotted the re-routes.