Stanislaus National Forest staff to host public meeting addressing road closures


By Guy McCarthy, The Union Democrat, @GuyMcCarthy   

Public meeting:  Community forum on Stanislaus National Forest roads,
4 p.m. Thursday, Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors chambers, fourth floor, 2 S. Green St., Sonora.

At least 20 Stanislaus National Forest roads are so badly damaged by winter storms they will remain closed until spring or summer 2018 or longer, Forest Service staff in Sonora said in late April.

Road damage created by Winter rains

Now public affairs staff with the forest are touting a public meeting planned for 4 p.m. Thursday at chambers for the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors, 2 S. Green St.

Tuolumne County staff described the meeting as a community forum co-hosted by the county, Cal Fire, the state Office of Emergency Services, Pacific Gas & Electric, Hetch Hetchy Water and Power, the federal Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service. A flier lists Caltrans as a sponsor of the meeting.

“Residents can learn about road and recreation closures, tree mortality and defensible space,” Diana Fredlund, forest spokesperson, said Monday.

Road closures, alternate routes, safety precautions and recreation limitations are on the list of things to talk about. The tree mortality crisis and defensible space inspections are also on the list.

A forest order signed in late April closes 20 roads until Dec. 31. In reality, that means workers will not try to re-open the roads until spring or summer 2018 at the very earliest.

Closed recreation areas listed on the order include: Beardsley Day Use Area, Stanislaus River Campground, Union East Campground, Union West Campground, Sand Flat Campground, Rocky Point Campground, Spicer Campground, Spicer Boat Ramp and Spicer Group Site.

Since Oct. 1, watersheds that comprise the Stanislaus National Forest have received 71.2 inches. That’s 187 percent of average as of May 15, and it’s about 2 to 3 inches less precipitation for the date than the wettest water year on record, 1982-83, according to the state Department of Water Resources.

The Forest Service has so far provided no estimate for how much it may cost to repair all roads damaged during the 2016-17 winter season.

For more information go online and visit a Stanislaus National Forest web page titled “Storm Damage 2017” at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/stanislaus/stormdamage. The April 24 forest order signed by Scott Tangenberg, acting forest supervisor, closing numerous roads through the rest of this calendar year, is at www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd540340.pdf.

Stanlislaus National Forest headquarters is at 19777 Greenley Road in Sonora. Staff there can be reached at (209) 532-3671.

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