Sunday, April 2, 2017

Bluff Creek roads status update

Bald Hills in Redwood National and State Parks
Landslide on Slate Creek rd two miles up.

Extensive damage and downed trees.
Downed alders snapped about eight feet up the stem.
The road was like this the whole way.

On Friday 3/31 Rowdy and I headed up to the Bluff Creek area to scout out the road condition. The forest is a disaster to say the least. The winter storm have caused unprecedented and utter devastation across the entirety of the area we traversed. I counted one in ten large trees have been blown over by the wind of the hill-slopes greater than 25 degree. It was surreal.

I went over Bald Hills and met up with Rowdy after i attempted to get to Twin Lakes via Slate Creek rd. At about 3pm I attempted to access the Twin Lakes area via Slate Creek rd and was met by many downed trees and small slides that had been cleared informally by locals.

At mile 2.2 I encountered a large landslide that completely blocked the road. It will require heavy equipment to clear. That was only after two miles up the road.

We then headed up Cedar Camp rd in an attempt to get access to Slate Creek rd, again we were met by heavy road damage. It appeared that trees have been knocked all over the area. Many large oaks and firs were on the ground. There is a lot of private property up there and a small logging operation at about mile four. The loggers had cleared the road with heavy equipment up to their operation. We proceeded past and encountered the road sagging in several areas and multiple trees over the rd which had been cleared by locals.

At mile seven it appeared the locals had given up and we encountered many obstacles and more downed trees which had to clear via chainsaw. We summited the ridge above the town of Orleans and had a clear view of the town and the GO rd, this was about mile marker nine. At this point there were many large rock piles covering the entirety of the rd and I had to just roll over them with my truck. 

At around mile ten we had broken the chainsaw chain and could not cut anymore large trees. We stopped at the next large tree and turned around to head back.

We went to Orleans briefly but opted to not attempt a run up the GO rd because it was now about 6:30pm.

I fear the roads into Bluff Creek and the entire Bluff Creek drainage might have suffered catastrophic storm damage. At this point to do not think it will be possible to access the film site for some time. Likely not before July, the forest service has many miles of roads to clear.

During the past years it was not uncommon to encounter a few downed trees here and there but it was never anywhere near this level of destruction. I also anticipate heave losses to our trail cameras down on the creek. Most of the cameras were attached to alders which do not weather the storms very well.

Large pile of fir trees

Rocky debris at mile nine.

View of the Marble and Trinty Mountains looking East/NorthEast.

View of Orleans from the top of Cedar Camp rd


Rowdy on rocky debris

The big Klamath River bridge in Orleans

Beautiful memorial for a young girl overlooking the Klamath river

Klamath River from the Martin's Ferry bridge.

Clear blue Slate Creek running into the muddy Klamth

Native Karuk art mural at Orleans

Returning to Redwood National and Start Parks via Bald Hills rd.

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