ALTURAS, Calif. – Despite the distraction of hundreds of wildfires this season, the Modoc National Forest was able to accomplish some much-needed infrastructure repair, maintenance and improvement.
On Pencil Road, new drainage features were installed, existing features were cleaned and maintained and the road was resurfaced from the Modoc Estates boundary to the top of Swanson Canyon. This route serves as a community fire escape and supplements the Modoc Fire Safe Council’s Swanson Canyon Fuels Reduction and Riparian Enhancement Project.
These road improvements were supported with funding from the Forest Service Regional Office for storm damage repairs, a partnership with the Alliance for Workforce Development (AFWD) to provide additional labor and Modoc County Roads Department who provided valuable heavy equipment.
More than 420 miles of Forest Service passenger car roads were maintained along with more than 130 miles of high-clearance forest roads thanks in large part to fire suppression and repair efforts, forest timber sales and the Modoc National Forest road crew. Many of these projects also addressed storm and user-created damage from the wet 2016-17 winter. This project was also supported by AFWD.
The forest received additional funding from the regional office to help fix more severe winter flood and storm damage sites on Washington Mt. Road (42N21), Mowitz Road (46N10) and Deep Creek Road (42N31).
California-Oregon Transmission Project (COTP) helped fund eight miles of forest road improvements to accommodate fire engine access to and around the 500-kV transmission lines on the west side of the forest. This project was funded by COTP to enhance fire-suppression response and fuels-treatment access in the area.
After the Middle Fork Parker Creek Bridge burned during the Parker 2 Fire, a temporary bypass was installed in August by firefighters, contractors and the Modoc National Forest road crew. This portable bridge will accommodate highway-legal loads and provide for visitor and forest project access while a more-permanent fix can be implemented. Modoc National Forest Engineering personnel are currently working with regional office structural engineers to develop a plan for long-term replacement and funding.
The Modoc National Forest received approximately $360,000 to protect infrastructure and other values at risk from 2017 wildfires, and is beginning to implement protective measures in areas with high soil burn severity. Most of this work is associated with protecting National Forest System roads and will be accomplished by Forest Service equipment operators as well as contractors.
Forest Road 39N50 runs along Ash Creek outside of Adin providing popular access for fishing, dispersed camping and recreation. Aggregate base rock was placed between County Road 527 and Upper Ash Creek Bridge to accommodate this traffic, improve drainage and stabilize the roadway.
The second year of work to improve universal accessibility at Medicine Lake and Blue Lake campgrounds included installing new fire rings, new bear proof garbage containers, new drinking water hydrants, retrofitting picnic tables and improving access paths and parking spurs.
New signs and information boards were installed throughout the Warner Mountains – including Patterson Trailhead, East Creek Campground and the High Grade National Recreation Trail. Interpretive signs were also installed and fixed along the Lassen and Applegate historic trails.
The spring-fed drinking water systems at Cave Lake Campground and Lily Lake Day Use Area were replaced. New distribution lines, new faucets and new water tanks were installed at both facilities.
The Modoc National Forest is now in the process of shutting down drinking water systems for the season. Cold fall temperatures have already resulted in broken pipes this month, so hunters should be prepared to bring or treat their own water.