Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Stan Bales making our public land even more fun!

 Bureau of Land Management is one of my favorite things in the world. Just the other day I was talking with Stan Bales (I believe he is the Outdoor Recreation Planner for BLM) about all the work they've done on Bald Mountain and asked if you can camp up there, he replied "yes! That's why it's one of your favorite things." He is correct. This old BLM map that local historian Tim Purdy brought in to me today says it all "these are you lands to enjoy and your lands to protect." BLM wants me to use the land, they encourage it. Stan and crew made Bald Mountain such a great place to explore; on horseback, foot or bike. The single track is a blast, in the spring the wildflowers on top are stunning and Stan tells me it is a spectacular spot to watch the moon rise. 

What did it take to get this trail built? In the words of Stan:

"On May 23 through 26, our BLM Ameri-Corps Crew and I backpacked and horse packed up onto Bald Mountain to do trail maintenance from a camp up on Bald Mountain at 5,000'. We had great vistas up there over Honey Lake and to the surrounding mountains of the northern Sierra, Great Basin and Cascades. The full moon rose over Honey Lake while we were camped out out up there too - really nice !

From our campsite, the crew hiked along 5 trail loops grubbing out annual weed growth and sloughed rocks that had fallen on the trail, dug out rocks in rough trail segments making the trail much better for all trail users and padded some rocky sections with dirt to smooth out crossing those trail segments. Two crewmen also rode mountain bikes along 3 trail loops to reach loops further away from our campsite and also cleared sloughed rocks, grubbed out annual weed growth, improved a bermed trail turn and padded rocky talus slope crossings with dirt.

And after local horse packer and Back Country Horsemen volunteer Walt Reynolds helped the crew pack up heavy jugs of water, food and some tools on his horses, two crew members got to ride horses back down with Walt. Then the crew members switched to mountain bikes and rode back up to camp so the bikes would be available the next day for trail work. That was a long day for those tough trail riders !

While up there the crew met a diverse mix of trail users out enjoying the Bald Mountain Trails - hikers, runners, mountain bikers and horseback rider."

In another email he listed the necessary equipment:

"Student Conservation Association crew, a Sutter 300 Mini Trail Dozer we rented from Sutter Equipment east of Carson City that makes them. Sky Zaffarano, a great BLM trail dozer operator from our BLM Redding office ran it for us on weekends and our local BLM equipment operators ran it during the week. Diesel fuel was packed up the mountain by volunteers from the Back Country Horsemen. 5 gallons a day (40 lbs) adds up ! And we ran the little dozer for 3+ weeks." Last I heard they were now working on the Southside Trail that runs the Susan River. That's some fun and challenging single track!" 

I am forever amazed by the enthusiasm and encouragement I receive when I ask BLM for directions or guidance on a site. They truly want me to use our land. And as one of Tim Purdy's followers said when he saw the sunrise on Belfast Petroglyphs "that's some Indiana Jones $!#@ right there!" It really is. Hunting down petroglyphs and pictograms in our county is an amazing endeavor.  Rick and I have had so much fun exploring the notes from the ancients. 

Our local BLM crew is just one more in a long list of reasons to be Hometown Proud!

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