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Ski
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PostFri Jul 14, 2017 8:33 pm 
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Friday July 14 2017 14:48 PDT

Dear Interested Party,

The purpose of this message is to inform you of the Department of Natural Resources Timberland Access-Little River Project on the Pacific Ranger District of the Olympic National Forest. The Forest is proposing to approve a special use application from the State of Washington's Department of Natural Resources for a special use permit authorizing road use, maintenance, and construction to access State lands for timber harvest. Forest Service personnel are initiating an environmental analysis of the project as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

For more information about the project and how to comment on the proposal, please visit our website at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=51424

To comment on this project, visit the project website listed above and click "Comment on Project" in the "Get Connected" heading on the right hand side of the webpage and follow onscreen instructions. Written comments should be mailed to the Responsible Official, Dean Millett, through Joel Nowak, Project Lead, Olympic National Forest, 1835 Black Lake Blvd SW, Olympia, WA  98512. If you have questions concerning the project please call 360-956-2266.

The attached letter provides more information about the project activities and the comment process.

We welcome your comments on this proposal. Submitting your comments by August 15, 2017 will allow us adequate time to best use them.

Thank you for your interest in the Olympic National Forest.

Scoping Letter

-USFS-

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RodF
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PostSat Jul 15, 2017 1:09 am 
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This proposed new road cuts across Little River Trail about 0.2 miles from the trailhead (just after the trail crosses East Branch Little River trail bridge and climbs to the top of the slope, where an old skid road or ATV path led down to FS3030 road when it was open).  The many of us who enjoy and maintain this trail hope the impact of this new road crossing the trail can be minimized.

This project has been proposed for a year.  It is on previously logged USFS adaptive management area.  It provides new surface access to DNR land south of the east branch Little River which had been previously logged by helicopter.  It involves no logging on USFS land other than to clear the road right-of-way (est. 1.38 acres = 1200 linear ft. of road to average 50 ft width) which is wider than the clearing width of FS3030 (a single lane road with turnouts) and wider than seems necessary.

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Ski
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PostSat Jul 15, 2017 10:40 am 
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RodF wrote:
"...to average 50 ft width) which is wider than the clearing width of FS3030 (a single lane road with turnouts) and wider than seems necessary."

huh.gif Why on earth do they need a 50-foot-wide road prism?

That doesn't make sense unless it's the intent to accommodate two-way traffic.

I haven't read any of the documentation on this one yet - I just got that email last night.
I'll have to read through it later, I've got a mess of other stuff on my plate for the next several days.

Enlighten me.

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I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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RodF
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PostSat Jul 15, 2017 1:45 pm 
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Ski wrote:
huh.gif Why on earth do they need a 50-foot-wide road prism?

The scoping letter only says "A majority of the road will require a right of way 40 ft. wide."  That might be reasonable on average to accommodate the cuts for a single-lane road on a mountainside.

But the terrain in the vicinity of the trail crossing is relatively level and no road cuts will be necessary there.  So I hope they'll conclude that the clearing width need not be wider than the single lane, so its visual impact in the vicinity of the trail crossing can be minimized.

(The proposed road accesses only a small parcel of loggable DNR land to the east, and will "dead end" within a half mile, so single lane is all that's needed.  Because it requires replacing a relatively expensive crossing of North Branch Little River to reopen FS3030 to access the area, I'm surprised it actually "pencils out" economically.  But apparently DNR assumes it will?)

The trail corridor itself is on a 1920s logging railroad bed.  A wooden pipeline was then installed along it and provided clear water to the Rayonier paper mill in Port Angeles through the 1930s.  Fragments of this pipeline are still visible.  So this section of the trail provides an interesting glimpse into the area's history.

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"of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt" - John Muir
"the wild is not the opposite of cultivated.  It is the opposite of the captivated” - Vandana Shiva
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Ski
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PostSat Jul 15, 2017 10:44 pm 
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Rod -

I can understand why the "right of way" would require 40 feet if it involves cutbanks, slopes, sharp curves, steep gradients, or there is a necessity to build up the roadbed.
I do not understand why they believe it is necessary to allow a 60 foot right of way for "curves and pullout" unless this particular 1200-foot-long section of newly-created road will connect to some heavily-used road at the other end.
Am I missing something here?

The maps show a red dotted line, but only one of them has any notation saying it's a trail: "DNR straight trail" ?
Is that entire trail on DNR land, or does it cross over into NFS lands?

RE: "reconstruction will involve installation of a bridge at a previous crossing of the Little River to access the new construction."

Is there a bridge at this location now? Is the installation of the bridge necessary as part of the construction of the new 1200 feet of road?

Will this project in any way impact the wooden pipeline you mentioned above? Does that pipeline have any historical significance?

Will this project impact the trail itself in any way?

(Did you figure out yet that this raises some questions for me? It isn't necessary to use a cannon to kill flies, and that's what this looks like to me.)

Let me know.
Thanks.
BK

US Forest Service, regarding this project wrote:
Your comments are requested by 8/15/2017


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I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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RodF
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PostSun Jul 16, 2017 12:21 am 
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Ski wrote:
Is that entire trail on DNR land, or does it cross over into NFS lands?

The trailhead and first 0.2 miles of trail are on state DNR land.  The trail then crosses over onto USFS land, where this new road will cut cross the trail.  The trail continues south on USFS land for almost a half mile, then crosses back onto DNR land for a half mile, then enters Olympic NP for 8 miles up to Hurricane Hill.

Ski wrote:
RE: "reconstruction will involve installation of a bridge at a previous crossing of the Little River to access the new construction."

Is there a bridge at this location now? Is the installation of the bridge necessary as part of the construction of the new 1200 feet of road?

No, the old timber USFS FS3030 bridge was removed many years ago.  Yes, to reopen access to FS3030 road, it will be necessary to install a new bridge (or large half-culvert).  (Currently, the local community Black Diamond Water District maintains its water intake on North Branch Little River on USFS land by crossing an unsafe temporary bridge on private land to the northwest.  The new bridge will restore safe access for them, too.)

Ski wrote:
Will this project impact the trail itself in any way?

Yes, the new road will cut right across the trail.  The surviving sections of historic wooden pipeline are about 1/2 mile further south, so won't be affected.  This trail also accesses three historic mine sites up in the Park.

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"of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt" - John Muir
"the wild is not the opposite of cultivated.  It is the opposite of the captivated” - Vandana Shiva
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Ski
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PostSun Jul 16, 2017 8:17 am 
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RodF wrote:
  (Currently, the local community Black Diamond Water District maintains its water intake on North Branch Little River on USFS land by crossing an unsafe temporary bridge on private land to the northwest.  The new bridge will restore safe access for them, too.)

Looks like "Black Diamond Water" has only been around for 21 years. I would think that if that bridge were in such bad shape they would have known about it then, but maybe not.

Who's supposed to pony up the money for the bridge? DNR or USFS?

There's something about this that I'm beginning not to like, particularly the installation of a new road corridor which could be up to 60 feet wide directly across an existing recreational trail.

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"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. 
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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RodF
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PostSun Jul 16, 2017 1:24 pm 
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No, Black Diamond Water District had to build a new water filtration and treatment facility a couple decades ago to meet state drinking water requirements, but had served local residents for many decades before that.  (The Little River trailhead parking area is on their property in front of their water treatment building.)

DNR requested, and I assume will have to pay for, this project.

Those of us concerned about the Little River Trail have been aware of this proposal for a year and also "don't like it" that the proposed road will cut across the trail.  But it's in a previously logged and roaded area; only about a hundred feet of the route (east of the trail) are new roadbed, the thousand feet descending northwest of the trail are on the path of an old skid road.  The trail itself is an old logging railroad bed.  FS3030 itself is a USFS road that requires easements across private and DNR land to access USFS land, and this extension is in kind a short easement across USFS land to access DNR land.  And it also benefits the local water district.  So we don't think we could prevent it, but will ask USFS to minimize its impact on the trail corridor.

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"of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt" - John Muir
"the wild is not the opposite of cultivated.  It is the opposite of the captivated” - Vandana Shiva
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Ski
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PostSun Jul 16, 2017 7:48 pm 
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RodF wrote:
And it also benefits the local water district.

I don't think amybody is going to make any friends cutting off drinking water supplies for local residents.

So.... best-case scenario is.... minimizing impact to trail corridor by what means?

Reduce width of road right-of-way? (60 feet sounds excessive if this is only a quarter-mile of one-lane road that doesn't go anywhere.)

Why didn't they just cook up some sort of land-swap deal? Was that just totally off the table?
The DNR parcel doesn't really look like it's big enough to make any kind of significant investment (in the form of a bridge and a new culvert). Like you said above, "how does this pencil out?"

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I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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meck
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PostMon Jul 17, 2017 9:27 pm 
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I was up that trail (to Hurricane Ridge) a week-and-a-half ago, I was wondering what-in-the-heck all that flagging was for.  Hmm... I'd rather have the trees stay in place.

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