Yes, Steel Creek Trail is depicted on all USFS trail maps from 1930 through the 1940s. It began from the upper South Fork Skokomish Trail, about a mile north of Camp Harps shelter. It crossed the S Fk Skok, just above (north) of the mouth of Steel Creek, then followed Steel Creek's north bank up to where the north and south forks of Steel Creek join. Steel Creek Shelter was built there about 1930. (In the 1960s, FS2355-400 logging road was built and passed right alongside Steel Creek Shelter.) The trail then continued north about another mile toward the lake, but was never completed. However, the USFS built shelters not as a destination but to accomodate trail crews, so it appears they did intend, in 1930, to complete the trail.
1949 USFS Quilcene RD map detail
-------------- "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
Interesting.. I've been to the shelter area and it is easy to tell where it once stood. What lake was it going to? Maybe it was headed to the Wonder Mountain Wilderness. It's all been logged now I think so would be hard to find.. I'll check google earth to see if any old growth is left there.. maybe I can find traces of the old trail in the old growth.
It was really fun to find the bit of the Dry Creek trail that was cut off but is in old growth. I would be great if that part was reopened since most cars can not reach the current trail head anyway due to the waterbars.
Harp had a summer camp in the area.. Harp was one of the owners of the Antlers lodge. I assume Harp went up the Dry Creek Trail to reach his summer camp from Lake Cushman. I also assume his summer camp was at the site of the curren Harps Shelter.
The only map I can recall that depicts the Bunch Lake Trail is the 1936 Olympic National Forest wall map. I scanned a copy of the base map with hand-colored overlays depicting the forest's recreational use zones, and it's posted here http://windsox.us/Cleator_1928/Map_1938.html
The small map scale makes it useless for navigation, but in general it appears to be the Bunch Canyon route, beginning from South Quinault Shore Road just west of Bunch Creek, and crossing to the east side of Bunch Creek in about a mile, and continuing above the east bank of Bunch Creek up to Bunch Lake. I can only imagine one would be very lucky to locate any trace of this trail today.
Sorry I have nothing more helpful to offer!
Thanks for the information! I hadn't seen the trail on that map before. After I posted last, I found the same trail drawn on Metskers Maps. However, I would guess that those maps simply reproduced the trail from the 1936 ONF map that you scanned.
Well. It's enough to make me go look for it this spring or summer. I'll probably just have to use topography to look for the most likely place where a trail could have once been. As best I can tell, there are few options within that drainage where a trail could be routed. That might help to narrow things down a bit. If I can positively identify even a trace of it, I will consider that a victory.
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