Thursday, December 08, 2022

Rocky Road Work

by By Larry Wilson
| October 5, 2022 6:30 AM

Usually, when I fail to write a column it is because nothing of importance has happened on the North Fork and I have not prepared a story about North Fork history. That was not the cause this time. There were actually several reasons this is time. Two important, maybe vital, issues that could impact the North Fork have had me arguing with myself trying to decide what is really the best for the North Fork in the long term.

The first and perhaps the most important in the long term is the Trail Creek Road which meanders from the North Fork Road north of Trail Creek and travels west connecting with Graves Creek Road and then U.S. 93 several miles south of Eureka.

Since July I have been whining because the Forest Service had not graded the eastern six miles of the Trail Creek Road. Finally, they have done that one day job, at least filling the deep potholes with loose dirt and gravel. A temporary smoothing that will not last until the end of hunting season. That lower end is not the cause of my concern.

The upper end of Trail Creek Road has always been rough and rocky. Spines of solid rock crossed the road in many places, it was narrow and you needed to drive slow to protect your vehicle and to prevent collisions if you met another car.

No more! The Forest Service closed the road for a couple of weeks while they did “major work” from Tuchuck Campground to the Whitefish Divide. I drove to Eureka last week and was amazed at how much they did in such a short time.

They crushed the rock barriers and put the crushed rock on the road surface. They widened the road in spots so there are more turnouts and it is much easier to meet oncoming traffic. It is now much better than it was and that is my concern.

Granted it is now a wider, smoother, safer road than previously. Loggers who hauled logs over that road in the late 1950s would also be amazed. However, in recent years convoys of ATVs and side by sides have been clogging Trail Creek Road with dust, noise and unsafe speeds. Will that increase with the improved road? I hope not. I guess we should be happy to have a better escape route in case the North Fork Road is closed due to fire or flood.

Another concern is the Land Use Planning effort. This effort has involved hundreds of hours of effort by North Forkers striving to do what is best for our community, now and in the future. In addition to reaching out to the community, they have also worked closely with the County Planning Staff who approved their entire submission.

How were they treated by the County Planning Board? Shabby at best, rudely at worst.

At least one member of that Board should be fired for his personal comments about a North Fork resident. I suspect the Commissioners will at least be polite.

What do you think?

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