Recap of Celebrations for the 2006 North Coast Bill
The Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act of 2006 protected 273,000 acres of federal public roadless land and 21 miles of Wild & Scenic River. It has been wonderful to reconnect with so many of the groups we worked closely with on this effort and celebrate our collective accomplishment. Below are recaps from a number of the events we worked on:
October 18 and 21: Student Interpretive Hike Black Butte Wild & Scenic River
On Tuesday October 18 and Friday October 21, the Eel River Recovery Project, Upper Lake/Covelo Ranger District of the Mendocino National Forest, the Round Valley Unified School District, Round Valley Indian Tribes EPA, Our Wilderness Now, Tuleyome, and the Black Butte River Ranch organized an interpretive hike for elementary and middle school students in the Black Butte Wild and Scenic River watershed. 170 first through eight grade students and their teachers explored the hydrology, geology, and aquatic biology of the river. 30 parent volunteers, ERRP community volunteers, Mendocino NF personnel, and RVIT EPA staff chaperoned and helped with interpretation. Total participation was 210 people. Round Valley Indian Tribes Tribal Council Treasurer, Douglas Hutt, participated as an interpretive guide.
October 22: Yuki Wilderness and Barnes Ranch Restoration
On Saturday October 22, the Eel River Recovery Project (in cooperation with the Upper Lake/Covelo Ranger District of the Mendocino National Forest and the Bureau of Land Management Arcata Field Office) organized a fuels reduction and firescape education day in the Barnes Ranch exclusion of the Yuki Wilderness, which is jointly managed by BLM and USFS. A total of 21 participants (ranchers, ERRP volunteers, Mendocino NF Fire Crew, and BLM representatives) worked together to remove brush and other “ladder fuels” by hand. A discussion of restoration of natural fire regimes to the Yuki Wilderness accompanied lunch and the work.
October 23: Black Butte Wild and Scenic River Beach Cleanup and Interpretive Hike
On Sunday October 23 Eel River Recovery Project organized a Black Butte Wild and Scenic River beach cleanup and interpretive hike. A total of 12 participants removed trash from the beach area then hiked up river observing rocks, landscape and aquatic biology.
October 25: King Range – Connecting the Next Generation of Wilderness Stewards
On October 25, the BLM organized an event in the King Range Wilderness. Students and teachers from Skyfish School, Student Conservation Association Interns, the Lost Coast Interpretive Association, Bureau of Land Management staff, and the Sanctuary Forest Education Specialist all celebrated the 10th anniversary of the King Range Wilderness by working together on a meadow restoration and youth education project. Led by Interpretive Specialist, Rachel Sowards-Thompson, students pulled small conifer seedlings in the Hidden Valley meadow within the King Range Wilderness. Hand pulling conifer seedlings on forest-meadow edges is an effective strategy for conservation and maintenance of meadow habitats. In addition to helping preserve the meadow, students participated in a 2 mile natural and cultural history scavenger hunt called a Quest. There were approximately 50 people in attendance.
November 15: Cahto Peak Restoration Project
On Tuesday November 15, the Eel River Recovery Project, the Cahto Tribe and the Arcata Field Office of the BLM organized a field-work event in the Cahto Peak unit of the South Fork Eel Wilderness. 16 ERRP volunteers, California Wilderness Coalition volunteers, Cahto Tribal forestry crew, and BLM staff participated in evaluation of previous work and further restoration of a fire suppression bulldozer line and road-bed associated with the Cahto Peak/Black Oak Mountain Trail. Ely Reighter, Fire Chief of the Leggett Valley Fire Protection District also attended.
November 16: Resource and Cultural Field Assessment – Cahto Peak
On Wednesday November 16, the Eel River Recovery Project, the Cahto Tribe, and the BLM Arcata Field Office conducted a joint field assessment of the resource protection needs of the Cahto Peak/Black Oak Mountain Trail area. 10 total participants from all three entities surveyed and discussed interpretive signage, fire management, native plant community restoration, vehicular encroachment and misuse protection, cultural resource protection, erosion issues and communitywide collaboration.