OCT 2014 - Sempervirens Falls and STS

Mike took over for me this month as I headed out to Nevada and Lake Tahoe. 

Although the plan was to work the Basin Trail and likely a lot of brushing, a couple of other things came up when we got to headquarters. Susan Blake mentioned she had come across a Madrone on the East Ridge Trail up off Lodge Rd that was blocking the trail, so Dale Petersen and Pete Gelblum headed out with a chainsaw to take care of it.

The main project for the day came up after several park staff mentioned that way too many visitors to Sempervirens Falls were climbing over the railings and trampling what little vegetation that was there to begin with. The goal was re-duff the area (bad choice of words on my part as the reaction from the crew was about the same as if I said let's spend eight hours brushing a trail!) so it looked more natural and to hopefully deter people from jumping the fence.

 Duff around the Falls

 We spent a couple of hours filling a wheel barrow with leaves and bringing them down to the falls along with dragging over any dead branches and trees we could find. By the end we were cutting up down Tan Oaks off the Sequoia Trail and dragging them down the hill, across Sky Meadow Rd and to the falls area. When finished the area looked a lot better and hopefully our work and the winter rains will encourage people to stay where they belong - on the viewing platform.

After eating lunch at the falls and admiring our work, we headed off to look for a tree that was reported down on the Skyline-to-Sea Trail between Creeping Forest and the Maddock Cabin Site. As we headed out, Ranger Emily mentioned there was an ultra marathon coming down from Castle Rock and we were likely to run into 'sweaty people'. As we walked along from the Gazos Creek picnic area we asked several runners if they saw any down trees and the responses ranged from 'Just a little ahead' to 'We didn't see anything'. 
As we got closer to the Maddock Cabin Site end we came across a small 2-4 inch Tan Oak laying across the trail that didn't seem large enough to even generate a tree down report. It was quickly cut up by hand and rolled off the trail even before the entire crew gathered.
A couple of minutes further along the trail we found what we were really looking for; an 8-10 inch Tan Oak. There had been a steady stream of runners as we had walked out, but we were lucky to catch a break and cut and remove the down tree without interfering with any of the runners.
The crew put in 44 hours and thanks to Norm Beeson, David Bryan, Peter Gelblum, Janie Liefhelm, Dale Petersen, Dale Stadelman and new comer Chris DeKonink, for coming out.