Working with the Trail Crew often provides new opportunities like hiking a seldom used trail like Last Chance, driving the fire roads to work in the backcountry, and learning about different aspects of the park's history. Logging has played a large role in the history of the Santa Cruz Mountains and during our May workday we had the opportunity to see a logging demonstration on Redtrees property just north of China Grade.
We met at the Lane Trail Camp area and then carpooled about a mile down a logging road where Bruce Baker from Redtrees discussed the history of Redtrees (it's the successor to the old Santa Cruz Lumber Mill) along with modern sustainable logging in the Santa Cruz Mtns. Afterwards we hiked down to the work area and viewed the cutting and removal of a medium sized, second growth tree.
We were finished with the demonstration by noon and after eating lunch back in the HQ area we split into two crews with one heading up to the STS-Middle Ridge area to remove a madrone blocking the fire road while the second crew hiked hiked the stretch of Sequoia Trail between North Escape Rd and 236 to check on a down Doug fir blocking the trail.
Mike’s Crew on No. Escape
The tree was in the noise restriction area so we couldn't use a chainsaw and at 2+ ft in diameter and a difficult lay on the hillside, we decided the best approach was to make official the trail detour hikers had been making around the rootball.
It took about an hour of digging and scrapping, but in the end everything blended together nicely and we headed back to the tool shed and the end of the day.
John Collins’ Crew work on Middle Ridge and STS
After the logging demo and lunch Aaron Poulous, Laurie King and her dad, Yagya Regmi, and I headed up to the intersection of Skyline to the Sea Trail and Middle Ridge Rd. where a twelve inch diameter madrone had fallen across the road. Just after the bridge, Aaron discovered and photographed what was later identified as a California Long-tailed Weasel. The park's resource ecologist said they are known to inhabit Big Basin, but are very reclusive. In fact she has only seen two in several decades of work here in the Santa Cruz mountains.
On the way to Middle Ridge we cleaned up around a very large Douglas Fir that came down across the trail. Despite the trail being closed there were still a lot of hikers passing through so we tidied up the trail and overhead hazards so it was safer.
Arriving at Middle Ridge we decided that we could cut up the madrone into four, twelve foot pieces and roll them down the hill. Since this area is under noise restriction due to Marbled Murrelet nesting we all took a turn on the crosscut saw. The crosscut saw is great, it weighs a few pounds and is easy to hike with as opposed to lugging a twenty pound chain saw, gas and protective gear just to make 4 cuts. It is important for everyone on the crew learn how to effectively use hand tools.
The crew put in 72 hours and thanks to John Collins, Laurie King and her dad visiting from SW England, John Martin, Mike Peasland, Aaron Poulos, Yagya Regmi, Dale Stadelman, and Chris Young.