October 3 (1976, 1983, 2000, 2003)
“I myself favor...”

10/3/76 ~ monday evening. a train intones its solemn song. crickets thrill.

i now have a new lock for the ‘gate’ ~ the deerhunters shot the old one off sunday evening while i was at lover's leap for sunset; and, a new stove, a two burner, that hooks up to my new (old) gas bottle (5 gal.) so i don't have to torch my backpacking stove every morning for my coffee. civilization.

now to finish the snow fencing [interior paneling] and install the sink.

i brought some books over from wren shack today: munz' flora, the i ching, my journals, a few others. they will all come over soon. brought some hangings over ~ precious things, my huichol bags, a small weaving from cheri lyles, an even smaller weaving from the southwest my grandfather bought from the indians in his forest service days. a long belt warn by guatemala indians that liz gave to me years ago.”

[Russell Towle's journal]

10/3/83   Sunday morning. The storm continues. Fog plays in the canyon. I am still a little sleepy. Warm cabin, chuckling fire.


Yesterday the Sierra Club people came out to cut a new route in for the Green Valley trail. I got involved and had a nice time, worked hard, and met some very nice people. I may go on a trip with some of them next weekend, to the Royal Gorge.

Oh, I am tired of this storm ~ and my plants need the sun ~ come back o sun, & give us an Indian Summer to make up for the summer we hardly knew, it being so much like spring.”

[Russell Towle's journal]

Field Notes
October 3, 2000

From Emigrant Gap 10 miles to Helester Point/Big Valley Bluff fork at end of pavement.

2.6 miles to Dawson Spring, then about .6 mile to fork at pass, left .5 mile to gate, signs ruined by gunfire.

Walk down road past gate .25 mile to where wooden FS sign "Mumford Bar Trail" leans against black oak, sharp left onto logging road, after 100 yards look for trail leaving road on right. Tractor logging has thrashed this area, but soon most disruption is left behind, and perhaps logs were yarded up, many stumps, then when seemingly past all logging, helicopter logging.

Trail needs work, blocked by trees in several places, also reduced to narrow squirrel trail in some places, gentle grades down to river, maybe 3.5 or 4 miles.

Followed American River Trail up to knoll at elevation 3149 about two miles upstream. No signs of helicopter logging north of river, trees marked near trail south of river, Ken Werner of TNF says helicopter logging on slopes above trail, but saw no sign.

Conclusion: no problem with restoring RARE II boundary from Sawtooth Ridge to Big Valley Bluff on north side of river. The area around Government Springs is a problem. Best boundary ridgecrest, second best, old road to Helester Point which goes past gate; but steep slopes torn up by tractor logging for about .25 mile below road. Section 33 is on TNF wish list for acquisition, even private ownership fragmented, SPI, the Youngs, another lumber company, who else? Probably have to drop boundary downslope.

Date: Mon Oct 03 10:33:28 2005
To: Steven_T_Eubanks, Jan_Cutts
From: Russell Towle
Subject: Roads and Trails

Dear Supervisor Eubanks and District Ranger Cutts,

Recently I have been exploring an old Forest Service trail on Sawtooth Ridge, the China Trail. The northern terminus of this trail is near Blue Canyon at Lost Camp, the southern terminus is on the crest of Sawtooth Ridge, about half a mile northeast of Helester Point, in TNF lands of Section 30, T16N R12E.

We would expect even-numbered Section 30 to be a TNF section, but it has a large parcel of private land in its west half. In size, this parcel appears to be around 120 acres. The previous owner of this parcel, according to Rich Johnson, offered to sell it to TNF some years ago. Nothing was done; it was then listed with a realtor, "For Sale" signs went up last summer, and it has since, apparently, been sold, to someone named Bob.

Bob, then, has bracketed both the upper (old) and lower (newer) Sawtooth roads with "No Trespassing" signs, at the fork just south of the center of this same Section 30, which fork, by the Forest Service edition of the USGS Westville quadrangle, would appear to be on TNF lands.

I want TNF to remove these signs. I consider that both roads have the status of public roads, and whether they cross private lands or not, they cannot be closed by a private party. The case for public status is clearer on Upper Sawtooth Road, which dates back to before 1939.

I would like TNF to try to acquire this parcel in Section 30; please approach Bob, and express an interest in purchasing the property, and use whatever combination of option agreements or earnest money which may be required, to get it done in a timely fashion.

Suppose Bob four-splits his parcel, and plans to build a house on one of the four parcels, selling the other three. Then buy those three, bide your time, and buy the parcel with the house, and rip it out, foundations and all. That is how important open space and wild lands seem to me, anyway, out on Sawtooth Ridge.

It should go without saying that I wish TNF to acquire all the SPI lands out there. Really, all the private lands.

I myself favor a motorized vehicle closure on Sawtooth Ridge, excluding motorized uses from the southwest end of the ridge, perhaps at Helester Point, perhaps a mile to the southwest, at a certain deep pass on the ridge crest. Howsoever, TNF has been unable to enforce an existing motorized vehicle closure at the southwest end of Sawtooth Road, in Section 4, T15N R11E. Here the Blackhawk Mine Trail drops away south to the North Fork American; the Rawhide Mine Trail drops away north to the North Fork of the North Fork American. The closure sign was long ago ripped out of the ground and thrown into the bushes. It is receiving much OHV use nowadays, and it is surely OHV users who, in summer, 2005, vandalized a unique rock wall, along the "River Trail" leading up the North Fork on the Sawtooth side of the river, at the base of the Blackhawk Trail.

Thanks much for your consideration of these matters.


Russell Towle

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