Middle Fork Trail MaintenancePosted: July 27, 2017
The Lake Tahoe Basin Maintenance Unit delayed the opening of their OHV trails due to the harsh winter we just experienced. They recently open the trails to public use. As documented in an earlier post, there were issues with the Middle Fork Trail.
On July 25th, five OHV volunteers, under the direction of the North Tahoe Trail Dusters, met at the Middle Fork trailhead at 9:30am in order to clear the trail of downed trees. There was a briefing on what was to take place, safety precautions, who would be responsible for what, communications, Etc. After clearing more than two dozen trees that blocked the trail and many more long the edges, we exited the gate at 3pm.
While we were meeting, a forest service representative showed up and added a combination lock to the lower Middle Folk gate so we could have access.
We worked our way up the trail clearing those trees obviously blocking the trail. The first group would cut them up in to smaller pieces and move on; the second group would throw the debris as far off the trail as easily accomplished. Some areas cleaned up better than others.
Some logs were left longer and were used to block illegally created bypasses. Some of those bypasses appeared to have been created early last fall after those wind storms.
On the way back down the trail, we took the time to clear/clean downed trees off the edges of the trail that didn’t really block the trail but encroached on the trail. There were some trees that were left hanging over the trail but at this time posed no threat to the users. At such time these trees do drop lower, we will remove them as needed.
Another thing we did was to drive 5-6 steel poles in to the ground around the washed out culvert and put up yellow ribbon between them. (That ground is rock hard and I doubt they will stay standing for too long because we couldn’t drive them too deep.) Although the trail is currently closed, we figured someone on a mountain bike or a motorcycle might poach the trail illegally and wanted to mark the hazard to prevent an accident.
We hope the forest service will fast track the rebuilding of the road over the culvert in order to open the trail as soon as possible.
Please be aware that other trails in the area will have similar conditions. Drive/ride under control at all times. “Turn Around, Don’t Go Around”. If you can’t clear a trail of something blocking it, turn around and go home. If you can remove the debris safely, feel free to do so in order to reopen the trail.