May 26th, 2009
Important Note: None of this is official until the required NEPA documents are finalized and scoping process etc. is completed.
Public scoping will be relatively soon and we will need your help with another letter writing campaign.
FoWR will provide more specific details when available.
On May 20th 2009 Troy Mayr and Brent Ware (FoWR) with Darrell Vance and Yonni Schwartz (USFS) went on a field trip to Williamson Rock.
The purpose of this field trip was to discuss “on the ground” the USFS proposed measures including; the actual ‘new’ Long Trail approach, the critical habitat boundary, to give the USFS a tour of the the crag from a climber perspective and to show the USFS which crags were which (so they could reference the guidebook). On that note they were surprised at the level of “organization” at the crag, which they viewed positively, in that it made defining access much more precise.
We met at the Long Trail (East) parking lot.
Yonni and Darrell told us that the Short Trail will not work, primarily because it goes down right into the water / MYLF critical habitat (see previous post below). As a consequence the USFS indicated that the short trail and parking lot(s) will be completely closed and rehabbed.
The Long Trail parking lot will be improved and made the only option for approaching the crag. The USFS would also install a toilet at the trail head at the parking lot. The long trail is less than a mile long and will be a pleasant hike after the trail work is completed. We discussed signage requirements, potential locations and where the trail would access the crag (near the Ramblin Wall / Pyramid portion of the crag, far away from the stream). It will be essential for climbers to stay on the designated trail(s). The Long Trail would have to be modified in minor ways, the most significant of which is closing off all the alternatives such as the segment of the trail runs right above the pools.
There will be no access to the stream corridor period. Also, no dogs will be allowed in the area.
Darrell and Yonni think that it should be possible to maintain access to all the upper crags, the Generation Wall, Secret Garden, etc. and mostly likely the lower area’s including the Waterfall Wall / Upper Head Wall and vicinity. We also discussed maintaining access to all the upper front side crags, including Voices Wall, Eagles Roost Buttress, Freezer Burn Wall etc., this would be achieved by “fencing off” the stream corridor (with some sort of barrier rustic / natural in appearance) to prevent people from going down to the stream in the area below the Waterfall Wall to the Voices Wall at the Mushroom Boulder. The bad news is that we would lose the London Wall, the Stream Wall, and all the climbs downstream of those as well as the Mushroom Boulder. Unfortunately a couple of the best crag in the area would be lost but that seems a small price to pay to protect the MYLF critical habitat and to gain access to the greater part of the crag.
The USFS would monitor activity at the crag, especially during peak times (weekends). It was also discussed that limited access would be granted initially, allowing for more as it was determined that the measures were effective. How this would be monitored is unclear at this point.
All in all the trip was a success and we hope that the resolution evolves more quickly as a result.
The view from the proposed long trail approach.