Plumas National Forest reminds area residents and visitors to respect forest closure orders in post-fire recovery areas. This is especially true at Feather Falls National Recreation Trail this weekend and in coming days, when the closure order will be enforced due to construction work, reports Tamara Schmidt, PNF public information officer.
A heavy helicopter will be used to lift and place four bridges, stairs, and the observation platform into their designated locations along the trail starting this morning. These pieces are replacing structures damaged and destroyed in the North Complex fire in fall 2020.
During these operations, for contractor and employee safety, it is critical that only authorized personnel are in the area. Safety precautions are being taken as these large, heavy structures are moved aerially into place. Due to the nature of the operations, the public is not permitted in the area of the trail or at the trailhead. Drones are also not allowed to operate in the area during this time so that the helicopter work can be done safely and without interference.
The area is closed through both Forest Closure Order 05-11-03-22-01 – Feather River Roads and Trails and Forest Closure Order 05-11-03-23-02 – Feather River Roads and Trails. Violation of the orders is punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment for not more than six months, or both.
Temporary bridges and structures used by contractors and partners to access the area during
post-fire recovery work are being removed. The new bridges, stairs and platform will not be safe
for use until planking is completed.
“Placing these structures along the Feather Falls National Recreation Trail is a big step towards recovery at this site following the North Complex Fire,” said Plumas National Forest Civil Engineering Technician and Westside Road Manager Herman Wendell. “We need the public’s cooperation staying out of the area while we complete this critical operation.”
Those interested in watching the helicopter work from a distance this weekend are invited to use vantage points outside the recreation site, including from the access road 21N35Y nearby at the top of the hill. Other high points, as long as they are outside of the flight path and at a safe distance, have potential as well. Observers must be aware and respectful of traffic in the area, said Schmidt.
The Feather Falls National Recreation Trail was already a challenging hike before the fire, according to Schmidt. The trail, with the damage to structures, loss of trees and shade, and unstable slopes is even more dangerous now, and yet people continue to want to access the recreation site.
“Feather Falls is a spiritually and historically important part of our tribal partners’ culture as well as an important and beloved recreation destination for our local community and area visitors,” said Acting Feather River District Ranger Clay Davis. “We understand the interest in returning to this area, but there is still a lot of work to do and it is not safe for the public, especially during the next few weeks.”
Information submitted by Plumas National Forest