Acting Public Affairs Officer for the Forest Service, Marty Hornick, recently responded to citizen complaints about unrepaired facilities on the Forest. Hornick points to serious money shortages and the “massive amounts of funding and resources” that had to be spent on the severe tree blow down in the Reds Meadow area last year.
A commenter on our website questioned the unrepaired parking lot access road, washed out three season ago, at the Yost and Fern Trailhead in the June Lake area. The commenter said nothing has been done except for placement of what was described as a “dangerous log bridge over the creek.”
Hornick said there are a number of reasons for this delayed repair. He said there are specific requirements related to aquatics and watershed, but he said the biggest hurdle has been the need for sufficient money. Hornick said the Forest Service has requested funds numerous times from multiple funding sources to replace the bridge with something that “meets today’s engineering and environmental standards and won’t get washed out like the last one.”
Hornick said that coincidentally the Forest did just recently receive partial funding for the bridge replacement and will try to figure out how to “squeeze the remainder from our other very tight programs on the Forest.” He said they hope to have the bridge installed this calendar year.”
The other citizen complaint was about the deterioration of the Silver Lake boat launch dock with holes and exposed rebar. Hornick said the Forest Engineer is aware of the conditions of the Silver Lake boat launch but did not determine it was an imminent safety hazard that required closure. Hornick said the engineer has been looking into funding for replacement of the dock. The engineer will evaluate the dock this spring to see if it can remain open until repairs can be made.
Hornick emphasized that the Forest has serious money issues and has to prioritize projects. He pointed to the “massive amounts of funding” and other resources on the clean-up of the severe tree blow down in the Reds Meadow area last winter. He said this expense was in direct competition for money and resources with many other important projects which had to be deferred. He said some of the funds initially earmarked for Mount Whitney Trail reconstruction were “channeled into the disaster response in the Reds Meadow area.” This response, Hornick said, was a higher priority than the Fern Lake Trailhead.