Subject: MRC Replies
The 7,300 acre Big River State Park property was purchased from Hawthorne Timber Company by the Mendocino Land Trust (MLT) and simultaneously transferred to California State Parks (Park) on July 30, 2002. During the year prior to the State Park acquiring the property a Mendocino Redwood Company (MRC) made numerous attempts to inform both MLT and the Park about the existence and benefit of the existing "Reciprocal Right of Way and Road Use Agreement" (Right of Way).
The benefit of the Right of Way is that it allows for shared cooperative use of existing roads between two landowners which reduces the need for building new roads. This is a sound environmental approach to reducing the total number of roads required for land management activities.
MRC identified one such segment of road which would provide access to a timber harvest operation. The Park was contacted prior to road use to coordinate additional environmental corrective measures in conjunction with our routine use of the road. After an intensive in-house review of the road segment by MRC staff it was proposed to upgrade failing culverts by installing rocked ford crossings and make drainage improvements to the road surface in order to eliminate ongoing existing erosion problems. I prepared a site specific erosion control plan which was endorsed by the Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) - Additionally, a survey for Rare and Endangered plants was conducted.
During use of this road, an empty log hauling truck inadvertently went off the edge of the road while taking a comer too tightly. While pulling the truck to safety, a diesel tank leaked some fuel from a vent cap. An immediate response to contain the leaked diesel and remove the contaminated soil was implemented. All appropriate steps were taken including notification to the Park and the County Office of Environmental Health.
MRC continues to correspond with Park leadership and Council to facilitate a cooperative approach to this Right of Way Agreement.
Mike Jani, Chief Forester
Mendocino Redwood Company
Also see: Big River State Park Road Use: A Chronology