View of Trails 40, 32, and 34 from M5
View of Trail 33 Near Mill Valley Campground
The Recreation HQ got to spend a few days up at Stonyford last week touring (and working too) the burn area with FS staff. We reviewed the good, the bad, and the ugly of the Mill Fire and looked at the extent of the damage and some of the challenges the agency must address before reopening it for public use.
The good news is that the campgrounds at Fouts and Davis Flat are open for camping. Non-street legal OHVs can use Trail 42 that is a loop next to Davis Flat. However at this time, there is no access to the main trail/road network (i.e. Trails 34, 32, 40,37,39, or the shortcut to M5). In fact, M5 remains closed at this time.
If you have a dual-sport you can ride up M10 and get on the trails/roads that are open (i.e. Trail 6, 8, 12, 45, etc.). If you have non-street legal OHVs, you can trailer them up and park along M10 where it becomes a mixed-use road. That begins just past the junction of where the Letts Lake Road intersects with M10. Now is a good time to take the OHV corridor over to the Upper Lake OHV area and explore some of those trails.
The bad news is the main trail network that got burned looks like it will remain closed through the winter so that portions of the routes that have to be restored after getting blitzed by the bulldozers cutting firebreaks can heal.
The ugly news is there are a lot of potential impacts to the roads and trails from excessive soil erosion if the area gets hit with heavy rains. For example, a lot of tree stumps burned down to the root systems which often cross a road or a trail. Now with the stump/root gone, there is the potential for water to carve or gully up the road/trail bed.
Stump/root burnout on road
There are a number of volunteer days still ahead where you can help. Here is a link to where you can sign up.
HQ Blog with Vol. Dates and Sign Up Info
HQ believes that after these initial rains, the agency should make it a high priority to open up several corridors ASAP (i.e. Potato Hill and M5) so that riders can access the trails that are open in the non-burned areas.
HQ also wants to thank the agency and state trail crews that have been working very hard since the fire to help bring the impacted trails up to specs.
Watch for an update soon on the 1st volunteer trail day last week. We had a great turnout!
Original author: Don Amador