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Politics, Backpacking, Sierra

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Re: Politics, Backpacking, Sierra

Postby rlown » Sat Mar 09, 2013 2:30 pm

if i could find the original plan, that would be helpful. Google search seems to just show what it is today.

I still see nothing wrong with completing that road, sans the reservoirs. no different than 120 or others in the NPS system. And it'll be closed most of the year anyway. A wtf doesn't answer why.

Eric, glad you added to your comment cuz i was going right there. One needs more info to make the actual determination.

Russ



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Re: Politics, Backpacking, Sierra

Postby ERIC » Sat Mar 09, 2013 3:16 pm

Even without reservoirs, I prefer to hike to those two beautiful locations. Not drive to them. Among other popular backcountry routes, methinks it sure would make the North Lake - South Lake loop a 'different' experience. No thanks.
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Re: Politics, Backpacking, Sierra

Postby gdurkee » Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:36 am

Eeeeek. Completing 168 would have been -- and would still be -- an absolute disaster for the wilderness character of that entire region. Reagan did stop it -- not because he cared about the wilderness (though some say he actually did) but because it would have cost too much and for very little return.

Look at the areas that do have trans Sierra highways and there's not a huge amount of economic development as a result, once you get above about 4,000 feet and especially on the east side. Look at current development above Twain Harte (108) or Arnold (4). Shaver has a pretty good road to it, but try finding a place to eat after October 1. Lee Vining's stayed about the same size since forever. Minden etc. don't benefit a whole lot from even an all year highway. From Mono Lake south, there's no water to support development, so effects are limited right there.

A side note: You can still see the large blazes SCE chopped onto trees (in the 30s??) at Evolution Meadow and Colby to show the rough placement of dams.

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Re: Politics, Backpacking, Sierra

Postby rlown » Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:44 am

yeah.. never said it would be an all year highway. it'd have the same character as 120, which obviously must have some economic benefit given the push to open it every year.
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Re: Politics, Backpacking, Sierra

Postby gdurkee » Sun Mar 10, 2013 1:35 pm

Ha! The legendary Gene Rose weighs in with a quick reply to me:

I was there...more or less. Yes, SCE wanted dams in Evolution and over on their West side with Granite Creek and other spots above Clover Meadow.

In the post WWII road-building craze several Sierra road projects were advanced. There was a big fight in Kings Canyon because the Sierra Club saw an extension of 180 to Cedar Grove and Zumwalt Meadow as a staged trans-Sierra route to Alpendale, west of Bishop. If you go west out of Bishop, the highway is even designated as 168.

There was also talk of a Theodore Solomon route that would run in the front country of the west slope of the Sierra.

The North Fork to Mammoth, via Minaret Summit or Mammoth Pass, was the contentious one. It was even staked around 1959, but Ike Livermore, Governor Reagan's resource secretary and Whitney packer, recommended against it...and Reagan took his advice. Reagan later claimed it was his proudest moment as governor. Yes, cost was a concern but the political will was big issue. As I recall even the folks around Mammoth were opposed to it because they didn't have the infrastructure to support the anticipated visitation.

At one time, the folks at Mammoth, Bob Schott, asked me to do a book on it, but realizing the limited market I could not find a publisher. My files on this project are in Special Collections at the CSUF Madden Library.
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Re: Politics, Backpacking, Sierra

Postby tomba » Sun Mar 10, 2013 6:09 pm

Here is an old map showing apparently hand-drawn reservoirs in Blaney Meadows, Lake Florence, and Vermilion Valley.
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Re: Politics, Backpacking, Sierra

Postby Troutdog 59 » Sun Mar 10, 2013 9:49 pm

Put me on the list of folks that think not making those roads was one of the better decisions for the area. Either the Humphreys Basin or Dusy Basin would have been roadside waters. :puke: Evolution Valley with a two lane hwy through it, no thanks :thumbsdown: :thumbsdown: . I had not heard of Regans involvement with stopping Hwy 168, but had heard tales of his involvement in stopping the road to Mammoth. I still have an old Madera County road map that shows the route as "proposed." Local lore contends the road was pretty much a sure thing, but someone in Regans cabinet was an outdoorsman that liked to hunt and fish out of Clover Meadow. A pack trip was set up that took Ronnie and his group up around Isberg Pass and Fernandez Pass. Legend has it that he loved it, and so he opposed it. Again, this is all just anecdotal and I don't know if any of it is all that accurate, but I'm one that was glad those roads weren't built. Likely wasn't really wanted by the powers at hand, or they would have been built.

As to which party has done better. Neither. Both are controlled by the same special interests and nothing seems to change regardless of whos in the majority.
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Re: Politics, Backpacking, Sierra

Postby rlown » Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:45 pm

What is really interesting is that there's a 3 part PBS special on this week about Ronnie's presidency. He had other issues going on obviously. Hoping to catch a glimpse of this part of his history.
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Re: Politics, Backpacking, Sierra

Postby Snowtrout » Mon Mar 11, 2013 4:15 pm

Interesting topic. My first thought was T. Roosevelt because of Yosemite and the National parks. But looking over the previous posts, many have shown that it wasn't one political party or one presidency that made the forests what they are today. Even well intentioned ideas have had terrible or great consequences (depending on view).

Hard to say what would of happened if hwy 168 and even the Disney ski resort at Mineral King had been completed. But I will say, since the hwy 168 project was dropped, road maintance in the Kaiser area has been nearly non-existent, limiting those from enjoying the area. Last time I drove to Edison with my boat, the pounding took a toll on my trailer, boat, fishing equipment and me. Broke a tie down strap, my transom saver bent, my rods nearly bounced out of the boat.....and its a light 15' aluminum boat and sturdy trailer. I do not care to take it back in there unless the road is fixed/re-done and that's sad since Edison and Florence are beautiful lakes with decent fishing.
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Re: Politics, Backpacking, Sierra

Postby maverick » Mon Mar 11, 2013 4:51 pm

HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Politics, Backpacking, Sierra

Postby rlown » Mon Mar 11, 2013 5:08 pm

Thanks, Mav. Found that report the other day but found it to lack the history i was looking for. The extent of that report's historical significance was:

SR 168 was originally planned as a trans-Sierra Nevada route, beginning in Fresno and
heading east through the Bishop area to the Nevada state line via modern US 6. This transmountain
route was never constructed for two important reasons. Steep and rocky terrain is
present throughout this area and the unconstructed portion lies within 2 officially designated
wilderness areas (created as a result of the 1964 Wilderness Act).


Since when has steep, rocky terrain ever stopped someone intent on landscaping with a D9 or a few hundred pounds of dynamite! :D
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Re: Politics, Backpacking, Sierra

Postby ERIC » Tue Mar 12, 2013 8:03 am

Snowtrout:

There's also an interesting story behind how the Kaiser Pass Road is maintained. From what I'm told, Edison basically takes care of most (if not all) of the cost and the FS is in charge of implementing the necessary work. Word has it, there was a dispute a few years back where Edison was paying their dues to the FS, but the FS was not keeping their end of the bargain which was using that money towards maintenance of the road. Edison subsequently stopped paying the FS. I know the road has never been good, but I recall it being particularly bad during that stretch (thinking it was about 4-5 years ago?). Anyway, I believe that issue has since been somewhat resolved because new patch and paving work is noticeable throughout the road's length.

Now, all that said.. I like the road as it is. Rugged. :littledevil:
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