Hydropower Roads

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adam921
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Hydropower Roads

Post by adam921 » Sun Nov 11, 2012 5:06 pm

Hi guys, back to stir up trouble again (just kidding, hopefully not).
I'm doing a research paper on the Big Creek hydro system. For anyone not familiar, that's the system with the road over Kaiser Pass and the dams making Florence, Edison, Shaver, and Huntington Lakes (and more).
At this point i'm fairly certain that the roads would not have existed without the system; a local forester said the timber value just wouldn't be worth the hassle.

That leaves this final question; are the wilderness areas worse or better off because of the roads up there? For the sake of argument, let's assume the road would end at Huntington Lake, and everything beyond that somehow became wilderness.








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Re: Hydropower Roads

Post by rlown » Sun Nov 11, 2012 5:10 pm

you've seen this thread? viewtopic.php?f=27&t=5503" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Hydropower Roads

Post by adam921 » Sun Nov 11, 2012 5:31 pm

I did see it, thanks though!

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Re: Hydropower Roads

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sun Nov 11, 2012 7:12 pm

If the roads were not there, perhaps the wilderness boundary would have been expanded. I could do without Edison Lake but I like Flornence Lake - I would miss that lake. I really do not think roads or no roads would make a lot of difference in the high Sierra (for example Silver Divide)since there is good and relatively short access from the east. If there were a similar number of permits issued for east side trailheads to make up for the lost west-side quotas, there would be little loss of access to the high Sierra. It would mostly impact locals from the Central Valley because they would loose some trailheads in their backyard. But for many of us driving to the east side is only slightly longer and probably takes no more driving time. There would be less access to lower lakes and may impact fishermen. PCT hikers would loose two resupply points. Boaters would loose two large water bodies to boat on. But, honestly, the road is hard enough to get up that few large boats are hauled up it anyway. I am not familiar with Kaiser Wildrness so do not know enough to say how it would be impacted. So, bottom line, I think the impact of no roads would be primarily local - bad for the folks in Fresno.

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Re: Hydropower Roads

Post by rlown » Sun Nov 11, 2012 9:17 pm

You could include areas such as Hetch Hetchy or Loon Lake. Those roads are improved and plowed to get to the dams or pumps/etc.

It's not just hydropower, but they are more required than seasonal logging roads which also get attention.

No road exists up there unless there is economic gain at the end.

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Re: Hydropower Roads

Post by ERIC » Sun Nov 11, 2012 9:19 pm

adam921 wrote:That leaves this final question; are the wilderness areas worse or better off because of the roads up there? For the sake of argument, let's assume the road would end at Huntington Lake, and everything beyond that somehow became wilderness.
Worse or better off for whom or what? Wilderness being better off in the sense of ecosystem, recreation...what? Your paper is concluding something - what is it?

Yes, the roads were built as a result of the Project. Would they have been built fully or in part regardless? No one can answer that question for sure either way - including your local forester friend.

You said you read the thread rlown points out, but I'll stress the fact that if you haven't yet read The Big Creek Project then you need to. If you've already done that, or once you have, then we can continue this conversation.
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Re: Hydropower Roads

Post by adam921 » Mon Nov 12, 2012 1:06 pm

rlown- I'd add Hetch Hetchy, but it needs to be fairly specific and there are plenty of other people in the class going in to Hetch Hetchy issues. Definitely interesting though.
ERIC wrote:
You said you read the thread rlown points out, but I'll stress the fact that if you haven't yet read The Big Creek Project then you need to. If you've already done that, or once you have, then we can continue this conversation.
I've read that article and well beyond it. I've gotten historical info from previous Edison employees, more extensive articles online, and other places.

This whole idea is a big hypothetical- no one knows what would have happened without the hydropower being built, and that's kind of the point; but it's pretty likely they would have not been nearly as extensive as they were earlier.

I realize "worse" and "better" is extremely subjective, but in this case I mean "good" for the wilderness in an ecological sense.

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Re: Hydropower Roads

Post by ERIC » Mon Nov 12, 2012 7:10 pm

So since you didn't come out and say it, I guess your answer is "no", you haven't read the book.
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Re: Hydropower Roads

Post by rlown » Mon Nov 12, 2012 7:45 pm

Adam,

what is your assignment exactly and what is the goal? i'm not seeing it as the roads had to be built to do the work. pretty much a given. The same smell to Hetch Hetchy and other dam roads..

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Re: Hydropower Roads

Post by adam921 » Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:02 pm

I didn't mean to avoid the question at all- I missed that you were talking about the book and not just the article. No, I haven't read the book, have you?

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