South County

Road Access to Subdivision Topic of Meeting

 The chronic Mud Creek flooding issue had Siskiyou County District 1 Supervisor Brandon Criss, McCloud Fire Department, Cal Fire, and Shasta/Trinity Forest Service District Ranger Joseph Rodarme attend the Mount Shasta Forest Property Owners Association’s annual/open meeting on June 29th to talk about the access to the Association’s subdivision. 

Cal Fire officer looks on during the Mount Shasta Forest Property Owners Association’s annual/open meeting on June 29th to talk about the access to the Association’s subdivision. 

The primary used road, Pilgrim Creek Road, was closed for two years making the residents of the subdivision use the graveled Esperanza Road as an alternative. Recently, Pilgrim Creek Road was closed again for a week because the warmer weather melted the Konwakiton Glacier on Mt. Shasta and the runoff caused the debris to overflow the banks of Mud Creek and onto Pilgrim Creek Road once again.  Pilgrim Creek Road has been closed 4 times in the past year. 

US Forest Service District Ranger Joseph Rodarme addresses the residents about the Forest Service’s plans dealing with the access roads to their subdivision.

Both Pilgrim Creek and Esperanza roads are maintained by the US Forest Service. According to the HOA, there have been 100 flat tires reported from residents driving on Esperanza during the closure of Pilgrim Creek Road.

The Forest Service is looking at temporary upgrades to Esperanza until it is able to get paved which they are allocating 3 years out. They estimate the cost to pave Esperanza from highway 89 to the entrance of the subdivision is anticipated to be $3.7 million.  Once this is done, the Forest Service will permanently close Pilgrim Creek Road. 

While the State requires 2 access roads, Federal regulations only require one road and are looking at the National Environmental Policy Act’s  approval.  

The Association has donated about $7,000 to $15,000 to help maintain these roads. The residents at the meeting unanimously urge to have 2 access roads for emergency purposes in case of wildfires or other disasters. 

Ranger Rodarme answered questions and listed the priorities of finding the funding, cleaning up and maintaining Pilgrim Creek Road to keep it open until the paving of Esperanza, which will then be used as the main access road. Rodarme advises to drive 5 to 10 mph to help keep the road from acquiring potholes and to keep the rock dust down, which research has shown that it can cause a health risk damaging the lungs. 

Suggestions from the residents include posting more road signs to drive slowly, letting the Association have keys to the Pilgrim Creek Road gate for access, and offering to help maintain Pilgrim Creek Road. 

One resident, Gerard Pellitier, who has worked as a contractor for 37 years, suggests the Forest Service go upstream to maintain and clear the channel of Mud Creek canyon.

“District Ranger Joe Rodarme is the first to make the effort to keep the Association up to date with information about this. The Hearst Corporation and the timber industry are also impacted by this so they also have an invested interest in the meadow restoration project that will help with long term risks.”

McCloud Fire Chief Charlie Miller talked about alternative access for emergencies. Miller encourages the residents to speak up to not close Pilgrim Creek Road as an access road. He advised people to look up “Ready Set Go Wildfire” status on the CalFire website to prepare for wildfires. 

Firefighter Joe Wood who lives in the Subdivision stands next to Siskiyou County District 1 Supervisor Brandon Criss at the Mount Shasta Forest Property Owners Association’s annual/open meeting on June 29th to talk about the access to the Association’s subdivision. 

Firefighter Joe Wood lives in the HOA and has been on many of the more recent fires like the Paradise, Camp, and Carr fires  that have taken out neighborhoods. “At one point we used a fire engine to push cars off the roadway for access to the fires. We are in a peculiar situation of egress to ensure we can get out incase of a fire. Any form of access is very important and imperative to the survival of the residents in the Mt. Shasta Forest Subdivision.”

Brandon Criss, County Supervisor of District 1 says, “Future cost of maintaining two paved roads is too costly which is difficult since the HOA was here before these roads. We want as many exits as possible for emergencies.”  

He encourages the HOA to connect with the Hearst Corporation for more support to help get this done.  

Though it was considered an informative meeting by the residents, HOA resident Andrew Wyatt says, “The different agencies are saying different things about this.”

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