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Indian Valley Record
Greenville, California
August 15, 2012     Indian Valley Record
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August 15, 2012

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Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012 1B RE GI O NAL INSIDE SECTION B: EDITORIAL" OPINIONS" UPCOMING ENTS : : Over the fen and through the woods Plumas economic group visits the Drakesbad Resort M. Kate West Staff Writer Members of the Plumas County Economic Recov- ery Committee (PCERC) traveled to Drakesbad Resort in late July to witness the recovery of a meadow that had been underwater since the construction of an earthen dam by the Sifford family in the early 1900s. "The PCERC's interest in the project began when Congressman Tom McClin- rock's representative Tim Holabird and Lassen Volcanic National Park Superintendent Darlene Koontz asked us to give our input on the removal of the Dream Lake Dam and the subsequent restoration of the meadow to its environ- mental state," chairman Bill Wickman said. Both restoration actions are part of the Warner Valley Comprehensive Site Plan's Record of Decision signed in March 2011. "The purpose of the plan is to restore areas surrounding the Drakes- bad Resort to their histori- cal condition," Koontz said. The 2012 plan implemen- tation includes the removal -ofth snVaearthn"dam at Dream Lake, plantirH of native plant species in the previously flooded soil, the filling of manmade ditches to allow for subsurface hydrology, and the replace- merit of existing gravel trails across the fen meadow with a boardwalk that would restore natural water flow while providing passage for hikers and horseback riders. Wickman said the committee reviewed the plan and provided the re- quested feedback in the form of a December 2010 letter of support. "The committee support- ed the project and felt it was right to restore the meadow to its natural state in a national park. Our first opportunity to follow up is today's hike," he said. Welcoming the group, Koontz said, "First off, I would like to thank you for your support of the Warner Valley Plan. "Second, thanks for keep- ing the. pressure on the United States Forest Ser- vice and the National Park Service -- the only way we get things done is on the grassroots level. "I am looking forward to a fun day and greatconver- sation. Our goal today is to tour Warner Valley and see the improvements, throw in a bit of history and .... : ; ! i!:i:i!!!(i[i ii:i ) The removal of gravel trails and construction of a boardwalk for hikers and horseback riders at Drakesbad Resort is part of the Warner Valley Comprehensive Site Plan developed by the Lassen Volcanic National Park. Photos by M. Kate West answer questions." Heading out, Koontz also talked about the challenges of implementing the plan. "Warner Valley is not just part of a national park, it is also recognized as a Californiastate historic district. Any changes made here are significant to the region. We have to main- of the Drakesbad Guest Ranch in its historical state." She also said, "The plan took eight years and some controversy to com- plete." The tour included a hike to Dream Lake to look at the ecovering meadow, a walk across the fen mead- tain ahigher standard as a ow, a walk through historic district," she said. the original lodge, the She said the goal of the thermal swimming pool Warner Valley plan 'is andcabins. "to maintain the integrity The day concluded with a lunch in the log cabin dining room. About Drakesbad Resort "The area was first settled by Edward Drake, a hunter and a gatherer, around 1865 and the area was originally named Drakes Springs," Koontz said. In 1875 cabins were built and Drake began te Sifford purchased the 400 acres of Drakes Springs for $6,OOO. "He and his family came for the hot springs, to hunt, fish and camp," Koontz added. In 1930, Sifford took on two partners and added tent cabins and a dining room. They changed the name to Drakesbad Resort. Lassen Volcanic Nation- lead tours for likeminded al Park purchased the 400 ..... :tlthi:tr-:--:",--:es f6m the Sifford In 1900, Alexander family in 1958. Drakesbad Meadow Fen Restoration Project ...... ...:.. .... , ...' . .... . ,. Members and guests of the Plumas County Economic Recovery Committee join Lassen Volcanic National Park Superintendent Darlene Koontz and staff July 25 for a hike to Dream Lake. From left: Jeff Greening, Harmon Lyzenga (guest), Jeff Titcomb, Jennifer Carpenter, Darlene Koontz, Chuck Leonhardt, Bill Wickman, Mike Wood, Tim Holabird (representative to Congressman Tom McClintock) and Pat Flakk (Drakesbad concessionaire). Grassroots committee looks at natural resources Fens are wetlands that accumulate peat. While they are most abundant in low relief landscapes with high atmospheric humidity, they can also be present in high mountain landscapes that have little to no summer precipitation, like Lassen Volcanic National Park. Conditions in which fens may develop are areas where groundwater meets the ground surface and the saturated soil conditions form peat. In mountainous areas, fens are rare and often support rare plant and animal species. Drakesbad Meadow is the largest wetland in Lassen Volcanic National Park and is a fen supported by a regional aquifer through a discharge from groundwater springs. The fen meadow at, Drakesbad is both historic and rare -- it is unique in the state of California. The Drakesbad Resort is known for its beauty, trails and rustic environment. It also functions as a receiving station of mailed supplies destined for hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail. As you can see from the sign, the resort also makes another kind of history by being situated at what i.s approximately the trail's halfway point between Canada and Mexico. The Plumas County Economic Recovery Committee (PCERC) is a grassroots committee that formed, mostly in Quincy, when Sierra Pacific Industries closed its small log mill in 2009. Collins Pine had also reduced its workforce and the country entered an economic downturn. "Mike Taborski was the main driver behind asking the question, 'What is Plumas County's potential?'" said chairman Bill Wickman. "1 would follow that question by saying we are a group of interested citizens who wanted to learn what we could do to improve the economy in Plumas County." While the committee's initial focus was the natural resources of Plunas County it has since expanded its area of attention to include tourism and recreation. After the first few months of meetings, Wickman said he was concerned that "only Quincy folks were involved." "1 felt that if we were to represent Plumas County We needed to bring members on board from all our communities," he said. Wickman defines PCERC as an independent group, separate from the Plumas County Board of Supervisors (BOS), that sup- ports the BOS and Plumas County communities. Plumas County Assessor Chuck Leonhardt concurred, "The committee is trying to make meetings more accessible to other folks who may not always want to meet in Quincy." The PCERC met in Greenville in June, traveled to Drakesbad in July and will move to other communities in the future. The PCERC membership includes Plumas Countysupervisors, members of the Quincy Library Group, interested nonprofits, The Drakesbad Resort offers visitors many trails and opportunities to explore the rustic beauty found within Lassen Volcanic National Park. business owners, hospital administrators, a mill union representative, a representative from the Sierra Pacific Industries mill, a member of the Indian Valley Chamber of Commerce and a forest resource consultant. ! I