Letters to the Editor - Sierra Booster
Letters to the Editor

Letters of Interest - PCT Hikers

Congressman Doug LaMalfa 20515
322 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Honorable Congressman LaMalfa:

By way of introduction, my name is Derek Beverly. I grew up in Sierra City (Sierra County), California, graduated from Downieville High School, and am a registered voter of Sierra County. After a 42 year law enforcement career which began as a Deputy Sheriff in Sierra County, ending with 9 years assigned to the FBI/JTTF (Sacramento Division) and 6 years as a Senior Intelligence Officer for the California State Terrorism Threat Assessment Center, I have now fully and completely retired and returned to my home town in Sierra County. This has and will always be my home and a territory which I dearly love, care much about, and have very deep roots.

As you may be aware, Sierra City is a very small town with a population of well under 225, and thrives primarily on the tourism industry (Lakes Basin Area/North Fork Yuba River/Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). One aspect of this industry are hikers of the PCT which runs directly through our territory. Over the past several years the number of PCT hikers, both "through" and "section" hikers has increased tenfold. As a result, our town has difficulty addressing increases in such areas as refuge, sanitation, and accommodations. (See photos attached). As such, I have a very plausible solution for this which I hope you will take a moment to consider.

East of the Sierra City township is an old former US Forest Service (USFS) maintenance station/barracks which has recently been restored (to some extent) and is now sitting vacant and unoccupied. (See photos attached). For consideration are the following:

With the assistance of volunteers, volunteer groups and/or government subsidized youth employment program:

• Completely restore the barracks into a fully functional visitors hostile
• Restore hot/cold running water with both indoor AND outdoor showers
• Obtain storage lockers from the DRMO (Defense Reutilization Management Program, basically Military surplus) which PCT hiker could use to store and secure belongings
• Provide single person bedding/bunks
• Provide storage and security utilizing one out building for incoming packages/supplies
• Redirects USP and FedEx to a better suited place to make deliveries
• Provide adequate refuge disposal site for recyclable materials (plastic containers, boxes, etc.)
• Charge a nominal fee/donation for use

Possibly electric vehicles/carts could be operated by local volunteers and/or summer aides to provide transportation for visitor hikers to/from our township (approximately 1 mile) on a scheduled basis. All this and then some could be run by either local volunteers or provided by government subsidized summer youth jobs in the community.

This plan would alleviate refuge/garbage in town, provide a place of respite for PCT hikers/campers, provide for a secure place for belongs and incoming packages while still maintaining the needed tourism income to the local community. It would be a win-win solution for all.

Please consider this a priority to our community.


Sincerely,

Derek T. Beverly



Cc:

Sierra Booster, Loyalton, CA

U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, DC 20250

USDA Forest Service
Sidney R. Yates Federal Building
201 14th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20024

USDA/USFS Tahoe National Forest
631 Coyote Street
Nevada City, CA 95959

USDA/USFS Yuba River Ranger District
15924 Highway 49
Camptonville, CA 95922

Supervisor Peter Huebner
District 2, Sierra County Board of Supervisors
100 Courthouse Square, Room 11
P.O. Drawer D
Downieville, CA 95936


Thank you very much Derek, as I told Larry last night after our meeting in his store, in the fall I will call a town meeting for all to attend to and make certain changes in town before the PC handout is printed and handed out to the new hikers next year. So all changes in town have to be clear and agreed on by the merchants and people as well. If your idea is approved by all agencies, and permitted by the county,
It will be presented to all as well for approval at that meeting.
Be so kind and keep me informed of any reply you will receive.
Peter

Peter w. Huebner
Sierra County Supervisor
District two
PO Box 349
Sierra City, Ca 96125
530-862-1004
Peter4actions@gmail.com

Derek….Supervisor Huebner forwarded a copy of your letter dated July 25, 2018 to Congressman LaMalfa regarding impacts that you feel are in existence resulting from the seasonal influx of PCT hikers into Sierra City. You may wish to know that this subject, and particularly the potential for use of the Wild Plum Guard Station, has been actively pursued and is the subject of discussions between the County, Forest Service, and the Pacific Crest Trail Association. At least annually and as late as last September, representatives of the County, Forest Service and Pacific Crest Trail Association meet, and last year the meeting was held in the back portion of Sierra Country Store to discuss a host of issues and situations that are in play by the seasonal PCT use including but not limited to solid waste disposal and recycling, camping, lodging, availability of supplies, package delivery and pick up, sanitation, information and public outreach, zoning issues with illegal camping on private properties within the community, coordination with PCTA programs and resources, funding availability for needed services and maintenance of facilities, and many other topics, Additionally, for the past two-plus years the County made substantial progress with the Forest Service to gain support for allocating the Wild Plum Guard Station to a potential PCT layover campground/hostel-type use. As a result of this effort, the Forest Service was successful in having Historicorps, over a two year period, renovate and refurbish much of the existing guard station and grounds so that a possible use as described could be considered. The Pacific Crest Trail Association was going to closely monitor PCT statistics in 2017 and 2018 and the group described above is scheduled to regroup in the near future and evaluate available statistics, pursue more formal allocation of the use and development of the guard station, inventory volunteer and funding resources available to accomplish any needed improvements and/or to defray costs incurred to respond to the seasonal issues.

This seasonal influx of hikers is a significant contributor to the economic and business side of the community but it certainly creates a few issues that are well-known and for which solutions continue to be pursued. There may also be a seasonal business opportunity in the mix as we look at ways to serve this seasonal influx. The County and Forest Service, and particularly the leadership of Supervisor Huebner and Ranger Karen Hayden, created a very productive working relationship and this positive approach still continues. We will be meeting with the new District Ranger soon as Ranger Hayden retired earlier this year and we also look forward to being informed of various programs that may available through the PCTA or other organizations such as “trail towns”, PCTA publications, PCTA-Forest Service cooperation on allocating public lands for needed facilities.

Anyway, just thought I would inform you that the issues you have characterized in your letter and the use of the guard station accordingly, have been in process for a considerable time. Had we known you were proposing to send this letter to the Congressman, I would have gladly shared the progress and the effort put forth to date. Thank you and as progress continues, I will be reporting to the Board of Supervisors and if you have questions, please feel free to contact me.

Tim Beals
Director of Public Works and Planning



Submitted: 08/06/18
Article By: Sierra Booster