For the next two weeks, the Bureau of Land Management-Bakersfield Field Office will be utilizing heavy equipment in the area of the Salt Creek trail system in Three Rivers. Through Monday, June 3, a bulldozer will be working along the main access road from the Salt Creek entrance to Case Mountain, a distance of about seven miles.
This is in preparation for the BLM to begin a series of prescribed burns in the Case Mountain groves of giant sequoias. The road hasn’t had major maintenance for several years, according to Rusty Thill, BLM heavy equipment operator, so some extensive grading and road-building will be taking place over the next few weeks to get the route passable for a water tender to make it all the way to Case Mountain.
BLM fire personnel are warning Salt Creek trail users to use caution when the equipment is at work.
“If someone hears the dozer working up the road, they need to be careful,” said Rusty. “Especially when I’m working on any of the hairpin turns, boulders could roll down onto the roads and trails below.”
In 2016, BLM proposed a management plan for the giant sequoia groves within their jurisdiction in the Case Mountain area. The goals of the Case Mountain project are to protect the legacy sequoias from high intensity wildfire and restore a more diverse and resilient forest. The proposed treatments to accomplish this will include a combination of hand crews, tractors, cable yarding, chippers, masticators, prescribed fire and some logging to remove larger trees.