BLM heavy equipment working on Salt Creek road

Heavy equipment will be performing road maintenance on Salt Creek road during the next two weeks.

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. 

A suite of treatments is being proposed that will begin with improving the Salt Creek road so trucks and equipment can access the area, including logging trucks to haul out some of the thinned trees. BLM will also be removing dead roadside trees and creating a fuel break along this major access road. Within the groves, mechanical thinning activities will remove smaller diameter trees in direct competition with large legacy sequoias. No sequoia trees greater than eight inches in diameter will be cut, if at all.
 Once tree and brush densities are reduced, burning of hand piles and a series of prescribed fires will restore the role of fire to the area.

2 thoughts on “BLM heavy equipment working on Salt Creek road

  • May 20, 2019 at 1:26 pm

    Thanks for the heads-up! People from out of town visit Salt Creek, as well, many of whom stop by our museum/visitor center for directions and a brochure. Do you know if the BLM is planning to provide a visitor-friendly information sheet describing the work and the current hazards? It might be useful to have that information on hand for those of us who volunteer at the museum.

  • May 31, 2019 at 12:04 pm

    This is very important news for those of us who ride up that road. Our unpredictable equines would become predictably crazy with fear if they encountered a bulldozer coming at them!!!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.