Maintenance and road repair topped the agenda at this month’s Town Hall meeting. The public meeting was held Monday, April 4, at the Three Rivers Memorial Building and sponsored by the Three Rivers Village Foundation.
County of Tulare— Allen Ishida, Tulare County Supervisor, introduced Carrie Crane, the new public information officer for the Board of Supervisors. Carrie will be working on media inquiries and keeping the public up to date on board decisions and special projects.
Ben Ruiz, interim director of the Tulare County Resource Management Agency (RMA), addressed county roads.
“We know that a lot of roads are in need of repair so we are identifying where repairs are needed most,” said Ruiz. “We would like the public’s feedback and are willing to drive around with those of you who can show us specific areas that need work.”
Ruiz said several sections of local roads are currently being assessed for repairs. These locations include Cherokee Oaks, Old Three Rivers Road, Dinely Drive, and Mineral King/Hammond. In addition, a South Fork Drive repair project has already been started.
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks— Dana Dierkes, public information officer for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, reviewed upcoming park activities planned for the National Park Service’s centennial year (1916-2016). Dierkes also announced that Lodgepole Campground, the largest camping facility in Sequoia, is not yet open for the season.
Michael Theune, NPS fire education specialist, presented a slide show on NPS fire management and the Rough Fire of 2015.
According to an online report about Rough Fire recovery efforts, there are ongoing activities by the U.S. Forest Service to repair fire damage, such as stabilizing roads and trails, planting vegetation on severely burned slopes to prevent erosion, and proposing treatments to prevent spread of invasive species in the burned areas. These activities are likely to continue in Sequoia and Sierra national forests throughout the spring and summer.
The Rough Fire also burned into the Grant Grove and Cedar Grove areas of Kings Canyon National Park, but these locales “were not affected to the level that other areas were and as such we [the National Park Service] have not done any road or significant trail repair," said Michael Theune in a followup email.
Among the most often-asked questions, Theune said, is how the lightning-caused fire was able to get so big. And the answer is: The summer heat, drought, decades of fuel loading, and climate change were all contributing factors to the fire that will go down in history as the 13th largest wildfire in California.
Theune said it is important to be active in a fuel-management program, whether in the overgrown forests of the national parks or on private property in Three Rivers. The Ready, Set, Go! program is a great model of preparedness, he said, and creating defensible space is a key factor to protecting structures.
Law enforcement— Mark Frick, Three Rivers resident deputy, warned local residents to be on the lookout for suspicious vehicles or circumstances. The first marijuana grow was eradicated last week, yielding 8,000 plants.
Next month— The Town Hall meeting, scheduled for Monday, May 2, at 6 p.m., will feature a forum for the eight candidates in the District 1 Supervisor’s race, which includes John Elliott of Three Rivers.
The meetings are open to the public. For more information, call Mignon Gregg, 561-1808.