August 14, 2010
Jim Milestone, (530) 242-3410
Whiskeytown National Recreation Area announces the release of the Managing Access to Enhance Security and Protect Park Resources Environmental Assessment for public review. Public comments regarding this Environmental Assessment will be taken from August 11, 2010 to September 8, 2010. The Managing Access to Enhance Security and Protect Park Resources Environmental Assessment can be downloaded and commented on at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/whis. Copies of the document are also available for viewing at Park Headquarters or the Redding Library.
National Park Service staff drafted this Environmental Assessment to assess the impacts of installing gates and barriers on non-public or abandoned logging and mining roads within Whiskeytown to deter the continued unlawful activities associated with marijuana cultivation, trash dumping, disposal of hazardous waste and other illegal actions. None of the existing roads proposed for gate installation or barriers at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area are part of the legitimate recreational road system. All of the roads proposed for gate closure are short administrative access roads to telephone poles, transmission lines, park bone yards, waste water support facilities and park employee housing areas.
Drug Trafficking Organizations are utilizing open access roads and abandoned logging roads to deliver supplies and personnel to cultivation sites with Whiskeytown National Recreation Area. Cultivation sites have been found this year in Crystal Creek, Whiskey Creek and in the upper Clear Creek Valley near French Gulch. This year, several arrests have been made by Park Rangers, in conjunction with the Shasta County Sheriff’s Department, of individuals associated with these marijuana cultivation sites. Thousands of marijuana plants and hundreds of feet of irrigation hose have been hauled out of the park’s backcountry by Park Rangers and the Sheriff’s Deputies this past summer. The proposed gate installations will make it more difficult for illegal cultivators to access these sites and deliver food, supplies and personnel. The proposed action is viewed as another tool for rangers to use to decrease cultivation activities and reduce this serious threat to park resources.
Superintendent Jim Milestone stated, “I doubt the public will notice any change with implementation of this plan from current recreational conditions. It will, however, require our park staff to open and close gates to maintenance facilities and park housing areas that are presently open without restriction.”
To provide comments, or for additional information, please feel free to contact the Office of the Superintendent at 530-242-3460, or write to: Superintendent, Whiskeytown NRA, P.O. Box 188, Whiskeytown CA 96095. Email address is e-mail us. Comments on this Environmental Assessment may also be submitted electronically at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/whis