Darrington Ranger District Volunteers: Giving A Future to Roads
Friends For Public Use
is Helping Keep
Backroads open in
Who is Friends For Public Use?
There is a group of volunteers that are overseeing the backroads within the Darrington Ranger District. Money to upkeep the roads is not the same as it once was, so Friend For Public Use (FFPU) is using preventative measures to defend against road closures. Martha Rasmussen approached the Ranger District a few years ago with this idea and she the backbone of the program.
These volunteers are trained to scout for clogged culverts that cross beneath the roads which can cause overflowing water erosion or a complete washout. Lack of funding can close down a road for many years. It can be cheaper to simply close roads that have major washouts. The White Chuck River Road is a notable example of this.
Can volunteers adopt a road?
Volunteers through FFPU can adopt a road to give assurance that particular roads are being monitored. Martha cannot oversee all of the roads by herself and so this helps her dedicate time on other spots in need.
There are 25 roads that are not yet adopted- CLICK HERE to see a list.
These are the roads that have been adopted by volunteers!
- Clear Creek Road - FS 2060
- FS 41 - This is the road to Three Finger Mountain trailhead
- Helena Ridge - FS 2070 to FS 2075 and then FS 2076
- Neiderprum Road - FS 2030
- North Mountain Road - FS 2810
- Segelson Road - FS 18
- Sloan Creek Road - FS 49
- Squire Creek Pass - FS 2040
How can you help?
It is easy to help out, simply sending an email can spark up a new project date. If you have a group or if you are by yourself looking to help out, please contact FFPU and get involved. On site work can be similar to the energy output of trail maintenance and they need from home office help as well.
Tools are provided on work parties and everyone has fun. Martha says,"Our volunteers are an eclectic group ranging from Forest Service, Forestry, engineers, climbers, Denny Youth Center, Boy Scouts, and more."
What are some projects that FFPU has been a part of?
Martha sums this up-
"I think one of the biggest projects we did was brush out Grade Creek Road, FSR #2060, which had pretty much become impassable. We've also done a lot of work on Bedal Creek, FSR #4096 with brushing, ditches and roadbed. FRS #4096 had two sabotaged culverts where somebody blocked the inflow so the road would blow out, luckily we found them. Last season we brushed out the Mount Pugh Road, FSR #2095."
With more volunteers, what is going to be the next step?
Dialog with the Forest Service has been opened up with what Martha refers to as FFPU Phase II. This next phase would include buying bigger equipment. So far the Forest Service is not telling them no, proving FFPU has come a very long way.
Items on FFPU's equipment want list include:
- Utility Tractor capable for bucket and side PTO
- Side arm boom mower
- Some kind of road roller
- Spike Harrow
- Truck mounted hydraulically powered sweeper
What are some roads that Have Been problematic?
Martha sums this up perfectly-
All of them! Some of them are political such as Circle Creek. Some roads are running out of time. Five roads that I'm particularly concerned with:
- FSR #41 up to Three Fingers, I don't like the tone I'm getting back from the FS. Brian Berggren is the road adopter for this road and he pours his heart and sole into everything he does. I send in his reports about the road and hear back,"Well that won't be seeing vehicle traffic or we'll look into it." #41 is a problem child because of the abuse it sees and I'm worried the FS just wants it to go away. I've voiced my concerns on this with the Forest Fire Lookout Association.
- FSR #2660 up to Grade Creek. There has been an ongoing ditch problem on a long grade which keeps encroaching on the roadbed and if a roadbed gets less than 8 feet, it can get listed as a dangerous road. There is also a gradual slumping in the road, which if gets saturated, could take some real damage. This road is top priority for an adoption!
- FSR #4096, Bedal Creek needs adoption! This road has been sabotaged and somebody wants it gone. Two of the culverts up there were purposefully blocked. Some history: several years back this road washed out when Bedal Creek shifted. The road was reopened by reconnecting it and eliminating a switchback. This resulted in a portion of the road being very steep, causing people to spin out and destroy the road. We need more people up on the road and trail, or the trailhead will become a problem with party folks.
- FSR #49, Sloan Creek Road. A lot of this road is cut and fill unlike Bedal, which is a real work of art. There is very little strong materials on #49 and a lot of cross drainage meaning, if this road isn't watched closely, it won't take much to wash it out or cause major damage. The shoulders are prone to cracking and long term, we need to see about suring some of them up. There are also two fords, one throws down big rocks and the other never wants to drain where it needs to. These problems cause the water to run down the road, the materials here are constantly saturated so nothing stabilizes. There is also a very active slumping in the road. One good thing about #49 is it accesses the PCT so they probably want to keep it open... but then we thought that about #23, White Chuck Road too.
- Circle Creek, #2703 and road to Circle Creek. This road has very little structural challenges, but it has plenty of politics! This is a well built road with basically some culvert issues and widening in one spot. The clock is ticking for this road. One big reason it needs to be decommissioned, is the risk it poses for siltation into the drainage, there is no drainage close enough to be affected by this road. Some of the wilderness groups have complained about seeing the road from the trail.... politics.