EDITORíS DESK: Gold Camp Roadkill
Did we get our money's worth?
After years of squabbling over the future of Gold Camp Road, the one thing local outdoor enthusiasts expected when the U.S. Forest Service released its Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was a clear plan for the future of the 8.5-mile segment that has been closed since 1988 because of a partial tunnel collapse.
Instead, the 790-page EIS, which came out last week, appears likely to extend the torment. Yes, the mountain road can open, it states, and it can only be one-way and it's going to apply to bikes, too. Beyond that, who really knows?
Heavy lifting that could have been done was not - such as thinking out a creative response to the popularity of the two trailheads in the road's first mile, getting with neighboring property owners to brainstorm land-use possibilities or even ensuring that the privately owned parking lot everyone uses might remain available.
Regarding the citizen committee that would fund-raise and find a "third-party" to operate the road, the Forest Service claims it has successfully used this template elsewhere. But those must surely have been places were residents were united in their goal. Here, we have contention. How effective will the committee be when possibly half the people on it do not want the road to ever open?
Bear in mind that this EIS cost $290,000 in federal money. All that seems to have been accomplished was a huge buck being passed.