Located just East of Rollins Reservoir, where Steephollow Creek and the Bear River feed into it, lies 62 acres of pure fun. Camping, picnicking, fishing, swimming, mining, campfires, shooting, and off-road riding. Staging area to unlimited BLM and National Forest Lands and Trails. Free. No rules or regulations (except no vandalism or illegal dumping). No Fees. No campground host. No direction. Just one big "free for all."
Sound nice? Try living next to it. People crossing your private land day and night, shooting bullets over your head, being afraid of the illegal fires burning your land and home, trespassers venturing onto your land, into your yard and sometimes your home. Illegal dumping of garbage and vehicles. Groups of homeless or illegal mining camps sprouting up throughout the area. Crimes on the uprise. All the surrounding area is either private property or BLM land that is closed to all motorized vehicles. Yet, all this continues with the approval of the NID.
This 62-acre parcel is owned or leased by the NID. They operate a small hydro-electric generator there. According to Tim Crough, NID assistant general manager, this is the public's land and to be used as such (with the exceptions of vandalism and illegal dumping). Everything else is fair game. Yet, there is a big red sign on the bridge crossing (county line) that stated otherwise posted by the NID.
This area has become a public nuisance since the closing of the Greenhorn riding area and the railroad shooting area in Colfax. All week long, day and night, people come to this area to do whatever, legal or illegal. There are no posted borders, no areas of closures, no kiosks, no maps, no direction or management.
This public nuisance has become ours, the nearby property owners. Free range has become apparent and a problem. We have posted hundreds of signs, only to be torn down, shot up, or ran over.
We have called the sheriff hundreds of times with many, many callouts to address the problems here. Rescue and law enforcement helicopters landing on occasion for both the rescues of injured people (trespassers) and other illegal activities, all assisted by fire and law enforcement on the ground. All tax money spent that could have been avoided.
We have asked NID many times over the past few years for help to alleviate the problems that affect our property and our rights. NID has failed to even address the problem, let alone find a solution and do something about it. Bureaucratic rhetoric seems to be there only answer. Your publicly-owned agency and tax dollars at work.
Danny McMellon is a Grass Valley resident.