Mary McClain: Time to clear 174 through Empire Mine State Park |

Mary McClain: Time to clear 174 through Empire Mine State Park

Perhaps the topic of fuel reduction on Empire Mine State Park property along Highway 174 is now more compelling since the River Fire. From The Union’s “Fire threat” article of July 7, the representative stated, “Human life is our greatest concern, yet we have some things we need to balance.”

The challenges included the need for crews to work without disturbing bird nests, the need to supplement crews across many state parks, and the mission to protect cultural artifacts.

In 2019, when California State Parks collaborated with CalFire, they cleared fuels on nearby park property behind many homes on Gold Hill Drive in autumn to protect wildlife. They utilized inmate crews to get the work done. There was no mention of cultural artifacts in that area.

It’s time for a town hall meeting. Let’s see a map of the park’s cultural artifacts along Highway 174 that limit fuel reduction efforts. How is this project ranked among other state park projects to determine priority? Is there a timeline for when this stretch of Highway 174 can be made safer?

It’s time for the superintendent of parks — and on up the chain of command — to address these questions.

Mary McClain

Grass Valley

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