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GOODBYE MONTE CRISTO

Come join us for a fall hike to see and learn about the historic gold mining town of Monte Cristo and enjoy the autumn colors one last time before this area is "improved"  by the USFS.  After this Fall, Monte Cristo will be closed to the public for several years.

Over 120 years ago, the 1890’s gold rush miners left behind mine tailings that are still leaching heavy metals today.  The USFS has decided to remediate the mining area as part of a massive excavation project.  To do this, they are building a new road into Monte Cristo through an inventoried roadless area in an old growth forest that is prime low elevation Spotted Owl and Marbled Murrelet habitat.  They will build roads into the old mine sites, even to mines located within the HMJ Wilderness Area on unstable steep slopes using large excavators and bull dozers; and then haul the tailings several miles with dump trucks from above the town site and burry them in an 18,000 CY disposal pit near the Hap's Hill Campground.  The USFS is not even sure that the disposal pit construction is even feasible given the steep, rocky terrain; but they are building the road anyway.

The USFS will also build a road across Glacier Creek using dirt fill and culverts that could blow out during heavy storms destroying endangered Bull Trout spawning habitat.

The Sierra Club opposes the USFS's remediation plan and prefers a less risky, less costly, and less environmentally damaging cap-in-place method to remediate the toxic mine tailings.

Monte Cristo regularly receives around 140 inches of precipitation each year and this “cleanup” will likely create much more pollution than having done nothing at all.  The USFS is performing this work under the Superfund Cleanup law and avoids having to do an Environmental Assessment for the new road while circumventing legal challenges. 

The hike will be approximately ten miles with a 600’ elevation gain.  You must be able to walk across  a three foot diameter log on the South Fork of the Sauk River (see photo below from last years' hike at this time of year) or be willing to ford the river which will be about waist-to-ankle deep.  Bring suitable reef-walking footwear should you decide to ford the river.  In late September the Sauk River flow is at its lowest, but the water will still be cold.

Meet at the west side of the direct access ramp onto Interstate 5 at the Lynnwood Transit Center, at 6:45 and we leave promptly at 7:00 am. 

Carpooling is encouraged. NO PETS PLEASE.

Log crossing used by people ages 5 - 75.

Fall colors on Glacier Creek where the USFS plans to place a culvert crossing, just below Glacier Basin.

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  • A former member
    A former member

    Aww.... I'm so sorry. I just woke up and realized my alarm didn't go off. I feel especially bad since I said I'd dive. Hopefully you were able to organize carpools for everyone at the park and ride.

    September 15, 2013

  • olga c.

    I was hoping that my back would recover but it's not better . I will have to miss the hike. My family is really bummed out: they really wanted to get this hike in before the weather got cold. Have fun and please post some pictures!

    September 14, 2013

  • Laura

    I'm not feeling all that great, but hope to feel better tomorrow. I've been looking forward to this hike.

    September 13, 2013

    • Laura

      Not at all better today. :( Hope to do this hike in the future, before the town is destroyed.

      September 14, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hey guys, anyone heading toward the meet-up spot from Fremont?

    September 14, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hey guys, anyone heading toward the meet-up spot from Fremont?

    September 14, 2013

  • Pauline S

    I'm sorry for the late change in RSVP. I was looking forward to this. I pulled a muscle a few days ago and have not recovered. Continuous work meetings running around in dress shoes did not help ;)

    September 14, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I am sorry, but I have to bow out of this event sue ro an unexpected issue.

    September 12, 2013

  • Margaret C.

    Margaret Cox

    September 2, 2013

  • Megan

    Hi, everyone! This is my first meet with the group, and I was wondering how we arrange to carpool. Do we just figure it out when we are all there, or should we arrange it ahead of time?
    Thank you! Looking forward to this very much~

    September 2, 2013

  • William L.

    Additionally, Wear comfortable hiking boots and dress for weather. It is hard to say exactly what the weather will be like, but bring along a light rain jacket. Rain pants are good thing to have handy too. Avoid cotton or denim jeans that soak up water and are heavy and cold when wet. Quick drying nylon pants and shirts are best and are light weight.

    If you are a driver, a National Forest Recreation Pass is required for parking and you need to have it before the hike as the Verlot Ranger Station will likely be closed. Cost is $5/day or $30/yr. The Discover Pass cannot be used at this trailhead.

    September 2, 2013

  • William L.

    Donna, thanks for your questions, they are very good ones.

    Generally all Sierra Club outings are free, unless they specifically indicate there will be a cost. This outing is free, but if you are a carpool rider, please bring along $5 - $10 to help defray the cost of gas for the driver.

    Definitely bring a lunch and trail snacks of your preference. It is a long but not difficult hike and you will want to keep your energy up. Also bring along drinking water. Dependent on the temperature and your personal water consumption, I would suggest about 2-liters per person.

    Wear comfortable hiking boots and dress for weather. It is hard to say exactly what the weather will be like, but bring along a light rain jacket. Rain pants are good thing to have handy too. Avoid denim jeans that soak up water and are heavy and cold when wet. Quick drying nylon pants are best and are light weight.

    September 2, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I am new to this, so I hope that these are not stupid questions:
    *Is there a fee for this event?
    *Do we bring a lunch?
    *Is there anything that we need to know/do/bring?
    Thank you for putting this event together. I am excited.

    September 1, 2013

  • William L.

    It's approximately ten miles round trip with a 600' elevation gain, if we go up to the mines in Glacier Basin within the HMJ Wilderness Area. While long, most of the hike is very easy walking on the old road into MC.

    September 1, 2013

  • Laura

    How long is this hike?

    August 31, 2013

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