The National Forest Service has blocked access to a popular gravel bar on the West Fork of the Humptulips River. State Representative Brian Blake explained, “It’s called the fish trap road, and there used to be a fish trap there.”
The outdoorsman heard our story last week and came in to discuss the topic on CoffeeTalk. He said, “I’m told that the road actually went right across the river and out the other side.”
Blake has been fighting to keep access to this gravel bar for years. Speaking with local activist Dan Boeholt via phone-in to the show, Blake said, “This started 7 years ago when Dan called me and they were trying to destroy a stream crossing further down the road. With the help of Al Carter, Al was able to divert their attention to actually put bridges in, and saved that access. We’ve been fighting every since to save this access.”
A recent letter from District Manager Dean Millet explained that the forest service has not been able to find a solution that would maintain the access road and accommodate a small stream that forms in one of the tire tracks at certain times of the year.
That stream was dried up when we visited the site on Thursday, you can see hay marking the stream in the center of our photo above.
The stream was also dried up two years ago, when Blake stood on the road and said “It is now gone, it returned to its historical channel. The vehicle access is stabilized, so hopefully, we can convince the forest service not to destroy this important access.”
That historical channel is about 20 feet away, and was flowing with water from the wetland above during yesterday’s visit. (sorry that there is no audio in my video, I have a Google Pixel.)
Millet said in a briefing paper earlier this month that the wetland above was dried up last summer, possibly due to human intervention. He said in his email that the forest service feels their original plan is the best action. Which is to dam the older stream, restore the stream that runs across the road, then closing the road because a stream runs across it.
The road is now closed, contractors were on scene yesterday finishing their work to place car-sized rocks and over 4 feet of fill gravel just above where Millet said the stream should flow.