Cleveland National Forest

RESCUES ON RISE AT POPULAR WATERFALL TRAILS IN EAST COUNTY DESPITE TRAIL IMPROVEMENTS

 

Source: U.S. Forest Service

May 10, 2017 (Ramona) -- As temperatures begin to rise, so have the number of heat-related injuries and air rescues at the popular Three Sisters and Cedar Creek trails in Cleveland National Forest, the U.S. Forest Service reports.

COUNTY SUED OVER CHANGES TO FOREST CONSERVATION PLAN

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 22, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – Cleveland National Forest Foundation (CNF) and Save Our Forest and Ranchlands (SOFAR) filed a lawsuit against San Diego County last week in San Diego Superior Court.  The suit argues that Supervisors adopted an amendment to the Forest Conservation Initiative (FCI) based on a faulty environmental analysis and failed to identity ways to minimize impacts of the new plan. 

FOREST SERVICE RELEASES DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT FOR THREE SISTERS FALLS TRAILS AND RESOURCE ISSUES

 

East County News Service

June 6, 2016 (Descanso) -- The Forest Service has prepared a draft environmental assessment (EA) for the proposed Three Sisters Falls Recreation Management project, and we are asking you to review it and provide comments. This project was developed to establish a trailhead and trails along Boulder Creek Road and address public safety and resource issues in the Three Sisters Falls area. The draft EA is available on the Cleveland National Forest’s project webpage, listed below, or by clicking here. Hard copies are available from the project leader, identified below.

http://www.fs.fed.us/nepa/nepa_project_exp.php?project=46285

CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST WELCOMES NEW DISTRICT RANGERS

 

Source: U.S. Forest Service

June 6, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) -- The Descanso Ranger District in Alpine, and the Palomar Ranger District in Ramona, have recently gained over 30 years’ experience between them with the addition of 2 new district rangers. Christopher Dowling for the Palomar, and Bob Heiar for the Descanso, both come from an extensive Forestry background and have already begun making substantial head weight on improving recreational opportunities, enhancing community protection, and enforcing ecological restoration. Forest Supervisor William Metz believes the expertise and timing couldn’t be better, "This comes at a crucial time as we head into fire season and begin preparations on the ground. Our focus is to meet the mission of public safety by increasing resources and expanding expertise, demonstrating our continued commitment to the people of San Diego County.

COVERT CANYON OPPONENTS APPEAL TO SUPERVISORS

 

"Arguably, the County will now be required to allow any such property owner to conduct commercial firearms training on an interim basis so long as a permit application is eventually submitted." -- Marco Gonzalez

By Miriam Raftery

December 23, 2015 (Alpine) –Attorney Marco Gonzalez has filed an appeal with County Supervisors on behalf of environmental groups and neighbors of Covert Canyon in Alpine. If the Planning Director's decision stands, he argues, it would set a precendent that could subject residents across vast areas of the County  to neighbors opening up similar commercial shooting ranges.

The appeal contends that it was illegal for the Planning Director to issue an order reclassifying the zoning ordinance defintion of “law enforcement” to include military and law enforcement firearms training at Covert Canyon, a mountain meadow surrounded by Cleveland National Forest, without reveiw under the California Environmental Quality (CEQA) Act. 

COUNTY TO HOLD MEETING SEPT. 24 IN ALPINE ON PROPOSAL TO ALLOW THOUSANDS OF NEW HOMES ON LANDS ADJACENT TO CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 21, 2015 (Alpine)—A proposed Forest Conservation Initiative Lands General Plan Amendment was heard by Supervisors last year, when Supervisors directed staff to work with the Alpine Community Planning Group, U.S. Forest Service and property owners to develop boundaries and scope of work for a special study area. That information will be used to determine land use densities for thousands of acres of private property near or within Cleveland National Forest in the Alpine area, opening the door for major development of lands east and south of Alpine.

On Thursday, September 24, County staff will provide an overview of the draft scope of work for the Special Study at the Alpine Community Planning Group meeting in the Community Center at 1830 Alpine Boulevard.  An agenda will be posted prior to the meeting at: http://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/sdc/pds/gpupdate/comm/alpine.html

LARGE BLACK CAT SIGHTING REPORTING AT CEDAR CREEK FALLS

 

By Miriam Raftery

File photo: Black jaguar

September 1, 2015 (Cedar Creek Falls) – Last year, East County Magazine ran a two-part series  on numerous reported sightings of large black wildcats in our region :

http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/are-black-wildcats-prowling-east-county

http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/hello-kitty-more-black-wildcat-reports-surface

Today, we received an email from Chris and Peter Ruth, Forest Service volunteers and trail head hosts at Cedar Creek Falls.  “We now have had two reports of a black `cat-like’ animal down by the falls,” they wrote, adding that there is water in the pond though the waterfall is dry this time of year.

Multiple hikers reported seeing a “large black animal” resembling a big cat in a tree near the falls in San Diego's backcountry in Cleveland National Forest between Julian and Descanso. The sightings were reported to the ranger.  In addition, the Forest Service volunteers state, “Today, two female volunteers who hike the trail and pick up trash heard growling noises three times. With the drought, we wonder if animals are frequenting the pond to get water.”

BOIL WATER ORDER FOR OAK GROVE COMPLEX WHICH INCLUDES OAK GROVE CAMPGROUND IN THE CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST

 

July 10, 2015 (San Diego's East County) - The County of San Diego, Department of Environmental Health (DEH) has issued a Boil Water Order and Public Notification for Oak Grove Complex located at 37560 Highway 79, Warner Springs, CA 92086 effective immediately.  The system serves potable water to 2 residences, 2 fire barracks and 80 campsites.

CEDAR CREEK HIKER DIES

 

East County News Service

June 16, 2015 (Julian)—A 24-year-old hiker has died after suffering apparent heat-related physical distress on the Cedar Creek trail near Julian on June 16th in the early evening.  His friends called 911 and paramedics were notified, along with Sheriff’s deputies.

COUNTY PROVIDES UPDATE ON BOULDER CREEK ROAD GRADING AND CLEANUP

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 15, 2015 (Cleveland National Forest) – Last month, we reported that the County had begun a major cleanup of dirt dumped inside Cleveland National Forest along Boulder Creek Road, an area proposed for federal wilderness desgnation, following an East County Magazine investigation.

Now County communications specialist Gig Conaughton has provided follow-up information in response to our questions on whether piles would be completely removed, whether the dirt contained invasive or flammable weed species, and whether a similar cleanup would be done following similar grading by SDG&E.

COUNTY CLEANS UP DIRT DUMPED IN CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST AFTER ECM INQUIRY

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 26, 2015 (Cleveland National Forest) – The County has begun a major cleanup of dirt dumped along Boulder Creek Road that polluted a federally protected watershed in response to an East County Magazine investigation.

Eagle Peak Friends and Collaborators, a concerned citizens' group, posted a video on its Facebook page documenting massive quantities of dirt dumped along Boulder Creek Road inside Cleveland National Forest in San Diego’s East County.  The group contended that the County is responsible for dumping 20,000 cubic yards of dirt from road-grading inside the federally recommended Eagle Peak Wilderness area.

Before our inquiry, nothing appeared to have been done to halt the county’s actions, which had gone on for many months or more, a whistleblower told ECM.

CONGRESS PASSES MEASURE TO ALLOW SELLING OFF NATIONAL FORESTS AND OTHER PUBLIC LANDS

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Cleveland National Forest, courtesy National Forest Service

April 6, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)—The Republican-controlled House and Senate have passed measures that would allow the sale or outright giveaway of most public lands –including national forests, federal wildernesses and  wildlife preserves and Bureau of Land Management properties.  Only Republicans voted for the language slipped into a non-binding budget resolution—which passed without a single Democratic vote. 

The shocking news is revealed in a New York Times editorial by Will Rogers, president of the Trust for Public Lands, titled “Our Land, Up for Grabs.”  

While it’s unlikely that President Barack Obama would support such an extreme measure, if a Republican president is elected in 2016 and Republicans maintains control of both houses of Congress, losing our cherished public lands such could be a very real possibility.

Here in San Diego County alone, that could mean the demise of:  Cleveland National Forest,  Otay Mountain Wildnerness, Hauser Wilderness, Pine Creek , Carrizo Gorge, Sawtooth Mountains Wilderness , Agua Tibia Wilderness, San Diego National Wildlife Refuge, San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge , Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge, McCain Valley National Recreation Area and more.

MAJOR TRAIL CHANGES PROPOSED TO THREE SISTERS FALLS

 

 

Public comments due by March 25

By Miriam Raftery

February 25, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)--Three Sisters Falls is one of the most beautiful natural attractions in East County – a trio of waterfalls and natural swimming holes in a wilderness area within Cleveland National Forest.  But the falls are also among the most difficult scenic sites to access.

Now Cleveland National Forest’s Palomar Ranger District is planning a major recreation management   project at Three Sisters Falls, located near Boulder Creek Road between Santa Ysabel  and Descanso. The proposed action is to adopt and/or construct a Level 2 System Trail to Three Sisters Falls, to decommission and restore existing user-created trails, and to clear and construct  a primitive dirt or gravel parking area off of Boulder Creek Road, also adding a kiosk with educational materials.

The purpose of this project is to  address concerns related to public health and safety, resource impacts from unmanaged recreation use, and compromised access along Boulder Creek Road for area residents and emergency vehicles during high-use periods at Three Sisters Falls, says district ranger Joan Friedlander.

PRECRIBED BURNING TO CONTINUE

 

Photo: Ceonothus (wild lilac) on Middle Peak in Cuyamaca

February 7, 2015 (San Diego's East County) - Cleveland National Forest is slated to continue prescribed burning from now through June of 2015, depending upon weather and fuel conditions. But at least one environmental organization has raised questions about impacts of the burns.

PRESCRIBED BURNING BEGINS IN CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST

 

 

 

East County News Service

December 6, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)—If you see smoke over the backcountry, be aware that the Cleveland National Forest will conduct prescribed burning from December 2014 through June of 2015 as weather and fuel conditions permit on the Trabuco, Palomar and Descanso Ranger Districts. The goal of the burning is to reduce hazardous fuels that have accumulated in the Forest and around local communities.

WILDERNESS PROTECTION GRANTED TO 43,000 ACRES IN CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST

 

November 4, 2014 (Cleveland National Forest)—U.S. Forest Service officials have signed a Record of Decision for the Cleveland National Forest Land Management Plan Amendment  that gives wilderness protection to an additional 43,000 acres in the forest, at least temporarily.

FOREST SERVICE TO HOLD MEETING OCT. 1 IN ALPINE ON POWERLINE IMPACTS PLANNED IN AND NEAR CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST

 

East County News Service

September 30, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) - The Forest Service will host a public meeting on SDG&E’s proposed power line replacement projects and how those may impact Cleveland National Forest. The meeting will be on Wednesday, October 1st in the Alpine Community Center, 1830 Alpine Boulevard in Alpine, from 5 to 7pm.

MORE EAST COUNTY RESIDENTS RAISE COMPLAINTS OVER HELICOPTER NOISE, SEEK IDENTITY OF MYSTERY CHOPPER HOVERING OVER THEIR HOMES

 

Update: A Sempra spokesperson has confirmed that these helicopters were contracted by SDG&E and that height limits were followed, but surveillance in the Jamul area is now over.

By Miriam Raftery

August 12, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – Last week, we ran a story on residents’ complaints about an SDG&E helicopter that witnesses claimed was flying below legal height limits in the Descanso area. The flights, part of a surveying effort of power lines in Cleveland National Forest, allegedly caused injury to a horse that was startled by the helicopter.

OCT. 1 PUBLIC MEETING SET ON SDG&E PLAN TO REPLACE POWER LINES IN CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST

 

September 6, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – Cleveland National Forest (CNF) and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) will hold a public meeting on October 1, 2014 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Alpine Community Center, 1830 Alpine Blvd. in Alpine. The purpose is to obtain comments on a joint draft environmental impact report/draft environmental impact statement prepared by the two agencies regarding San Diego Gas & Electric Company’s proposal for a master special use permit in Cleveland National Forest and proposed replacement/fire hardening of select power lines in and around the federally protected Cleveland National Forest.

CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST ANNOUNCES FIRE RESTRICTIONS

 

July 17, 2014 (Cleveland National Forest)--Due to high fire danger, Cleveland National Forest has announced elevated fires restrictions starting Friday, July 18th.  The change is due to dryer fuel conditions, higher temperatures, and the likelihood of small fires becoming big fires.

READER'S EDITORIAL: A BEHIND-THE-SCENES LAND GRAB?

 

By Steve Green

“…professed “FCI supporters”  are not disclosing their current goals - regulations even more restrictive than the 1993 FCI, taking even more of our property rights.”—Steve Green 

July 6, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--I am a property owner surrounded by the Cleveland National Forest on Boulder Creek Road. My land represents the majority portion of my personal financial holdings. Up until 1993,  county regulations allowed property owners in my area to divide their lands into 20 acre parcels. We lost this ability in 1993 when voters approved the Forest Conservation Initiative (FCI).

FUTURE OF FOREST LANDS , ALPINE GROWTH AT STAKE

 

By Nadin Abbott and Miriam Raftery

June 27, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – San Diego Supervisors heard heated testimony on Wednesday regarding plans to change densities for lands on private property within the Cleveland National Forest boundaries. The Forest Conservation Initiative (FCI) passed by voters in 1993, which limited development on these lands to one home for each 40 acres, expired in 2010.  The County has rejected calls to enact the FCI protections into law. Instead, Supervisors directed staff to create an Environmental Impact Report based on staff recommendations that would increase densities in some areas and reduce them in others.

The hot potato is Alpine, where the Alpine Planning Group’s majority called on Supervisors to allow increased densities and development that could double the size of their rural town.  That has drawn opposition from environmentalists, board member Lou Russo, the Cleveland National Forest Foundation and the U.S. Forest Service itself, which raised concerns over fire dangers and preservation of federally protected wild lands adjacent to proposed development.

CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST FOUNDATION PRESIDENT ASKS PUBLIC HELP TO SAVE FOREST LANDS: SUPERVISORS TO VOTE WEDNESDAY ON DEVELOPMENT ENCROACHMENT PROPOSAL

 

East County News Service

 

June 23, 2014 (Alpine) – A proposal before the San Diego Supervisors on Wednesday would weaken protections for federal forest lands by allowing development encroachment in East County. The plan could double the size of rural Alpine, putting forest lands at risks, conservationists warn.

Now Jack Shu, president of the Cleveland National Forest Foundation, has issued a plea for the public to contact Supervisors and urge them to support protections granted by the Forest Conservation Initiative that was approved by two-thirds of local voters but recently expired.  Below is the letter he sent to conservationists countywide.

READER'S EDITORIAL: OPEN LETTER TO SUPERVIORS--ADOPT STAFF RECOMMENDATIONS ON FOREST CONSERVATION INITIATIVE LANDS

 

By Lou Russo



June 20, 2014 (Alpine)--I am a 10+ year resident of Alpine, an 8+ year member of the Alpine Community Planning Group (ACPG) and a 6+ year member of the San Diego Rural Fire District (SDRF) Board of Directors.

CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST SEEKS PUBLIC COMMENT ON OFF-HIGHWAY VEHICLE GRANT APPLICATION

 

March 1, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) -- Cleveland National Forest officials will submit a cooperative grant application to the California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) Division for 2013/2014 "Green Sticker" grants.  Beginning March 4, 2014, the application can be viewed by clicking on the "Grants" tab on the California State Parks Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation website at www.ohv.parks.ca.gov. Comments on the application must be received by April 7, 2014.

READERS VOICE RAGE OVER CONTROLLED BURN IN CUYAMACA RANCHO STATE PARK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 26, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – Readers across East County have sent photos and video of a large controlled burn yesterday in Rancho Cuyamaca State Park, voicing outrage over the burning of habitat including mature trees, given than 99% of the pine trees in the park burned during the 2003 Cedar Fire.

Questions have also been raised over why the burn was allowed in windy conditions, why a helicopters was dispatched to use water from Lake Cuyamaca on a controlled burn, and why more notice was not provided to the public and the press that a major controlled burn was underway by State Parks in conjunction with Cal Fire.

PREHEARING HELD ON SDG&E PLAN FOR CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST

“Our forest is a delicate ecosystem being attacked by growth...This project will only add to the problems we are facing out here in the forest.” – Duncan McFetridge, founder, Cleveland National Forest Foundation (photo, left)

“We plan to rebuild existing lines in the forest to provide safe, reliable service and fire protection.” – Allen Trial, SDG&E

By Sharon A. Penny

February 6, 2014 (Alpine)--SDG&E submitted a plan to retrofit and update electric line facilities within the Cleveland National Forest into one Master Special Use Permit (MSUP). Currently, SDG&E has over 70 individual special use permits for these facilities. Many organizations and back country citizens are concerned about the need, cost, environmental impacts, and potential harm to the forest of the proposed plan of development.

On February 5, California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) Administrative Law Judge Jean Vieth held a formal prehearing conference at the Alpine Community Center regarding the $418.5 million MSUP project. 

FOREST SERVICE AND CPUC EXTEND SCOPING PERIOD FOR SDG&E POWERLINE PROPOSAL IN NATIONAL FORESTS LOCALLY

Meeting set for Feb. 19 in Alpine

February 4, 2014(San Diego)—U.S. Forest Service ((USFS) officials, in conjunction with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), have announced a supplemental scoping period to provide the public with an additional opportunity to comment on the topics and alternatives that should be included in the Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) being prepared for the SDG&E proposal.

The Forest Service and CPUC will hold a Supplemental Scoping Meeting for the SDG&E Master Special Use Permit and Permit to Construct Power Line Replacement Projects at the Alpine Community Center, 1830 Alpine Boulevard, Alpine, CA on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.  The meeting is open to all.

SOCAL FORESTS RELEASE DRAFT RECORD OF DECISION FOR LAND MANAGEMENT PLAN AMENDMENT

 

January 19, 2014 (San Diego) --U.S. Forest Service officials announced on January 17th the release of the Draft Records of Decision for a Proposed Amendment to the Land Management Plans for the four Southern California national forests (the Angeles, Cleveland, Los Padres, and San Bernardino).

The publication of a legal notice in each national forest’s newspaper of record begins the 60-day objection period.

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