NEVADA CITY, Calif. August 27, 2020 – Yesterday, State Parks took a group of Nevada County officials and stakeholders on a tour of the Independence Trail off Hwy 49 outside of Nevada City. The trail sustained extensive damage during the Jones Fire and will remain closed to the public for an extended period of time.
A safety briefing by CAL FIRE’s Scott Eckman gave some insight on what to expect. Hazard trees, especially oaks, can break off at any time. “If you hear a tree breaking off nearby, let everyone know and if necessary lay down flat in the ditch.” There was a mention of scrambling up and down drainages where bridges had burnt and ropes to provide some holds on treacherous slopes. Suitable forewarned, the group set off, led by Chief Ranger Matt Green.
Firefighters are working in the area, mopping up and extinguishing hot spots. Very little open flame remains, but this is still an active fire area.
Green and members of the Bear Yuba Land Trust all expressed their desire to rebuild the trail and open it back up for public access. The immediate danger of falling trees and erosion will be compounded by winter rains. A thorough assessment of the area condition will be conducted over several months.
Besides the damage visible in the photo gallery, the Rush Creek ramp and the Rush Creek flume were completely destroyed by the fire.
In 2012, Bear Yuba Land Trust took ownership of the 207-acre Sequoya Challenge Preserve in the South Yuba River canyon. The seven parcels are interspersed with California State Parks land along both the east and west portions of the Independence Trail. The western half of the trail was in the direct line of the fire.