Jan 4, 2018
by Tim McKusick
We are ringing in the New Year after the driest December in the last 100 years of local weather record keeping. Hopefully we will get the rain we desperately need – soon! We don’t want to even think about the “D” word! Between the dead and dying drought-stressed Pines and Firs and the Tan Bark Oak scourge Sudden Oak Death Syndrome, fire abatement crews have their hands full.
Fire Crews all over the state have been activated as recent events have shown us that there is no more ‘off season’ for fire-fighting. It should be pouring rain right now, which would allow us to abate at least some of the heavy accumulated fuels loads in our urban-wildland areas, before the next summer’s anticipated fire season.
The good news is that there are grants available to assist property owners deal with this overwhelming and expensive task. Consult your local Forester to take advantage of this valuable resource. Rural property owners have a better chance of receiving grant assistance if they work together as a block.
Another resource is the Sonoma Country Free Chipping Program.
In days gone by, branches and dead trees were burned. At times it was simply unhealthy to be outside on ‘burn days’. Now, with air quality a priority, chipping is the only way to go. The County makes it smooth and easy to deal with the needed yearly pruning.
But, it is imperative to do all that we can to lighten the fuel load and ladder fuels in the small Winter window we have to work within. In my small community on the Sonoma Coast, most of us are acutely aware of the monumental job we have, trying to keep up with the accelerated demise of the local tree population.
Great news! They are putting the finishing touches on the parking lot, trailhead, and other amenities for the Jenner Headlands Preserve. Very soon we will be enjoying free public access to this 5,630 acre coastal jewel. Located just North of Jenner on Hwy 1, this mosaic of Douglas Fir and Redwood Forests, Oak woodland, chaparral and coastal prairie overlooking the blue Pacific will surely be everyone’s Sonoma Coast destination of choice.
The parking lot is designed for aesthetic and environmental quality, with ADA compliant parking and access to the trailhead.
The nearly 6-acre project includes spaces for 30 passenger vehicles and two school buses in a lot located where a small asphalt turnout exists now, about two miles north of Jenner.
The plans call for a day-use area with picnic tables, restroom facilities, an accessible 400-foot trail to a scenic lookout and an informational kiosk.
With the paving just completed days ago, we anticipate an opening by Spring(?)!
It has been a busy end-of-year in Jenner for CalTrans and Jenner City Leaders. Installation of long-sought-after highway traffic safety features is at last a reality.
Travelers on Highway One are greeted by speed monitoring signs as they enter the 25 MPH zones on both ends of town, replete with a digital readout of your actual speed and flashing lights to get your attention. Another pair of these ‘speed reminders’ are installed near the center of the town on the straight-away. These should go a long way towards assuring pedestrian safety, especially near the crosswalk at the Café Aquatica and Jenner Gift and Wine Shops.
The other Major traffic safety feature recently addressed was the installation of a guardrail along the riverside of Hwy 1 on the South end of town. The new life-saving guard rail extends from the Jenner Creek crossing just south o fCafé Aquatica, hugging the road for quite a distance along the river through the curved section where there have been several tragic events in the past.
Kudos to the Jenner Community Center and the City Leaders for their persistence in getting these and other improvements in place. ‘The Little Town That Could!’
A few years ago, the overhead PG&E lines were ‘undergrounded’ through the center of town along Highway One. What a difference it made to this scenic little burg by removing these ugly wires clogging the world-class skyline.
I would like to start a drive to have the unsightly communication cables strung along the roadside south of Jenner removed. Either put them underground or move them up the hill with the existing PG&E lines. This is one of the most beautiful stretches of highway; the entrance to Jenner along the Estuary. Let’s show it the respect it deserves. (But leave a few of the old poles for Osprey & Hawks!)
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