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Road Update
April 21, 2006


  • Your Road Dues At Work
  • 2005-2006 Road Damage
  • Farnsworth Timber Harvest
  • Regular Road use Reminder

Your Road Dues At Work

We are about to commence Regular Maintenance work for the 2006 Season. We have been awaiting the apparent end of this season's rain, which gave us no useful breaks from December through mid April.

We appreciate the patience of all Owners in tolerating the conditions of the road for the last three months. As you are all aware, it is neither practical nor environmentally healthy to perform work on the roads during the rainy season. Equipment operations on a road during rains do much more damage than good.

Thus when we have road damage such as that occurring last December, followed by months of rain, there is little we can do but wait for a dry spell to repair the road.

Again, thanks to everyone for their patience in traversing the bad spots this winter.

The Master Plan

All Long Term Maintenance is occurring according to the Road Master Plan that was developed in 2002 - 2003. That plan is intended for implementation over a 5 - 8 year period (3 of which have already passed) depending on available resources.

The plan is self funded with our own resources as the organizational requirements of public funding go beyond the scope of the Association.

The plan has resulted in substantial improvements to the road when compared to the condition at the time the current Committee was elected.

The work generally addresses the most critical areas of the road in any given year. Thus projects may not get fully completed for any given area of road in a single season. Instead we must spread resources over several seasons so that the overall road improves and we stay on top of regular maintenance.

In this manner we combine regular maintenance tasks with Long Term tasks so that we can actually improve the road each year while keeping the overall road serviceable.

The alternate approach, in which we fully improve a given section of road, would deplete resources and force us into a "Deferred Maintenance" method, in which other sections of the road were allowed to deteriorate until we could fund full improvements. This is not only poor practice, but would result in increased road failures.

  The plan initiates work with the following priorities for improvement of any given section of road:

Step 1. Make initial grading adjustments to a road section to reduce berms and facilitate side flow of all waters occurring on the road surface. This can be done easily and thus a larger section of road can receive initial incremental improvements over the base condition.

Step 2: Make final adjustments to road surface which include full berm removal, out slope / crown (depending on incidental conditions). This will result in a road surface that can withstand up to three years of normal winter rains without requiring equipment operations.

Step 3: Provide surface armor where appropriate due to gradient, radius or adjacent soil / drainage circumstances.

Since we have limited funds we have to approach the entire road on a priority basis. These steps allow us to address more of the road at base level while still retaining resources for critical needs at incidental locations (such as culvert repairs/ replacement, specific drainage conditions and other critical but isolated problems.)

This process has resulted in substantial improvements and stabilization to the following areas:

Step 3 Level Improvements:
The Ridge (8.5 - 10)
Lower Snot Hill (7 - 7.75)

Step 2 Level Improvements
The First Mile (0 - .7)
Silva - Tombs Creek (5.5 - 6.5)

Step 1 Level Improvements
Quail Corner - 2-Mile Hill (.9 - 1.8)
Upper 2- Mile Hill - Gap (2.3 - 3.5
Gap - Big Iron Gate (3.5 - 4.5)

Current Hot Spots:
Silva Ranch: (4.5 - 5.5)
Tombs Creek - Lower Snot Hill (6.5 - 7.0)

Emerging Hot Spots:
Upper Snot Hills (Armor failures)
Snot Hill: Mudslide impacts

Current Work
The following tasks are currently planned for this season as part of the Long Term Improvements consistent with the work of the last three years.

From the gap (mile 3.5) to the Big Iron Gate.
We will be making Step 2 adjustments to the cross slope to generate either full out slope or crown as appropriate to the location. This will include the removal of berms for full side drainage capabilities as well as ditch cleaning where ditches are practical.

Work will be limited to surface adjustments for drainage. Armor at critical curves will occur in the 2007 season as part of a larger armor project.

This section has been one of the poor performers in regular winter; it performed better this year to the first phase of adjustments made last year. This work will stabilize it to the point that almost no maintenance other than a grading pass will e be required for at least five years.

From Tombs Creek Bridge to Lower Snot Hill
This section will get Step 1 grading adjustments. We will be reshaping the road surface to generate out slopes and crowns, pushing the road to the outside of the current course to minimize engagement with the unstable grey material in the bank and removing berms. We will also be improving the ditch to keep water from the seep from crossing the road surface and better directing it to the established culvert.

This will be designed to prevent upslope drainage from crossing the road where the bases consists of the grey material (that material being expansive and susceptible to failure when over-saturated.)

Quail Corner to the Gap (.75 - 3.5 mile)
We will make a light-grading pass to repair surface problems that occurred this winter, including ditch adjustments where the flow breached the road during the December storms.

Lower Snot Hill (6.5 - 7.5)
Lower Snot Hill was stabilized two years ago and has performed very well. This section will receive a light pass to adjust tire ruts and refresh the rock surface. This is the kind of pass anticipated for completed sections of road on a regular basis (every two years.)

Incidental Tasks
There are numerous locations where incidental tasks will occur on an as needed basis. These will include catch basin repairs and removal of debris from ditches. This will constitute Step 1 level work, though the actual Step 1 exercise occurred two years ago.

Silva Ranch (4.5 - 5.5)
Additionally, some minor adjustments will be made to the road surface on the Silva Ranch to correct some of the ponding problems occurring there. This will not be at the level of Step 1, but will only address certain critical concerns. Since there is a Timber Harvest currently underway on Silva, we are not inclined to make major road improvements there until we see the impact of hauling and operations from that Plan. We will be contacting that operator to coordinate any work that may be planned by them with our goals for the road.

Improvement operations may commence within two weeks pending final pricing and scope negotiations.

Please be advised that there will be equipment operating on the road. None of the work will result in road closure. All sections of the road will remain passable at all times.

2005-2006 Road Damage

As reported in January, there are several instances of damage that occurred as a result of the severe rains in December.

These include three key events:

  • Plugged culverts where they were undersized
  • The slip on Lower Snot Hill
  • The mudflow on upper snot hill.

Current Repair Plans:

The culvert sizes have been identified as a problem since we began preparing the Road Master Plan in 2003, however there have been more pressing concerns for the road and we have not had adequate resources to address culverts.

Now that the drainages above the small culverts have been flushed, we have about three years before we should expect additional problems with these culverts. Thus we should accumulate resources for replacement of these over the next two years and begin replacement no later than the 2007 season of at least 10 of the smallest pipes.

(Note that these are old drill pipes ranging from 8 to 16 inches that were used as culverts in the original road construction. They will be replaced with minimum 24" galv. pipe.)

Lower Snot Hill
Dave and I are assessing the most appropriate fix for the slip based on ongoing observation of its movement. At this time we are looking at two alternatives:

1. Reconstruction of foundation components at the roads current location. This will be based on whether the slope appears to stabilize and sinking has ceased. The advantage of this method is low cost and expedience.
2. Relocation of the road surface further up the bank. This will require excavation of the current bank to align the road with the bench above. This is a more costly method. The advantage of this method is the generation of useful rock for the surface improvements from Tombs Creek Bridge to Lower Snot Hill (immediately adjacent to the slip.)

Upper Snot Hill Mud Flow
The effect of this flow has mostly been corrected as material was removed from the road surface and stockpiled for future disposition.

The cause occurs up slope as a result of drainage concentration below another section of the road. This area will require stabilization and armor.

It is our intention, as costs become clearer, to incur a Special Assessment (one-time) to the Owners to cover these repairs.

Since the ongoing Long Term surface improvements to the overall road are also critical in nature, we don't want to disrupt or delay that work by using regular dues for these one-time repairs.

We would rather keep on track with the Long Term Improvements, and make these repairs out of a special assessment.

We will advise the owners soon as to the amount of that assessment. We expect it to be in the range of $500 - $750 per parcel.

Again we appreciate your patience as we solve these problems.

In the mean time the road appears stable and usable for all access purposes. The slip on Lower Snot Hill poses the most pressing need and we are assessing that at the present time.

Farnsworth Timber Harvest

Earl Farnsworth (Parcel 7) is planning to conduct a Timber Harvest on his property this season. The Plan has been reviewed by the various state agencies and appears to be approved. Where appropriate, neighboring properties have been notified.

Mr. Farnsworth has submitted to the Road Association copies of conditions of approval from various agencies that make reference to the condition of the Wickersham Road and suggesting that that road shall be improved prior to the commencement of Timber Operations.

These comments fail to recognize either the work that has been done on the road or the fact that the underlying inspections were conducted during the rainy season after a very severe winter left numerous impacts on the road; and prior to any repairs for those impacts that are already scheduled. Thus we suggest the Owners take these comments with an adequate grain of salt.

To avoid misinterpretation I would like to make our position regarding road maintenance clear in order to prevent any misconception on the part of the Owners or the Timber Operator.

The Road Association's sole purpose is to provide maintenance on the Wickersham Road for the following needs:

  • Regular access by Owners for recreation, incidental and residential uses.
  • Improvements to, and stabilization of, the road in order to comply with the requirements of various agencies with regard to water quality and habitat protection.

It is not the responsibility of the Road Association to prepare the road for an industrial operation in order to make that operation more profitable for the owner.

To be clear, none of the work we are initiating at this time is intended to benefit the Timber Harvest. That work is part of our ongoing Long Term improvement plan for the road as a whole.

We have indications from Mr. Farnsworth that there is an expectation that the Road Association should make additional improvements to the Road prior to the Timber Harvest. There are recommendations included in the documentation issued to Mr. Farnsworth that he should work with his neighbors to secure public funding for road improvements.

Mr. Farnsworth is welcome to pursue that, however, those recommendations were based on the misinformation that there are no improvements already underway.

It remains the Associations position that we continue with the current Master Plan to substantially improve the road over the next several years, as we have been doing for the last three years.

If the Farnsworth Timber Plan requires immediate improvements, those improvements should be undertaken by the Timber Operator at the expense of that Owner.

The Road Association will be happy to entertain a collaborative effort in which Mr. Farnsworth combines resources with ours to perform more extensive work this year. Those resources would be used to increase the scope of work of our current Vendor to cover more of the road area. The selected tasks would then be coordinated between the Road Associations goals and any requirements the Mr. Farnsworth must satisfy.

However we would not allow that collaboration to decrease the work we are planning to perform in favor of Mr. Farnsworth's requirements. We do not believe that the Association should accelerate our current plan for the benefit of an individual Timber Harvest.

Regular Road Use Reminder

The following is the regular reminder about use of the Road. Please share this with all guests and vendors.

  • Always lock the gate; regardless of whether it was unlocked when you got there.
  • Make sure the combo is NOT left on the lock or the lock will not lock. Spin the numbers before locking and test the lock to make sure it is locked.
  • If you wish to leave the gate open for a car that may be following, please wait at the gate while it is open.
  • Please pick up litter and debris that does not belong on the road.
  • Please remove rocks or trees that have fallen onto the road. (If you remove a large tree or perform other substantial work in keeping the road open, please advise the Committee so we can say thanks.)
  • Please get permission from the owners of the front ranch to park cars inside the front gate. Contact: Dean and Kelly Falkenberg (707) 431-1517 dktfalken@aol.com
  • Please park between the front gate and the second green-post and chain fence. This way the Owner can tell that you are a guest and not a trespasser.
  • Poachers and trespassers; there were four instances of poaching in 2005. They were each guests of Wickersham owners. Please be reminded that you are responsible for notifying your guests that the first 4.8 miles on the road are private property. The Owners do intend to prosecute any offenders.


We seem to be having increasing problems with guests. This may be the result of so many new Owners and a lack of familiarity with the methods for inviting strangers to remote properties. Many guests who are not familiar with rural lands unconsciously assume that all roads are public. It is important that all Owners make sure their guests understand that they are traveling on private property.

For those who invite guest up to the ranch to hunt, it is very important that those guests fully understand the extents of your property and is clear that they may not hunt on other properties (regardless of the fact that the pigs just keep running out in front of them...).

  • Please advise guests that they are traveling over private property and that they should respect the privilege to do so. It is not appropriate to stop for sightseeing or personal relief on other's property.
  • Please advise your guests regarding Road Etiquette including basic driving methods for rural roads and basic courtesies.
  • Please ask guests to say Hello and readily identify themselves and who they are visiting when meeting someone on the road. (It's always nice when I encounter a stranger on the road and they tell me whom they are without me having to ask.)
  • Please advise all of your guests regarding the importance of locking the gate. It is your responsibility to ensure that your guests understand how to operate the gate.
  • Please advise guests not to litter the area around the gates. (I pick up trash there almost every time I enter. This is not road trash but it came from people using the gate.)
  • Please advise guests to assist with Road maintenance by removing rocks or trees that are in the path of travel should they encounter them.

Gate Locking Rationale:
When we cross the lands of others, those owners have every right to ask us to keep gates locked. Both the front gate and the second gate are located on lands that are not part of the Road Association. Each of these owners has requested that the gates remain locked at all times. This is not a matter for debate among the Road Association; it is a simple fact of life out here in the country.

Additionally, many members of the road association prefer to have both the gates locked as a means to further ensure that strangers do not inadvertently (or otherwise) wander back into the ranch.

For those who do keep the gate locked, the road clean and always have a smile when passing, thanks from the Committee and from the owners at the front ranches.


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Ranch Website "http://www.wickershamranch.com"

Thanks to Tami Bobb for her efforts in sharing space on her personal ranch site for our benefit.