Ranch Owners
Outdoor Photos
Cabin Photos
People Photos
Fire 2003


Back to Newsletter Index Page

Wickersham Road News
February 1, 2002


Happy New Year

We have had a busy and wet year and have focused our limited available time on actual road work. This has put us behind in getting out this newsletter as well as annual dues statements. But here we are.

We will be changing the front gate combination on:

Friday, February 15.

Dean Falkenburg has volunteered to change the combination. Thanks to Dean.

The new combination will be: ***Not Public Information - Please Contact Road Committee***

Please note it down but keep it out of the newspapers.

Given the difficulty in keeping the gate locked (see article below) Dean has asked that we change the combination more often. This may help discouraging residual guests who may have the combination but have worn out their welcome. As a courtesy to our neighbors, we will try this for the remainder of the year.

Annual Dues notices as well as statements of past due accounts are included in this newsletter. Please remit as soon as possible.

We have also included an Annual report describing Road Association financial activity for 2001.

There are several owners that are behind in their dues and will be notified directly. This affects our ability to realize both maintenance and environmental improvement projects. Please recall that our road dues represent a bargain, given the extent and complexity of our road.

Gate Issues

As everyone is certainly aware, the new front gate is suffering from failure of the foundation. The gate is deflecting badly due to weakness in the supporting soil at the anchorage.

The installer has attempted to correct the problem by installing an additional dead man and shoring up the gate post. This has proven unsuccessful, as the gate has continued to defect.

We have met with the installer to discuss repairs and agreed that no further work should be done on this gate until the ground is dry in the late spring.

At that time will design either a more substantial foundation or a driven pile that will adequately resist the weight of the gate.

In the mean time we have welded a new lock and chain on the original gate for use until repairs can be made to the new gate.

While we are waiting for repairs on the new gate, please continue to lock the old gate at all times. We appreciate your patience and understanding on this matter. 

Second Gate

While meeting with the installer concerning the new gate, we also reviewed a detail for the locking mechanism at the Big Iron Gate. This detail will allow for easy access, at chest level, from both sides of the gate.

The installer should be able to make the modifications to the gate during February. At this time we are intending to install a combination lock on the Big Iron Gate rather than a key lock. This will simplify access and management. 

Gate Locking Refresher Course

We are still experiencing unlocked gates (even before the gate became impossible to lock) so please remind your guests, vendors and other users to lock the front gate at all times.

As a courtesy to our neighbors, whose land our road crosses, we should use the gate as follows:

We should lock the gate even if we will be returning in a very short time.
If you have guests following and you want to leave the gate open for them, please wait at the gate for them to arrive and make sure the gate is locked after you pass through.
If you would rather not wait, please explain why the gate will be locked and make sure they know how to unlock and re-lock it.
When using the gate please check that the lock is actually locked when you use it. Spin the numbers several times and test the lock before leaving the gate.
If you see or know of someone who has left the front gate unlocked, please talk to them about it directly. Please notify the committee and we will talk to them as well.
Please remind all of your guests and employees that the road is not a public road. It actually crosses private property. When using the road they should know that they are driving on someone elseís land. When leaving the gate unlocked they are not hurting the government or some public agency, they are hurting their neighbors.

For the majority of you who do lock the gate consistently, thanks from the Road Committee and from our neighbors.

Road Use in Winter

We have had a very wet year already and many Owners have noted both the exceptional condition of the road as a whole, but also the soft spots that are becoming increasingly damaged.

As we proceed with Long Term Improvements to the Road, there are going to be some choices that will have to be made regarding the actual design of the Road.

Currently the Wickersham Road is a seasonal rural road intended ideally for use only during the dry season. While it can take use during the winter it does not include all of the components necessary for a year round rural road.

It is primarily a dirt road with extensive surface drainage that discharges directly into watercourses.

When wet, the surface of the road is vulnerable to disturbance, Use of vehicles when wet loosens extensive amounts of the road surface and creates the potential for this material to be carried into the adjacent watercourses in the next rain.

A year round road will require much more rock, armor and drainage management than our current road enjoys. It may not require more maintenance when constructed properly, but there are basic components that will require more labor and equipment to install.

In the past we have asked Owners to avoid using the road after periods of rainfall. This gives the road a chance to partially dry out and stabilize. We are still requesting that road use in the winter be kept to a minimum and that necessary trips be delayed until at least 72 hours after rain has stopped falling.

Even with this measure, we will still see damage occur in the shady spots where the road does not dry quickly.

Ultimately these areas will need rock for winter use, where they may not need rock for summer use.

The problem is occurring primarily because we are seeing more extensive use of the road in the Winter. There has been an increase in industrial and residential use of the road, generating more trips in the Winter time. There has also been an increase in recreational use of the road in the winter as we see more new owners who are excited about visiting the ranch.

At this point we are asking all Owners to consider the following guides to using the road in Winter:

Try to minimize trips to the ranch in the winter when possible.

Avoid all trips while rain is falling.

When traveling to the ranch, try to schedule trips to occur several days after rain has stopped.

Drive slowly over the wettest parts of the road. Maximum 5 mph on wet areas.

Drive on the hardest part of the road. Avoid soft spots where additional trips will loosen more materials and generate more silt. Avoid potholes and gullies.

Residential and Industrial owners should minimize trips where possible and certainly stay off the roads during and after rainy periods.

If we decide as a group to make the road a year round road, we may need to provide increased resources for alterations and preparations for more extensive winter use. The current road dues provide only enough resources for regular maintenance of a seasonal road and for required long term maintenance of that same type of road.

Recent Work

December 1, 2001

Martin Dreiling and Dave Schaeffer spent a day inspecting culverts and road conditions during the storm. Work included hand cleaning of various ditches and catch basins as well as drainage adjustments on portions of the road.

Areas requiring larger equipment were flagged and logged for machine work to occur the following week.  

Week of December 9

Steve Parmeter performed ditch and catch basin clearing and removed debris from the slide near mile 6.5.

Weekend of January 12, 2002

Approximately Ĺ mile of Snot Hill was rocked.

This was a partial volunteer effort initiated by Art Viramontes, who offered equipment and labor. The Road Association provided a truck and driver from Vadelnicks and Sons. Dave Scaeffer also volunteered his time and the use of a bulldozer.

Work included rocking the slickest portions of the road where orientation does not allow for dry out.

Snot Hill requires additional detail work that will include ditch adjustment, selected berm removal and grading adjustments. This rock, however, will remain and will serve as the basic roadbed for the sections rocked.

Our thanks to Art and Dave for volunteering their efforts and to Doug Porter for bringing this to the attention of the Road Committee. Thanks also to Paul Farrar for continued use of rock from his quarry for the benefit of the road. As always, any rock used will generate a credit for Paulís road dues.

This kind of collaborative effort will help leverage our limited resources so that we can perform more long-term tasks in the future. 

Additional Work

Additional work has been performed as needed by Owners who discover local problems. Apparently a fallen tree was removed near mile 6.5. Owners also continue to clear incidental rocks and remove litter when passing by.

These efforts are appreciated, by the Road Committee and certainly by the rest of the Owners. If you perform a task, the Road Committee would like to know so that we can keep track of incidental work and incidental problems with the road.

Road Maintenance Master Planning

In the previous newsletter we described a series of goals and strategies for long-term maintenance of the Wickersham Road.

Since that time the following tasks have been completed:

Road Inventory

A complete road inventory was prepared by the road committee. This inventory includes the following components:

Review of previous Road Inventory

Development of a Master Road Base Map based on available aerial photography and mapping prepared by CSS Architecture (pro-bono).

Review of Base Map by previous Road Committee and Steering Committee Members (still awaiting input?)

Detailed field review of all culverts and drainage sources

Ongoing review of water sources and drainage patterns.

Preliminary Project Identification and cost research to determine long-term project scope and schedule.

Road Project Types

Based on the Long Term Maintenance tasks identified in the last newsletter, and based on the Road Inventory and quantification of total tasks, the following project types have been identified for pursuit over the coming years.

These projects will be scoped according priorities for environmental protection. Areas of the road that are causing the most damage to adjacent streams and drainages will be selected for early projects.

Snot Hill Drainage and Surface Corrections
Will include additional rock, ditch armor, selected berm removal and selected out sloping.

Parcel 37 Drainage Corrections (above bridge)
Will likely include rock, ditch and outfall armor, out sloping, rolling dips at some locations, selected source management via upslope grading

Culvert Replacement
Multiple projects seeking to replace 5-10 culverts per project, per current Fish and Game Standards.

Will include removal and disposal of old culverts, excavation to original watercourse bed, re-structuring of backfill, full armor where appropriate and grading adjustments to approaches.

These projects will correct most of the washouts identified.

Incidental Grade Alterations
Will include selected sections of low to moderate slope road for out sloping, rolling dips and ditch armor.

Will include washout stabilization and source management.

Incidental Repairs
These projects will address slides, washouts, source problems and other structural issues identified on the road.

Ongoing rock application to steep grades, shaded areas and sections of road close to watercourses.

These projects will be further detailed for review by the Owners and will be structured into a Long Term Plan for use by this committee and future committees. More on this next month.


2001 / 2002 Committee Members

For those who have not heard, Dianne Porter resigned from the Road Committee and Earl Farnsworth, as alternate, has agreed to continue for the remainder of 2002.

Martin Dreiling
Parcel # 8, 9
1321 Paloma Avenue
Burlingame, Ca  94010
(650) 696-1200

Earl Farnsworth
Parcel # 7
1035 Bel Marin Keys
Novato, CA  94949

(415) 884-2111

Dave Schafer
Parcel # 5
227 Bodega Ave.
Petaluma, CA 94952
(707) 762-1101

Ranch Mailbox

Ranch Website

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

back to top