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Wickersham Road News
February 21, 2007


  • Gate Combo Change
  • 2006 Owners Meeting Overview
  • 2006 Winter Prep
  • 2007 Dues Assessment: Emergency Dues
  • Regular Road use Reminder
  • 2006 Logging Operations Overview
  • Road Committee Elections
  • 2007 Road Maintenance

2007 Gate Combo Change

The Gate Combo will change on Monday, March 05, 2007.

The new combination will be:

Front Gate: **** Big Iron Gate: **** Please make a note and notify any co-owners. .

2006 Owners Meeting Overview

Belated thanks to all who attended the 2006 Owners Meeting held July 15. Thanks also to all who helped prepare for the meeting and especially for all the great food and drink.

A special thanks to Heinz and Agnes Moser for the use of their camp for the meeting.

We will not try to report all details of the meeting here but there are several bullet points worth noting.

Road Maintenance Overview
General concepts as well as specific details of our road maintenance practices and goals were reviewed and all present appeared satisfied that the current direction was acceptable.

In general, we will continue to make basic surface improvements to the road such that the road drains properly for durability and to reduce siltation of adjacent waterways. The current strategy will result in completion of these tasks by 2008 for the most severe sections of road.

The Committee will continue to focus on long term maintenance as a means to reduce short term maintenance, while addressing critical needs as they arise.

Additionally, the Committee will utilize supplemental dues to cover emergencies and one time events so that regular dues will continue to be used for the long term strategy.

Owners asked numerous questions about the particular approaches we have taken and raised some concerns about strategies, but the general consensus appeared to be positive with regard to the methods and, in particular, to the actual condition of the road at this point in time.

Road Finances
Owners were presented with an overview of annual income and expenses. Additionally, road damage from this year's storms was included as potential burdens on the Road Association.

Owners were advised that dues collection continues to fall short based on several Owners who do not pay their dues. This shortfall was also factored into the annual picture.

The result indicated that a Supplemental Assessment of approximately $500 per parcel may be necessary to keep the Long Term Maintenance on track while addressing this year's problems.


New neighbor David Katz spoke briefly about various alternate funding mechanisms for road and watershed improvements. David facilitates such efforts on a professional basis and expressed an interest in assisting the Road Association in pursuing funding should we choose to do so.

Dave Fowler of Water Quality also spoke about his department's goals and priorities. This was a very informative discussion of great interests to all of the Owners present.

Of particular interest were Dave's comments on our Road Associations work on the road and our approach to future planning. David indicated that we are the kind of group his department loves because we are actually working proactively on the road. He stated that he was very pleased to review our master plan. He drove the road with members of the Committee to observe the quality of work, and concluded that we should feel very little fear about ever getting in trouble with Water Quality.

Specific questions were asked about liability issues and the qualifications of vendors for performing road work in rural situations. Dave stated that most roadwork in the woods was performed by unlicensed vendors or vendors who may be licensed for timber operations only. He stated that most of the training efforts were aimed at these people because, like it or not, they are the ones doing most of this work.

Most Owners seemed satisfied that our current choices for vendors were satisfactory as long as we continued to monitor insurance certifications.

Doug Porter addressed the group stating his concerns regarding individual liability for work done by the Association and his reasons for withholding dues.

After a sometimes lively discussion, most present agreed that there was very little exposure on the part of the Owners with regard to vendors and road maintenance methods that would be alleviated by requiring either inappropriate licenses or excessive insurance for vendors. Most who have had direct experience with litigation know that neither insurance policies nor licenses protect anyone from involvement in a lawsuit.

The discussion was ultimately positive and Doug stated that he had heard new information that might allow him to reconsider his position. It was our hope that all Owners would go away confident that the Road Committee is equally concerned about liability and risk to the Owners.

It should be noted that Doug has paid his current dues (but not past dues) based on subsequent dialogues with the Committee and the current vendor. We all appreciate this and hope that confidence will remain high with regard to the overall intentions of the Association.

General Comments
TIn general, the group was pleased with the meeting and many suggested that we meet at least once a year both for the practicality and the fact that it was an enjoyable way to meet the neighbors. It is our intention to plan a meeting for next summer.

Again thanks to all who participated.

We have certainly missed some important details here. If anyone has comments that they would like to share with the Association, please forward them to us for inclusion in the next newsletter. Anyone who was not present and would like additional details should contact the Road Committee and we will be happy to fill you in.

2006 Winter Prep

TAs discussed previously in the newsletter and at the Owners meeting, there were numerous areas that were damaged in the winter storms last year.

Some of these areas were addressed with immediate repairs by Lawrence Boyd. Additional problems were corrected in the context of our regular roadwork.

Several items remained that required correction prior to the winter weather. These tasks were initiated on an emergency basis last fall to make sure that work was completed before the rains set in.

Four culverts were replaced on Two-Mile Hill. These were culverts that had plugged and overflowed last winter or were in danger of failure. These were small pipes that had not been originally set to the normal bed and included shotgun outfalls that were degrading the downstream course.

Replacement culverts were 24" plastic designed to handle peak flows at these locations. New culverts were set deeper to follow the natural stream bed and heavily armored at catch basin and outfall.

Three of these culverts were critical and one was marginal but required replacement to accommodate surface changes planned for next this season's regular work.

An additional culvert was replaced on Snot Hill for the same reasons. This addresses several of our worst culverts; however we should plan on a long-term culvert replacement cycle starting in 2008 - 2009 after surface corrections to the road have been completed.

Catch Basins
Catch basins were cleaned where necessary in prep for winter. This included exposure of a culvert that has been buried for four years.

The Slip
No work was done on the slip pending observation this winter. Based on input from a wide range of sources, we have concluded that applying loads to the top of the slip (by filling) might exacerbate future failure. Since the slip appears to be a surface condition we are watching it this winter. With low rainfall we may likely see little chance of saturation.

There was a small slide of material from a previous slide in the cut bank above the slip. This represents material that had already slid years ago. It appears that some cleaning of this material will prevent future slippage onto the road and this item is being considered for 2007. Additionally the ditch along the slip area needs to be widened to ensure that water flows off the hill and road above the slip will bypass the slip area so as not to over charge the road base above the slip.

Snot Hill
The mile'o mud that ran down Snot Hill last year came from a slide below the road above Snot Hill. Observations indicated that this was a standard surface slip of material below the road that was not likely triggered by anything other than typical surface weathering (that's how these hills get round.). Source waters for this slide were adjusted, however, this was likely a one time event. The ditch above was cleaned so that overflows would not occur that may affect this area.

Surface Improvements After Logging
ASurface grading was done to correct minor rutting that resulted from the 2006 logging operations. Rutting resulted from heavy traffic on dry roads and from traffic on freshly watered roads where surfaces were damaged.

This damage was minor but required grading to prevent deeper rutting by trapped water once the rains initiated. The work has proven valuable in most locations.

Funds for this work were utilized from Supplemental Dues paid by Earl Farnsworth as part of his logging operation. Thanks to Ear for voluntarily submitting theses supplemental dues without even a reminder. We appreciate it.

Incidental Rock Application
Rock was applied to several areas that were disturbed both by logging and the culvert replacement operations. This was done on an interim basis and does not necessarily reflect a full rock project for these areas. Subject areas included Upper Two Mile Hill and the stretch of road just before the Big Iron Gate. This rock has performed well over the season and was a valuable unplanned expenditure.

Thanks to Martin Fornage for donation of this rock from his pit. We hope to develop the ability to utilize rock from pits on the front ranches as we shift the road strategy from basic geometric adjustments to more extended rock application in selected areas.

2007 Dues Assessment

2007 Road Dues are now payable. Invoices are included with this newsletter. Annual dues are $500 per parcel.

We are still anticipating assessing Supplemental Dues to offset the extended cost of the winter prep for 2006; however we are awaiting formulation of the detailed strategy for 2007 as well as considering the possibility of a small grant to supplement current work. As we develop these details we will determine the appropriate supplemental assessment (if any) and notify the Owners.

At this time only regular dues are being collected. These will be utilized to pay bills remaining from the 2006 season.

Regular Road Use Reminder

We have had several reports of unlocked gates, both at the Front Gate and the Big Iron Gate. Several owners have replaced locks on their own without charging the Road Association. We appreciate this, but we feel that lock costs should not burden either the Road Association or individual Owners.

So we request that anyone inviting visitors or workers to their parcels please advise them about the lock policy and the actual functioning of the locks.

Also please recall that the Big Iron Gate serves a property that is not part of the Road Association.

That Owner has requested that that gate remain locked at all times. We have no choice in this matter.

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. If you are at the Front Gate and see litter, please assist in picking it up for removal. This makes the Front Gate more attractive for all users.
  • 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.
  • Please drive slowly and carefully.


  • 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.

2006 Logging Overview

Silva Harvest
The Silva harvest activities are generally complete.

In general the harvest caused limited damage to the road. The most significant impact was the generation of dust, particularly at the corners, and some rutting on the portions of the road that had recently been improved by the Road Association.

It appears that the operator did water the road on a regular basis as required under the THP. The water was heavy at times and exacerbated localized rutting.

The Harvest Operator made post-harvest improvements to the road crossing about half of the Silva Ranch. This work occurred from the Big Iron Gate to approx. mile 5.0. Work included some basic grading and crowning, several rolling dips, installation of new culverts and application of rock.

The culvert replacement represents a significant improvement to the road and will educe costs to the Road Association over the long term.

The rock application will also be beneficial to the users; however the rock is course and was not worked heavily so users should drive slowly for the first year or so. The Road Association may want to supplement this rock with fines at some point should it not beat in adequately.

There are several areas that were graded but which still generate substantial in-slopes thus charging ditches with surface water. (The Road Committee typically prefers a more aggressive out slope so that water is shed from the road immediately after it falls.) These areas may generate increased need for ditch maintenance when compared to a properly out sloped road. However, the overall quality of the work will generally reduce the maintenance burden to the Association. The previous road surface was severely damaged, although the Association did perform repair work prior to the Timber Harvest.

None of the current work on this section was performed by the Road Association or defined by the Road Committee. Since the Silva Ranch is not part of the Road Association, no dues are assessed for the timber hauling to supplement any additional repair work that may be necessary.

Farnsworth Harvest
The Farnsworth Harvest also appears to be complete. The operator performed minor pre-harvest improvements to the road including brush trimming and the widening of the road at "The Slip."

The hauling operation was performed with less watering than normally required, thus the operation generated significant dust on the road and some rutting.

This Harvest is subject to a supplemental dues assessment of $10 per 1000 board feet. Thanks to Earl and Lenore for submitting supplemental dues without even a request from us. We appreciate their diligence. The amount submitted was utilized to make some of the repairs prior to winter.

2007-2008 Road Committee Elections

Finally, it's election time again. Every two years the Association elects members to the Road Committee. Typically we ask for any nominations ahead of time. Nominations for new members are usually accompanied by signatures of three Owners. Existing members have the option of retaining their name on the ballot. At this time the following members will place their name on the ballot for 2007-2008:

Martin Dreiling
Gary Martinez

Dave Schaeffer has requested not to include his name on the ballot. We know he has been very busy these last years and appreciate the time he has carved out to serve his neighbors at the Ranch.

Dave has served for 6 years and has offered tremendous insight and effort in service to his neighbors. The Road Committee thanks him for his expertise in construction and project management. I'm sure the rest of the owners feel similarly.

We therefore need nominations for an additional member of the Committee as well as an alternate member. Please submit any nominations by:

March 15, 2007

We will mail election ballots at that time. The dues envelope included in this mailing can be used to submit nominations as well.

2007 Road Maintenance Goals

The following is a brief outline of planned and desirable Maintenance tasks for the coming year. Planned projects:

  • Surface Geometry Changes to Upper 2-Mile Hill: Outslope and berm removal
  • Surface Geometry Changes to Upper Snot Hill: Outslope and berm Removal
  • Bridge approach repairs at Tombs creek: Include steel plate and wheel curb at critical corner
  • Rock Application at west approach to Tombs Creek Bridge

Desirable projects:

  • Rock Application from Mile 6.45 - 6.74, adjacent Peter Beale's Vineyard
  • Fabrication and installation of road use signage re: Liability limits
  • Culvert change at Mile 6.98: (The big one in the picture on page 1.)

2008- 2009 Projects:

  • Additional rock application at key areas
  • Additional culvert replacements
  • Ongoing pursuit of Tombs Creek Bridge Replacement

There are numerous small tasks that have not been listed here. That will either emerge as projects or be included in larger projects where appropriate. We plan to provide an updated Master Plan in the next Newsletter.


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