Public access to Monte Cristo and its hiking trails for 2015 ended on April 15 and will last until further notice. This is due to the court ordered U.S. Forest Service’s hazardous materials cleanup.
The public still will be allowed to park at Barlow Pass and hike the mile into Twin Bridges and the Gothic Basin trailhead. The closure boundary follows the east bank of the South Fork Sauk River and includes all campgrounds and other trails in the area. Thus there is no access to either Glacier Basin or Silver Lake trails. (See the attached map for boundary details.)
Work this season is planned to include excavation of a repository hole for the wastes, minor county road improvements beyond Hap’s Hill (m.p. 2), and removal of mining-related materials from sites in and near the town, along with mines along 76 and Glacier creeks, which form the headwaters of the South Fork Sauk River. Temporary bridging of Glacier Creek next to the United Companies’ concentrator site will be in place until the end of August, when it must be removed to protect endangered fish species.
Some of the affected sites to be cleaned are the concentrator, its ground tramway to the bunkers of the Comet/Golden Cord, Rainy, Mystery, and Pride of the Mountains mines, the assay building in the town across from the school site, and tailings piles from the Rainy, Pride of the Woods, and Sidney mines above the town. For details see the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest website and the USFS related documents.
During this season M.C.P.A. will be working to assist the Forest Service on other area projects, planning for new interpretation in and around the townsite in conjunction with the Forest Service, and preparing to restore our previous signs, materials, and programs, including that of the volunteer townsite hosts.
Our annual meeting will be held on Saturday June 6 at the Verlot Public Service Center. It will feature a potluck social and business meeting, along with an update on the cleanup and planning for summer and fall. All members and anyone interested in the future of Monte Cristo are encouraged to come!
Our annual dues of $24 for the coming June 2015-May 2016 year may be paid at any time to P.O. Box 471, Everett, WA 98206. Keys previously issued to the county gate at Barlow Pass will be valid also for this season, allowing driving as far as the clay slide, approximately half a mile in.
Our regular work parties will be the third Saturday of the month, while a special picnic event also may happen. Watch this space for updates and details!
Again: There is no legal public access beyond Twin Bridges, but the Gothic Basin trail will be open, as it stays west of the river.