July 16 Work Party Scheduled

Join us for the second 2016 work party; meet at Barlow Pass gate at 9:00 AM Saturday July 16.  We intend to drive into the townsite on the new access road,which has now been repaired.  Plans for the day are:  re-install interpretive signs, brush around townsite and trails, make repairs to Granite Memorial bench on Dumas St., asses the recovery situation for timber pile stranded in Glacier Creek, and scope out the site for the future MCPA interpretive site/structure.

Area Closure Lifted and June 2016 Work Party

The Forest Service rescinded the Monte Cristo Area closure on June 3, 2016, making the entire area again open to the public.

Access is difficult at best, with several new washouts, a mud slide at 3/4 mile from Barlow pass, and a Sauk River crossing. The new access road (1/2 mile north of Barlow Pass) avoids the river crossing, but adds 1 mile to the trip, incurs many rises and falls, and has a few washouts of it’s own.

The forest service plans to have most road repairs (only on the new route) completed by July 4.

The MCPA will have it’s first monthly work party on June 18. We will meet at the gate at Barlow Pass at 9:00 AM. We plan to improve road & trail conditions up to Twin Bridges, including creating a new bypass trail to reach the Weden Creek trailhead; the existing bypass trial was made inaccessible by a river which chose a new route last winter.

MCPA members and the public are welcome and encouraged to attend the work party. You can choose whatever type of work you are suited for – trail building, brush cutting, log & rock moving, etc. Bring whatever implements you feel appropriate. If you are a member with a signed road waiver you can drive into the work location; others can ride in member vehicles, room permitting. We typically work from 9:00 until 12 or 1, then have a group lunch and then disperse.

Any questions, see the ‘contact’ page.

Annual Meeting June 4 2016 Verlot

Our annual meeting for members is behind the Verlot Service Center on Saturday, June 4, at noon. Please bring a good side dish for our usual potluck lunch to enjoy prior to the meeting.

The MCPA will provide brats, drinks, utensils, plates, cups, etc. If you know you are coming late, contributing to the potluck is not necessary; we always have more than enough !

Please note we are not able to use the parking lot behind the service center. We will need to park in the front or across the highway.

We hope to have someone from the Forest Service present to answer any questions for the upcoming year. And our board will be present, as always, to also review our plans for work parties and answer any questions. All in all, it is shaping up to be one of our busiest years ever. So please consider volunteering for one or more work parties.

MONTE CRISTO CLOSURE REMAINS IN EFFECT 2015-2016, PAST TWIN BRIDGES

Public access to Monte Cristo and its hiking trails is closed 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. Closure Map

Work Party October 24, 2015

Our last work party of the year will be October 24. We plan to do some final minor repairs to the Weden outhouse and we will remove our bulletin board. We will drive in on the new road, and plan to dig water bars on some of the trails and do some other miscellaneous work in the Town site area. Meet us at the road new entrance (~1 mile north of Barlow pass) at 9:00 am. Please bring rain gear, appropriate clothing for doing light construction and brushing. Also bring your and lunch food and water. This will be our last work party for the year. Contact any of the listed board members for more information.

We are planning again, for our Winter Social. Please mark your calendars for Saturday, February 6 at 5:30 at the Marysville Jennings Farm. Our program this year will be a very nice slide presentation of the Monte Cristo area, both from the old days and from the present. A postcard will be mailed to our members with all the pertinent information on it. Anyone from past Town site programs and all Forest Service staff are also invited. The presentation will be given by David Cameron and Louise Lindgren.

MONTE CRISTO CLOSURE IN EFFECT 2015-2016, PAST TWIN BRIDGES

Currently, the cleanup is well along: the repository has been filling up with mine tailings. It looks as big as a football field. The cleared trees have been decked for trucking out at a later date. The concentrator is cleaned up and the excavation has vastly improved the exposure of the hand built rock wall foundation (even some timber framed windows have been exposed). A road has been excavated for cleanup access along the Glacier Basin trail to well past the Comet Mine Bunker. The Comet was carefully excavated so most of the timbers were preserved in place. They are also trying to preserve the timbers of the old trestle as it approaches the concentrator but much excavating must be finished in this area of high contamination. A new road also goes up to the Rainy Mine on the north side of Glacier Creek and a temporary bridge also crosses the Creek to access the United Companies Concentrator and beyond. Of course these roads will all be torn apart and put back to their original state when the cleanup is finished. Many undiscovered artifacts have been set aside during the cleanup. In summary, we are very grateful that the Forest Service has been so careful, showing much interest in preserving this area for everyone.

Photos of excavation in process and some discovered artifacts

Monte Cristo Closure In Effect for 2015

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. Closure Map

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 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.

2015 Annual Meeting and Potluck – June 6 at Verlot

Our Annual meeting will be at its usual location, behind the Verlot Service Center, June 6, at noon. Please being a side dish or a dessert for a potluck lunch, to be shared with everyone at noon, prior to the meeting. The MCPA will provide hot dogs and drinks. Both the potluck and the meeting will take place upstairs in the Forest Service building. If the weather cooperates, everything can be outside. (The main room where we usually have our potluck is off limits this year, but the kitchen should still be accessible.)

Please see our website www.mcpa.us to familiarize yourselves with the new changes to the cleanup. This will be discussed at our meeting. Also, if any property owners have received any letters from the DOE, we recommend not responding. This will also be discussed at the meeting.

Our work parties this year will be the third Saturday of each month; June 20, July 18, August 15, September 19, October 17. We ask all members to include their own lunch for work parties since we will not be providing the usual BBQ as we did in the past. We may have some work parties off site at other camp grounds but this will be discussed at the Annual meeting.

Happy 100th Anniversary Hartford Eastern Railway

Today, June 1, 2015, marks 100 years since the Rucker Brothers lease began on the prior Northern Pacific railroad running from just outside Snohomish to Monte Cristo.

The railway was originally built by Rockerfeller in the 1890’s and named the Everett and Monte Cristo Railway. By 1910, the Northern Pacific took over operation of the line. However, due to poor performing mines and high maintenance costs, the NP chose to lease the line to the Ruckers in 1915. The Ruckers main concern was accessing 1000’s of acres of timber they owned in the area, and they also catered to the mountain tourists. Minimal freight was also hauled to and from the Silverton and Monte Cristo townsites.

The Ruckers also built and serviced the Big 4 Inn at the base of Big 4 Mountain until it burned in the early 1940’s.

The Hartford Eastern operated from 1915 to 1936. Due to the poor condition of the tracks at the time, only light weight gas cars (“speeders” or “galloping gooses”) used the line. These cars were essentially road buses fitted with flanged wheels. The Hartford Eastern also lacked sufficient snow removal equipment and hence the line was mostly closed between Silverton and Monte Cristo throughout the winter snows.

Hartford_Eastern_Railway_tourist_car_at_Monte_Cristo_nd

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