For the last few years hikers have been using the logging roads up Seventy Buck valley to access Eagle Hill and Seventy Buck viewpoint. It wasn’t to last, of course. So before reclamation this summer we asked the SRD and SLS to consider keeping certain of the roads open for hikers and bikers. Meaning, just narrowing them to quad-width trails so we could get by. They were happy to oblige, but then we ran up against a snag: rancher X who owns the grazing lease. He wanted the one road kept open to the boundary with the Reserve so he could inspect the fence at regular intervals (this is not a trail of use to us) and wanted the trail heading towards the viewpoint reclaimed in case his cattle stray onto it (hardly likely). He threatened to close down the whole valley if this route remained open. Legally, I don‘t think he could have done this.
As an aside, we have yet to see a cow in this valley and I can’t imagine cattle will be wandering the cutblocks, which are choc-a bloc with slash, anytime soon. Quite apart from that, the Stoneys use a gate to get into the valley and hunt, which is why you hardly see any moose or deer in the area-just their bones. Strikes me as being a dangerous valley in which to run cattle.
Anyway, we walked all the routes yesterday to see what had happened. The start of the road from Hwy. 68 has been reclaimed and you must now walk up the cutline to its left to get onto the narrowed logging road beyond. I am happy to report that the route to Eagle Hill has been unaffected and in fact improved. The route to Seventy Buck Viewpoint is a reclaimed mess that took ages to walk. By the time we reached the viewpoint for lunch we were feeling despondent. But soon bucked up when we saw what we think were a couple of eagles gliding around the cliffs and using the thermals to spiral high into the sky. The view was great as always, and the mountains very clear, all of which reminded us of why people love this viewpoint.
Then went NW to the high point, gathering up flagging left behind by SLS. On top saw that the other access trail had been reclaimed. Again, it took a long time to pick a way through the very large cutblock to gain the rancher’s quad trail. The trail is pretty rough at this end and I can’t see it being used by bikers. The cutblocks, by the way, are very colourful right now with fireweed, asters and arnicas.
So below is a map showing past logging roads and present trails. The question now is, how to get to the viewpoint? Do we spend a lot of time clearing a way through the slash with chainsaws, or do we come up from the west slope? There is a logging road, not yet reclaimed, that leads to a NE-SW cutline that can be followed up with deviations to the high point. It may be possible from near the top of the cutline to traverse across to the gap between the high point and the viewpoint. Another alternative is the south ridge of the viewpoint, but it is very steep. OK for going down…
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