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Ward Road

Project to create a shaded fuel break along Ward Road from Skyline Blvd to Pescadero Creek (Old Haul Rd).  Ward Rd bisects the upper Pescadero River watershed in the same way a prior SSFSC project, Kings Creek Truck Trail, bisects the upper San Lorenzo River watershed.

Ward Rd fuel break and fire road clearance is vital to the ongoing safety four area communities, Portola Heights, Shingle Mill, Middleton Tract and Indian Rock Ranch.  A total of over 100 SRA Fee Payers contribute to the State of California SRA annual fees.  The project was funded by a State of California SRA Grant managed by SSFSC with approval and oversight from Mid-peninsula Regional Open Space District, Portola Redwoods State Park and local landowner Redtree Partners.

The project was approved under grant B16-6325 from the California Conservation Corp for initially amount equivalent to 1800 CCC crew hours (see attachment).  That was enough for a "phase 1."  An additional 1800 hours became available for "phase 2" and finally 1758 hours for a "phase 3." 

The project began in December, 2015 with phase 1 completed March 31, 2016.  A shorter phase 2 section was completed May 30, 2016.  The final phase down the Ward Rd ridge and the preferred route of State Parks and CalFIRE vehicles was completed June 21, 2016.  A total of 5358 CCC crew hours and 535 SSFSC and volunteer hours were expended on this project in total.


Fig 1.  Project Map of 3 phases

Ward Rd fuel reduction project and road maintenance allowd safer ingress/egress of emergency vehicles along a major fire break within the Pescadero creek watershed.  Ward Rd bisects the upper Pescadero creek watershed in Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties.  The route starts within the Portola Redwoods State Park at 1500ft elevation in a manzanita grove, then descends into douglas fir and redwood.  Due to restrictions on the historical route of Ward Rd as it fords the Pescadero creekbed, the new "Ward Rd Access Rd" (Bicentennial Rd) was included in the project as part of Phase 3.  This route allows CalFIRE vehicles and State Park ranger vehicles to cross new logging truck bridges that span Pescadero Creek, meeting State Fish and Game Commission requirements.

Road maintenance of up to 15ft on either side of the road was cleared following shaded fuel break standards ... 6" or less diameter trees removed, remaining trees limbed up to 10ft, ground vegetation removed or thinned. 

Fig 2. Project start Dec 16, 2015 in a manzanita grove cut to 10-15ft from roadway.

Fig. 3. CCC Dropping a tree on Ward Rd


Fig. 4. CCC Crews taking a break from vegetation clearing along Ward Rd within Portola Redwoods State Park.

Crews cleared brush to maintain a passable fire road in the event of emergencies.  Here's one small section of the road in the form of before, during and after photos.


Fig 5. Before brush cutting along Ward Rd within Portola Redwoods State Park.


Fig 6. During brush cutting and dead tree felling along Ward Rd within Portola Redwoods State Park.


Fig 7. After brush cutting along Ward Rd within Portola Redwoods State Park.

Fig 8. Before brush cutting on Bicentennial Rd (continuation of Ward Ridge), last day of project


Fig 9. After brush cutting on Bicentennial Rd (continuation of Ward Ridge), last day of project

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mark haynie,
Nov 2, 2015, 5:26 PM
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mark haynie,
Nov 2, 2015, 5:26 PM
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mark haynie,
Jun 27, 2016, 5:42 PM