At Play in the King's Forest: Access and Adventure on the North Fork of the American River
AuthorPries, Sean Jeffrey
AdvisorStarrs, Paul F.
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iAbstractThe headwaters basin of the North Fork of the American River, a roughly 20,000acre valley high in California's Sierra Nevada, reveals a case study of maintaining access topublic lands in an area where a mixture of public and private ownership overlays thelandscape. For those who seek to visit the area, navigating the web of public and privatelands, public easements and navigable waterways presents a significant problem, as a rathercontentious situation exists between private land ownership groups and the general public.There are ongoing efforts by owners in the area to prevent public use of trails whoseexistence pre-dates current ownership and probably pre-dates Anglo exploration of the areaby a wide margin. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that these trails are at thebottom of a steep and rugged river canyon and, as such, no practical alternative exists foraccessing the public lands both above and below the contested area. Through visitation ofthe area, interviews of relevant parties, and archival research, a clearer picture of thesituation will be attained. At stake are not just recreational opportunities, but the right ofthe public to maintain historical use of travel corridors and access to publicly held land inspite of exclusionary practices by private landholders.