Legal Defense Fund Raiser Bumper Stickers and Swingarm Stickers available from FOCCMA

JOIN the foccma.org -  Friends of the Clear Creek Management Area

 

   Ed Tobin's blog about Clear Creek

 

 

South Bay Riders Clear Creek BLM Forum

 

On May 1st the BLM issued a temporary closure order for Clear Creek that effectively locks the public out of over 100,000 acres of public land.  Please visit South Bay Riders Forum (click above link) for the latest information

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Clear Creek News and Alerts:

 

Dec. 15, 2007       2008 Season Passes go on sale

Dec. 6, 2007         BRP/SRMC Fun Ride raises $6,000 for the legal defense fund

Nov. 26, 2007             December Newsletter

Sept. 11, 2007           BLM to prepare new Environmental Impact Statement for Clear Creek

June 1, 2007             Clear Creek closed until October 15th.

May, 2007

March, 2007

Jan 22, 2007

Dec. 12, 2006

Dec. 2, 2006

Oct. 29, 2006

Oct. 16, 2006

Sept 24, 2006

Aug. 22, 2006

Aug. 9, 2006 

June 6, 2006 

June 6, 2006

May 26, 2006

Mar 23, 2006

Mar 8, 2006 

Feb. 26, 2006  

Feb. 7, 2006

Feb. 6, 2006

Feb. 4, 2006

Jan 17, 2006

Jan 13, 2006 

Jan 7, 2006

May/June BLM Newsletter

March/April BLM Newsletter  Page 1  Page 2

January/February BLM Newletter  Page 1  Page 2

December BLM Newsletter

SRMC Hosts an OHV User Group Meeting

November Newletter

Clear Creek Reopens

Clear Creek project manager moves on

Environmentalist's Lawsuit Dismissed

Repsol Promotion Results - Over $10K raised for the Legal Defense Fund

BLM Open House Announcement, June 17 to discuss Grant Request

June Monthly Bulletin

Summer Closure Information

Jade Mill volunteer workday rescheduled to April 22nd.

Another Jade Mill volunteer workday planned for April 8th, BLM thank you BBQ

Picacho.org adds new page on environmental hazards at Clear Creek

February BLM Bulletin

Pinnacle Newspaper Coverage of Clear Creek EIS

Jade Mill volunteer workday a success

Another Jade Mill volunteer workday planned for Feb 4

BLM denies protests and signs Record of Decision closing most barrens and 60% of routes

OHVers help BLM with the Jade Mill project

 

Alerts Archives

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Overview    Asbestos    Rain Gauge Information    Maps    Driving Directions    Where to Camp     Tread Lightly    BLM

 

Clear Creek   Named one of the top 10 OHV recreation sites in the U. S. by Dirt Rider Magazine, March 2002.

OVERVIEW:  Located in southern San Benito County in the Diablo Mountains that separate the Salinas Valley from the Central Valley, Clear Creek is a 50,000 acre management area run by the Bureau of Land Management.  Elevations range from about 2,200 ft. in the staging/camping areas to 5,241 ft. on San Benito Mountain, the highest point in San Benito County.  Most of the riding area is between 3,000 and 4,500 ft. elevation.

The riding area is currently open for OHV use from October 16th to May 31.  The BLM instituted a summer closure from June 1 through October 15 and allows only limited use.  There is currently no fee to use the area but the BLM is proposing to institute a user fee in October 2007.  Today your tax dollars fund the management of the area but because of problems with the OHV commission, no California Green Sticker grants have been made to the BLM in the name of Clear creek in FY 2005-2006.  The BLM is hopeful that they will receive some grant funds in the 2006-2007 fiscal year.

Most OHV use occurs between November and April.  This is because the soils throughout most of the riding area contain naturally occurring chrysotile asbestos and most users prefer to ride during the rainy/wet season.   More on that below under Asbestos.

The Clear Creek Management Area historically has been a mining district because the area is heavily mineralized.  In the 19th century, the area produced mercury which is used in the California gold mines.   During the 20th century,  mainly in the 1950's and 1960's, the principal mineral extracted was asbestos.  Two major mining operations produced asbestos.  One shut down in the late 1960's and the mine site has become a EPA superfund clean-up site.  The second, the KCAC mine, just recently ceased operations.

In addition to mercury and asbestos, many rare minerals are found in Clear Creek.  The most notable is the semi-precious gem Benitoite, which is California's official state gem.  This gem is mined on a 40 acre parcel of private property located in the middle of Clear Creek.  Another rare gem is the demantoid garnet.  This stone is green, unlike most garnets which are red.  Demantoid garnets are only found in the Ural Mountains of Russia, Mexico Namibia and Clear Creek!

The most unique geological feature of the area is the naturally barren hills. Interspersed throughout the riding area, there are about 4,000 acres of these barren areas on which no vegetation grows.  While some might suggest that OHV use is the cause of this condition, these barrens have probably existed for hundreds of thousands of years because of their chemical composition. 

As is typical in a old mining district, there are miles and miles of roads carved into the mountains.  The BLM has been actively maintaining about 100 miles of these roads that were identified as major contributors of erosion.   This is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.  At public meetings during  the past five years, the BLM has estimated that there could be over 500 miles of roads, bulldozer paths to exploration digs, and OHV trails constructed over the years by users of the area. 

New Management Plan: The BLM recently approved a management plan that will designate approximately 270 miles of these routes open for public use.  The BLM is also in the process of designating up to 468 acres of barrens that will be available for "open" OHV use.  Information about the new management plan may be found at the BLM Clear Creek Record of Decision. 

As of January, 2006, visitors are now restricted to signed routes as shown in the picture to the left and to designated barrens.  The BLM is in the process of signing open these routes and play areas throughout Clear Creek.  The Salinas Ramblers encourage all OHV users to observe these new restrictions and to make donations to the BlueRibbon Coalition that is hosting the legal defense fund for Clear Creek.

Additional Information about the Clear Creek area: There is a very comprehensive web site about the Clear Creek area that has been put together by a former local resident, Ray Iddings.  Picacho.org  explores the history of the area dating back to the mining days of the 19th century and gives background information on many of the geographic features.  Recommended viewing, two thumbs up!

Overview    Asbestos    Rain Gauge Information    Maps    Driving Directions    Where to Camp     Tread Lightly    BLM

ASBESTOS:  The BLM has declared about 30,000 of the Clear Creek Management Area to be a "hazardous asbestos area" because of the natural occurrence of chrysotile asbestos.  BLM FAQ on Clear Creek asbestos.  There is also a body of evidence suggesting that exposure to chrysotile asbestos in the workplace has not put workers at undue risk of disease.   Picacho.org has posted a page devoted to the environmental hazards at Clear Creek and the Blue Ribbon Coalition has retained an asbestos scientist who filed a declaration in our appeal of the summer closure that states that the asbestos in Clear Creek is harmless.

RAIN GUAGE INFORMATION:  Here are links to the four rain gauges located around Clear Creek.  SRI is Santa Rita Peak (or second tower), HDZ is located down near the Hernandez Dam, IDR is located in the New Idria area and SPA is the weather station above Spanish Lake.  There is also a NEXRAD radar  website that covers the area.   Finally, here is a link to a map with rainfall totals over the past 24 hours.

MAPS:  Maps may be found at most kiosks throughout Clear Creek, at the visitor entrance station and from BLM personnel patrolling Clear Creek. The BLM is in the process of developing a new user map that corresponds with the new management plan.  These maps are expected to be available in the fall of 2006.

We also understand that you can call the BLM office at 831-630-5000 and ask that the current map be mailed to you.   This map shows most of the main roads, many trail loops, encouraged barren play areas along with landmarks such as Four Corners and the Saddle.  However not all open routs are shown on the current user map and some routes that are shown on the map are now designated "closed".  Map of Salinas Rambler's secret enduro trails.

U.S. Geological Service (USGS) maps of the area are available at the USGS office in Menlo Park.  The most detailed maps are the 1:24000 quads titled San Benito Mtn (CA), and Idria.  These two maps cover most of the riding areas from Jade Mill/SA1 east to San Benito Mountain (first tower).  Map titled Santa Rita Peak covers the eastern portion of the riding area.   Finally, Hepsedam Peak map covers the western fringe of the riding area but since this maps covers a very small portion of the riding area this would be the last map to buy.  

Another source of map information is Topozone.  If you key in the search field the map names listed above, the web site will display a portion of the map and you can maneuver in all directions to explore a map before deciding to purchase it.

DRIVING DIRECTIONS:  

From Hollister:  Go south on Hwy. 25 about 50 miles to Coalinga Road.  Turn left.  Go about 16 miles until you see the BLM sign and kiosk for Clear Creek.  Cross the river and turn right onto Clear Creek Road which will take you to the camping and staging areas.  

From King City:  Go East on G-13 about 15 miles to Hwy. 25.  Turn left.  Go about 2 miles to Coalinga Road.  Turn right. Go about 16 miles until you see the BLM sign and kiosk for Clear Creek.  Cross the river and turn right onto Clear Creek Road which will take you to the camping and staging areas.  

From Coalinga:  From Interstate 5 take Hwy. 198 towards Coalinga.  Turn right on Gale Road, then turn right on Derrick Road.  Turn left on Los Gatos Creek road and go about 30 miles until you see the BLM sign and kiosk for Clear Creek.  Cross the river and turn right onto Clear Creek Road which will take you to the camping and staging areas.

WHERE TO CAMP:  While you may camp anywhere in Clear Creek except next to the rivers and creeks, the BLM has constructed a campground and six staging areas along Clear Creek road each with a vault toilet facility.  

The main entrance to Clear Creek is off of Coalinga Road.  In 2000, the BLM improved the concrete river crossing.  Clear Creek Road is a county road but San Benito County has abandoned maintenance on all but the first 1.7 miles leading to Oak Flat Campground.  The BLM has treated the road with dust suppression material from Oak Flat to Staging Area 2.  The BLM has improved rest of the road in Clear Creek canyon and does periodic maintenance.  There are, however, several steep grades which can be difficult to negotiate with a motorhome or large trailer when the road is muddy.

Visitor Welcome Station: Located about a mile from the turn off of Coalinga Road, the BLM has created a Visitor Welcome Station to check in visitors and to provide information about Clear Creek.

   

Oak Flat:  1.7 miles from entrance kiosk.  The first site you will come to is Oak Flat Campground.  This is where San Benito County discontinues maintenance on Clear Creek Road. Affectionately known as Oak Slope (because there aren't any flat parking areas to be found), this campground was developed to offer a camping location that was outside the "hazardous asbestos area". 

By far the most popular place to camp and stage from, especially when Clear Creek Road is wet and muddy. Good for families.  There is a small track designated for children on small bikes and easy access to the creek.  Access to the North Ridge Route via a single track trail (motorcycles only).  Access to the Goat Mountain area via an uphill fire road with some tall waterbars.

OakFlat1.jpg (96548 bytes)    OakFlat2.jpg (73306 bytes)

Jade Mill: 2.5 miles from entrance.  The second major camping area is called Jade Mill.  This site was named after an old mill site/cabin that was located just above the main road.  The lower area shown in the first picture is for day use parking but there are no restrooms immediately available. The upper area shown in pictures two and three is in the process of being developed into a format campground and during the summer of 2005 the BLM installed two toilet facilities in this area. There are also plans for a mini-bike track adjacent to the camping area. Easy access only to the north side of the canyon via R2.

JadeMill.jpg (124425 bytes)       

Staging Area One.  2.9 miles from entrance kiosk.  Second largest staging area.  Relatively flat and has good access to the route system on either side of the canyon.

SA1.jpg (82166 bytes)

Staging Area Two: 3.4 miles from entrance kiosk. Smaller and not suited for large rigs.  Good access to routes on both sides of the canyon.

SA2.jpg (99293 bytes)    Staging Area 2 is bisected by Clear Creek Road.

Staging Area Three: 4.1 miles from entrance kiosk. Also a smaller site and not suited for large rigs.  You must ride a short distance on Clear Creek Road to get to routes that lead to the trail network.

SA3.jpg (143187 bytes)    Pictured is Teresa Albert, BLM Park Attendant

Indian Hill: 6.0 miles from entrance kiosk. Largest of the staging area and second most popular place to camp.  OK for larger rigs provided Clear Creek road is not too muddy.  The vault toilets are currently situated on the opposite side of Clear Creek Road.

IndianHill.jpg (60426 bytes)

Staging Area Five: Located  on the left side of Clear Creek Road 6.5 miles from entrance kiosk. This staging area is the second smallest and there are no trails leaving from the staging area.  To access the trail network you must ride on Clear Creek road either to Indian Hill or beyond staging area 6.

SA5.jpg (100766 bytes)

Staging Area Six: 7.0 miles from entrance kiosk.  This staging area is the last formal camping area along Clear Creek road.  Shortly after the camping area, the road climbs through a series of switchback to the top of the ridge and then drops off towards the former mining town of New Idria.

SA6.jpg (113764 bytes)

Other Camping Area:  Scattered along Clear Creek Road are a number of informal camping sites, ranging from the larger one pictured below to others that will only accommodate one or two vehicles.  There are no toilet facilities at these informal camping sites so it is best to be self-contained if you camp in one of these spots.

CampSite.jpg (92289 bytes) In picture, BLM Ranger has just issued a ticket for failure to have a green sticker.

U.S. Geological Service (USGS) maps of the area are available at the USGS office in Menlo Park.  The most detailed maps are the 1:24000 quads titled San Benito Mtn (CA), and Idria.  These two maps cover most of the riding areas from Jade Mill/SA1 east to San Benito Mountain (first tower).  Map titled Santa Rita Peak covers the eastern portion of the riding area.   Finally, Hepsedam Peak map covers the western fringe of the riding area but since this maps covers a very small portion of the riding area this would be the last map to buy.  

Another source of map information is Topozone.  If you key in the search field the map names listed above, the web site will display a portion of the map and you can maneuver in all directions to explore a map before deciding to purchase it.

Guidelines for Responsible Recreation in Clear Creek

Do have fun and enjoy yourself - Clear Creek is the greatest place on earth to ride!

Do ride defensively - always anticipate an oncoming rider, especially on trails in and around Clear Creek canyon.  We donít want you to have to take a helicopter ride to the hospital.

Do wear safety equipment - helmet, motocross boots, gloves, chest protector, goggles, etc.

Do get out of the canyon and experience all of Clear Creek. - This year we hope to print a map and post trail loop signs so that you can find your way around Clear Creek easier.

Do ride on established routes. - In other words, ďTread LightlyĒ.  Clear Creek is a limited use area. Please stay on existing routes and hillclimbs.  Please do not make new trails cross country.  

Donít: - (these are the things that will get us kicked out of Clear Creek.)

Donít ride in or near streambeds or climb hills next to streams-  the area around streams are closed to use and you may only cross using existing roads and trails.  The environmentalist (EPA, Sierra Club, Native Plant Society, etc.) are using water quality and erosion against us.

Donít ride past ďClosed AreaĒ signs or cut fences. - If you donít like the way the area is being managed, get involved and help change things.  One way is to join Friends of Clear Creek.  RIDING IN "Closed" AREAS AND CUTTING FENCES WILL CAUSE THE BLM TO CLOSE CLEAR CREEK.  If you see someone doing something wrong, let them know that their actions could cause everyone to be thrown out of Clear Creek.

Donít discharge Firearms in Clear Creek Canyon - it has been declared a ďNo-ShootingĒ zone to protect those who camp in the canyon.  When shooting elsewhere in Clear Creek, please be very careful, know where and what you are aiming at, avoid high use areas and clean up shells and targets.

Donít cut standing trees whether dead or alive  - Bring your own wood for a campfire.  If you plan to    have a campfire, you will need a permit.  You can get one from the BLM office in Hollister or from a CA Department of Forestry (CDF) office/fire station.  Finally, make sure your campfire is out before you leave.

Donít leave trash at Clear Creek - please take your trash home with you.  Green Sticker money pays for trash collection.  The less we spent on this the more we can spend on trail improvements.  Also, please donít put trash, tires, bottles and cans in your campfire.

Bureau of Land Management: Clear Creek is managed by the Bureau of Land Management which is part of the Department of the Interior.  Rick Cooper (831-630-5010) is the Area Manager of the Hollister Resource Area.  Brian White is the Clear Creek project coordinator and William Schwarz is the law enforcement ranger who patrols for Clear Creek.  

Clear Creek Information/Conditions: 831-630-5060          BLM Clear Creek Information Page

Overview    Asbestos    Rain Gauge Information    Maps    Driving Directions    Where to Camp     Tread Lightly    BLM