Lakeshore Park is most pleased to report all our Cal Fire and PG&E grant activities and goals were recently met.
Like many communities in Eastern Madera County, the residents in Lakeshore Park on the north shore of Bass Lake faced it’s greatest challenge in a 60 year history. Bark beetles swept the area and left more than 50% of it’s majestic ponderosa pine trees dead.
It seemed like healthy trees turned brown overnight - and within a few short days - killing trees that had been there up to 200 years. Removing the beautiful trees was emotionally one of the worst things that could happen. Worst yet, we found it could cost $2,000 - $4,000 per tree for removal, and we lost 100’s of ponderosas.
Our small community of 47 homes could not come close to funding removal of all the dead trees. Our homeowner association began to hear of fire insurance cancellations, and we had no where near the amount of funding needed for tree removals. Many of our homes were in serious danger of falling trees when the “mono winds” came. Several trees did fall narrowly missing houses.
From the Sierra Star we learned of the California State Responsibility Area (SRA) Program which was administered through Cal Fire. The grant appeared to be geared toward larger government agencies or cities. We thought we would probably not have a chance to receive a grant, given the competition.
Through the encouragement of Mariposa Cal Fire Captain Len Neilson, we decided to take a chance and completed the lengthy and tedious application forms. In order to submit the grant request, we needed to secure signature permission from PG&E. The gamble paid off and the prize was $100,000.
Each step of the four funding cycles and each harvest of trees had to be approved by PG&E and Cal Fire foresters.
A PGE Land Agent reviewed and liked the proposal well enough that he pledged PGE would help with remaining needs until the goal of removing all dead beetle trees from the community was complete. PGE had very sophisticated equipment that was able to remove dead trees from the very steep sided slopes along the western most parts of Lakeshore Park.
Trees were cut, run through a giant shredder, and chips were sprayed back on the slope to combat erosion. Other PG&E contractors came back to the site to assist with log removal and general clean up. Our Lakeshore Park homeowners made several significant “in kind contribution of funds” for cutting of trees and debris removal not covered or completed by the grant funded crews.
Another unique element of the Grant was to acquire an array of tools that would allow our community to continue self maintenance after grant activities were complete. The collection includes a new: heavy duty log splitter, large chainsaw. gas powered pole saw, an industrial manual pole saw that reaches to 25 feet, a gas powered weed cutter and leaf blower and assorted rakes and shovels.
We have planted trees, native plants, and solicited donations of park benches….and created viewing areas for our homeowners along beach areas of Salter Cove.
Lake Shore Park homeowners continue to have a very proud feeling. There is not one dead pine tree remaining in our entire community. We were able to create an effective collaboration for community improvement.
The project was good for the State of California, Sacramento policy makers, Mariposa County, Madera County, Bass Lake, and Lake Shore Park.
It is good for Cal Fire and PG&E. We have set a positive model for solving drought problems and pine bark beetle abatement. This project could not have come to fruition without enthusiastic and added fiscal support from our Lake Shore Park homeowners. Thank you to all the people and agencies who made this possible.