The Domelands and Snow

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Thank you Brice Jury for the two photos. Brice went out and gave us all a quick view of the snow pack in the Domeland Wilderness. Looks like a beautiful day for a snow mobile ride!

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April 1 Snow Survey Results

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The Kern River Basin is doing excellent for the April 1 snow survey. With all stations reporting their results, the Kern River is at 197% of normal! It is a great thing to have so much snow and with so much water content! However, what does this mean for the adventure wanting to travel into the wilderness?

All the snow will impact how soon one can get into the wilderness this season. Assuming the normal average trend it temperature for the rest of spring, one could expect road potentially being closed longer, snow remaining on the ground in higher elevations until July, creeks flowing with water longer and more abundantly. You may want to have a “plan B” for excursions out there this season as a result.

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March 1 Snow Pack Results

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All the rain and snow is sure piling up outside in the Sierra Nevada. The Kern River Basin is no exception. At 169% of normal for March 1, it looks like we will have a great chance of snow being around into June! Time will tell if it hangs around that long though. The even greater news is the amount of water that resides in the Sierra Nevada snow pack is well over 100% needed for the states water needs.

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Off to a Good Start

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The first set of snow surveys are nearly in for February 1, 2019. Thankfully the results are good. As of this posting the Kern River Basin is at 126% of normal! This is great news and definitely a good start for the water situation not only in the valley, but for the Domeland Wilderness. I hope this continues to be at or above average, so streams will flow longer this coming backpacking season.

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Merry Christmas

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Merry Christmas everyone! May your day be filled with laughter, memory making, and dreams of the next season’s outdoor adventures to come!

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Trail Report near Manter Meadow

User Everett headed out into the Domeland Wilderness this past weekend. Sounds like he and his party had a great time. They even found plenty of water for filtering! Here is the report:

We started on Saturday (9/15) at the southern trail head that leads to manter meadow (34E37) to manter creek trail (35E12) and set up camp near manter creek. The trails were easily followed and it appears someone has come and cut through trees that were across the trail. Manter Creek had plenty of water for filtering!

Also, 34E37 is a much easier climb out of manter meadow than it’s northern brother (34E14). That should be considered if you’re hiking the northern trails such as the Domeland Trail.

Thanks Everett!

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Sherman Pass Temporarily Closed

Now that the date is only 10 days away, here is an important news update regarding Sherman Pass. If you plan to do some fall backpacking in the Domeland Wilderness, please make adjustments as necessary due to the road closure in a section of the Sherman Pass Road.

The Kern River Ranger District plans to temporarily close a section of the Sherman Pass Road No. 22S05, this fall to through traffic. The planned closure is due to contracted road, culvert, and bridge work near Fish Creek Campground on the Kern Plateau.

The Sherman Pass Road stretches west from the Upper Kern River and east to Highway 395. The closure and bridge installation is planned for September 10 through December 15, 2018. The project site is just east of the Fish Creek campground.  Contractors will be removing an undersized pipe (culvert) and replacing it with a bridge requiring the closure of both lanes.

The following is a list of frequently asked questions:

Where will the Sherman Pass Road be closed and signed?

On the west side, a sign is posted at the intersection of Mountain Road 99 and Sherman Pass (below Johnsondale Bridge), reading “WARNING – Road Closed 36 miles ahead at Fish Creek Campground – September 10 – December 15, 2018.”

On the east side, a sign is posted near the South Fork Bridge/Forest Service boundary, reading “WARNING – Road Closed 9 miles ahead at Jackass Road No. 21S01, September 10 – December 15, 2018,”

The actual road closure is located just east of Fish Creek Campground to the intersection of the Sherman Pass Road and Jackass Road.

Will there be other closures in the area?

The entrance to Jackass Road No. 21S01 will be closed to all traffic during contractor work hours (6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday).  The Jackass Road will be open to all traffic outside of contractor work hours.

Are deer hunting zones being affected?

All hunting zones will remain accessible. However, hunters may need to familiarize themselves with the road closure area before their trip.  Depending on the area, some destinations may require additional driving time.

Will there still be access to the Inyo National Forest?

The public will be able to access the Inyo National Forest. Monache and Powell Meadow will remain accessible through the west side of Sherman Pass Road and its junction with Mountain Road 99.

How will Smith Mountain area be accessed?

Access to the north area of Smith Mountain is through the west side of Sherman Pass Road (Kernville) using Smith Road No. 21S36 and Smith Meadow Road No. 20S39.  Access will be from the top down to Smith Meadow Road and exits will require using the same route.

Access to the south area of Smith Mountain is from the southeast using the Jackass Road No. 21S01 (with the contractor work hour’s closure described above) and the Smith Mountain Road No. 21S37.  Access will be from the bottom up to Smith Mountain Road and exits will require using the same routes.

How will we provide Medical or Fire Emergency Response? 

All emergency traffic will respond as normal.

Will Fish Creek Campground remain open to the public?

Fish Creek Campground will remain open to the public. The closure is located just east of Fish Creek Campground.  Access to Fish Creek Campground will be from the west side of Sherman Pass (Kernville).

To lessen the impacts, all forest visitors/users are encouraged to plan ahead and call the Kernville Ranger Station for assistance in getting to your destinations. This temporary closure may add several hours to your trip, depending on your chosen route.  Plan accordingly and have a safe trip.

For more information, please call the Kernville Ranger Station, open 7 days a week, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., (760) 376-3781. Closed on weekends commencing Sunday, Sept. 2, 2018

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New Map Feature: CalTopo

Head over to the maps section to create your own custom topo maps thanks to CalTopo. Zoom in to the area, calculate distances, elevation loss/gain, and so much more. Need a simple topo map of the area with trail mileage? CalTopo can do that too. All for FREE! Another cool feature is to export the map as a JPEG or Geo-referenced PDF. Yes, you can print out beautiful hard copies too. Check it out!

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Trail Report: South Manter to Manter Meadow, Woodpecker, and Manter Trails

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Photo provided by Dan Hall

User Dan Hall reports in on trail conditions from his trip into the Domeland Wilderness. The trip was on May 18, 2018. Here is what he has to report. A link to his photos follows the report.

Trail 34E37 – South Manter Trailhead (at Big Meadow) to Junction with Woodpecker Trail

Regarding the tread, there are no catastrophic slides, collapses or ruts. There are some brushy areas developing, but the trail is still easy to find and hike.
Regarding blowdowns across the trail, there are 4 in this section of trail, all in the Wilderness area and ranging in diameter from 8 to 18 inches. One is located on the downhill portion of the trail well before Manter Meadow and is pushing hikers and stock to cross through a small meadow to get around it; that routing is sure to cause environmental damage. The next one heading down toward the meadow is a problem for stock getting through and will be time consuming to saw out. See the photos for both of these blowdowns. Regarding the other two, hikers and stock can get around them without problems or environmental damage.

Trail 34E08 – Woodpecker Trail to Manter Creek & Trail
Regarding the tread, there are no catastrophic slides, collapses or ruts, nor are there any brush problems or blowdowns across the trail.

Trail 34E12 – Manter Trail east to Little Manter Meadow
Regarding the tread, there are no catastrophic slides, collapses or ruts, nor are there any brush problems or blowdowns across the trail.

Photos link -> HERE

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Wildfire: Wood Fire Contained

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Photo from InciWeb

The Wood Fire started near the end of May and is now 100% contained at 96 acres as of June 16. Here is the exact report from InciWeb.

Thursday, June 14, 2018: Woof Fire is 100% contained.

Photo (above) depicts the hazardous fuels (needle cast) “cleared” from the forest floor, after the Wood Fire passed through.

Fire “containment” is achieved by a complete line built around the fire perimeter, which can be a combination of roads, handline built by firefighters, dozer lines, etc. As line is built/completed on the fire, progress is reported in a percentage (%) figure. Thus, 100% containment equals the fire spread has been stopped and a line has been built completely around it.

Next, fire personnel work for “control”. Control comes after (sometimes weeks) containment. It is during this time smokes may show from the interior of the contained fire.

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The wildfire is located near Woodpecker Meadow, south of the Sherman Pass Road. No closures are announced on the website. However, it is recommended to avoid the area until conditions get better. Plan accordingly.

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