By Investigative Reporter – Linda Sutter – April 7, 2023
Wednesday April 5th, 2023 at 6 p.m. Chris Howard invited approximately 60 community members from the Hiouchi Douglas Park area to a private meeting with the State Park Personnel. It should be noted this information should have been made for the entire public who will be affected and not just a few.
Topic of discussion was Howland Hill Road One-Way Pilot Program. The Parks people plan to conduct a one way in and out drive beginning from Crescent City’s Howland Hill Road and ending on South Fork.
This Pilot Program will begin June 15, 2023 and End September 5, 2023. No other notice was given to the public. Additionally, the State Park wants to start charging for permits to enter into Stout Grove and hike around.
Erin Gates, who is a Superintendent of California State parks in Del Norte County, began the presentation by wanting to divide and conquer the group, separate everyone so the group as a whole could not hear the questions being asked. Kind of like they did at the Last Chance Grade meetings.
Unfortunately, I was not able to complete the meeting due to an unexpected health issue and left the meeting before it ended. I did take note that there was at least one gentleman in the crowd who didn’t like the conquer and divide technique they were using.
Many questions were left unanswered. Has an impact study been conducted? What were the results? Why did the forest people wait until 10 weeks before implementation of this pilot program before informing the public of the change.
Another meeting is supposed to be held sometime in May. Hopefully this one will be advertised. Hopefully more voices will be heard. And hopefully the State park does not plan to charge locals for going into Stout Grove that has been free to the public for years.