A dozen questions, a dozen answers. See something missing? Just ask.
Thirty plus years ago my sister told me about a largely undeveloped state park in Michigan, Hartwick Pines. Soon after that I had a chance to visit it and fell in love with the stately old trees and soft quiet trails. A half dozen times over the years I went out of my way to go back and visit the park watching nature do its work, old trees falling in the wind, clumps of young trees filling the newly created void, and then slowly being willowed out over time as they competed with one another for light and nutrients. The last time I stopped by it was all changed, they might as well have bulldozed every last tree for they certainly destroyed the forest as it had been since the time of the last ice age. Out of two hundred acres of extremely rare northern mid-west old growth they had wasted at least 50 to build a fancy entrance road, parking lot, and visitor center, and the soft quiet trails had been realigned to create paved little roads for the zipping carts of the caretakers. Essentially the reasons that I had ever gone there in the first place were gone, the forest was no more, just some kind of second rate rural amusement park. I have no reason to ever go back.
Please don’t do this to the Cottonwood area, keep it as natural as reasonably possible, do nothing more than the minimum necessary to open it to the public. We don’t need roads, paved trails, and all kinds of fancy expensive buildings.
Guided as we are by the basic park values, our current draft ideas would create some minimal changes to 3-4% of the park (and nearly all that development is in places that have already been modified by past human use), and manage the other 96-97% as natural resource areas, where our actions are mainly restoration.
Is it possible to visit this area now for hiking (no overnight camping) ?
If not, when in 2013 is it expected to open?
Yes, you can walk into the park from the J.S. Burres parking lot on the Gilliam County side of the river. There is a restroom and ample parking there in the lot, and a gravel road that leads into the park past several gates from there. We ask you to remember there are no services — and no staff — inside the park. Pack out what you take in, and bear in mind the only restroom is there at the entrance.
Because the weather can be pretty fierce in winter, I recommend waiting until the weather is friendlier, and whenever you go, be sure you take a friend or tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back.
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