Another popular outdoor destination has been destroyed by the devastating fires in Northern California. Earlier this week, the Big Basin Redwoods State Park was completely destroyed by the CZU Lightning Complex Fire. Now, officials have confirmed that much of the historic Independence Trail in Nevada City has been destroyed by the Jones Fire.
The Independence Trail follows the route of the historic Excelsior Ditch and made history in the 1970’s when a full platform was built, creating the first wheelchair accessible trail in the United States. The California State Parks confirmed that several wooden flumes and bridges have been destroyed, including the iconic ramp up to Rush Creek and the large Rush Creek ramp flume.
“The Independence Trail within South Yuba River State Park has been closed since earlier this spring due to landslides and bridge instability,” California State Parks said in a statement. “The portion of the trail west of Highway 49 was severely impacted by the Jones Fire, resulting in the loss of several wooden flumes, and bridges. As such, the entirety of the Independence Trail on both sides of Highway 49 will be closed to public access until further notice.”
Photos of the aftermath of the Jones Fire along the Independence trail were recently taken by The Union, which you can see here
Portions of the wooden flumes that burned during the recent Jones Fire dated to the 1970s-1990s. Though they were not original historic fabric, the loss of these features not only prohibits access to some of the trail’s most spectacular features, but also diminishes the sense of history engrained in the trail’s origin.
State Parks intends to reconstruct the flumes in the future.