The Allegheny Defense Project spent Earth Day this year with the Friends of Rimrock, Tracy Ridge Forest Watch, and Allegheny Outdoor Adventures, cleaning up Rimrock for the 2010 season. Our plan was to clear trails, pick up trash, picnic, and do some climbing and rappelling. We expected the trash scattered around – we were not prepared for the heart wrenching view afforded us at the scenic overlook.
Apparently as part of the Categorically ExcludedRimrock Overlook to Kinzua Beach Pathway Project, the Forest Service has destroyed the scenic overlook at Rimrock and created an extreme safety hazard with a tangled field of cut down trees for visitors who try to explore the boulder field below the rock face - a prime attractor for visitors to Rimrock. ADP provided scoping comments for the Project, and is currently working on a response to Bradford Ranger Scardina's Decision. The Bradford Ranger District’s signage explaining “What’s Going on Here?” failed to clear up the reasoning behind the dramatic cut one hundred feet below the scenic overlook. In the name of repairing the view, the Forest Service cut approximately fifty of the largest trees and left the debris scattered below. The Allegheny Defense Project is appalled by Rimrock’s makeover, and continues to be concerned with recreation or restoration projects that become paired with major Forest Service actions without sufficient or official public input or environmental analysis.
Once we got over our disgust and shock, we were able to continue to enjoy the day. With John Stoneman we climbed and rappelled down the rock face. We had a delicious picnic lunch. We also camped out in Tracy Ridge Saturday night, and managed to keep a fire going against the wishes of the rain. It was a very exciting evening for me, as I caught my first fish – a rainbow trout – out of the North Branch, and had trout for supper!
We packed up camp pretty early on Sunday in the rain, and headed back home. A great get together for the Allegheny Defense Project, but a disappointing day for visitors who come to Rimrock for the scenic overlook, which is the main draw of the site.
Unfortunately, now the Forest Service is calling on the public to avoid the new trail area. To read more about the Rimrock Overlook to Kinzua Beach Pathway Project, read the decision notice here, and their warning to avoid the trail while under construction here.
To see the threats from oil and gas in Rimrock, see the maps and data here.