Places that no longer exist - CycleBlaze

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Places that no longer exist

Wayne Estes

It's sad to think about how many places I have seen during previous bike tours that have burned to oblivion.

I biked through Greenville, California during bike tours in 1995 and 2009. It's on the ACA Sierra Cascades bike route.

Greenville, California in August, 2009.
Greenville, California in August, 2021.

I biked the Bear Creek Greenway south of Medford, Oregon in June 2020, only 3 months before arson fires burned the Greenway and thousands of homes.

Bear Creek Greenway in June 2020.
Bear Creek Greenway in September 2020.
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1 month ago
Jacquie GaudetTo Wayne Estes

In August of 2002, we cycled the Myra Canyon section of the Kettle Valley Railway with our two boys, then aged 9 and 6.  This 12 km stretch contains 18 trestles and 2 tunnels, so we though there would be enough to interest them.

Colin doesn't look particularly excited.
He was interested in looking down through the planks, though.
Al pulled Colin on the Trail-a-Bike while Graeme rode his own bike.

A year later, disaster! 

Photo from the Myra Canyon Trestle Restoration Society website. Wildfires destroyed 12 of the 16 wooden trestles and damaged the two steel bridges. In addition there was damage to the trail itself, to the rock faces and to the amenities which had been built up over the previous ten years.

Luckily for cyclists and for British Columbia history, the trestles were rebuilt, though not to the level required to carry locomotives and trains.  Al and I cycled this section again last summer.

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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Wayne Estes

It’s a much smaller scale tragedy of course, but I was saddened when we biked from Moab to Grand Junction a few years ago and discovered that the Dewey Bridge had burned down a few years earlier, the victim of a child playing with matches.   I hadn’t known, and had been looking forward to seeing it again after all these years.

The Dewey Bridge, 1991.
The Dewey Bridge, 2017.
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1 month ago
Wayne EstesTo Jacquie Gaudet

Jacquie, thanks for sharing the Kettle Valley Railway photos before and 17 years after the fire.

I know that in a semi-arid climate the trees grow back slowly, sometimes not at all on disturbed slopes. Still, it's shocking to see how slowly it's recovering.

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1 month ago
Graham SmithTo Wayne Estes

Wayne thanks for this very visual, albeit sad,  reminder of the devastating impact of bush fires. I can’t compile such clear before and after photos as you, but huge areas of the S.E. corner of Australia (where I have cycle toured most) was devastated by fires two years ago. The worst on record. Much of it won’t recover to be the same type of forest.

And as I type, vast areas of Turkey where my wife and I cycled in 1989 are being razed by wild fire. Even with out photos I can affirm the world is experiencing far more extreme weather events. The result is destruction and this is very visible when cycle touring.

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1 month ago
Wayne EstesTo Graham Smith

Graham, the increase in wildfires is impossible to ignore and it has a huge effect on bicycle touring. Every year sets a record for the most land burned, and now entire continents are blanketed in smoke.

I think about the many tours I did in forested mountains in July, August, and September with little or no concern about fires and smoke. Now I can hardly imagine doing those routes in late summer because the chance of terrible smoke has increased so dramatically. Now June is the only smoke-free month of summer, if we're lucky.

This year has the usual record-setting fires but my local area has been reliably upwind from the smoke. Only one afternoon of terrible smoke so far, but I still have another 2 months of fire season ahead.

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1 month ago
Bill StoneTo Wayne Estes

Hi Wayne,

Right now the Dixie fire is sweeping through Lassen National Park, including the spot where this photo was taken four months ago. As you say, many locales with pleasant bicycling memories are being consumed.
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1 month ago