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A long, windy and dusty road!

Team Aptos Creek Fire-Road:

There’s a story to be told here, and possibly someone with story telling
abilities could spin a yarn of high drama and anxiety, plot twists and
turns, love triangles, sabotage, in-fighting, petty differences exposing
huge egos and inevitably snatching defeat from the fickle jaws of victory.

But that wouldn’t be this story. What this story may lack in “sizzle”, it
more than makes up for in passion, trust, cooperation, hard work and at the
end of the day a sense of satisfaction and pride. It’s another great and
timely example of public/private partnerships. Let me see if I could
provide a brief outline for a future story teller:

Settings:

* Aptos Creek Fire Road between the Kiosk parking lot and the steel
bridge
* Board room of the Advocates for the Forest of Nisene Marks
* Board room of the Nisene Committee/Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks

* The inner sanctums of State Park’s offices
* Time-line: 1/13 thru 5-14

Plot:

* Advocates and Nis-Com push for dust abatement and grading
improvements to the Fire Road
* Many possible options from paving to double chip seal to all numbers
of exotic binding agents (Gorilla Snot, Sugar beet extracts, pennz suppress,
lignum products, magnesium chloride, etc, etc)

Conflict and Dramatic Elements:

* OK, we’re lacking a little ‘tense drama’ here, but there was some
genuine “lignum” vs. Dust Off angst. Fortunately, it never rose to the level
of an angry mob with ‘pitch’ forks…..and yes, that was a little lignum
humor inserted there.

Cast of Characters: Oh, we had em….and without naming names there was:

* Flip-chart Man: Equal parts enthusiastic, sincere and over-bearing
(bordering on annoying)
* The Wise Man: A gentle man with a sparkle in his eyes and generosity
in his soul
* Friendly Women: Empathetic, capable, hard-working, experienced,
knowledgeable and award winning
* The Ringleader: Trying to bring order to chaos, imposing gag-orders
as nec., and rooting out expectations
* Uniformed (and carrying a gun) Man: Desperately trying to hold back
a tsunami tide of un-armed marauders
* Uniformed Woman: Always the epitome of class, patience and reasoned
restraint
* 2nd (slightly dirtier) Uniformed Man: Unbridled enthusiasm coupled
with a can-do spirit, precise and smart
* Supreme Leader: Approacialble…makes things happpen….a force for
the good!
* Reasonable Woman: Caught up in the cross winds, she perseveres with
dignity and sustains herself by giving, forgiving and baking
* Men @ Work Workers: Truly the backbone of this story and ‘salt of
the earth’ characters….and yes that was a little Magnesium Chloride humor!
* Devil’s advocate: Pure lignum ran strong in his veins
* Assorted skeptics, nay-sayers, scally-wags, and haters: A
passionate, colorful and vocal group

Ending:

* Neither paving nor chip-sealing was possible due to expense and long
term approval process
* The binding agent Dust Off was chosen by the State Parks Resource
Ecologist (Chris Spore)
* Road turns out beautiful
* “It shimmers in the dappled sunlight as the smiling and grateful
families with strollers, vehicles, cyclists, runners, and equestrians share
the dust free fire road in perfect harmony!”
* Slowly fade to black, cut the music….run the credits!

Vital Statistics

* 500 Tons of Baserock
* 760 Gallons of Dust-Off

* 5 days to complete with a grader, rented roller, rented water truck
and 6-7 incredible State Parks workers and one over involved Advocate
member!

Sequel:

Will there be a Sequel? Only time will tell. We are hoping the Dust Off will
keep the dust down at least until the winter rains come again. And in the
meantime, this whole cast of characters could get together again in the
hopefully not to distant future for new epics such as “The Ped/Cylcing Bride
over Mangels Creek” or “The Hawks Peak Loop Trail”. These are both
suspence/dramas but firmly based in reality and community need.

The End !

John Fuchs
President
Advocates for the Forest of Nisene Marks