FERNLEY SWALES PHOTO MONITORING PROGRAM
Text By Tom Fee
Photos by Steve Knight
There is a 130 acre Historic Preservation and Access Easement within Section 6, T. 20 N., R. 25. E. protecting the California Emigrant Trail, the Central Pacific Railroad Bed, and the Sand Dune System of Section 6 a short distance north of the Truck Inn in Fernley, Nevada, near Exit 48 on I-80. This Easement was recorded on 09/04/2001 at 04:21 P.M. on the same date and at the same time as the Patient Deed which transferred the property from the U.S. Government to Wade/Fernley, L. P. in a land exchange.
BLM archaeologist Gary C. Bowyer prepared an Annual Monitoring Plan for Segments of the California National Historic Trail (Fernley Swales) and the Central Pacific Railroad in October 2002. During October and November of 2001, Ronald L. Reno of Harding ESE, established a series of 24 repeat photography points from which photographs would be taken annually. The purpose of these photographs is to document non-permitted activities, such as off-road activities and illegal dumping, which cause damage to, or have the potential to damage, these cultural resources.
There are nine photo stops which are found by metal monuments in the ground along the road, directions to which are described in the Photo Monitoring Manual. Should these be missing or hard to find, GPS coordinates get the monitors to the general area. Directions are given in the Photo Monitoring Manual from each Photo Stop Monument to the Photo Points. The monitors use a compass and follow the compass directions from the Monument so many feet to the photo point. The photo point is a rebar stake pounded in the ground with a yellow plastic cap. At each of the 24 photo points, a photograph is taken in a specific and designated direction, using a compass, with an attempt to carefully match a photograph in the Monitoring Manual. After the film is developed, the photos are labeled on the back with archival ink and inserted in a special photo album. The Monitoring Manual officially is called The Historic Property Treatment for the Fernley Swales Segments of the California Trail and Central Pacific Railroad, the Wade Fernley Land Exchange.
The BLM, which is responsible for the Historic Preservation Easement, has an agreement with the California-Nevada Chapter of OCTA to do annual cleanups and the annual photo monitoring. Following are a series of pictures taken by Steve Knight during the photo monitoring held on October 7, 2007.