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Thompson Peak annex building could be renovated for recreation

Feather River Bulletin of Quincy, California

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A proposed project for the Janesville Gap Filler Annex located on Thompson Peak, could prove to be advantageous to the local community.

Janesville Town Council co-chairman Austin Meinert will be giving an update about adopting the annex building from Plumas National Forest during a meeting held at 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 28 at the Janesville Fire Hall.

Staff from the Beckwourth Ranger District will be giving a presentation about the Black Mountain Lookout project. If anyone would like more information can call Meinert at 253-3000.

The annex sits near the historic Thompson Peak Lookout at 7,695 feet and overlooks the Honey Lake Valley and the Feather River Watershed. According to Meinert, the facility was used during the Cold War era to connect gaps of long-range radar.

People utilize the peak for skiing, hiking, mountain biking and hang gliding, Meinert said.

Several ideas Meinert has for the facility it as a recreational rental, where people can rent the facility and stay the night. The other side of the facility might be used as an interpretive center providing information about the geology, key landmarks, maps, history and the forest.

Remodeling the facility could be funded through grant money available through the Sierra Nevada Conservancy and construction work would be done through a volunteer effort, Meinert said.

He said there are people who use the peak for recreational purposes who would be interested in helping with the project.

The idea is to have the Janesville Town Council oversee the finances and local residents will help oversee the annex, as Meinert said it will be an asset to the community and feels there are enough interested people in keeping it going.

Acquiring the site has been a step-by-step process, which Meinert said began in 2007 when he sent a letter to staff at the Plumas National Forest telling them of the intent to clean the site and preserve the facility.

In the letter, Meinert said the Thompson Peak Radar Installation and Thompson Peak Lookout are assets to Janesville and Lassen County and it is in the best interest of the community that the lookout remains active.

With the preservation of the annex and the Black Mountain Lookout, Meinert said it could create sister sites and people could hike, bike or ride their motorcycles from one location to another. The Red Rock Lookout is located behind Diamond Mountain and Meinert said if that lookout were to be restored there could be a recreational trail between the three sites such as the Tahoe Rim Trail.

Another idea Meinert has is to create a lab atmospheric study on top of the peak that could also be available for students to visit on field trips.

A letter from Desert Research Institute supporting Meinert's restoration efforts said, "Scientific projects at this station could include observation of long-range transport of pollutants, regional and local pollution due to anthropogenic activities and air quality effects of wildfires."

It also says the site would not be limited to atmospheric studies as other fields such as fire sciences and ecosystem ecology may benefit from a research station.

Original Publication Date: October 28, 2009



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