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Phase One Of Exact Center Of California Monument Completed

Submitted by Michael Olwyler —

NORTH FORK — The first phase of maintenance for the Exact Center of California monument was completed by the Bass Lake Ranger District Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) crew on Nov. 16.

The North Fork History Group (NFHG) cooperates with the Sierra National Forest to manage the site and has identified a new design that will be safer and more attractive for visitors.

The OHV crew removed the old, rotting wood steps of the southern stairway and reshaped the slope where deep ruts had formed from improper off-road use at the site. Organic erosion control devices were installed to slow water and the slope will be monitored over the winter.

Old stairway to Exact Center Monument

To allow vegetation to stabilize the slope, visitors can use the existing northern steps, which will be reconstructed in the next phase.

The monument itself is intact now after the sign was stolen and then replaced back in May. However, the NFHG has also been planning – along with the plaque replacement – improvements to the site.

The NFHG, along with the Forest Service, wrote a plan for maintenance and improvements that include removing and reshaping the slope to make it more natural. That was Phase I. Phase II will involve installation of a banister, additional steps, and a stabilizing platform around the compass rose.

The Forest Service OHV crew consisted of Aldo Garcia, Joe Ryan, Kylee Conriquez, Teresa Naumcheff and Hailey Hubbard. Their supervisor is the well-known and very much appreciated Ted Webb.

The North Fork area community, visitors to the site, and the NFHG wish to thank the OHV crew and the Forest Service for maintaining this point of interest.

You can visit the exact center of California by traveling east from North Fork on Road 225 (also called the Mammoth Pool Road or the Minarets Road) 4.7 miles east toward the Sierra Vista Scenic Byway. Turn right on the Italian Bar Road (still Road 225) toward Redinger Lake. Travel about 2.7 miles and watch for the CAL-CENTER sign on the left.

The northern stairway rises about 21 feet to reach the compass rose at the exact center of the state.

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