Gold Mountain
Chapter 3: Ominous Records

Copyright© 2020 by Graybyrd

Dorothy “Dot” Alexander worried over her second cup of creamed and sugared coffee at her kitchen table. It was an early Friday evening and her son Graydon was expected home soon. She’d had a worrying day at work. It wasn’t her job to worry but she couldn’t help it. Something was not right. She suspected it went far beyond ‘not right’ to being something ‘very wrong.’ But she was just a District Clerk and these wrong things were coming from the highest levels of the Okanogan National Forest.

The front door banged open and Graydon came striding into the kitchen. He hefted the coffee pot to see if any was left. He pulled a cup down from the cupboard and filled it. Taking a seat at the table across from his mother, he frowned. She looked strained, worried.

“What’s wrong?” he asked.

“Work. Some papers came across my desk for Ranger Myers and our timber sales and roads people. Something’s wrong. Very wrong. I think something big and upsetting is going to happen in the Virginian Ridge area.”

“What sort of papers, Mom?”

“There’s an order for a timber inventory covering the Wolf Creek drainage from the canyon mouth up to Gardner Meadows. Another order requires a timber inventory along the entire length and breadth of Virginian Ridge, extending west to the Cascade summit,” she answered.

“Wolf Creek? That area has always been exempted from timber sales, Mom! For lots of good reasons. Nobody wants to see that lovely canyon torn up! It’s narrow and fragile. Nobody wants logging roads cut through there!”

“I know, son. Nobody in the District office agrees with logging there. That’s why it’s always been off the list.”

“What else, Mom?”

“A set of maps proposing access road surveys to be reviewed and evaluated by the District road engineer. One through National Forest land to the Brightman Ranch on the south end of the ridge and another to what Ranger Myers said is looking like a possible ski resort development on the north end.”

“The National Forest isn’t in the resort development business!” Graydon said. “And what’s with involving the Brightman Ranch?”

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