CHP Turning Away Non-locals on Bell Springs Road

CHP officers vet drivers on the north end of Bell Springs Road before deciding whether or not to turn them back.[Photo by Alicia Pecora]

Heads up, drivers planning to hit the backroads to avoid the slide blocking Hwy 101 north of Leggett.

While many drivers have used Bell Springs Road as a way to get around the slide that has blocked Hwy 101 for nearly a week, yesterday the decision was made to close the rural route to all but local traffic. Today, Alicia Pecora, shared this photo with us showing a line of traffic being vetted by a California Highway Patrol officer at the north end of Bell Springs Road.

To be clear, local means only people who live on Bell Springs Road.

“Out of 5 cars, he only let 2 go through,” Pecora said.





  • It’s about time!

    • My adventure on Bell Springs Road:

      Well. I went early, and the CHP Officer sent me through. I wouldn’t recommend this road to anyone faint of heart or without nav. In several places, those without dirt (mud) road or farm-track experience will find that the road just peters out entirely. Bell Springs road just kind of happens to you, 250,000 holes, raw rock poking through everywhere, and idiots in $100,000 SUV’s who won’t move over and who seem pissed that you are there…

      Just don’t go that way if you can avoid it.

      There are times in Humboldt, when it’s just best to hunker down in place and not travel. This may well be one of them. I made it, but Bell Springs Road took 2 hours from end to end, and it will take some time to recover… I will go to Redding next time over 299, 7 hrs or not!

      • I’d refrain from calling people idiots and making judgements on who should be in bell springs when you’re obviously not from the area. I own land on bell springs and was one of the people driving a $100,000 suv. I was pissed that you were there not because I’m an idiot but because you are. Don’t use the Rd if you can’t deal with it.

        • Just had to try it once. Enjoy, as I won’t do it again. I grew up driving on ranches and on dirt, dealt with it fine, just took it easy! There was just one idiot, obviously, it wasn’t you. Nothing personal… Hoping to help educate others and actually to reduce the use of your local farm road.

        • So, you grow a lot of weed out there Landowner? Why don’t you put some money in to the road? Cheap ass.

  • Aw poor lil trimigrants didn’t get thru. Now he and his lil hip gf have to park their van around town insulting more locals with his impatience. Will make it easier for the boys in trucks to find em and have a lil talk.

  • People are having a hard time proving they’re locals because they have PO boxes in Garberville.

    • One would think having a P.O. Box in Garberville would qualify as being local. Janet, did you or someone you know get turned away?

  • Thank you
    It’s to bad that bell springs was advertised on this site.and google maps
    It was never an issue before that.
    Now local Humboldt folk lost a good thing.
    I think most people on. Elk springs didn’t mind area people using it.
    Unfortunately it was advertised so much it created a safetey issue.
    Hopefully in the future people will keep it on the down low

    • Stuck in Leggett

      People have as much of a right to drive on those roads as you do!!

      • Nature bats last

        Not if its going to cause the road to fall apart entirely and then theres really no route for emergencies.

        I doubt folks on bell springs like having this traffic, from what i hear theyve requested it closed. Tho i think residents of so hum and leggett ought to be allowed over it. It may be in that bad of shape by now, just picture what a semitruck would do to a wet dirt road.

        Whats not fair is people having to deal with a highway worth of vehicles on a road that was built for horse travel originally, would you want to have to pull people out of ditches,etc just to go get groceries? There are a lot of people who tried that road that were 2wd, which tore it up worse, and not experienced driving back roads.

        I dont get why the chp cant contact google to have them show that road closed. The fact that it listed Usal road an alternate is really bad.
        Whelp next time they say we need a tax for the roads we need to say ok. Hasnt been increased in the state since 1994!!

    • People were ending up on Bell Springs with no idea of what was going on because of Google Maps and other sources. I could ignore that or I could try and provide information. I chose the later to try and save lives, vehicles, people’s money and the road.

      • Good for you, just because it is a road does not mean the police are going to let inexperienced drivers pose a pubic safety risk and put many other people in harms way! They have every right to do controlled traffic and people should have a valid license that lists their HOME address, if they dont then they shouldn’t drive anyway.

        • Dang…I’m in trouble then. My driver’s license lists my po box. Rural areas have terrible address issues and no mail delivery so many of us list our PO Box.

          • Yea, this is a real problem for locals- my sister said the Chp were cruising the road checking out locals*

          • I used my vehicle registration at the officer’s suggestion. Unlike my license, it has my Palo Verde address. No problem.

              • Just an info clarification, I have spoken now with three people who do NOT have local address documents but had legitimate reasons to use Bell Springs, mainly having destinations on Bell Springs or only accessible by Bell Springs. In each case the CHP allowed them to use the road with a warning that CHP on the other end of the road would be looking for their license plate and if they lied and used the road as a 101 detour they would be cited. Also several people almost killed by inexperienced and rushed out of town traffic. So let’s all take a deep breath before we start bursting our blood vessels over assumptions and suppositions. I tried to explain to many disbelieving folks here last time 101 was closed that CHP would do this based on state law and standard policy. Hopefully now everyone will understand this is the reality.

        • Not everyone has a license that has there street address, mine has my P.O. Box, which isn’t even in the town where I live. Give me a break.

  • Show your tax returns. That’s proper documentation granting you access to your public road no matter what part of the state you’re from. Unfortunately, majority of the locals wouldn’t be allowed through.

  • What about all the people trying to haul grow supplies to their spot up the hill?
    A lot of those people have houses in town and only use their property’s to grow on.

  • whether or not we like it, CHP or sheriff has the duty to determine whether a public safety hazard exists, and close roads accordingly.

  • I’m guessing the “locals” love this kind of LEO attention on Bell Springs. (sarc)

  • Just ignore the chp and drive past if you need to go, they aren’t going to do anything. Worked for me. I don’t know how you’re supposed to prove you live on a rural road, if there’s no mail delivery or pg&e, and they can’t keep you from going home if you need to. I think anyone living in humboldt/Mendo and who has a decent vehicle for back roads should be able to get home.

  • Not a good idea to ignore the CHP,or any law!

  • Go emily.. Thanks for using some common sense….cuz i was surprised to learn that the address v po box is the problem!?? That seems very self-cenetered, extremely. It seems to me that the money spent on manpower to staff this shit would be better , and more democratically, spent on maintaining the road. Roads are there for people to use. If the locals want to be in charge of who uses the road, they, not me a taxpayer, should pick up the tab. $70/hour x 24 hours x 2 staff per site = a shitton of money. We are talking about $4800 a day. That’s a lot of grading and maintenance that could keep the road open for lighter weight vehicles. I think next time it rains, someone should go up there and block a few dozen culverts and you “locals” can figure out what it’s like to not be able to get your imported soil and ten tons of water per water truck…you know, the crap thats actually hurtingnyour road…. That I have to pay to maintain…. preventing you from getting your work done. Then You’ll understand what an inconvenience actually is.

    • Well you sound like a great person, sarcasm, plug up the culverts? There’s so many people who live out here who don’t truck in soil, destroy the roads and pay taxes by the way if you buy fucking gas or register your truck your paying the road taxes so don’t sepew that bullshit. Yes it’s a pain in the ass when your driving your family home and every blind corner is some idiot trying to play chicken with you, or the road is so fucked up you can’t drive to school ot the grocery store on the ONLY road to your house. also great advice on running a road block until you get shot by the chp, tons of common sense there. And by the way locals didn’t shut anything down the cops did we get no say in who is let through. I do agree if your id says sohum they should let you through that’s bs.

  • I think I should have right to drive this road as I commute to SF for work and pay taxes in Humboldt while. Contributing to local taxes and health care. But apparently my money is welcome but I am to suck it up buttercup for eight hour detour.. F’d up

  • I sure wish by locals they had included people living say from Weott to Benbow…we all know the road & respect it. I live in Miranda & have to have my husband to the VA Hospital in SF on Monday for an operation…now we have to take 36….

  • They are letting through vehicles with “work orders”. What does that mean? Large trucks full of soil and grow supplies with “work orders” to be delivered at grows up there are being let through. Smaller trucks with passengers and not sufficient “work orders” or “proof of address” are being turned away. So…we are not letting people through because they might screw up the road for the big grow supply deliveries. Yes- we have finally capitulated to the growers, permitted and unpermitted and given them our only road around the slide on 101. This should be national news! Because it IS significant. That is where we now are with our logic and our policies. If you’re not outraged then you’re not paying attention! …Or you’re a grower. Of devil’s lettuce….

    • Interesting. Are you sure? I was told that it was likely only critical large deliveries like propane would be allowed through.

      • It’s just the C.H.U.M.P. in disguise nuts as ever, but using a sock puppet to dodge some heat!!! That’s my $.02 worth @ least, YMMV!!!

  • bring in some d9 cats & open the damn slide, right on top of the rubble, instead of a few dump truck trying to remove a mountain. these contractors (with the lic to steal) milk these projects to line their pockets with crazy fees. we all have 4×4,s for these problems . this is a joke closing 101. this is a glimpse total madness. may 1 never, all summer if ever)

  • I am a local. I’m the guy on Bell Springs with the alpaca herd about 4 miles up on the Laytonville side. Also a member of the Bell Springs fire brigade. I saw a truck load of dirt turned away yesterday – I recognized the driver as a local(the French guy who sells rabbits at our farmers market). Not sure what the problem was there. I got through w my p.o. Box addressed license(Laytonville) and a piece of junk mail w my street address on it. Of course my rattle-trap old truck w her ‘Bernie 2016’ sticker pretty much screams local ….. I’m very involved in my community and have not heard a single one of my neighbors begrudge The flatlanders use of the Bell. We are/were all concerned for them. The road is really bad right now, as bad and probably worse than I have ever seen her. Some places are just impassable for some vehicules. Safety first. As for the ‘who has the right to….’ question – a good analogy might be ‘does free speech give you the right to shout “Fire!” In a crowded movie theater?’ And unfortunately, because Fools can be so ingenious on their path to Darwinistic destruction, we sometimes need regulators to man the gates…. be safe out there whereever you are! — Welcome to Paradise, you can slow down now….

  • please ignore, testing

  • mendocino mamma

    Your drivers license shows the p o box but on the computer you are required to have a physical address as well. So when the c_h_p looks it up it will show your physical address folks.

  • The Hermit of Grizzly Mountain

    An old-timer was telling me how the original planned route for the 101 was along Bell Springs and the Dyerville Loop road. Maybe they should go ahead and pave the whole thing like a business-101 alternate route.
    That could be the scenic route for the pot tourism. Harris would be a mecca. Both Mendocino and Humboldt would benefit.

  • Kind of ironic dope growers that live on bell springs and don’t pay taxes or pay taxes on a bogus business that is a fraction of what they actually earn can use the road and people that actually pay taxes can’t use the road. If all the growers paid taxes on their actual income bell springs would be a two lane road from start to finish

    • That’s pretty ignorant, the tax from gas and registration goes to the roads, that’s how they supposedly maintain the roads from people who use them buy don’t live in the state. With the money we have already there’s no reason the roads around here should be so bad, I don’t know where the money goes but obviously not to our decaying infrastructure, you could tax every grower what ever you want and the state of the road would remain the same until we fix the broken system.

      • Lefthanded Lunatics

        And, if the growers pay sales tax, gas tax, and property tax, and if it costs 30-40% of their income from sales to produce their product, then the government has significant income from Cannabis production. The question here, is how long does everyone ignore the fact that Humboldt and Mendo counties don’t maintain the roads? At all! Mostly, it appears that Humboldt County just neglects the roads, and makes excuses! Bell Springs Road (road, hah!) is a bare cattle track, not suitable for any travel! Alderpoint Road is THE most unsafe road I have seen in this lifetime, and Briceland Road is a disgraceful joke!

        Negligence is a good word for the County’s approach.

        A class action lawsuit? I’m down.

        Meanwhile, I suggest we all just call the Governor’s office to complain about the the collapsing roads on the North Coast!

  • Amen to that!!!!

  • What about fixing Bell Springs Road with the rock from the slide?

  • Well guest you’re comment is pretty ignorant. If you knew anything about California tax code you would know all funds go the general fund and that is where the funding used to come from before your politicians started using the money for their programs instead of roads. Those of us that pay INCOME tax pay for it. Our gas tax and vehicle licensing fees were just raised and that money is the only money specifically designated to roads. Oh yeah 30-40% of a million dollars? Greed is greed regardless of who is getting the money.I really feel sorry for you.

  • Its a public road they have no legal ground to turn people around

    • California state law requires government officials to ensure that all public (state, county or city) roadways open to the public be in a safe condition for the type and amount of traffic using those roads. Under CA statutes all drivers have a right to expect all roadways to be in safe passable condition for the level of traffic currently using those roads. Providing for public safety is one of the top two reasons we even have a government according to the Declaration of Independence and the US & CA State constitution.

      This means if a road is unsafe for any reason the government is required by CA state law and national / international common law to close that road or limit its use to protect public safety.

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