HotRod1 wrote:The area in what I know about and grew up in is Mt Hood. It was the Mt Hood national forest but now is the Mt Hood wilderness area. Yes there is a US hwy, and there is campgrounds, and a ski area, but the forest service roads are now closed and there used to be remote campgrounds which are now closed. Yes there is backpacking and hiking, but limited camping and only in designated areas. There are extremely remote areas that can not be accessed unless you can drive there first, unless you are up for a day or two hike.
Including parts of the original Oregon Trail.
Wilderness permits are required, but free, to enter the area and can be filled out at ranger stations
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OK, I haven't posted here since getting a bit peeved about a real political thread. I will say that I retired from working 32 years with the Forest Service, most of those years in Timber Management. Wilderness areas are not off limits. A few, like the Alpine Lakes Wilderness require folks to enter a lottery for a permit if they want to camp. That's a real problem if you want to go there, but it was overrun and our state (Warshington) population is increasing massively. The APL area is an easy drive from Seattle. Most all of the other wilderness areas are closed to motorized use, but have trail systems for horseback riders and hikers. I even take my dog along. You still need a permit but you simply fill out a short form at the trailhead. This gives the FS an idea of how much use is happening and can even be used to find you if you have an accident. Yes, many campgrounds have been closed. Since 1990ish, when the timber program crashed, the budget has been declining. There is not enough money sent to the recreation folks (by Congress) to keep all the campgrounds open and maintained. The same goes for roads.
In areas that had good timber, we used to be able to slap in a timber sale to get a road repaired or maintained. The purchaser would be able to put in new culverts, or would be required to blade and brush the road and clean out culverts if they wanted to buy the timber. The timber program is now miniscule compared to what it was in the past and timber sales are a very touchy subject. Lawsuits occur and going to court is expensive. The FS is under a constant watch and roads are now considered to be detrimental to forest health. There is money available to decommission (take out culverts, do erosion control, and block) roads to enhance salmon recovery and all the other things. The FS can no longer maintain all the roads, and for those of us who remember the way things used to be taken care of, these are sad times.
Only hiking and camping in designated areas? Not so. The FS is starting to limit some of the boondocking spots and non-system roads so you can't pull your trailer off the road and pull it through the brush to get to a good spot. But hiking? Nope. You can take off through the woods pretty much where ever you want. Don't want to walk on a trail? Head off into the woods and follow game trails. In fact, that's the best way to get away from people and into quiet if you desire that.
Once again, a lot of this has to change because of population growth. Nobody wants to see campsites along creeks and rivers with trash and piles of people poop. But that's been happening in the areas close to the Puget Sound, along with trash dumping. We have a clean up of one trashed area every year just to keep it open.
I'm all for having public lands. Near my house is land owned by a timber company. I'm lucky that it is one company that lets people walk or ride horses or bikes for free behind their gates, which are locked and kept closed. Other timber companies charge for permits, or totally keep the public out--no walking even. I don't want to see that happen to our publically owned lands.