Dangers to public lands

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Re: Dangers to public lands

Postby HotRod1 » Thu Feb 02, 2017 11:30 pm

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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Re: Dangers to public lands

Postby MtnDon » Fri Feb 03, 2017 12:13 am

The official designated Wilderness areas encompass a smallish % of the total of the Public Lands. Note the capital W in Wilderness to distinguish that from what many people loosely refer to as wilderness. Should there not be areas set aside where everything is left to be in a very much natural state? We, as people, don't need to trample everything. Just an opinion.

Yes, there have been many changes in the access rules in much of the west. There are numerous old roads I drove 40 years ago, that today are closed to motor vehicles. That is in large part because (1) there are more people today and (2) there are vastly more people with vastly more capable 4x4's today. (3) As well, a large number of the increased population of 4-wheelers are owned by imbeciles who needlessly drive up and down hills making trails where no extra trails are needed. Since my first trips in the western and south western US in the early 70's I have seen fairly consistent degradation of terrain. For what it's worth the development of the ATV is partly to blame, IMO. Too easy to use those to drive all over. There are areas I don't like to visit anymore because idiots have changed a single two track into a braided mess of crisscrossing and intertwined trails that obliterate the vegetation.

Too many irresponsible users are the curse. That is why we have reduced numbers of trails. If we want to have something left for the future we need to limit use. It is sad but it is a result of too many people and too many wanting to use the land irresponsibly. I sort of long for the days when if you wanted an off road capable 4x4 you needed to build it yourself. Now anyone with credit can go buy one off the showroom floor and be tearing up the dirt in an hour.


One of the big differences between 20 years ago and today is the open/closed signage. It used to be that a sign had to be posted to denote an area was closed. New rules are the opposite, an area has to be posted with an open sign to be used. That is a hard change for many old time users to get used to. But, unfortunately, it is necessary with the increased numbers of users and as mentioned above the increased numbers of idiots.
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Re: Dangers to public lands

Postby kudzu » Fri Feb 03, 2017 10:09 am

MtnDon wrote:Too many irresponsible users are the curse.


This is why we can't have nice things with unlimited, free access.
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Re: Dangers to public lands

Postby me&z » Fri Feb 03, 2017 2:21 pm

Shadow Catcher wrote:I may get giged for this but it affects us all who love to camp.
"Now that Republicans have quietly drawn a path to give away much of Americans’ public land, US representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah has introduced what the Wilderness Society is calling “step two” in the GOP’s plan to offload federal property."
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jan/31/public-lands-sell-congress-bureau-management-chaffetz?CMP=share_btn_fb


This topic has a very real chance of spilling into forbidden teratory. But I would like to see this thread remain open.

If those of us with a shared love of camping can't have a civilized discuss about public lands, then there is no hope for the wider population to do so.


Shall we see if we can find common ground and common solutions?

I support the preservation of public land for use of the people now and in future generations. I don't think that means blocking access and cutting off all uses but where lands are being loved to death or deliberately destroyed, then restrictions are probably necessary.
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Re: Dangers to public lands

Postby me&z » Fri Feb 03, 2017 2:36 pm

HotRod1 wrote: ... If they don't just burn down because they won't allow thinning and management. That is why the fires in western America keep getting worse. Just my two cents from someone who grew up there.


I agree with you. Between that and droughts, and the pine beetle kill areas in the mountain West, I fear that we will see many more devistating fires like the one in Gatlinburg.

As our towns get closer to the wilderness, we will have a harder time finding the right balance.
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Re: Dangers to public lands

Postby Shadow Catcher » Fri Feb 03, 2017 4:15 pm

Still on the table
The Local Enforcement for Local Lands Act (H.R. 622), introduced by Utah's Republican congressman Jason Chaffetz, would fire every law enforcement officer for the Bureau of Land Management and US Forest Service. In their stead, local police units, such as sheriff's departments, would manage millions of acres of land they were never trained to protect. Not only are human lives potentially at risk, but the wild places that generate billion of dollars in annual revenue are as well.
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Re: Dangers to public lands

Postby Shadow Catcher » Fri Feb 03, 2017 6:37 pm

When I made the original post my concern is was not which party is involved it is the preservation of wilderness.
There are two individuals that have influenced my outlook Sigrid F. Olsen

Wilderness to the people of America is a spiritual necessity, an antidote to the high pressure of modern life, a means of regaining serenity and equilibrium.

And Teddy Roosevelt
"In the Grand Canyon, Arizona has a natural wonder which is in kind absolutely unparalleled throughout the rest of the world. I want to ask you to keep this great wonder of nature as it now is. I hope you will not have a building of any kind, not a summer cottage, a hotel or anything else, to mar the wonderful grandeur, the sublimity, the great loneliness and beauty of the canyon. Leave it as it is. You cannot improve on it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it."

There is a picture of me On the North shore of Lake Superior two months after my very nearly fatal heart attack simply reading, we were there for seven days and it was a restoration and a spiritual necessity.
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Re: Dangers to public lands

Postby stumphugger » Sat Feb 04, 2017 9:08 am

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.
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Re: Dangers to public lands

Postby stumphugger » Sat Feb 04, 2017 9:14 am

Oh, and this is very confusing to folks. There is the National Park Service, the Forest Service, and the Bureau of Land Management. The NPS has the most restrictive rules and they DON"T like people going off trails or having dogs on trails or ...The NPS is part of the Department of Interior, as is the BLM. The NPS people are the ones with the Smokey hats.

The Forest Service which is under the Dept. of Agriculture, and BLM are much more lax on rules and that's where I prefer to play. There is a movement to turn over more FS land to the Park Service, which I do not agree with because it would place more restrictions on it. In National Parks, you usually pay to enter, then if it is a popular place, you must apply for a camping or hiking permit months in advance. If hiking, you have to stay in designated campgrounds and you can't change your itinerary. I'm a spontaneous soul and don't like to have to stick to a plan, or plan way ahead. So, I pretty much stick to FS land for recreating.
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Re: Dangers to public lands

Postby Shadow Catcher » Tue Feb 28, 2017 5:55 am

The more or less final outcome.
How Opponents Sank A GOP Bill To Sell Off Federal Land — And What They Learned
Rep. Jason Chaffetz just “kicked a hornet’s nest,” one conservationist said.
"WASHINGTON — Perhaps it was lingering outrage from the election. Or it could have been the explicit language of the bill, which called for the “disposal” of millions of acres of “excess” federal lands.
Whatever the driving force, the backlash to legislation from Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) that would have sold off 3.3 million acres of public land in 10 Western states was swift and fierce. Outrage erupted on Facebook and Twitter, advocacy groups urged supporters to bombard their congressional representatives’ phone lines, and a petition opposing the sale or transfer of public lands drew tens of thousands of signatures.
Less than two weeks after introducing the controversial bill, Chaffetz pulled it, citing concerns from his constituents. Advocates fighting to protect public lands celebrated it as a victory.
“The first takeaway is that the squeaky wheel still gets the grease"
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/public-lands-battle-chaffetz_us_58a735a8e4b037d17d2778f4?section=politics&
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Re: Dangers to public lands

Postby MtnDon » Tue Feb 28, 2017 9:55 am

:thumbsup:
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