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Topic: Trails disappearing from our maps< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
 Post Number: 1
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 25 2014, 10:52 am  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Written by a friend of mine and spot on



http://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/2014....us


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 25 2014, 12:13 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

We need a central sign-up site for volunteers.  I'm not really kidding; I'll think about getting the family signed up to do this  work (now that the boys are old enough to really do work), search all over for a work day or more, don't find it just then, and forget to get back and look again.  One web site with a calendar and links out to all the organizations might improve the odds--and would make publicizing work events easier.

Just random brain waves.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 25 2014, 1:45 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Colorado has such a site. VOC conducts their own projects but has also operated a statewide clearing house for many years.
http://www.volunteeroutdoors.net


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 25 2014, 3:42 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

That's a great resource, bill g--just what I was thinking of!

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 25 2014, 3:54 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I volunteered with a group in the Columbia Gorge when I lived over that way and we'd spend days just clearing and rebuilding destroyed trails.
However, the attitude of many is like a group that showed up one day at a closed trail we were clearing of a mudslide (took 3 days to clear 100' of 15' deep mud and rock). They were being being very vocal about their "favorite trail being closed" and wanted to know why we weren't working harder and faster. Me, being the tactless one, got into the apparent leader's face and told him we were all volunteers on our own time and expense and asked him why the hell THEY weren't helping? Their response? "We don't  want to work on the trail! We just want to hike!".
Guess what dumbass? Until we're done, no one gets to hike it.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 25 2014, 5:47 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Rebecca - That would be awesome.  I would love to do such a thing!  Unfortunately the volunteer coordinator positions on many forests are either vacant or have been eliminated entirely.  Another victim of our declining budgets.

Anyway, give the ranger station where you want to volunteer a call.  I'm sure they'd be happy to help hook you up.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 25 2014, 6:01 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I did a fair amount of trail clearing we used for our own outfitting. With Beetle Kill and long far less traveled miles in the Rockies I can say without doubt the second commenter has no idea what he's talking about when it comes to chainsaws. In the Wilderness it can be incredibly slow going because we can't use chainsaws. I would suggest that it is very likely that the section of the PCT where it took 30 days over 3 years could have been done much faster with chainsaws if downfall was a truly serious issue like it is here.

Will hearing a chainsaw in the wilderness detract from the wilderness experience? Without question. Would putting up with it for a few days every late Spring or earliest Summer allow more people to get deeper into the wilderness and give more people an appreciation for wilderness preservation? Without question. Would it make wilderness travel safer? Without question however you feel what the ultimate definition of wilderness must be.

I'm sure some will jump on me for this ken, but with less than 1/70th of the population of California I don't see how states like Wyoming will ever be able to keep trails cleared on public lands without sacrificing that silence for incredibly brief periods of time.

They're going to spend $16,000,000 on trail improvements around the 7 miles of Jenny Lake in GTNP. I am beyond shocked to think that sum is required. There is indeed less money out there and IMO all the more reason to spend it far more effectively than something like this on a trail that extant is quite easy to follow while others fading to neglect go untouched. I like the new Secretary of the Interior but I thought she was way of on promoting this kind of expenditure when she was here over the summer.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 25 2014, 6:03 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Tarol
If you live in California perhaps you could help out on the Pacific Crest Trail.  Their work events are listed here: http://www.pcta.org/volunteer/project-schedule/
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trail? I don't need no stinkin trail!
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 25 2014, 10:02 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Mixed emotions on this.  I like my trails a bit on the rough, unmaintained side.  My favorite trails are "unofficial" - they aren't on any maps.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 25 2014, 10:18 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(bill g @ Jan. 25 2014, 1:45 pm)
QUOTE
Colorado has such a site. VOC conducts their own projects but has also operated a statewide clearing house for many years.
http://www.volunteeroutdoors.net

Thanks for that link.  I was unaware it existed....  I miss a lot though..lol
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 26 2014, 7:44 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Our Los Padres NF volunteer group is the best thing I ever stumbled across. There are lots of opportunities to help and I've met some great people. Besides clearing trails, we also patrol the trails since the paid rangers don't get out there.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 26 2014, 11:23 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Of course since this article came out, mountain bikers who want to ride on the PCT have been sticking their chest out like they are the solution to this problem.  But Mountain Bikes are allowed on the Arizona Trail and that trail has the same problems.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 26 2014, 12:27 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

And evidently, the Forest Service is experimenting with using Dynamite to clear Trails.  I'm not kidding here.  It clears the trail and the vegetation doesn't come back for 3 years
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 26 2014, 1:08 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

This really makes me appreciate what John Roth and the Ozark Trail Association has accomplished in my native Missouri. They have achieved extraordinary results in a relatively short amount of time.

MLW's story is pretty galling. I have some isolated instances of similar ignorance with the community green space in our neighborhood. We had an opportunity--in reality a gift from the City--to create a neighborhood green space on a useless lot. I founded a non -profit organization to develop it. We exceeded our capital goals and expanded our scope to include beautifying the block with new trees and such. But there is always some knucklehead who complains about it because it's not their liking: It doesn't have a dog run! (insurance policy laws forbid it). The $40 tickets to the all-the-wine-and-cheese-you-can-consume fundraiser are too expensive (that's why they are called "fundraisers"). Homeless people are going to take it over! (hasn't happened yet).

And so on.

People are just idiots sometimes about this type of stuff.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 26 2014, 2:49 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

So what do you folks think about allowing chainsaws in for a narrow window in the Spring to clear trails where they are now completely prohibited? Do any of you really believe that without them we can get our trails systems susceptible to frequent downfall back to what they once were and keep them that way?

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 26 2014, 3:15 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Depends on where you're at - in the San Gorgonio Wilderness there is a very active volunteer trail group that have removed probably 1,000 trees in the past 10 years using cross-cut saws.  In other wilderness areas with no volunteers trails deteriorate until they disappear.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 26 2014, 4:23 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

So in other words Tarol you say no chainsaws and everywhere far remoter than  places like the San Gorgonio in California with significant nearby populations will more often than not just be sheet out of luck?

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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 26 2014, 4:51 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Once you allow something with a motor on it like a
chainsaw to come into a Designated Wilderness Area,
all sorts of people with machines with motors on them
will use it as a reason why their machines should
be allowed in the Wilderness.  Even people with Machines
without motors on them, like Bicycles, will be
using it as a reason why they should be able to come
into the wilderness.

I was on a Border Route Trail Clearing Trip and our
crosscut crew could cut through logs almost as fast
as a chainsaw operator could.  Now a crosscut saw
needs two people to operate, and a chainsaw needs
one, but still the crosscut saw was very efficient and
didn't need people hauling gas for it.
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tarol Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 26 2014, 4:56 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm saying we need more volunteers

Or more money to fund trail crews


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 26 2014, 11:35 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

WTA

You need something like this in California.

Rumi     <~~~~~wta volunteer


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 26 2014, 11:37 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The ultimate solution is that the US government needs to step up and fund more professional trail crews.  Volunteers can only do so much.

Rumi

PS: I think the author of that piece linked in the OP overstates the dire predicament.  That is my opinion and I may be wrong, but hundreds of hikers every year go through the PCT in that national forest and seem to be able to get through.  I would also be very surprised if there are no rangers in that district that get out into the backcountry.  Obviously there is a need for more personel, but I just think he overstates the case.  Not sure how many trails disappear.  It generally takes a while before trails drop off the maps, in my experience.  Maybe Washington is just different, but it usually takes a couple decade before a trail is dropped off maps here. Also, many trails which are designated "unmaintained" actually do get serviced every few years.  Abandoned trails are a bit different


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 27 2014, 12:29 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

With all due respect I don't buy that dominoe theory. Outfitters don't want gas or oil rigs in their permitted areas, I also see keeping other people on trails as more people having to voice against resource extraction.

Fair enough Tarol. I do too, but I think ultimately Rumi is right in that we need more trail crews, volunteer and pros. Yeah, there's no money. Unless...more people care about it again.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 27 2014, 1:58 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

My experience is if the crosscut saw is sharp and properly tuned, it is almost as fast as a chainsaw, depending on experience.  The safety and cutting issues with a downed tree are the same whether a chainsaw or crosscut saw are used clearing trails.  But clearing downed trees are usually the easiest part of trail work.  Building trail strctures is much more time consuming and critical.  And repairing a section of trail which has washed away of similar is waaaay more time consuming than log out.

Rumi


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 27 2014, 6:34 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

QUOTE
Once you allow something with a motor on it like a
chainsaw to come into a Designated Wilderness Area,
all sorts of people with machines with motors on them
will use it as a reason

Possibly but exceptions are sometimes granted depending on degree of clearing and/or trail repair required.
I worked one place in OR where more than a mile of trail had been wiped off a very steep face. Handtools wielded by the 10-15 volunteers would have taken a couple of years. We were allowed to use walk-behind power machinery and did it in a little over 2 months.

QUOTE
The ultimate solution is that the US government needs to step up and fund more professional trail crews.

I disagree. We use the trails, WE should pay for maintenance and/or volunteer for repairs. It's not one of the government's jobs, nor should it be, to "maintain" wilderness for  convenience of access. Roads to boundaries, OK, access into, no.

QUOTE
But clearing downed trees are usually the easiest part of trail work.

Try an 8' diameter, 250' tall  (long) Douglas Fir lying across the trail on a 45° slope with a massive rootball on the upper end. That's not easy no matter what's used to cut it. Took an entire day due to safety issues. And no, there was no way to go around the ends.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 27 2014, 2:50 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Hungry Jack @ Jan. 26 2014, 11:08 am)
QUOTE
MLW's story is pretty galling. I have some isolated instances of similar ignorance with the community green space in our neighborhood. We had an opportunity--in reality a gift from the City--to create a neighborhood green space on a useless lot. I founded a non -profit organization to develop it. We exceeded our capital goals and expanded our scope to include beautifying the block with new trees and such. But there is always some knucklehead who complains about it because it's not their liking: It doesn't have a dog run! (insurance policy laws forbid it). The $40 tickets to the all-the-wine-and-cheese-you-can-consume fundraiser are too expensive (that's why they are called "fundraisers"). Homeless people are going to take it over! (hasn't happened yet).

And so on.

People are just idiots sometimes about this type of stuff.

Forgive me for finding these stories comical, I see similar almost every day. You will never please everyone and everyone wants their specific desires met, without having a cost to them.

Back to the OP, if we could fund lead trails workers positions (to train and lead volunteer crews) and volunteer cordinators to recruit and coordinate volunteers we would get more return for our money than we spend.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 27 2014, 3:33 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

It does seem like frontline people get cut, while office/overhead people multiply adding b$ to those who remain.

Here in PA we still have trails that probably have not been touched since the CCC (1930's) or maybe YCC (1970's). Most have volunteers - the Keystone Trails Association Trail Care and Trail Crew are cost-free to attendees who get themselves there - and in certain areas the mountain bike community does great work as well. The KTA needs a minimum staff to deal with the b$ that gets passed to the volunteers.

I don't have a problem anymore with the people who just want to hike and aren't able to make the time for trail work. Worse are the folks who never get out at all, who see no value in our green or wild spaces - or those who want to push the balance further to convert or despoil them for private profit, relying on the majority's indolent indifference.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 27 2014, 4:22 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I would like to see some permanently employed national forest trail crews as well as more backcountry rangers and backcountry naturalists.   Departments that had the life choked out of them during the Reagan administration and have remained so since.   If funding were up to American citizens as in the public and not in the hands of politicians and all the financial and corporate interests that pull their chains, such recreational needs would easily be supported.  

As for trail issues, I am not at all bothered by rough trails.   Even trails that have avalanche debris covering small sections of them or deadfall, hardly bother this person that is often rambling off trails anyway.   I can understand how some others especially equestrian users and trail runners would want  level, highly manicured quality trails.  

There really are not many trails in the High Sierra that are deteriorating to a level the rest of us would have issues with.  Every few decades major floods take out some key trail bridges that need to be replaced in order to not put people in danger by forcing them to otherwise water ford larger streams.  Equestrian user organizations often take care of deadfalls on mid forest elevation trails because they are the one's most affected.  The regions in California where I do appreciate trail work are low elevation Sierra foothill and coastal range mountain trails because of POISON OAK.  Many of our coastal trails have disgusting amounts of PO right beside trails that quickly push branches and vines out over trails making them impassable for the majority of us that are allergic.


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(ki0eh @ Jan. 27 2014, 1:33 pm)
QUOTE
It does seem like frontline people get cut, while office/overhead people multiply adding b$ to those who remain.

The KTA needs a minimum staff to deal with the b$ that gets passed to the volunteers.

I don't want to make this too political, but the issue at hand you refer to is often called "red tape". Nine times out of ten when a politician says they want to create more "gov. accountability" what they do is require more reports, accountants and bean counters or "red tape".

Some reports and reporting are good, it communicates information to our elected representatives and the public. Unfortunately at one point it becomes micromanagement and a ridiculous burden for all involved. IMO, the better solution is to focus on getting good leaders in positions of leadership and providing the folks the resources (for trails in this case) they need to do the tasks at hand.

With any large organization top-down micromanagement seems to do more harm than good.

We would do well to follow Teddy Roosevelt's line of thinking:

QUOTE
The best executive is one who has sense enough to pick good people to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.
Theodore Roosevelt
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 27 2014, 6:44 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

We need the equivalent of Washington Trails Assoc. in every state.

Whether trail work is volunteer driven or "staff" driven WTA, or a similar organization, creates the focus and public advocacy necessary for hikers to be an effective force.

I'm in WA, North Cascades, every summer and I notice the broad beneficial impact WTA has. (thanks Rumidude)

Here in Wisconsin we have two fine trail organizations -- the Ice Age Trail and the Northcountry Trail. They do great work but energy and attention gets focused on two linear trails -- and without a statewide "WTA" effective advocacy for other trails within the state is not always in high gear.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jan. 27 2014, 11:23 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Montanalonewolf @ Jan. 27 2014, 3:34 am)
QUOTE
QUOTE
The ultimate solution is that the US government needs to step up and fund more professional trail crews.
I disagree. We use the trails, WE should pay for maintenance and/or volunteer for repairs. It's not one of the government's jobs, nor should it be, to "maintain" wilderness for  convenience of access. Roads to boundaries, OK, access into, no.

Nope, yer flat wrong.  This isn't like disneyland with an entrance fee.  These are public lands and some are specifically set aside for recreation.  I don't expect a ten year old to have to pay for the trail in USFS or BLM.  There are already enough fees, we shouldn't have to pay for the maintenance as individuals.  The US government should pony up and pay more for professional crews, way more than presently doiing.  There is a place for volunteers, but there is also a place for the US government, i.e. the people of the US.

Rumi


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