Gorge closure order

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Bosterson
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Re: Gorge closure order

Post by Bosterson » October 17th, 2017, 2:26 pm

BigBear wrote:note: climbing ropes are not guaranteed past 2 or 3 falls...not sure if they are guaranteed for purposeful jumping
This isn't true. Most "single" ropes (vs double, twin) are rated (this is not equivalent to "guaranteed") between 5-10 "UIAA falls" using a factor 1.78 standardized test, which is a much more severe type of fall than one normally encounters. It would be impossible to produce a fall factor > 1.0 by jumping off of from the location of the anchor, since you would fall exactly the distance of the amount of slack in the rope, plus rope stretch. A factor 1 fall might put some stress on the anchor (depending on how it's built, and the distance of the fall), but wouldn't be a big deal for a normal dynamic climbing rope.
BigBear wrote:The outrageous part of the Eagle Creek Fire trail closures is that the kid who admitted to starting the fire (a class A felony punishable to 20 years in prison, as per the Bend Bulletin covering wildfires in that part of the state) has received no fines...but, people walking on the trails are receiving fines up to $1,000. It's not that I'm condoning the illegal hikers, but what's up with the arsonist not being charged???? Hello!?!
Note that these hiking citations are not felonies, the latter requiring criminal charges be brought. Considering that citations are being issued by law enforcement officers who actively encounter people violating the closure, rather than being based on testimony by other hikers who might have witnessed a violation in the past, it seems likely that since the kid was identified after the fact based on eyewitness testimony (which, not specific to this case, generally is plagued by inaccuracies) and the confession was obtained from a minor potentially facing criminal charges without a lawyer present or being read Miranda rights or having been charged, law enforcement is taking their time charging the "arsonist" because they want to make sure they have all their ducks in a row.
#pnw #bestlife #bitingflies #favoriteyellowcap #neverdispleased

bushwhacker
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Re: Gorge closure order

Post by bushwhacker » October 17th, 2017, 3:20 pm

I couldn't help but think back to a couple of years ago when I was over in the Bridger Wilderness in Wyoming. The idea was to branch off from the CDT and up the Halls Lake trail then cross country over to Halls Lake. Well a quarter miles or so from the CDT/Halls Lake junction there was this sign:
DSCF0520b.jpg
The fire wasn't as big as the Eagle Creek fire. More on the order of the East Crater fire. And it was activily burning. But still none of the trails were closed. Just this sign. Sort of "continue at your own risk". Just an interesting observation on the thinking of the FS in Wyoming vs Oregon. And probably more so of the experience level of the travelers over there. Hard to blame the FS here in Oregon for closing everything down. If they opened up those trails and someone in their flip-flops stubbed their toe on a blacken log or rock they would be calling one of the SAR groups for a UBER lift out.

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Water
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Re: Gorge closure order

Post by Water » October 17th, 2017, 4:04 pm

Lurch wrote:
Water wrote:like 6 years later off trail travel, any camping along trail, is banned along pole creek/east side of 3 sisters..

the elk do 1000 times more damage every day and nip every last bit of fresh growth and emerging vegetation along the riparian areas.

but following a unofficial trail, that existing well before the fire, and is still visible and mostly able to be followed after the fire, is a federal crime.
I think you may be missing the point of a wilderness area.
Please, elucidate the point of wilderness areas that require strict on-trail travel and no camping in perpetuity? I seemed to have missed it in the 40 other wilderness areas I've been that allow both of those activities.
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Don Nelsen
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Re: Gorge closure order

Post by Don Nelsen » October 17th, 2017, 5:42 pm

bushwhacker wrote:I couldn't help but think back to a couple of years ago when I was over in the Bridger Wilderness in Wyoming. The idea was to branch off from the CDT and up the Halls Lake trail then cross country over to Halls Lake. Well a quarter miles or so from the CDT/Halls Lake junction there was this sign:
DSCF0520b.jpg
The fire wasn't as big as the Eagle Creek fire. More on the order of the East Crater fire. And it was activily burning. But still none of the trails were closed. Just this sign. Sort of "continue at your own risk". Just an interesting observation on the thinking of the FS in Wyoming vs Oregon. And probably more so of the experience level of the travelers over there. Hard to blame the FS here in Oregon for closing everything down. If they opened up those trails and someone in their flip-flops stubbed their toe on a blacken log or rock they would be calling one of the SAR groups for a UBER lift out.
I remember several fires in the gorge over the years and don't remember any closures post fire. Even the one in Oct. of '91 that scorched an area from Multnomah Falls to Angel's Rest didn't result in closed trails. I hiked Angels Rest, Wahkeena and even the Perdition Trail while a few trees were still smoldering. There was no problem: no rocks came tumbling down, no trees or branches fell. Most of that came much later during heavy rain, wind and time that rotted the damaged trees. I think the FS is overreacting to the extreme and costing taxpayers a fortune in manpower costs to police this mostly unnecessary closure. They have also destroyed or severely damaged Gorge businesses due to their extreme reactions. I admit, some trails, due to the increased popularity over the past few years might be looked at more carefully such as the touristy ones like Eagle Creek and Angels' Rest but most others and most of the closed areas need to be opened up.

We all accept the inherent dangers of hiking when we go out: Rock slides, falling limbs and trees, wild animals, cliffs, weather, etc. etc. I haven't needed a mother to watch over me for over 50 years and I certainly don't need one now. What is wrong with "continue at your own risk"?


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drm
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Re: Gorge closure order

Post by drm » October 18th, 2017, 6:04 am

bushwhacker wrote:Sort of "continue at your own risk". Just an interesting observation on the thinking of the FS in Wyoming vs Oregon.
It might be Wyoming vs Oregon but I have seen that Forest Service cultures and how decision-makers in them react, varies a lot by each forest, sometimes for two of them next to each other. Some people think that being a Federal agency, everything they do is mandated from Washington DC, but I think the individual in a position to make decisions has a lot of leeway.

I also wonder if the fact that the Gorge is a national scenic area, and not a national forest, has an impact, even though FS personnel do the management.
Don Nelson wrote:I remember several fires in the gorge over the years and don't remember any closures post fire. Even the one in Oct. of '91 that scorched an area from Multnomah Falls to Angel's Rest didn't result in closed trails.
The march of time, new people and new pressures. In my recent visit to Mt Rainier NP, I wondered how far back I would have to go to get to a time when the park did not require permits to spend the night in the backcountry. I'm guessing the 50s or 60s. Anybody know?

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Re: Gorge closure order

Post by Lurch » October 18th, 2017, 7:58 am

Water wrote:
Lurch wrote:
Water wrote:like 6 years later off trail travel, any camping along trail, is banned along pole creek/east side of 3 sisters..

the elk do 1000 times more damage every day and nip every last bit of fresh growth and emerging vegetation along the riparian areas.

but following a unofficial trail, that existing well before the fire, and is still visible and mostly able to be followed after the fire, is a federal crime.
I think you may be missing the point of a wilderness area.
Please, elucidate the point of wilderness areas that require strict on-trail travel and no camping in perpetuity? I seemed to have missed it in the 40 other wilderness areas I've been that allow both of those activities.
This isn't really the thread to go down the rabbit hole of wilderness regulations, but your original post seemed more like a complaint that it's unfair that the wildlife gets to damage the wilderness, by being alive, but people are asked not to. If they're noticing an impact that's deemed detrimental to the inherent wildness of the wilderness, is it not their duty to enforce and protect its wilderness character, and mitigate the imprint of man, per the mandate in the actual Wilderness Act?

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Re: Gorge closure order

Post by Lurch » October 18th, 2017, 9:15 am

Don Nelsen wrote:I remember several fires in the gorge over the years and don't remember any closures post fire. Even the one in Oct. of '91 that scorched an area from Multnomah Falls to Angel's Rest didn't result in closed trails. I hiked Angels Rest, Wahkeena and even the Perdition Trail while a few trees were still smoldering. There was no problem: no rocks came tumbling down, no trees or branches fell. Most of that came much later during heavy rain, wind and time that rotted the damaged trees. I think the FS is overreacting to the extreme and costing taxpayers a fortune in manpower costs to police this mostly unnecessary closure. They have also destroyed or severely damaged Gorge businesses due to their extreme reactions. I admit, some trails, due to the increased popularity over the past few years might be looked at more carefully such as the touristy ones like Eagle Creek and Angels' Rest but most others and most of the closed areas need to be opened up.

We all accept the inherent dangers of hiking when we go out: Rock slides, falling limbs and trees, wild animals, cliffs, weather, etc. etc. I haven't needed a mother to watch over me for over 50 years and I certainly don't need one now. What is wrong with "continue at your own risk"?


Just MHO
Sorry, but I wouldn't equate those two fires at all. That was 1,600 acres, this is almost 49,000. You've currently got nearly every drainage in the gorge with serious damage to it. 'Continue at your own risk' doesn't cut it here, A: most people don't understand the risks that they're taking, and B: The risks aren't always apparent. You could be hiking in untouched forest, and have an entire ridgeline of compromised slope above you give way. It is going to happen, there are going to be slides that dramatically alter / bury trails out there. There are thousands of hazard trees, that most people outside of the fire/rescue/timber occupations wouldn't bat an eye at. Burnt ground cover destabilizes the ground, making it prone to slides. Lack of water absorption increases runoff, increasing erosion, increasing slides. Tree fall blocks and reroutes traditional water flows, increasing erosion, increasing slides. One post-burn study I was reading for an older burn elsewhere in Oregon had peak drainage flows for the year after the fire anywhere from 2x the flow rate, to 90 times the water flow. We have huge drainages that were dramatically effected by this, so yes, the whole thing is a hazard area. It's also a wilderness area, so now is the time we get to practice what we preach and let nature play itself out.

Nothing remotely on this scale has been seen in the gorge for over 100 years. The Yacolt burn was before most of these trails were put in, and not nearly as impactful on the Oregon side as this one. I'm sorry, but pretending there isn't a hazard, or that somehow your wilderness skills will let you dodge a rock fall or debris flows is just insane. For the few that do understand the risks, there are thousands that don't, and will gladly follow you around the closure signs.

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Don Nelsen
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Re: Gorge closure order

Post by Don Nelsen » October 18th, 2017, 11:04 am

Lurch wrote: Sorry, but I wouldn't equate those two fires at all. That was 1,600 acres, this is almost 49,000. You've currently got nearly every drainage in the gorge with serious damage to it. 'Continue at your own risk' doesn't cut it here, A: most people don't understand the risks that they're taking, and B: The risks aren't always apparent. You could be hiking in untouched forest, and have an entire ridgeline of compromised slope above you give way. It is going to happen, there are going to be slides that dramatically alter / bury trails out there. There are thousands of hazard trees, that most people outside of the fire/rescue/timber occupations wouldn't bat an eye at. Burnt ground cover destabilizes the ground, making it prone to slides. Lack of water absorption increases runoff, increasing erosion, increasing slides. Tree fall blocks and reroutes traditional water flows, increasing erosion, increasing slides. One post-burn study I was reading for an older burn elsewhere in Oregon had peak drainage flows for the year after the fire anywhere from 2x the flow rate, to 90 times the water flow. We have huge drainages that were dramatically effected by this, so yes, the whole thing is a hazard area. It's also a wilderness area, so now is the time we get to practice what we preach and let nature play itself out.

Nothing remotely on this scale has been seen in the gorge for over 100 years. The Yacolt burn was before most of these trails were put in, and not nearly as impactful on the Oregon side as this one. I'm sorry, but pretending there isn't a hazard, or that somehow your wilderness skills will let you dodge a rock fall or debris flows is just insane. For the few that do understand the risks, there are thousands that don't, and will gladly follow you around the closure signs.
The relative size of the two fires is immaterial. With the sole exception of possible flood events the potential dangers per given area are the same: Steep slopes, hazard trees, destabilized soil, etc. etc. I'm not pretending there isn't a hazard, there is, and I'm not suggesting I am immune to those hazards. What I am saying is that the threat of danger is dramatically overblown. We are at more risk of harm driving to the grocery store than we are in hiking anywhere regardless of whether that area has recently burned or not.

I've hiked every trail many times and even more mileage off-trail in the affected area and agree that there are some problem areas that tourists might blunder into that need some consideration - for the time being. For example, Eagle Creek, Oneonta trail below Triple Falls and perhaps a few others but to close such a vast area in its entirety is ridiculous. How many trees fell and injured anyone after the '91 fire? I don't remember any of the burned trees being cut either. Most have fallen due to decay, storms etc. and the areas burned then were and are the most travelled in the entire gorge. Did any ridgelines collapse? - No, and no rockslides of much consequence until years later and even that was due to an extreme weather event that broke records all over the region. There may be "thousands of hazard trees" but are you suggesting the area be closed until those trees are cut down or fall naturally? If that policy is adhered to, eventually there will be nowhere left to hike since eventually all or most of our wilderness areas are going to suffer more fires.

While we are on the subject of closures, why in the world is the area around East Crater still closed. The fire is long out and there are no steep slopes where the trails are located. This is just another example of gross overreaction.

We can't protect everyone from all hazards in life and it is foolish to even try. We, as a society accept a certain amount of risk and that subject alone is worthy of volumes of discussion but let's put this in perspective and move on.

dn

(Edits for typos)
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drm
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Re: Gorge closure order

Post by drm » October 18th, 2017, 3:22 pm

Lurch wrote:You've currently got nearly every drainage in the gorge with serious damage to it.
That's not what the intensity maps indicate. It seems that high intensity burn is limited to a few areas. From what I saw, there was no high intensity burn anywhere in Herman Creek, and the upper half didn't burn at all. I could imagine that the folks responsible for making these decisions are overwhelmed so I'm not concerned that these areas are not open now, but I would expect that at some point this fall, low intensity impact areas, where trees are still there to the anchor the soil, should be opened.

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Eric Peterson
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Re: Gorge closure order

Post by Eric Peterson » October 18th, 2017, 4:14 pm

Don I agree, the far flung extent of this closure is bordering on absurd.

I'm mainly talking about Wyeth all the way to Wygant being closed. I can see where flip floppers probably should be restricted in the hardest hit areas due to the issues Lurch mentioned above etc...

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