Forest Service punches hikers below the belt

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retired jerry
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Re: Forest Service punches hikers below the belt

Post by retired jerry » April 15th, 2019, 7:48 am

maybe that's a partial explanation for Forest Service's attitude to restrict use when it gets crowded

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drm
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Re: Forest Service punches hikers below the belt

Post by drm » April 15th, 2019, 10:52 am

Visitation to the central Oregon areas commented on elsewhere has increased dramatically in recent years. Between 2011 and 2016, permits issued increased by about a factor of about 5 for Tam McArthur. That's a massive increase, though the length of the season also increased. Lots more people going in June so the ratio of visitorship in August was probably a bit lower than 5.

I think it's important to remember that the views of hardcore hikers on a website like this don't necessarily correspond to everybody else. My subjective impression is that frequent visitors are more focused on ease and cost while less frequent visitors prioritize solitude a bit more, including solitude in popular places. And there is a lot more of them. And as I have mentioned before, the public massively prioritizes bathrooms. No matter how you ask or when you ask, they are always near the top priority. Not so much here.

So sometimes the FS does stuff you don't like because you are in the minority.

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Water
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Re: Forest Service punches hikers below the belt

Post by Water » April 15th, 2019, 12:41 pm

justpeachy wrote:
April 15th, 2019, 6:55 am
Water wrote:
April 11th, 2019, 10:22 am
imo WTA, TKO, and Mazamas to some extent (they have less of a relationship with FS and have at times brought their resources to advocate for preventing additional restrictions) have carried water for the FS for years, being a 'partner' as the FS offloads more and more responsibilities.
If these organizations went away or stopped doing what they're doing, what evidence is there at the Forest Service has the resources to pick up that slack?
And that is part of my point, at what point did the FS decide to abdicate their actual job responsibilities to external parties? Is this just a government SOP? You stop doing the work you need to and some outside org sees the detriment and picks up someone else's work. You think those orgs will take positions that are in conflict with FS policy? They have to keep that relationship smooth. The FS can make a policy with negative ramifications for people, but will WTA bring their power to confront the FS on it/advocate against?
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Re: Forest Service punches hikers below the belt

Post by kepPNW » April 15th, 2019, 6:42 pm

Water wrote:
April 15th, 2019, 12:41 pm
at what point did the FS decide to abdicate their actual job responsibilities to external parties?
I'd suggest this was the turning point...
Ronald Reagan wrote:The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help.
Nothing's been the same, since. :cry:
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Re: Forest Service punches hikers below the belt

Post by drm » April 16th, 2019, 6:41 am

The Forest Service started handing its jobs to others as it faced budget cuts. Most local facilities have 10-20% of the staff they had 30 years ago for regular activities (i.e. not fire fighting). The FS and those allied groups deal with stuff at a very pragmatic level. The Federal government has never prioritized recreation outside of national parks, and most states aren't any better.

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Re: Forest Service punches hikers below the belt

Post by justpeachy » April 16th, 2019, 6:47 am

Water wrote:
April 15th, 2019, 12:41 pm
at what point did the FS decide to abdicate their actual job responsibilities to external parties?
When they had to make cuts. The Forest Service budget is not what it once was, and now they have to spend a huge chunk on fighting fires besides. Recreation funding has taken a hit as a result, and I don't see that changing anytime soon.

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Water
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Re: Forest Service punches hikers below the belt

Post by Water » April 16th, 2019, 8:48 am

The FS can make a policy with negative ramifications for people, but will WTA bring their power to confront the FS on it/advocate against?
anyone with any affiliation with TKO, WTA, able to answer this? As an advocate for hikers why wouldn't TKO have submitted objections for the clearly onerous Central Cascades Access change? It would seem TKO tacitly endorses that plan if they represent Oregon Hikers. That may be fine but TKO should state their position on issues that directly affect access. It's not really a big ask.

From TKO's advocacy page:
Oregon’s trail legacy is in trouble. For decades, our trail system has been underfunded and disrupted by logging and road-building. Today’s system is less than half of what existed only a few decades ago, while the hiking population has exploded, leaving many trails crowded and showing the effects of overuse.
Now isn't that an interesting thing, if today's system is less than half of what existed a few decades ago, and we're pointing left and right to increased usage, and the solution is to further restrict usage? Really? I mean I've tried nothing and I'm all out of ideas.
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Re: Forest Service punches hikers below the belt

Post by bobcat » April 17th, 2019, 7:32 am

Water wrote:
April 16th, 2019, 8:48 am
That may be fine but TKO should state their position on issues that directly affect access. It's not really a big ask.
I was on the TKO Board when the Central Cascades permitting issue appeared on a meeting agenda (I have since stepped down). There was little discussion because other Board members were not prepped, and I was the one who ended up summarizing the proposal even though I had not initially put it on the agenda. Thus, no position was taken since the item was given about 10 minutes, tops. However, I have to say that TKO has no relationship at all with the Willamette and Deschutes N.F., so they probably wouldn't even know who we are. The irony is that the better and closer the relationship we have (with the USFS, that happens at the ranger district level), the more effective we can be at advocacy. No relationship, no impact.

Yes, I long for the day when TKO follows a nimble and consistent procedure to take considered public stands on issues such as these. This is not in place yet. As an organization, TKO has really only gained some regional stature in the past year or so as we've managed to ramp up trail work, but then again our "influence," if you can call it that, radiates only about 100 miles from Portland on the Oregon side of the river.

As for "trail legacy," it took ten years for the Old Vista Ridge Trail to be officially declared open again (after TKO's initial guerrilla incursions), numbered, and put on the USFS lists. That's the sort of timeline you're looking at. And we had to sign a contract to say we'd maintain it in perpetuity. And who knows what internal red tape the Hood River rangers had to go through to make it a reality. Much appreciation to them for pushing it through, though.

So ... to take your second point, expanding or reopening abandoned trails on Forest Service land means that the advocacy organization is the one that has to commit to keep those trails open, which means it's their capacity that will be taxed, not the government's. More members/volunteers, please?

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Re: Forest Service punches hikers below the belt

Post by kepPNW » April 17th, 2019, 7:42 am

bobcat wrote:
April 17th, 2019, 7:32 am
Water wrote:
April 16th, 2019, 8:48 am
That may be fine but TKO should state their position on issues that directly affect access. It's not really a big ask.
I was on the TKO Board when the Central Cascades permitting issue appeared on a meeting agenda (I have since stepped down). There was little discussion because other Board members were not prepped, and I was the one who ended up summarizing the proposal even though I had not initially put it on the agenda. Thus, no position was taken since the item was given about 10 minutes, tops. However, I have to say that TKO has no relationship at all with the Willamette and Deschutes N.F., so they probably wouldn't even know who we are. The irony is that the better and closer the relationship we have (with the USFS, that happens at the ranger district level), the more effective we can be at advocacy. No relationship, no impact.
Ten minutes on an agenda item that will impact the nominal area of interest, and the stakeholders this organization exists for, for generations to come? Seriously? And not another Board member cared to even be somewhat familiar with it coming in? How embarrassing for TKO!

Perhaps the greater irony is that it's now been over four years since TKO changed the name of this forum from PortlandHikers to OregonHikers, and yet the focus hasn't seemed to change whatsoever. All that was accomplished was insulting a good many members, and driving them elsewhere.
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Guy
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Re: Forest Service punches hikers below the belt

Post by Guy » April 17th, 2019, 7:54 am

bobcat wrote:
April 17th, 2019, 7:32 am

As for "trail legacy," it took ten years for the Old Vista Ridge Trail to be officially declared open again (after TKO's initial guerrilla incursions), numbered, and put on the USFS lists. That's the sort of timeline you're looking at. And we had to sign a contract to say we'd maintain it in perpetuity. And who knows what internal red tape the Hood River rangers had to go through to make it a reality. Much appreciation to them for pushing it through, though.
Thanks for everything that you do bobcat I know that you have the best interests of hikers at heart.

The problem I have with TKO is that it seems to take the the USFS side of things rather than advocate for hikers and access. The Old Vista Ridge trail is a great example. The Guerrilla actions that galvanized the organization into being would not even be sanctioned or condoned by TKO today!

Also at the request of USFS we are no longer even allowed to post such unsanctioned actions of trail repair on this website.
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