Forest Service punches hikers below the belt

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Webfoot
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Re: Forest Service punches hikers below the belt

Post by Webfoot » April 17th, 2019, 4:18 pm

aiwetir wrote:
April 17th, 2019, 11:46 am
I messaged my buddy at COTA about this. Maybe they have a hiking contingent or can provide for/create one.
I'm sure the Central Ohio Transit Authority will get right on that! :P

(what's COTA?)

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aiwetir
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Re: Forest Service punches hikers below the belt

Post by aiwetir » April 17th, 2019, 5:21 pm

Central Oregon Trails Alliance
https://www.cotamtb.com/

They've gone full MTB over at COTA but he said the Nordic club in central Oregon is more aligned with hiking and the Sisters Trails Alliance is not as active at the COTA crew but they do at least exist. It seems like one of those things where if people were interested enough to do it they would just have to do it.
- Michael

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Re: Forest Service punches hikers below the belt

Post by justpeachy » April 17th, 2019, 8:21 pm

kepPNW wrote:
April 17th, 2019, 4:04 pm
To be fair, that first quote is hardly bashing, right?
Fair enough. Point taken.
kepPNW wrote:
April 17th, 2019, 4:04 pm
So is there anyone at TKO that actually takes part in or reaches out to this, ostensibly their very own, community?
As I mentioned, there is only one full-time staff person. You can reach out to TKO via email to express your desire that someone respond to discussions on this forum.

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kepPNW
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Re: Forest Service punches hikers below the belt

Post by kepPNW » April 18th, 2019, 5:33 am

justpeachy wrote:
April 17th, 2019, 8:21 pm
kepPNW wrote:
April 17th, 2019, 4:04 pm
So is there anyone at TKO that actually takes part in or reaches out to this, ostensibly their very own, community?
As I mentioned, there is only one full-time staff person. You can reach out to TKO via email to express your desire that someone respond to discussions on this forum.
Right, and I'm pretty sure that person has never participated here, but other Board members certainly have over the years... I take it, by your response, that's no longer the case. That's unfortunate, given the mission statement. Hard to advocate for folks you don't reach out to, right? (Rhetorical, yeah.)

(Btw, were you aware both you and John are still listed as Board members on the TKO Home page?)
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Re: Forest Service punches hikers below the belt

Post by justpeachy » April 18th, 2019, 6:08 am

kepPNW wrote:
April 18th, 2019, 5:33 am
(Btw, were you aware both you and John are still listed as Board members on the TKO Home page?)
Yup. It'll get updated.

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Re: Forest Service punches hikers below the belt

Post by drm » April 18th, 2019, 7:45 am

It's hard to be a service organization and an advocacy organization at the same time. It happens to some degree, WTA advocates for larger budgets at the Washington legislature. But usually you find that an organization predominates in one or the other. I think to a large degree this has a personality side to it. The confrontational nature of advocacy is hard to mix with the collaborative nature of a service organization. It isn't just the relationship with who you are advocating with, like the FS. The people doing the service, i.e. maintaining trails for example, may differ widely on advocacy issues. If you take strong positions on controversial issues, people who feel otherwise probably won't participate in your trail maintenance trips. Hey, if people can drop off this website because the name it chooses, imagine how they feel if the group takes a side on a permitting issue. So while it is possible to mix both, and a few groups have done so successfully, it is much easier to do one or the other.

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Re: Forest Service punches hikers below the belt

Post by Charley » April 20th, 2019, 1:32 pm

I applaud the TKO for the necessary work that they do, and for charting a conservative plan for growth. Maybe in ten or twenty years time, they'll be as strong as the WTA.

That said, I had no idea that the TKO didn't even file a comment on the Central Oregon plan, and I don't even want to believe it. I've been a member of two different not-for-profit boards in the last half decade and if something this important came up for us, we'd be on it.

It would not take very long to look at the Central Oregon Wilderness Plan, get the gist of it, and decide that it's an overreaction. Following that, it would not take long to craft a simple statement to the effect that the TKO advocates for a less draconian, expensive, exclusionary, bureaucratic solution to overcrowding. Subsequently, directing the E.D. to attend a Forest Service meeting to simply agree with the Mazamas, would have been fairly easy.

That's the bare minimum, but it would have at least added another voice to the conversation, and it would have shown that the TKO wasn't going to get rolled by bureaucrats. It would have taken about two or three hours of Board Meeting time over a few months, and day or two or work for the E.D. Too late now.

I know all about volunteer boards directing a single employee or a few employees. Taking a stand on such an important issue is easy, and I can't believe that the TKO didn't think it was important enough to even lodge a comment.

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Re: Forest Service punches hikers below the belt

Post by Bosterson » April 20th, 2019, 2:11 pm

Charley wrote:
April 20th, 2019, 1:32 pm
I know all about volunteer boards directing a single employee or a few employees. Taking a stand on such an important issue is easy, and I can't believe that the TKO didn't think it was important enough to even lodge a comment.
Matt's earlier comment gets at the crux of your conundrum: TKO has a vested interest in maintaining a "friendly" relationship with the USFS in order to continue getting the volunteer-work trail projects it needs.
Matt wrote:They're in a no-win situation where they must maintain relationships with the FS in order to operate yet supporting FS policies causes access issues, decrease in FS work, and detriment to their member/user-base.
I've been trying to make that exact argument to TKO people on here for years and it falls on deaf ears. The organization has embedded itself in a way that prevents it from being an advocate for the hiking community. If they think this is a mischaracterization, TKO people have had numerous opportunities here to set the record straight about their advocacy platform whenever this topic comes up, and they consistently duck and weave and claim that they don't have an official position or aren't able to engage. Trails surely need work, and from a pragmatic perspective I suppose you could argue that even if the Forest Service should be funding its own trailwork, and just focusing on fixing trails misses the bigger picture, trail conditions are better with TKO than without TKO. But if that's all they do, it's disingenuous for them to then also claim they advocate for our larger interests rather than just being a Forest Service trailwork proxy. You don't have to strain your eyes to see through the facade.
Charley wrote:
April 20th, 2019, 1:32 pm
Subsequently, directing the E.D. to attend a Forest Service meeting to simply agree with the Mazamas, would have been fairly easy.
Seriously. :roll:
Will hike off trail for fun.

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Guy
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Re: Forest Service punches hikers below the belt

Post by Guy » April 20th, 2019, 4:06 pm

Charley wrote:
April 20th, 2019, 1:32 pm

It would not take very long to look at the Central Oregon Wilderness Plan, get the gist of it, and decide that it's an overreaction. Following that, it would not take long to craft a simple statement to the effect that the TKO advocates for a less draconian, expensive, exclusionary, bureaucratic solution to overcrowding. Subsequently, directing the E.D. to attend a Forest Service meeting to simply agree with the Mazamas, would have been fairly easy.
The fact that this did not happen makes me wonder if they are in agreement with USFS. It's hard to believe they could not even send one letter like many of us did, As a hiking organization I have to believe their letter would have carried more weight than mine.
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Charley
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Re: Forest Service punches hikers below the belt

Post by Charley » April 22nd, 2019, 7:35 pm

I just checked the TKO website (looks very nice!) to make sure that I wasn't speaking out of my backside. In other words, I checked their mission statement to double check that "advocacy" is included in the text (not just "maintenance"), and that "hikers" is also in there (not just "trails"). Here's what I found:

The Mission Statement:
Inspiring action for the protection and enhancement of the Oregon hiking experience through advocacy, stewardship, outreach and education.
Note "the Oregon hiking experience."

And then some specifics about advocacy means for the organization:
TKO is actively committed to promoting hikers’ interests in Oregon by:

Representing hikers when advocating to state and federal agencies, elected officials and other organizations that impact the hiking experience
...
Advocate for a range of trails and hiking experiences that are accessible and available to all people, regardless of income level, ethnicity, gender, ability or age.
Ensure that access to trails is provided on an equitable basis to all communities served by public agencies under the principle that it is a right, not just a privilege, for people to have safe healthful access to their public lands.
On the face of it, taking a stand on the COW plan is a no brainer, entirely within the written intent of their governing documents. I understand it's difficult to advocate against the decisions (however radical they may be) of the professional bureaucracy while also depending on their good graces to provide volunteer work, but it certainly must be possible to draft a statement that is polite yet firm.

I think the TKO failed to take a stand on this issue, thus failing to live up to its own mission.

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