Eagle Creek Overlook Hike

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retired jerry
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Re: Eagle Creek Overlook Hike

Post by retired jerry » May 10th, 2018, 12:26 pm

I wonder if there are any signs saying for non reservation people not to enter :)

Me - if my presence bothers anyone I'll go somewhere else, I don't care about rules, regulations, signs,...

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Dustin DuBois
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Re: Eagle Creek Overlook Hike

Post by Dustin DuBois » May 10th, 2018, 12:33 pm

Guy wrote:
May 10th, 2018, 12:02 pm
Sorry Dustin but I'm going to disagree with you unless you can point me to specific USFS information that states otherwise.

The public has every right to enter the area regardless of a reservation, take in the view and look around they just don't have the right to stay there overnight. Reserving a site or all sites there does not give you the right to keep others from entering the area.
When we rent it, we can lock the gate. That means that no vehicles are allowed to even go up the hill.
Why would it be okay to circumvent that on foot?

We don't rent "a site or all sites" in the area, we rent the whole area.

The Forest Service describes the area as a "campground", and states that it is available by reservation only. That seems pretty specific to me. It's not a mixed-use park or anything ambiguous.
https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/crgnsa/ ... ecid=29908

I have an email in to the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Headquarters seeking clarification (I tried to call and the desk guy didn't know, but said he'll have his manager call me back when he's in). I'll let you know what they say either way.

If I'm wrong, I'm wrong. But "reservation" means "reservation" to me.
If a table at a restaurant is reserved, you can get a different table, or wander to the bar, etc.
If the whole restaurant is reserved, you can't even enter. We reserve/rent the restaurant.
That's the whole point of this separate "Group" campground. The other Eagle Creek Campground by the hatchery is open to roaming and random camping.
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Guy
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Re: Eagle Creek Overlook Hike

Post by Guy » May 10th, 2018, 12:44 pm

Hey I'm happy to be corrected if it comes from USFS or some other official source. My understanding has just been different. I would have thought that if what you describe is the case then there would be a sign at the gate saying something like "no public admittance" when camp site is reserved or in use.

No need to speculate though we can just wait on the official word then we will both know :)
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Dustin DuBois
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Re: Eagle Creek Overlook Hike

Post by Dustin DuBois » May 10th, 2018, 1:13 pm

Guy wrote:
May 10th, 2018, 12:44 pm
Hey I'm happy to be corrected if it comes from USFS or some other official source. My understanding has just been different. I would have thought that if what you describe is the case then there would be a sign at the gate saying something like "no public admittance" when camp site is reserved or in use.

No need to speculate though we can just wait on the official word then we will both know :)
They've started putting somewhat useful signs at the gate in recent years, but then it's only been an issue in recent years (mostly due to people looking for overflow parking for the Eagle Creek Trailhead, or thinking that there is a trail connection to Eagle Creek Trail). Generally it's a laminated printer paper sign that has to be replaced. It's been almost a year since my last visit, so I can't remember it clearly, but there is definitely something on a sign about needing a reservation.

They probably need to make a more prominent permanent sign. If they'd open Exit 41, I'd go look this weekend lol (I suppose I could try to walk in from Cascade Locks, but there are fines for being in the closed-off areas). I think they're assuming that people will "get the point" from the gate, and what's available on the signs and on the Internet; rather than having to post a big orange sign with a list of pedantically specific details.

But something like a big orange pedantic sign might be closer to what's needed. There are more hikers than ever in the area (well, before last September), and it can be confusing to those who aren't familiar. Eagle Creek This, Eagle Creek That, Eagle Creek This Other Thing.

For the first 20ish years I attended (and the 10 or so years that my family was there before that), we never had to worry about strangers. Kids/pets could wander, we could leave our vehicles unlocked, etc - because we had reserved the whole campground and nobody else was supposed to come in (and they didn't). But, that was before hiking became more prevalent and the Eagle Creek Trail became such a crowded hit.

---

Regardless of what the CRGNSA HQ says about foot traffic (which may take a while to hear back about), we are permitted to lock the gate at the base of the hill, so I know vehicles aren't permitted to come-and-go without invitation when the location is rented. The rest of my inferences are currently rooted firmly in that fact.
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Water
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Re: Eagle Creek Overlook Hike

Post by Water » May 10th, 2018, 2:34 pm

I hear your concerns and definitely get the idea that you had it a certain way because nobody was 'supposed' to come up there. But if that isn't private land, and the FS doesn't have a sign explicitly saying you must have reserved the campground in order to go past this point, it's public land. You need a reservation to spend the night there.

A gate that negates car access doesn't mean foot traffic is verboten. By extension there's a gate at Windy Ridge in MSHNVM and hikers must walk from the parking lot unless you've paid the MSHI for a guided tour in which case they are allowed to drive to the end of the road to the small parking area actually on the pumic plain.

Using your reasoning state parks are by reservation only. If I reserved an entire loop at Fort Stevens St Park, all 55 or whatever campsites and camper parking spots etc, are you telling me I would be within my right to tell anyone who entered the loop who wasn't in my group that they were not allowed to walk there?

By this same extension firetower rentals are rented and have a lock to get in, but often you can access some parts of it without any lock combination. But people will come visit them, in summer or winter, when people are staying there. It's probably not polite to walk up into it without hearing from whoever is up there, but if they're not being threatening or something it's not like you can say they are trespassing on 'your' reserved lookout. The call would be "hey do you mind giving us some privacy? we've got this rented.." and hope they aren't a jerk. Or invite them up to see the view and chat (which lookout towers record in the logs quite often).

You mean well but I fear just because you've paid hundreds of dollars to have the 'campground' doesn't make your personal preference the law. Is it more on a per person basis than a couple who pays $160 to rent a lookout tower for a weekend, making good effort to ski or snowshoe to them only to have a group of snomos ride up and buzz all around the base multiple times throughout the weekend in winter?

Unless the FS supports you explicitly in confirming your interpretation I fear you'll have an uphill battle with this through the years ahead.
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Dustin DuBois
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Re: Eagle Creek Overlook Hike

Post by Dustin DuBois » May 10th, 2018, 2:41 pm

Water wrote:
May 10th, 2018, 2:34 pm
I hear your concerns .... [truncated]
Unless the FS supports you explicitly in confirming your interpretation I fear you'll have an uphill battle with this through the years.
And you're probably right, which is why I've contacted the CRGNSA HQ for clarification.

Because right now, there is entirely too much room for interpretation. It doesn't seem that way to me, but I understand your points and my own bias.

We shall see! My hope is that it remains private, because that's what makes this such a great space to rent. Otherwise, it'll ruin what we (and others) have had for decades. I can't see continuing camping there if it means more and more strangers wandering around.
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bobcat
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Re: Eagle Creek Overlook Hike

Post by bobcat » May 10th, 2018, 4:40 pm

Dustin, just let us know when you hear back from the CRGNSA on this. My experience with other such situations is that they can close road access but not foot access to historic sites such as this one. However, I'd be glad to modify anything in the FG based on the official word (and I've made a few minor modifications already).

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Dustin DuBois
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Re: Eagle Creek Overlook Hike

Post by Dustin DuBois » May 14th, 2018, 11:56 am

bobcat wrote:
May 10th, 2018, 4:40 pm
Dustin, just let us know when you hear back from the CRGNSA on this. My experience with other such situations is that they can close road access but not foot access to historic sites such as this one. However, I'd be glad to modify anything in the FG based on the official word (and I've made a few minor modifications already).
I have received a response.

From Diana Campos, a rep from FS/CRGNSA:
CRGNSA wrote:Hi,
When the Eagle Creek Overlook group site is occupied, the public should not go in there or around that area.
Thank you,

Diana Campos
Customer Service Representative
Forest Service
Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
Overlook.PNG
For reference, this is the question I sent:
Me wrote:When the Eagle Creek Overlook Group Campground is reserved and occupied by a renter, is the general public allowed access without invitation? Or are they to remain outside of the gate at the base of the hill that leads up to the campground?
---

So, please. From the beginning of May, all the way through the end of September (the site's reservation season), do not go beyond the gate, whether it's open or closed (including the foot-path that leads up to the campground) without a reservation (on foot or in a vehicle).
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Guy
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Re: Eagle Creek Overlook Hike

Post by Guy » May 14th, 2018, 12:06 pm

I stand corrected though admittedly a little disappointed Dustin. It's no big deal for me a local but for people visiting from other places visiting this historic building is now off limits to them and it may be their only opportunity to see it. I'm a little surprised USFS are allowed to enforce that.

I will abide by the rule of not entering "when the site is occupied" as noted in the e mail.

Thanks.
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Dustin DuBois
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Re: Eagle Creek Overlook Hike

Post by Dustin DuBois » May 14th, 2018, 12:26 pm

Guy wrote:
May 14th, 2018, 12:06 pm
I stand corrected though admittedly a little disappointed Dustin. It's no big deal for me a local but for people visiting from other places visiting this historic building is now off limits to them and it may be their only opportunity to see it. I'm a little surprised USFS are allowed to enforce that.

I will abide by the rule of not entering "when the site is occupied" as noted in the e mail.

Thanks.
It's because it's a National Scenic Area. Forest Service gets more control over it. Places of outstanding natural scenic value, that are also already in use by people. More heavily regulated. Protects the existing nature from the existing people (and probably the reverse).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_ ... ed_States)

Also, with this particular "group" campground, it's the money trade-off. They make more money off of it because you get the privacy when you rent, and the other seven months of the year it's completely open. There are other places where "groups" can camp, but you're also surrounded by other "groups". Like at the Deschutes River.

As for not entering "when the site is occupied", you may indeed come across times in the reservation season when it is unoccupied. If you're on foot, you're probably fine, but the gate will likely be locked. Since reservation is required during that 5 month span, don't be surprised if a forest service worker sends you back down the hill (especially if you happened to show up in the 2 hour buffer between reservations). It's incredibly rare that it's not occupied during the reservation months (trust me, it's not that easy to get decent reservations - and it's even occupied on weekdays, at probably a reduced cost), but I'm sure any FS workers would probably leave you be if you're not causing any issues while it's unoccupied (though that tends to be when they do cleanups/restocking/etc).

Of course, you can't always tell easily if it's occupied until you go where you aren't supposed to.
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