The Gorge's Fire Management Plan and Hiking's Future

General discussions on hiking in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest
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Guy
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Re: The Gorge's Fire Management Plan and Hiking's Future

Post by Guy » February 8th, 2018, 4:22 pm

Aimless wrote:Plants have used animals of all sorts to spread their seeds (and pollen) for countless millions of years. Humans are just one seed carrier among hundreds and hundreds, we just travel much further and much faster than most animals and therefore can spread exotics further and faster than squirrels, deer or birds. Exotics like English ivy or garlic mustard that already exist locally probably arrived via humans, but don't require any further human help to get around locally.
True but in a forest even on a trail we are particularly inefficient at seed dispersal. A seed is going to have far more luck attaching itself to a deer's coat than a hikers boot. In forests I would argue that deer, squirrels and especially birds are far better transport vectors than humans are.
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Re: The Gorge's Fire Management Plan and Hiking's Future

Post by bobcat » February 11th, 2018, 7:52 pm

Bosterson wrote:unless these nonprofit advocacy groups advocate a "disaster capitalism" model of using this as an excuse to push through drastic changes, permits and gates and other usage mitigation features are irrelevant from the standpoint of simply rebuilding and reopening the Gorge, which, it seems, is not going to happen very quickly.
Tom is speaking for himself on his blog and not for a "nonprofit advocacy group" (by which you probably mean TKO among others). I'm on the TKO Board, and I wouldn't advocate either of these suggestions for just the reasons you described; nor have these issues been discussed at TKO. Permitting is a tiresome, costly, bureaucratic process and, it would seem, incredibly impractical for areas right off a freeway. I'm guessing they'll simply close off Oneonta Gorge because of the very real rockfall danger. I remember watching an ashen-faced couple coming out of the gorge one winter (and they had only gone a short way in) talking of a "killer boulder" that almost crushed them. That danger will be magnified many-fold if the slopes above are denuded by fire. How they will police this I don't know, but I'm sure there will be big signs at least. Liability issues are very real, as the recent article in the Oregonian about trees falling on people confirms.

As for the tunnel, well, if they have all the money in the world, restore it but don't gate it. Possibly some private group will be generous. I hope it's not taxpayer money at least not until the trail system is back in order (My opinions, not TKO's, but also my vote in the very unlikely scenario that they are brought up at TKO).

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Re: The Gorge's Fire Management Plan and Hiking's Future

Post by justpeachy » February 12th, 2018, 4:41 pm

bobcat wrote:Liability issues are very real
The Forest Service is probably pretty wary about liability issues after the incident with the Sandy River bridge on the Ramona Falls Trail. I can't find any evidence online that the family filed a lawsuit, but I wouldn't be surprised.
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Guy
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Re: The Gorge's Fire Management Plan and Hiking's Future

Post by Guy » February 12th, 2018, 5:31 pm

bobcat wrote: Tom is speaking for himself on his blog and not for a "nonprofit advocacy group" (by which you probably mean TKO among others). I'm on the TKO Board, and I wouldn't advocate either of these suggestions for just the reasons you described; nor have these issues been discussed at TKO. Permitting is a tiresome, costly, bureaucratic process and, it would seem, incredibly impractical for areas right off a freeway. I'm guessing they'll simply close off Oneonta Gorge because of the very real rockfall danger. I remember watching an ashen-faced couple coming out of the gorge one winter (and they had only gone a short way in) talking of a "killer boulder" that almost crushed them. That danger will be magnified many-fold if the slopes above are denuded by fire. How they will police this I don't know, but I'm sure there will be big signs at least. Liability issues are very real, as the recent article in the Oregonian about trees falling on people confirms.

As for the tunnel, well, if they have all the money in the world, restore it but don't gate it. Possibly some private group will be generous. I hope it's not taxpayer money at least not until the trail system is back in order (My opinions, not TKO's, but also my vote in the very unlikely scenario that they are brought up at TKO).
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this bobcat.

Something needs to be done about the liability issue or we will never get back on the trails if everything has to be "made safe" first! Big signs saying enter at your own risk & liability, dangerous area" Something as simple as that should be enough! I know it wont be but it should be.
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Re: The Gorge's Fire Management Plan and Hiking's Future

Post by Aimless » February 12th, 2018, 5:46 pm

justpeachy wrote:I can't find any evidence online that the family filed a lawsuit, but I wouldn't be surprised.
My recollection is that such a suit was certainly spoken of in news stories at the time of the death as the family's intention, but whether a lawyer was hired, a suit filed, and the case put on a court docket is a much different matter than just talk of a lawsuit immediately after a traumatic death.

I imagine that part of the problem is that the Forest Service will seek a lawyer's opinion on how best to limit its liability and the inclination of most lawyers would be to advise the most conservative option available, so as not to bring trouble on their own heads if their advice proved to be less than completely effective. The ethic of CYA now dominates every institution large enough to afford a legal department.

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Re: The Gorge's Fire Management Plan and Hiking's Future

Post by Webfoot » February 12th, 2018, 11:21 pm

Guy wrote:Something needs to be done about the liability issue or we will never get back on the trails if everything has to be "made safe" first! Big signs saying enter at your own risk & liability, dangerous area" Something as simple as that should be enough! I know it wont be but it should be.
That appears to be acceptable elsewhere; I don't see why it can't be here too.
liability.png

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Guy
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Re: The Gorge's Fire Management Plan and Hiking's Future

Post by Guy » February 13th, 2018, 8:30 am

Webfoot wrote:
That appears to be acceptable elsewhere; I don't see why it can't be here too.

Image
Yep, that is all that should be required but unfortunately I bet it wont be.
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bobcat
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Re: The Gorge's Fire Management Plan and Hiking's Future

Post by bobcat » February 13th, 2018, 8:26 pm

Ambulance chasers will find a way turn a sign like that into pure gold, I'm sure . . . :

https://www.davislevin.com/results/wron ... uai-trail/

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Bosterson
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Re: The Gorge's Fire Management Plan and Hiking's Future

Post by Bosterson » February 13th, 2018, 11:03 pm

bobcat wrote:Ambulance chasers will find a way turn a sign like that into pure gold, I'm sure . . . :

https://www.davislevin.com/results/wron ... uai-trail/
Wow, that is pure gold (in many ways).
The two hikers, Elizabeth Brem of California and her cousin, Paula Gonzalez, of Colombia, South America, died after they fell 300 feet from a trail leading to Opaeka’a Falls in Waialua River State Park.
...
Some $425,000 goes to the family of Ramirez, who was 29 when she died.
....
Teresa Tico, attorney for the mother of Gonzalez, said the young woman “had a fiancé...
...
The state failed “to protect or warn Elizabeth Brem and Paula Ramirez against the extreme and hidden dangers it knew existed within the Opaeka’a Falls clearing and the trails originating in that area,” Watanabe ruled last April.
I would congratulate this law firm on their excellent handle on the second woman's last name, except...
The state has agreed to pay $15.4 million to settle a civil lawsuit filed by the families of two hikers who fell to their deaths on a Kauai hiking trail in 2006.
...
Brem, 35, was a securities attorney and partner in one of the nation’s largest law firms, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher.
...
$15 million of the settlement goes to Brem’s estate, said Davis.
...
Some $425,000 goes to the family of Ramirez [Gonzalez]...
So over 97% of the money goes to the family of the "superstar" lawyer and the other < 3% goes to the family of the non-American, presumably non-white woman whose last name the lawyer representing her can't keep straight in an article he published on his firm's website. Sweet.

</tangent>

So aside from the obvious fortune to be made ambulance chasing, this doesn't seem super applicable to the Gorge, unless the FS screws up the danger signage in a way that would lead people to walk off a cliff. It seems pretty reasonable that every TH in the Oregon Gorge could have a danger/not maintained/enter at own risk type sign that makes things pretty clear if they wanted to at least open some of the areas that they (clearly) will not get around to rebuilding this year.

For instance:
It is currently estimated that the PCT and Herman Creek Trail will remain closed between Wahtum Lake and Cascade Locks until mid-summer; the Eagle Creek Trail is expected to remain closed for the duration of 2018.
http://www.pctoregon.com/what-to-expect ... -pct-2018/

I can't see them rebuilding the Tanner Butte trail (one of the hardest hit areas) this year, as it's too remote and less popular than the PCT and high priority flip flopper Multnomah area trails. And Starvation Ridge is still closed even though the fire didn't make it that far east; when will they do the (presumably minor) amount of work on the Defiance trail needed to reopen the whole area out there? It seems like Defiance is low hanging fruit that could easily be finished so one area could be reopened within a reasonable amount of time. (And why is Viento closed when the actual fire closure boundary stops west of it at Starvation Creek?)
Will hike off trail for fun.

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Guy
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Re: The Gorge's Fire Management Plan and Hiking's Future

Post by Guy » February 14th, 2018, 6:33 am

Bosterson wrote:
I can't see them rebuilding the Tanner Butte trail (one of the hardest hit areas) this year, as it's too remote and less popular than the PCT and high priority flip flopper Multnomah area trails. And Starvation Ridge is still closed even though the fire didn't make it that far east; when will they do the (presumably minor) amount of work on the Defiance trail needed to reopen the whole area out there? It seems like Defiance is low hanging fruit that could easily be finished so one area could be reopened within a reasonable amount of time. (And why is Viento closed when the actual fire closure boundary stops west of it at Starvation Creek?)
Exactly!! There is no good reason that we have been told about at least. Except the thing that keeps popping up that "we have to keep it all closed because we can't police the trails" My own pet peeve Larch Mt & Sherrard Point still being closed to winter snow shoe trips yet there is nothing burned up there.
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