NW Forest Pass and Missing Amenities

General discussions on hiking in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest
User avatar
cunningkeith
Posts: 185
Joined: June 26th, 2010, 4:28 am
Location: Portland

NW Forest Pass and Missing Amenities

Post by cunningkeith » February 20th, 2019, 7:55 am

We’ve had a few hot topics about new hiking/parking fees in the Columbia River Gorge and Central Oregon. This got me thinking about our old friend, the NW Forest Pass.

The Forest Service’s legal authority to charge for the NWFP at wilderness trailheads is clearly limited to sites that have all of the following:
“A permanent toilet facility” AND
“A permanent trash receptacle” AND
“Picnic tables”
16 USC § 6802

Here is the current list of sites that charge:
https://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/r6/p ... width=full

Question: In your experience hiking at trailheads that require the NWFP, do they always have these three items? If not, please list the trailhead that you have visited and which item it lacks (permanent toilet, permanent trash, or picnic tables). Thanks!

P.S. There is separate authority that says you have to use these facilities to be charged for the NWFP, but I am asking a simpler question: Do these sites even have the items to begin with?

User avatar
retired jerry
Posts: 12700
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Re: NW Forest Pass and Missing Amenities

Post by retired jerry » February 20th, 2019, 8:03 am

quick scan - yes, they have the three amenities - Cloud Cap, Badger Creek, Burnt Lake North, Ramona Falls,...

Another story - they should be able to use NWFP fees to maintain trails, not have to have those amenities. Or, better yet, fund it from federal income tax. Either of those require congressional action. But we've discussed all that before ad nauseam :)

Aimless
Posts: 1451
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:02 pm
Location: Lake Oswego

Re: NW Forest Pass and Missing Amenities

Post by Aimless » February 20th, 2019, 8:37 am

I'm not clear what the courts have defined as falling in the category of "permanent toilet facility". Sometimes there are one or more porta-potties located at a trailhead serving this purpose and if they are well-maintained I can't see getting all up in arms because they aren't a permanent structure. I've seen some "permanent" outhouses far worse than the average porta-potty. For me the issue is functionality, not permanence.

User avatar
Bosterson
Posts: 1915
Joined: May 18th, 2009, 3:17 pm
Location: Portland

Re: NW Forest Pass and Missing Amenities

Post by Bosterson » February 20th, 2019, 9:25 am

Looking at the Gorge trailheads, it's surprising how few apparently require the pass now. (It used to be "all" of them based on the FS's assertion that the whole area was like one big TH and the amenities for one TH could be down the road at another and still count. They seem to have dropped that premise.)

Dog, Eagle Creek, Bridge of the Gods, Wyeth, and the Larch Mtn summit THs obviously have all the amenities. I cannot recall if Herman Creek and Bonneville have picnic tables (they have bathrooms and trash cans). Herman may have its picnic tables slightly down the road from the TH parking area, in which case one might ask whether a reasonable person driving to the TH and parking in the main parking area would consider a picnic area back down the road to be included for fee purposes when that spot isn't relevant for hiking.

I am pretty sure that Wahclella does not have a picnic table. It has a trash can and a "permanent" porta-pottie. If there were a table it would have to be down the trail, since that TH is so tiny where would they put it?

Ape Canyon in MSH does not have any amenities, I don't think. All the amenities are possibly at the Lava Canyon Interpretive Site, which is nearby around a bend in the road, but again that is reasonably a separate area for someone driving to Ape Canyon just to hike.
Will hike off trail for fun.

User avatar
cunningkeith
Posts: 185
Joined: June 26th, 2010, 4:28 am
Location: Portland

Re: NW Forest Pass and Missing Amenities

Post by cunningkeith » February 20th, 2019, 10:12 am

Aimless wrote:
February 20th, 2019, 8:37 am
I'm not clear what the courts have defined as falling in the category of "permanent toilet facility". Sometimes there are one or more porta-potties located at a trailhead serving this purpose and if they are well-maintained I can't see getting all up in arms because they aren't a permanent structure. I've seen some "permanent" outhouses far worse than the average porta-potty. For me the issue is functionality, not permanence.
“The Forest Service's definition of the term ‘permanent toilet facility’ to include port-a-potties, even if they are predictably present at a site during its open season, is simply not persuasive . . . .” Wiechers v. Moore (E.D. Cal. Apr. 10, 2014)

Aimless
Posts: 1451
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:02 pm
Location: Lake Oswego

Re: NW Forest Pass and Missing Amenities

Post by Aimless » February 20th, 2019, 10:46 am

If that is quoting from the judge's opinion, then I guess for that judge the issue is permanence, not functionality. Using that definition, I think OH.org members can probably identify a fair number of PNW trailheads that do not sport "permanent toilet facilities", yet the FS states that they require a NWFP. Let's pool all your $30 annual fees* and sue!

*I have a Senior Interagency Pass, and no longer need to buy the NWFP. Sorry.

User avatar
retired jerry
Posts: 12700
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Re: NW Forest Pass and Missing Amenities

Post by retired jerry » February 20th, 2019, 11:32 am

Heyyy... you're just trying to rile people up

For some reason, with the NWFP it's easy to do

Permanent - "lasting or intended to last or remain unchanged indefinitely"

each year they put up the port-a-potty. Unchanged indefinitely. Every summer it's the same.

They did a construction project on my house. They had a port-a-potty put in for a couple weeks. That's temporary.

The old wooden outhouses lasted a few decades before they have to be replaced. Does that mean they're not permanent? No human structures are permanent if you want to think of it that way. In 4 billion years the sun will become a red giant and consume the earth, so therefor the earth isn't permanent.

Okay, I'm probably just trolling :)

CMH
Posts: 28
Joined: June 18th, 2016, 1:13 pm

Re: NW Forest Pass and Missing Amenities

Post by CMH » February 20th, 2019, 2:03 pm

Dog Mt. only has picnic table, not picnic tables.

User avatar
Guy
Posts: 3280
Joined: May 10th, 2009, 4:42 pm
Location: The Foothills of Mt Hood
Contact:

Re: NW Forest Pass and Missing Amenities

Post by Guy » February 20th, 2019, 6:04 pm

CMH wrote:
February 20th, 2019, 2:03 pm
Dog Mt. only has picnic table, not picnic tables.
A whole bunch if not most trails only have one picnic table, often just tossed into the trees just so they can require for the pass. examples Mirror Lake, Top Spur, Burnt Lake, Ramona Falls.
hiking log & photos.
Ad monte summa aut mors

User avatar
retired jerry
Posts: 12700
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Re: NW Forest Pass and Missing Amenities

Post by retired jerry » February 20th, 2019, 6:12 pm

they only need one picnic table to meet the legal requirements

yeah, I like how often the picnic table is in the trees, doesn't appear to ever be used

North Burnt Lake trailhead is another. As I remember, it's slowly rotting away. I wonder how rotted it can be and still qualify :)

Post Reply