Will the Nesmith point trail ever reopen?

General discussions on hiking in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest
querulous
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Re: Will the Nesmith point trail ever reopen?

Post by querulous » November 12th, 2020, 4:39 pm

I have seen chainsaws used by trail crews in North Cascades National Park, which is mostly also the Stephen Mather Wilderness. But I think there was an exemption written into the act which designated that wilderness, which allowed chain saws. Alternately, different agency (NPS rather than the USFS), different interpretation of the rules.

I have also seen evidence of trails extensively chain-sawed out in the Pasayten Wilderness in the wake of the Tatoosh fire. I'm betting that was rogue activity by horse-packer outfitter-guides, who are active up there and do not have much apparent regard for wilderness restrictions (e.g on party size limits, setting up permanent camps, and the like).

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BurnsideBob
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Re: Will the Nesmith point trail ever reopen?

Post by BurnsideBob » November 13th, 2020, 9:14 am

I know a couple casual horse packers (not outfitters). Yep, they carry chainsaws in their kit. Can't cut the big stuff, but they can get the little.

If 'Ya drive a long ways with your horses and rig you've got a lot more invested in your trip than a hiker so you aren't going to let downfall stop you.

May not be legal, but I appreciate their efforts. (I look at freshly cut logs to see if a crosscut or a chainsaw was used.)

The Wilderness Act is great, but following it to the exact letter leads to some odd consequences, such as using 19th century technology to maintain 21st century trails.

Happy Trails,

Burnside
I keep making protein shakes but they always turn out like margaritas.

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Chip Down
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Re: Will the Nesmith point trail ever reopen?

Post by Chip Down » November 13th, 2020, 5:44 pm

A few days ago, a random memory popped into my head for no reason: a trail where there was a shortcut associated with Mazama. It was driving me crazy that I couldn't recall what trail it was on. It didn't matter for any practical reason, but I actually considered posting here to see if somebody could remind me what trail it was.

Well, it was Nesmith! This topic reminded me, and google confirmed.

Anyway, Nesmith isn't a beloved trail. I'm sure some people like it, but most hikers think it's just okay, at best. I'd rather see it abandoned, with a new trail constructed on Nesmith Ridge. That'll never happen though.

edit: I came back to add something. OP wrote "There are a lot of really gonzo trails out there, following quite unnatural travel routes blasted into cliffsides and sidehilling steep talus. (One criterion for "gonzo" might be whether parents should hold onto their young childrens' hands). Per mile, these trails are expensive to build, expensive to reconstruct, and expensive to maintain." Why do we do this, when there are so many amazing beautiful places that could support a trail with minimal effort? In a sense, I'm grateful, because those spots are reserved for off-trail hikers. But from a policy standpoint, I think it's weird that we build expensive elaborate high-maintenance trails to nowhere.

querulous
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Re: Will the Nesmith point trail ever reopen?

Post by querulous » November 14th, 2020, 7:13 pm

Chip Down wrote:
November 13th, 2020, 5:44 pm

Anyway, Nesmith isn't a beloved trail. I'm sure some people like it, but most hikers think it's just okay, at best. I'd rather see it abandoned, with a new trail constructed on Nesmith Ridge. That'll never happen though.
Nesmith ridge is what? the ridge you would follow heading from upper Elowah falls to Nesmith point? That route's got some steep terrain up high, too, but no talus, at least.
Chip Down wrote:
November 13th, 2020, 5:44 pm
OP wrote "There are a lot of really gonzo trails out there, following quite unnatural travel routes blasted into cliffsides and sidehilling steep talus. (One criterion for "gonzo" might be whether parents should hold onto their young childrens' hands). Per mile, these trails are expensive to build, expensive to reconstruct, and expensive to maintain." Why do we do this, when there are so many amazing beautiful places that could support a trail with minimal effort? In a sense, I'm grateful, because those spots are reserved for off-trail hikers. But from a policy standpoint, I think it's weird that we build expensive elaborate high-maintenance trails to nowhere.
I think the one-word answer to that question here is "waterfalls". At least that's why the Oneonta and Eagle Creek trails were built where they were. If you wanted an easier line up those drainages you'd generally stay farther up slope, out of the slot, or perhaps follow the ridgelines. But I am thinking like an off-trail traveler, not a trail-hiker. Some trails, like Tanner Butte, Wahkeena, Mt Defiance, Starvation ridge, *do* follow natural travel lines, that is, routes one would follow if there were no trail there. Oneonta and Eagle Creek decidedly do not.

And guess what, the crazy trails are very popular. People like that stuff. Whereas the "natural" trails I mentioned are pretty far down the popularity rankings.

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RobinB
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Re: Will the Nesmith point trail ever reopen?

Post by RobinB » November 15th, 2020, 12:13 am

Bosterson wrote:
November 9th, 2020, 1:46 pm
querulous wrote:
November 9th, 2020, 12:42 pm
The re-closure of the Starvation Ridge and Wyeth trails due to "collapse" seems odd, too.
Re Starvation Ridge, it is not closed. Perhaps you're confusing it with the Starvation Cutoff running from the bike path up to the ridge below the powerlines? That section is closed due to a landslide last year that completely wiped out a 75ish ft section of the cutoff not far above the bike path - you can actually see it from below. The damage is so severe that I'm not sure how they would fix it so that it's protected from further slides - I don't really expect them to reopen that any time soon; certainly, it is not at the top of any of their to-do lists.
This risks thread drift, but I accidentally went through that closure - there wasn't (and may still not be?) any sign on the Starvation Ridge side announcing it - and it was basically fine: maybe 50 unstable-ish feet, but nothing worse than plenty of official trails further from urban centers. Given the proximity to I84, I guess the closure's a good idea, but still.

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Bosterson
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Re: Will the Nesmith point trail ever reopen?

Post by Bosterson » November 15th, 2020, 10:55 am

RobinB wrote:
November 15th, 2020, 12:13 am
This risks thread drift, but I accidentally went through that closure - there wasn't (and may still not be?) any sign on the Starvation Ridge side announcing it - and it was basically fine: maybe 50 unstable-ish feet, but nothing worse than plenty of official trails further from urban centers. Given the proximity to I84, I guess the closure's a good idea, but still.
I have also, ahem, "heard" that, but wasn't going to advertise it here to others considering that FS people skulk on this forum and might become angry and there could be gnashing of teeth. I think the slide area was worse initially when it was looser but has solidified more and there's a good path across it. Since it seems hard to imagine them fixing it ever, and without the cutoff you have to go all the way around to the main Defiance trail and then back, it seems like they could just mark it "not maintained" and leave it alone for people, but like you say, it's close to the highway, and per the previous discussion in this thread, the FS is not erring on the side of opening things...
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