Forest Service Funding for deferred maintenance projects

General discussions on hiking in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest
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drm
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Re: Forest Service Funding for deferred maintenance projects

Post by drm » November 26th, 2020, 9:15 am

greenjello85 wrote:
November 24th, 2020, 10:27 pm
Be nice if they used it to catch up on deferred trail maintenance. Might help to spread people out more across the entire trail system rather than concentrating on just a few areas.
It might, but they have a list of structures that need fixing up, and a cost associated with each one. They have to decide what to do about this deferred maintenance list. I think it includes some trailhead structures. These structures are in in the "frontcountry" and trails are in the "backcountry". They are managed and funded by completely different people and budgets. Whether something is accessible by a drivable road is a pretty bright line in the Forest Service.

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Re: Forest Service Funding for deferred maintenance projects

Post by justpeachy » November 26th, 2020, 10:06 am

Although this doesn't qualify as deferred maintenance, I would love to see 1) ranger stations open on weekends, and 2) staff who answer the phones there be given the information they need to answer questions. They tell visitors to call a ranger station for the most up-to-date information but then the staff are out of the loop and not even there on weekends when most people are recreating.
Chip Down wrote:
November 24th, 2020, 11:57 am
But anyway, my number one priority would be an information system that tells me if I can go hike at Trail X tomorrow. Are there any administrative closures? Logging? Fire? Seasonal gate locked? Bridge washed out? Covid restrictions? The current system is sloppy and unreliable. I know this isn't very exciting. People like to see actual infrastructure.
National Parks do this, but I have a REALLY hard time picturing the Forest Service doing this. For one thing, the Park Service is much more focused on the visitor experience, and the Forest Service is less so. The FS is also highly paranoid of liability. I think they imagine scenarios like this: Trail X is listed as open and hikeable on Thursday, a windstorm knocks down a bunch of trees on Friday, someone hikes it on Saturday and gets lost in the blowdown and holds the FS responsible because the FS hadn't yet been able to assess the trail and update their trail database (which wouldn't have happened until Monday at the earliest anyway).

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Re: Forest Service Funding for deferred maintenance projects

Post by querulous » November 26th, 2020, 10:44 am

Chip Down wrote:
November 24th, 2020, 11:57 am
I believe the U$F$ is hostile to hikers. They have a history of fabricating phony public-outreach, and manipulating feedback to support what they really want to do.
Your use of dollar signs in the name suggest you think they have money. They don't. They have a confused and conflicting mandate, they frequently drown in process, and they're pretty much broke.

A few precepts I have found useful in interpreting USFS behavior:

1) Incompetence and/or lack of resources are always a likelier explanation for not carrying through on commitments than malice or conscious intent.

2) Follow the money and blame Congress. The USFS gets money for fire suppression and for timber sales. They get, in relative terms, virtually nothing for monitoring, supporting, or managing recreational uses of USFS lands.

3) The "timber management" mindset is deeply ingrained in those in positions of influence inside the agency. They really want to cut those trees. Nothing else matters quite so much to them, certainly not trails or recreational infrastructure.


Quite improbably, this time they have actually been given some significant money for recreational infrastructure. I expect some actual on-the-ground effects. Might as well weigh in on what you want.

Your recreational information systems idea is well-founded, but I would expect the money to flow to more tangible projects that people can get their picture taken in front of. Personally, I find the information vacuum sort of charming, it makes things feel more exploratory. You never know what you'll find, without actually going out there.

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jessbee
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Re: Forest Service Funding for deferred maintenance projects

Post by jessbee » November 29th, 2020, 8:45 pm

querulous wrote:
November 26th, 2020, 10:44 am
Personally, I find the information vacuum sort of charming, it makes things feel more exploratory. You never know what you'll find, without actually going out there.
Haha, I agree, but I'm not like most hikers :)

Has anyone actually looked at the project list in the link the OP provided? It's not user friendly to read, not sorted by district and tedious to scroll through. Nothing really caught my attention. Lots of culverts and restoration projects, building repairs, etc. Seems like the people working for the FS would have a better idea of what needs to be done asap than the general public. I don't think they're soliciting new ideas.
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retired jerry
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Re: Forest Service Funding for deferred maintenance projects

Post by retired jerry » November 30th, 2020, 6:57 am

yeah, same here I don't mind exploring

and yeah, that list was difficult to figure out

and yeah, I don't think they really want our opinion, just going through the motions

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Re: Forest Service Funding for deferred maintenance projects

Post by GrizzlyMan » December 1st, 2020, 2:27 pm

How about start managing public lands as the public wants and not as the government wants, starting with removing all blocked roads and trails. Wildfires and Covid 19 has pretty much destroyed recreation in the NW, because the USFS, blocked by barriers and gated most trails. The outdoors is the least likely area that you will contract Covid, yet we're able to shop inside a crowded supermarket yet hiking which pretty much is a solitary sport is banned from trails. And maybe besides adding more bathrooms to trailheads (which will be closed anyhow due to Covid) the USFS start planting seedlings in wildfire ravaged areas such as the Eagle Creek area and other parts of the gorge.

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drm
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Re: Forest Service Funding for deferred maintenance projects

Post by drm » December 1st, 2020, 3:40 pm

Hiking is hardly a solitary sport these days, at least on weekends. Some trails look as crowded as the local supermarket to me. Though partly that may be because so many trails are closed. But from what I've seen, most hikers tend to congregate on a few trails no matter how many are open. Some of us know how to find solitary trails when we really want to, but it gets harder this time of year if you're not willing to wallow in the snow. Not that this has anything to do with deferred maintenance lists, but thread creep is normal.

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Re: Forest Service Funding for deferred maintenance projects

Post by GrizzlyMan » December 7th, 2020, 5:55 pm

Agree on the crowded trails such as Angels Rest, Wahkeena, Larch Mt, Silver Falls, etc, but the point I'm trying to make is 1) you're outside in open air surrounded for the most part with air cleaning trees 2) even on crowded trails most people are proportionally distanced from each other 3) not many hikers are coughing and sneezing on the trail or are sick with the flu (unless you're Looney diehards like EP and Mayhem and will hike 30 miles even when medically incapacitated ;) ). So one of my biggest thoughts for USFS funding is to reopen trails and keep them open and at least replant trees along trails instead of letting them rot.

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