Eagle Creek Metlako Falls Viewpoint

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retired jerry
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Re: Eagle Creek Metlako Falls Viewpoint

Post by retired jerry » December 31st, 2016, 8:17 pm

I dunno... probably better to remove and install in one piece

There was a group of volunteers that did maintenance on Whychus Creek. They did some major damage, making it much wider and causing erosion damage. Expensive to fix it.

You can't just let "volunteers" do major projects. Even though logically, it would be easier.

I don't know why that bridge has to be such a major construction. But, a lot of people hike it so you can't just have a board across the creek. And if you replaced the bridge with something more basic, and then someone hurt themselves, it would be a PR and liability problem.

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Re: Eagle Creek Metlako Falls Viewpoint

Post by DouggieFir » December 31st, 2016, 10:23 pm

retired jerry wrote:I dunno... probably better to remove and install in one piece

There was a group of volunteers that did maintenance on Whychus Creek. They did some major damage, making it much wider and causing erosion damage. Expensive to fix it.

You can't just let "volunteers" do major projects. Even though logically, it would be easier.

I don't know why that bridge has to be such a major construction. But, a lot of people hike it so you can't just have a board across the creek. And if you replaced the bridge with something more basic, and then someone hurt themselves, it would be a PR and liability problem.
That is a good point... I do believe more experienced and seasoned volunteers could get the job done just fine, But the $110,000 price tag for a new bridge is a bit out of line...

Limey
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Re: Eagle Creek Metlako Falls Viewpoint

Post by Limey » January 1st, 2017, 8:40 am

I suspect most of that cost is for the helicopter to fly it in. They don't come cheap.

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Re: Eagle Creek Metlako Falls Viewpoint

Post by arieshiker » January 1st, 2017, 9:15 am

It's nice we have the FS to gripe about, but they didn't cause the bridge to wash out, nor did they cause the slide - MaNature did all that, and she'll be back when/if she decides a replacement needs to be dealt with. Money doesn't matter to nature - it does its own thing. To replace a bridge, they just can't march in new supplies and start tapping corners together.....they have to survey the area to make sure what they put in won't be gone a month later - maybe with tragic results. After the survey, then planning for how to best do it comes to play. Maintaining these trails takes every bit of effort the FS and other agencies can muster, and they get as little help as possible from the folks who allocate tax dollars. Olympic National Park was devastated a decade ago by a series of major storms - sadly right during the height of the Bush-Cheney years when the NPS was getting quarters where sawbucks were needed. Projects get prioritized, and you can't just slap a new disaster in front of ongoing prioritized projects, no matter how popular the trail might be. And "privatizing" - please let's never say that word again....."[insert company name] presents Eagle Creek Trail system - parking, $25 per car, reservations required." Next would be the national parks being turned over to corporate America, and we'd all star hallucinating. If Tish Creek is flooding and can't be crossed - then DON'T CROSS IT, and don't bitch about nature's whims. Do something else on another trail. Are we truly becoming the "I want what I want and I want only that - NOW?" Yes, they built Eagle Creek trail under some harsh conditions and scenarios, but you can bet they weren't dynamiting with crowds on the trail waiting to get past. If the trail needs closed - close it! Closing stretches of I-84 is inconvenient as hell, but ODOT does what they need to do when they need to do it. We're all in this together. I hope.

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Splintercat
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Re: Eagle Creek Metlako Falls Viewpoint

Post by Splintercat » January 1st, 2017, 10:22 am

I heard back from the USFS on both counts, here's an update: they are aware of the Metlako viewpoint collapse, and will be looking at it this week -- I suspect to simply close the spur and post a notice as to the potential hazard. They will also be visiting the Tish Creek site in preparation for a new bridge to be installed via helicopter (and the old bridge lifted out, I think). While the price tag might seem surprising to some, it makes sense when you consider that both the damaged bridge and the new one are steel structures that have to be installed in a remote location using a helicopter. This is way beyond anything volunteers could accomplish -- in reality, a tiny handful of hikers actually volunteer to work on trail project -- we run dozens of them each year, including on Eagle Creek, and our total list of volunteers over 10 years of TKO is a few hundred. It's an important part of the formula with our trails so underfunded, but the professional crews continue to be the backbone -- write your congressman about that!

Tom :)

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kepPNW
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Re: Eagle Creek Metlako Falls Viewpoint

Post by kepPNW » January 2nd, 2017, 12:07 pm

Splintercat wrote:I heard back from the USFS on both counts, here's an update: they are aware of the Metlako viewpoint collapse, and will be looking at it this week -- I suspect to simply close the spur and post a notice as to the potential hazard.
Any bets on whether that'll only increase the odds of someone falling through? Honestly, the other day, 80%+ of the folks on the trail were oblivious to it. Putting up orange tape will draw them in like moths to a flame.
  • Image
    Looking north at the old viewpoint.


    Image
    Trail to the old viewpoint.


    Image
    Looking south at a spot about 100' south of the old viewpoint.
We actually walked right past it, fully aware it'd happened, and didn't realize until we got to the Punchbowl cut-off. The rest of the story...

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Don Nelsen
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Re: Eagle Creek Metlako Falls Viewpoint

Post by Don Nelsen » January 2nd, 2017, 5:04 pm

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this thread. I was intrigued by all this so hiked out to Metlako and then just past Tish Creek yesterday, Jan. 1 to check this out.

Conditions were not bad, 34 degrees with wet snow falling most of the time. All the ice had fallen from the cliffs with quite a bit still on the trail but easy to navigate with spikes. Even without, not too bad, I'd say.

Here's photo of the little bridge at the start of the trail:
Image

As to the cliff collapse, all I can say is WOW! That is one spectacular slide. I paced it off and it came out to about 300 feet in length. Here are a few photos from yesterday:

Image

Image

Image

On to Tish Creek for a look at the bridge with an eye for how to get it out of there. Roughly calculating how many feet of 2"x2", 2"x2 1/2" and (edit from 2 1/2 x 2 1/2) 1 1/2" x 1 1/2" angle iron make up the structure I'd guess it weighs just about (edit from 3,500) 3,000 lbs. not counting the wooden decking and wooden side rails. 95% of it could be dismantled in small pieces but there are a few very long sections of angle welded together that would have to be cut up for packing out. Another problem would be getting it pulled back away from its position spanning the canyon. No way to take it apart in the position it is in now. This project might be doable, but difficult and potentially dangerous. I think for liability reasons, the FS would never allow it. Nice idea, though. BTW, the Tish Creek crossing below the bridge is a piece of cake.

So, seeing the temperature dropped nicely last night and some snow had fallen, I went back today.
29 at the TH at 11:15 and the ice was just starting to form on the cliffs and waterfalls.
Image

I went as far as High Bridge then turned around and came back. Interestingly, as I went by the Tish Creek bridge I could see from the hand and footprints that someone had crossed the bridge after I went by!!
Image

I think I'll go back tomorrow, too.

dn

PS: A very good idea to use spikes of some kind for this trail right now.
Last edited by Don Nelsen on January 29th, 2017, 5:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Splintercat
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Re: Eagle Creek Metlako Falls Viewpoint

Post by Splintercat » January 2nd, 2017, 7:15 pm

Great photos, Don & Karl! Wow! :shock:
Any bets on whether that'll only increase the odds of someone falling through? Honestly, the other day, 80%+ of the folks on the trail were oblivious to it. Putting up orange tape will draw them in like moths to a flame.
Undoubtedly so. But on the other hand, if they didn't post it, we might all end up paying the lawyers for someone who walked off the edge -- I'm thinking of the case involving the Sandy River bridge near Ramona Falls a couple of years ago that is still working its way through the legal system. At least they'd have some basis for a defense, given that you can't stop people from going to court against the government over their own reckless behavior... :?

Tom

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retired jerry
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Re: Eagle Creek Metlako Falls Viewpoint

Post by retired jerry » January 3rd, 2017, 6:10 am

Yeah, great photos everyone. That's a massive slide. I may have to go out and check that out in person.

Yeah, Eagle Creek in winter - traction devices warranted - water drips from above onto trail, freezing - cliff to slide over

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kepPNW
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Re: Eagle Creek Metlako Falls Viewpoint

Post by kepPNW » January 3rd, 2017, 7:17 am

Splintercat wrote:Great photos, Don & Karl! Wow! :shock:
Thanks, Tom!

Don, I can't believe you captured that spring gushing out of the cliff! We didn't see that until we were on our way back down the trail again. There's more sliding to come, there!
Splintercat wrote:
kepPNW wrote:Any bets on whether that'll only increase the odds of someone falling through? Honestly, the other day, 80%+ of the folks on the trail were oblivious to it. Putting up orange tape will draw them in like moths to a flame.
Undoubtedly so. But on the other hand, if they didn't post it, we might all end up paying the lawyers for someone who walked off the edge -- I'm thinking of the case involving the Sandy River bridge near Ramona Falls a couple of years ago that is still working its way through the legal system. At least they'd have some basis for a defense, given that you can't stop people from going to court against the government over their own reckless behavior... :?
IANAL, but... I'd say their liability could only begin once they alert folks to it. Until then, it's just another cliff in the woods. One of millions and millions we're free to fall over anytime we wish. The bridge is really different, as evidenced by their unwillingness to replace it, in that it's a structure of their own design and therefore complicity. As Don pointed out, there's plenty of evidence people are actually still using the Tish Creek bridge! (We saw footprints on it, as well.) If they were actually concerned about liability, yanking that thing out of there would've been their first response, rather than just draping it with a bit of flagging. Just another way of saying, they got far bigger worries than a cliff in the woods.
retired jerry wrote:Yeah, great photos everyone. That's a massive slide. I may have to go out and check that out in person.
Like moths to a flame... ;)
Karl
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