The Memaloose Hills and Social Media

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jessbee
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Re: The Memaloose Hills and Social Media

Post by jessbee » May 20th, 2019, 9:46 am

Complicated, for sure!

I have been enjoying reading this discussion as these issues affect all of us.

One thing I notice is the massive disconnect between the people who are driving traffic to particular outdoor areas and the people who are responsible for managing said areas. Tourism bureaus, private tour companies and Instagram influencers can drive a LOT of foot traffic to special places without having to spend a dime on protecting them or even educating users about how to respectfully visit those areas. And the organizations that have the responsibility to manage these areas (for wildlife and vegetation too, not just recreational visitors) have scant funds, staff and resources to deal with it.

I have no idea who manages Memaloose Hills and I've never been there (and now I don't have to because every other photo online is from the same place) but I am guessing they don't have a ton of resources to install fences, reroute trails, provide signage, etc. So how do we make a better connection between the advertisers and the caretakers?
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Charley
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Re: The Memaloose Hills and Social Media

Post by Charley » May 20th, 2019, 9:55 am

jessbee wrote:
May 20th, 2019, 9:46 am
One thing I notice is the massive disconnect between the people who are driving traffic to particular outdoor areas and the people who are responsible for managing said areas. Tourism bureaus, private tour companies and Instagram influencers can drive a LOT of foot traffic to special places without having to spend a dime on protecting them or even educating users about how to respectfully visit those areas.
...

So how do we make a better connection between the advertisers and the caretakers?
Wow. Great idea. The incentive structures of the various institutions are clearly counter productive, when it comes to tourist/hiker impacts.

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adamschneider
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Re: The Memaloose Hills and Social Media

Post by adamschneider » May 20th, 2019, 10:03 am

jessbee wrote:
May 20th, 2019, 9:46 am
I have no idea who manages Memaloose Hills
Honestly, NO ONE manages it at the moment. There's no signage and no official trails.

All the public land at Memaloose Hills south of Highway 30 is USFS land, which means it's part of Mt. Hood National Forest, and also in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area — which is like a quasi-forest overlaid on MHNF and Gifford Pinchot NF. (I'm still not quite sure exactly how that works.) The Memaloose Overlook itself — and any off-highway parking — is within Memaloose State Park.


Here's one possible "solution": don't allow parking anywhere along Highway 30. Require people to park at the rest area on I-84 and hike up the hill if they want to visit Memaloose Hills. That'd add 0.7 miles each way and weed out a lot of the riff-raff.

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Bosterson
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Re: The Memaloose Hills and Social Media

Post by Bosterson » May 20th, 2019, 10:12 am

adamschneider wrote:
May 20th, 2019, 10:03 am
Here's one possible "solution": don't allow parking anywhere along Highway 30. Require people to park at the rest area on I-84 and hike up the hill if they want to visit Memaloose Hills. That'd add 0.7 miles each way and weed out a lot of the riff-raff.
Great idea! Like Dog Mtn, Wahkeena, etc, at a lot of these "overused" areas serious parking enforcement would actually address the problem. Kind of like how they could institute limited access permits to camp in Jeff Park, or they could slap people with hefty fines for illegal campfires, campsites, etc under the current rules, and the "problems" would probably (mostly) disappear. But rangers and enforcement cost money public budgets don't have...

All those cars at Memaloose that are parked onto the road itself should be towed. That's absurd.
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retired jerry
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Re: The Memaloose Hills and Social Media

Post by retired jerry » May 20th, 2019, 10:49 am

except then all the parking spaces at rest area will be full

then they'll implement limited time parking with fines :)

chrisca
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Re: The Memaloose Hills and Social Media

Post by chrisca » May 20th, 2019, 12:50 pm

The shuttle IS a limit. There are a limited number of trips per day, in a limited size bus, with limited hours of service. I heard it directly from a Forest Service staffer who had input into the decision. Summit damage was a big consideration in limiting access, as was safety at the parking lot.
kepPNW wrote:
May 18th, 2019, 9:12 am
adamschneider wrote:
May 18th, 2019, 8:52 am
kepPNW wrote:
May 18th, 2019, 7:02 am

Oh, c'mon... If that were the case, why would they put no limit on hiking permits, hmm?
Umm, there IS a limit. That was the whole point.
Nope! There's a limit on parking. Anyone who takes the shuttle gets a free hiking permit.

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Re: The Memaloose Hills and Social Media

Post by chrisca » May 20th, 2019, 1:03 pm

Good discussion here, I hope land managers and nonprofits take a look (also, in the mirror.) One thing I want to note is that there is criticism of the damage I've documented saying "It's not that bad." The point is, it's not that bad yet. It's significantly worsened in only three years or so. In another three, it will be far worse if nothing is done. In ten, the area could be trashed, and we might see some deaths along Highway 30 due to cyclist and/or pedestrian collisions. The time to act is now, before it becomes a nightmare with human and natural consequences.

chrisca
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Re: The Memaloose Hills and Social Media

Post by chrisca » May 20th, 2019, 1:19 pm

I'll also leave this with everyone to see why the Internet is a different animal from traditional paper-based methods of sharing trail information. Copying is free, unlimited, and has a reach that's enabled by the viral replication the web provides. So the information from one page ends up somewhere else, then another, and another. Websites can crowdsource user postings so there isn't one author anymore, there are potentially hundreds or thousands. Millennials can say it's just the way things are now, but even us older folk had to place limits on access, protect land, implement regulations, and do other things to be sure precious resources aren't destroyed. The Internet is no different. It needs sensible controls to be sure content doesn't cause the destruction of nature we claim to "love."
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kepPNW
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Re: The Memaloose Hills and Social Media

Post by kepPNW » May 20th, 2019, 2:05 pm

chrisca wrote:
May 20th, 2019, 12:50 pm
The shuttle IS a limit. There are a limited number of trips per day, in a limited size bus, with limited hours of service. I heard it directly from a Forest Service staffer who had input into the decision. Summit damage was a big consideration in limiting access, as was safety at the parking lot.
So you say. Are they turning people away?
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Bosterson
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Re: The Memaloose Hills and Social Media

Post by Bosterson » May 20th, 2019, 2:35 pm

kepPNW wrote:
May 20th, 2019, 2:05 pm
chrisca wrote:
May 20th, 2019, 12:50 pm
The shuttle IS a limit. There are a limited number of trips per day, in a limited size bus, with limited hours of service. I heard it directly from a Forest Service staffer who had input into the decision. Summit damage was a big consideration in limiting access, as was safety at the parking lot.
So you say. Are they turning people away?
Surely any reasonable person would agree that the mere existence of a permit system for Dog Mountain is sufficient to reduce demand: how many people do you think would go to Dog Mountain if they could just drive up there like anywhere else, but are not willing to engage with the permit system or shuttle when there are other options with less bureaucracy? (Hands in the air - I'll start.) Whether they have to turn people away from waiting to take a shuttle to go hiking is a totally inadequate measurement of whether Dog Mountain is/was "overcrowded."
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