volcano monitoring equipment coming to wilderness slopes of Mt Hood

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Chip Down
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volcano monitoring equipment coming to wilderness slopes of Mt Hood

Post by Chip Down » September 10th, 2019, 7:28 pm

After 5 years of review, which allegedly included a public comment period through Aug 2016, U$F$ has approved placement of monitoring equipment in wilderness areas high on Mt Hood. Plan is expected to commence by end of this month. Implementation is expected to be gradual.

How is it possible I (we) didn't know this was coming? True, I do keep my head in the sand a bit, but damn, this seems like pretty big news.

I learned of this from a New York Times story published yesterday 9/9/19. Then Willamette Week and Fox mentioned it (barely), and the nature of their coverage suggested it was news to them. Hello, is anybody paying attention? Embarrassing that we have to learn about these things from the NY Times.

NYT story:
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/09/scie ... oring.html
"We’re Barely Listening to the U.S.’s Most Dangerous Volcanoes;
A thicket of red tape and regulations have made it difficult for volcanologists to build monitoring stations along Mount Hood and other active volcanoes."
(don't overlook the link to the U$F$ Supervisor'$ decision, it's quite interesting)

My commentary:
It seems really selfish to say "damn public safety, I want a wilderness experience on the mountain". However, a couple other things to consider:
1. Seems to me the non-wilderness areas offer outstanding opportunities to observe and monitor. Do they really need equipment on Yocum Ridge, Cooper Spur, Barrett Spur, Lamberson Spur, etc? [edit: funny that I wrote that not knowing where they would be sited, but sure enough, locations include YocR, BrSp, Lamb.]
2. I see countless squandered opportunities to enhance public safety. Why are we seeking blatantly illegal safety enhancements?
In spite of my reservations, I'm not quite sure where I stand on this. But I'm sure the erudite sophisticated analysis offered in comments below, and on Fox news, will help guide my opinion. :geek:
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adamschneider
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Re: volcano monitoring equipment coming to wilderness slopes of Mt Hood

Post by adamschneider » September 10th, 2019, 8:06 pm

I'm surprised at the bile in your tone. This doesn't bother me in the slightest. A few silent monitoring stations aren't going to ruin my wilderness experience. I find it far more annoying to have to look at ski lifts.

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Chip Down
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Re: volcano monitoring equipment coming to wilderness slopes of Mt Hood

Post by Chip Down » September 10th, 2019, 8:15 pm

adamschneider wrote:
September 10th, 2019, 8:06 pm
I'm surprised at the bile in your tone.
I'm surprised you're surprised. You should know by now that I ooze bile. But seriously, I am trying to stay calm about this. I made it clear I'm a bit on the fence, although leaning towards the skeptical side.
adamschneider wrote:
September 10th, 2019, 8:06 pm
A few silent monitoring stations aren't going to ruin my wilderness experience. I find it far more annoying to have to look at ski lifts.
Yeah, I'm absolutely disgusted by what Meadows and Timberline have done to our mountain. It's so gratuitous, they do ridiculous things that aren't even necessary, just because they don't give a damn about the mountain, and then they talk about how they're stewards of the mountain, they're so damn green, they use energy conserving light bulbs, blah blah blah. I'm getting off topic, sorry. There's some bile for ya. :lol:

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Re: volcano monitoring equipment coming to wilderness slopes of Mt Hood

Post by Webfoot » September 10th, 2019, 9:44 pm

Chip Down wrote:
September 10th, 2019, 7:28 pm
2. I see countless squandered opportunities to enhance public safety. Why are we seeking blatantly illegal safety enhancements?
"Public safety" is is strange beast with concerns driven more by deceptive news than reality. :geek:

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Water
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Re: volcano monitoring equipment coming to wilderness slopes of Mt Hood

Post by Water » September 10th, 2019, 10:45 pm

This does come as a surprise but doesn't really chap me.

And isn't it USGS that holds responsibility? If the FS was in charge you would only ever see the updated seismic logs after the volcano blew.. and even then they'd prolly lose the data. Hood would be rumbling and people of Portland would feel it, vulcanologists would be calling the zigzag station asking for the data: [in late August] "well, I haven't hiked the Yocum trail before but you should be prepared for snow to block your way. It's rated difficult."
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teachpdx
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Re: volcano monitoring equipment coming to wilderness slopes of Mt Hood

Post by teachpdx » September 11th, 2019, 6:24 am

These monitoring stations don't only monitor seismic activity, but more importantly they monitor any deformation of the mountain using highly sensitive GPS. If the mountain is swelling or sinking in certain areas, then it gives scientists a much clearer picture of what's happening inside than just measuring earthquakes from outside the wilderness boundary. Any scientifically significant deformation will occur directly on the mountain itself, so that's unfortunately where the monitoring devices need to go.

If there was a hushed public comment process for this, then that's unfortunate at best and deceptive at the worst. I'm one of the first ones to be wary of the USFS and their motives.

But at the end of the day, there will be a few unobtrusive monitoring stations that will make everybody a bit safer. If I would've known about the public comment period, I would've welcomed them.

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retired jerry
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Re: volcano monitoring equipment coming to wilderness slopes of Mt Hood

Post by retired jerry » September 11th, 2019, 6:37 am

"Public safety" is is strange beast with concerns driven more by deceptive news than reality."

I'm too busy watching stories about vaping deaths. Now 6 people have died. Why is so much bandwidth spent on this?

E-cig use by teenagers is probably a good problem to talk about though. We shouldn't be marketing to them. Saying they're safe when it's not really known. Why is it a product can be sold without knowing how dangerous they are. But, they're probably a lot better than smoking so maybe they're a good product.

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retired jerry
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Re: volcano monitoring equipment coming to wilderness slopes of Mt Hood

Post by retired jerry » September 11th, 2019, 6:41 am

volcano monitoring isn't about what's currently killing us, but about an eruption that could actually kill a bunch of people.

good they're installing those, I'll have to go up and check them out

don't knock them over Chip :)

"But I'm sure the erudite sophisticated analysis offered in comments below, and on Fox news, will help guide my opinion."

good prediction

ThePortlandeer
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Re: volcano monitoring equipment coming to wilderness slopes of Mt Hood

Post by ThePortlandeer » September 11th, 2019, 12:39 pm

In a vacuum it's probably not a big deal as an isolated improvement in an area designated as wilderness. However, given the government's recent track record on why certain things "need" to be done (e.g. why Alabama needed a hurricane warning, why wind turbines will cause cancer, why we don't have to worry about climate change), it seems like an awful slippery slope to use grant the government license to use "public safety" as a reason to violate a basic tenet of the wilderness act.

I'd also like to point out that the NYT piece, in my opinion, unfairly slams environmentalists for standing in the way of these monitoring stations in wilderness areas. Another way to look at it is that thanks to the priorities/duty of the Forest Service and the influence of extractive industry (logging, mining, etc) other beautiful, wilderness-like areas are not eligible for wilderness designation because their "economic value" is too great. So, can you really blame wilderness advocates for being so unwavering about wanting to protect those last untouched areas?

Perhaps a small land exchange makes sense? Designate more of the proposed wilderness areas in the Mt Hood National Forest in exchange for the degrading of existing wilderness at the exchange rate of a few acres per square foot utilized by monitoring equipment...and a few more acres to account for the potential impact of installing.

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Chip Down
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Re: volcano monitoring equipment coming to wilderness slopes of Mt Hood

Post by Chip Down » September 11th, 2019, 6:50 pm

Like ThePortlandeer, I considered a trade: expand the wilderness, and place the monitors. The obvious territory, in my mind, is undeveloped high areas around Timberline and Meadows, so as to thwart future development, but I don't know if that would be possible, considering that the ski industry would howl, and the U$F$ would have their back.

Slightly off-topic: Webfoot's graphic wasn't all that surprising, but I didn't expect to see The New York Times and The Guardian so in sync. Maybe those two outlets were cherry picked to prove a point, or maybe that's representative of how homogeneous the infotainment industry is.

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