It's important for listeners to note that wilderness designation, while stopping development, also restricts many activities, such as sustainable logging practices, that benefit the environment. It needs to be stated over and over that Mother Nature is not necessarily the best steward of her own land, at least from a habitat point of view. The gentle hand of man can, if applied toward improving the environment, be a valuable asset.
It is arrogant to say that humans can do better than nature. Wilderness is reserved for places that have not been previously messed up by humans so wilderness areas retain the natural processes suitable for their own perpetuation. There are numerous examples where well-intentioned management has lead to disastrous unintended consequences. Jack Ward Thomas said of NW forests, they are not only more complex than we think; it is more complex than we can think. Only a tiny fraction of Oregon is set aside for nature to manage. Leave it alone!
"The gentle hand of man can, if applied toward improving the environment, be a valuable asset."
I invite you to mention at least one instance in which man has improved nature. Just even one.
My activities with the Oregon High Desert Grotto out of Bend, Oregon frequently find me using public lands for caving. As a caver affiliated with the National Speleological Society I hold values of preservation and education.
Personally, I frown upon the large minority of ORV/ATV users that frequently drive their vehicles on undesignated trails or make new trails, while in the process destroying the beautiful scenic landscape.
Unfortunately, the user base for ATV trails is a rather large number, and their demand for more and more trails seems to be imbalanced with the need for preserving land for all to enjoy. Their niche hobby destroys the land and nearly limits the use of the land for the rest of the general public.
As a caver, I am for the Badlands Wilderness just east of Bend. The beautiful tumuli and pressure ridges have nearly all been bulldozed or buried in the city of Bend in the name of development. The badlands is one of the last beautiful examples of wild lava terrain and juniper forest in Central Oregon. With a wilderness designation I'm happy to learn that a handful of lava tube caves existing in the badlands wilderness area will be protected.
One other facet of public land use is geocaching. While on the surface it's a sport/hobby that appears easy on the land, by its very nature, it focuses and concentrates users to specific locations. By concentrating users to specific areas, this increases the amount of wear and tear on locations. Its akin to having a grass field on a university campus and allowing the users to find their own paths and ultimately what you have is worn trails to and from locations. This leaves you with no grass and compacted earth. The damage occurs quicker than the landscape can rehabilitate. While geocaching does have a good ethic of "cache in trash out", it only takes a few users who don't abide by this rule to desecrate unique out of the way places. Geocachers should realize that certain locations don't fit well into the framework.
Like I've said before, convenience breeds lack of respect. If you have trails and roads allowing for easy access to remote areas, then those areas will be highly susceptible to vandalism and illegal activities.
For more information regarding our grotto, visit our website: http://www.ohdgrotto.com
Here are a few web site for reference with regards to designating wilderness:
The web site for the National Wilderness Preservation System. Want to know how much acreage is designated? When was a specific wilderness area designated? What does the Wilderness Act really say? Also, the four land managment agencies use this, so you can find their "toolboxes" and such here.
This national citizen group works to protect wilderness once it is already designated. Some people describe this group as the "purists".
This is the web site for the Campain for America's Wilderness. This national environmental group supports local environmental groups working to get more wilderness designated.
Read sections 2 of the Wilderness Act. It is written beautifully. Here is a link: http://www.wilderness.net/index.cfm?fuse=NWPS&sec=legisAct
Oregon needs to have more wilderness designated to protect habitat for wildlife and fish. We have seen that a tremendous amount of damage can be done by an administration that values resource recovery more than resource preservation. A wilderness designation is the only designation that will protect a habitat regardless of the current administration.
I am an avid Mountain Biker. Almost every weekend my friends and I travel to Mount Hood and other areas to enjoy the fantastic trails here in Oregon. Designating an area as "Wilderness" exludes all mechanical modes of transportation. I belong to an advocacy group called IMBA, International Mountain Bike Association. They have been trying to gain an exception to the wilderness designation to allow non motorized vehicles. It would be a great loss to me to loose access to these trails.
I too spend nearly every weekend mountain biking. Last summer we explored some of the trail systems within the proposed Mt. Hood wilderness expansion area. What we found was astonishing:
A contracted trail crew was ?maintaining? the trail using a Kubota dozer/backhoe. The section I saw was on the shoreline of a pristine high-mountain lake, less than one-half mile from the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). This being my third time to the area, I had really come to enjoy this quiet, beautiful area. Especially enjoying the natural obstacles and narrow singletrack, which my friends and I had hand-cleared earlier in the summer. Now there was heavy machinery making the trail 6-10ft wide! Removing every rock and boulder, cutting and ripping up tree roots, digging the hillside to flatten the trail...all this 30ft from the shoreline of a natural high-mountain lake! It looked as if they were getting ready to pave it. Is this reminiscent of wilderness to anybody??
This was taxpayer money being dished out by the Forest Service to a private contractor, at a cost of $10K-$15K per mile, possibly more.
Most amazing to me was that these trails were in perfect shape before this. I spoke with every hiker and equestrian I ran into that day (about 12 in all). Every person was in awe at what they saw. So I ask; who are they ?maintaining? the trails for? Mountain bikers, hikers, and equestrians do not like the resultant trail, yet these are the groups that use this area.
Allowing mountain bikes and chainsaws will help keep the trails clear and maintained. Restricting them will crowd other trail systems and cause more issues. I can understand wanting to protect against MORE logging and development, but this land does not fit the definition of wilderness (see above link, Section 2.c) as the proposed wilderness area has many substantial imprints of man's work already clearly noticeable. I hope the Senate can find a way to protect the land while allowing non-motorized groups, who use and currently maintain the area, to continue using the trails.
Personally, I would rather see my parent's tax money go towards preserving wilderness, not trying to "maintain" the trails that are already there.
The US Senate just held a very important vote this morning to move forward with protection for these Wilderness areas. In Oregon it would include Wilderness protection for Mount Hood and the Gorge, Copper Salmon, Soda Mountain, Spring Basin and Badlands. About 202,000 acres total for Oregon.
Keep in mind that currently only 3.7% of Oregon is protected as Wilderness, which is not a balanced approach no matter where you are on the political spectrum. Consider that 11% of WA, 14% of CA and even Idaho has protected 7.5% of their state.
Wilderness not only protects clean drinking water, but it is good for anyone who likes to hunt, fish, hike, camp, raft, kayak, canoe, snowshoe etc. Wilderness protects the land people and wildlife to enjoy in a sustainable low impact manner. I regularly lead organized hikes and snowshoe treks for the public into these areas, and the response is always overwhelmingly - "I can't believe this amazing place isn't already protected".
For more information on any of the areas included in the legislation check out our website for maps and background: www.oregonwild.org/wilderness
Erik Fernandez is a complete liar, and even admitted that fact to Paul Thomasberg after the radio show. Over 120 miles of some of the BEST singletrack in the universe will be closed to bicycles, forever, trails that have had historical use by bicyclists for over two decades. For him to state 'no bicycle trails will be closed' is pure fiction.
Who will maintain the trails, the Boy Scouts, Erik? HAHAHAHA!
From the first time you addressed www.pumpclub.org and BS'd us about that only 5.7 miles would be closed, we knew you were full of it. I still have all those documents from that meeting. You lied thru your teeth that day, you continue to do the same here. We submit facts, you disseminate lies.
A couple things:
1st. The current Mt. Hood wilderness bill contains a land swap (give away to developers) which will result in doubling the size of Government Camp and the loss of beautiful old growth forest. This land swap should not be included in the bill, it should be an entirely separate issue.
2nd. This and other wilderness bills should either include increased funding for trails maintenance or waivers to allow chainsaws for trail work (it is more difficult to maintain trails without chainsaws).
It seems to me that conservationists are interested in preserving certain public lands from large scale and destructive commercial/industrial use, hence wilderness designation. It would be better from a land management perspective if these protections could be achieved without the monolithic Wilderness designation. There needs to be a middle ground that allows for some mechanized entry for management purposes (like trail maintenance) and mountain bikes in some areas, but still prohibits industrial use abd ATVs
Thanks for mentioning the land exchange, jk--it's a truly egregious provision that badly taints this bill. The land swap was negotiated by private parties in dispute--Mt Hood Meadows (MHM), which wanted to expand the resort and Hood River Valley people who didn't want the development to mar their views. The two parties reached a settlement of their issues, using our public land as the bargaining chip.
The exchange would be completed by fiat in this bill. The Forest Service (FS) would be insane to implement the land swap (and, indeed, opposes it), as it opens up Govt Camp to intensive development by MHM, while giving the public ownership of, and the FS responsibility for, the MHM Resort. Of course, the FS doesn't even have funding to take care of what it has now, let alone a crumbling resort. It's outrageous that federal legislation and our public land should be used to cater to the whims of private interests in such a cynical way--dressed up with wilderness.
Wilderness designation should be sought and secured the old fashioned way--in a real wilderness bill that doesn't add all sorts of complex land-use provisions and special land deals negotiated by and benefiting the powerful. See westernlands.org for more info on these issues.
I realize it's a long shot to stop the swap...I don't even think that many people know about it...I hope you guys on OPB at least recognize there is opposition to it and mention it on your show.
I'm pretty psyched to see this bill is moving forward. Every winter I spend a fair amount of time up on Mount Hood cross country skiing in several of the areas that will be protected by this bill. Love the wildflowers in the spring, and the rivers in the summer. Wilderness protection means that my kids will be able to hike and ski these places the way I have. The sad part is that there is just so little wilderness left, so much of the landscape has been ripped apart by clear cuts. It's a good day for anyone who likes to breath clean air and drink clean water.
It has been very difficult to get this wilderness bill passed. It seems as though its been a six-year effort. The Oregon delegation supported it, but we ran afoul of Senator Tom Coburn. Perhaps the negatives expressed on this page have at least some validity, but if we pursue perfection, we will get nothing. All of us involved in the effort testified many times at the Hood River County Commissioners over the years. We had to overcome resistance from local elected officials and business persons who thought building in the Crystal Springs watershed with an alpine shopping mall, plus 450 condos and septic tanks in a wild pristine area was a wonderful business opportunity. The north side of Mt. Hood is the least urbanized side of the mountain. There are still cougar, black bear, elk and deer herds there. The wildlife need a chance to survive. Summer hikers and wintertime backcountry skiers have marveled at the great pristine beauty of the north side. With the US population growing exponentially year after year, we have to take action to save what acreage we can in its natural state for our children and grandchildren. Opportunities like this are becoming fewer and fewer.
I am curious as to when the EIS for this legislation will be completed and if the areas to be so designated actually meet the statutory designation of wilderness?
The legislative branch does not need to complete environmental reviews as outline in NEPA when passing laws. Designation of wilderness can only be done by law - not by any federal land managment agency like the Park Service or Forest Service.
"...meet the statutory designation of wilderness?" This was a hot topic when wilderness areas were designated in the Eastern United States. Many people felt that they were not wild enough or were no longer pristine enough. Some proposed areas had been logged. Take a look here at what the definition of wilderness is in the law: http://www.wilderness.net/index.cfm?fuse=NWPS&sec=legisAct#2 . It is by no means cut and dry.
"I am glad that I shall never be young without wild country to be young in. Of what avail are forty freedoms without a blank spot on the map in which to be free?" Aldo Leopold, A SAND COUNTY ALMANAC, 1949
Thank you, Senator Ron Wyden and Senator Jeff Merkley for voting to move S. 22 today. Thank you, former Senator Gordon Smith, for your work with Senator Wyden in the last two Congresses to get the Cascade-Siskiyou bill -- with 23,000+ acres of Cascade-Siskiyou backcountry to be designated as the Soda Mountain Wilderness -- as close to reality as it is now. So many of us have been working and waiting for this for so long.
Dave Willis, Chair
Soda Mountain Wilderness Council
Several posts had questions that I'll take a stab at answering.
1. There will not be an "EIS" or "Environmental Impact Statement" for the Wilderness bill - it is considered an act of congress that becomes law, so rather than go through the administrative process, it has to go through the political process.
2. The Cooper Spur Land Trade - while the land trade may not be perfect, it is the best solution to a difficult problem. The fundamental, bottom line question is would you prefer to see the north side of Mount Hood turned into a destination resort or would you rather focus development in one location around Government Camp.
3. Bike trails - The original versions of this bill (5+yrs ago) would have had a significant impact on bike trails, closing many. After years of negotiation, no one got everything they wanted, but the vast majority of bike trails will not be impacted at all. In fact the legislation contains a new designation for bike areas called the Mt Hood National Recreation Area.
4. Funding for trails - You'd be hard pressed to find anyone who thinks more funding for the US Forest Service isn't needed. Given that this bill was already being watched by the budget hawks, it wasn't likely to be done as part of this bill.
As for 2.
Why pollute a somewhat decent wilderness bill with give awaways for developers? The proposed development of Cooper Spur is an entirely different problem. Buying off Mt. Hood Meadows and other developers by giving them 120 acres of our land at Govt. Camp is a bad idea. Why is this give away being included in the bill? I have never heard a credible argument for it? The proposed development at Cooper Spur is just a threat and can be stopped by other means. Do you really want to see Govy turned into a wannabe Vail or Park City or whatever condo/spa/golf "playground."? Govy is big enough right now. A good deal of that 120 acres around Govy is old growth fir/cedar/hemlock---a very beautiful forest. Do you want to see it turned into condos? Stop the Swap! At the very least make it an entirely seperate issue. At the second very least lets assess the Govy land for what it will be worth as developable land----probably close to $100 million when the economy picks back up. So we trade 5 or 10 million worth of land for 100?
LIE: "the vast majority of bike trails will not be impacted at all" How can you say this with a straight face? Closing 120 miles of the 210 we can now legally ride is over HALF of the trails. Quit spewing lies and tell the truth.
Our public lands are just that -- ours, and public. Just as the Statue of Liberty does not just belong to the people of New York City, or one set of interests, neither do our public lands.
Over half of our National Forests are already open to drilling, mining, logging and other destructive development. Like many folks in Oregon, I moved here because of the amazing wild places this state (unlike many back east) has and the opportunities they provide. It is sad that so little of it is permanently protected. Surely, in such a "green" state we should have more protected wilderness than Idaho.
Once a wild place is destroyed, it's destroyed forever. I would like Oregon to remain a special place for my children. Kudos and thanks to those who have worked so hard to make that happen. We need to protect more of our last wild places for the benefit of all.
Surely many who moved here from out of state realize eventually that the "green" self image of Oregonians is so much self congratulation. There is little to back it up. Oregonians love their SUVs and McMansions as much as anyone else. The 40 year old bottle bill doesn't make you green. I think they forget the "reduce and reuse" portion of "reduce, reuse, recycle". They recycle a few bottles, give themselves a pat on the back, rerward themsleves with a stumptown latte and throw the paper cup in the trash.
Our family did a weekend backpack trip into Serene Lake about 15 years ago when our children were very young (about 7 and 4). This is in the area south of the Salmon-Huckleberry wilderness and south of Roaring River. It is in one of the areas included in this public lands bill. We were very impressed by the unique character of the area. It contains high elevation old growth. We were under a forest canopy most of the time, but there was an open feeling due to the spacing of the trees and the small amount of undergrowth. We had some views down into the Roaring River canyon along the way. It was a spectacular trip, and very special because of being accessible to young children. I could not believe at the time that this unique spot was unprotected.
What's up with the guest list today? Seems a little strange to have a show on Mount Hood Wilderness and no speaker from Oregon Wild.
Yes, I'd like to hear Erik Fernandez once again claim that they'll just send the Boy Scouts out in the woods to clear the trails. Hilarious!
He told me trails weren't their business, it was the trees...
Without trail access, how will you 'enjoy' the outdoors and the Wilderness areas? Just drive by and look at them from HWY 35?
What a LIAR: We will lose a LOT of trails......over 120 miles around Mt. Hood, some of the finest singletrack in the universe.......
hmmm, lets keep it friendly shall we. I don't remember hearing Erik Fernandez say anything about the boyscouts. I'm pretty sure I said that the vast majority of the trails(including 100% of the popular trails) that were originally proposed for Wilderness were subsequently dropped from the bill and will remain open to bikes. Compromise means not everyone gets what they want. The end result is a balanced bill.
Bikes are great, and they are fine in most places. Wilderness is about a lot more than just bikes- congress had to consider all of the issues - global warming, salmon, hiking, wildflower meadows, rafting, and clean drinking water.
you made that statement about Boy Scouts at a meeting you attended in Hood River. The ORMBA had people at that meeting.
just to let you know, we ALSO make sure there are MTB'ers at public meetings, to make sure there is a 'balanced view', just like OregonWild does. Remember writing this email? You sent it to the wrong Michelle. Clearly, you tried to plant someone at the meeting I set up with Senator Smith's rep:
From: Erik Fernandez [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, June 22, 2004 10:11 AM
Subject: FW: IMBA OR: Tuesday Portland Wilderness Meeting, You're
Michelle - I got your contact info from Kevin at Friends of the Gorge...
I just wanted to pass along the below email to you (albeit last minute)
- there is a meeting between mtn bikers and Senator Smith's office
happening this evening. If you could attend and offer a balanced view
that would be fantastic. thanks, Erik
In the Clackamas District of Mt Hood, the wilderness expansion will create huge hardships for those few volunteers who maintain the trails. Without our chainsaws, it will take ten times more work to keep up the trails. Bull of the Woods trails are already in serious disrepair. Volunteers are not large in number. The crosscut saw is an enormous labor to use and gets little done per hour.
The District will lose trails. Serene Lake, Grouse Point, Old Baldy, a dozen or so trails, will go down hill. the Forest Service does not have a trail crew in Clackamas District. It is all up to us volunteers and I can guarantee you that the trails that are taken by this wilderness expansion will decline.
in addition, access will be limited by road closures.
Envitronmental groups have done nothing to help us withthe trails. they have a few pitiful attempts elsewhere but we never see them.
Support those that actually do the trail work, give us the chainsaw in the wilderness.
From Senator Wyden?s March 25th, 2004 Press Release: ?Seems to me, rather than tell people that they are going to be restricted from using our public lands, the solution lies in providing more opportunities for them to enjoy our great places.?
This is EXACTLY what this bills does: restricts bicyclists from riding over 120 miles of trails they have ridden, AND maintained for all users, for over two decades. How hypocritical can a politician be? The trees do NOT need to be protected from bicycles or the people riding them!
From the start OPB has incorrectly framed the question. In advance and again today OPB has framed this question...about wilderness from an entirely human-centric point of view. With a "What can it do for me" kind of attitude. The primary reason for wilderness, as outlined in that momentous 1964 legislation, was to protect the values of wilderness...for the sake of the wild. The landscape, the ecosystem, the wildlife. Human benefits, including nonmotorized recreation, are secondary.
Do you think maybe it is worth talking about the benefits to the natural world first, and human benefits secondarily? You bet.
It is not about human use, but rather nature's use.
The passage of this bill is a great benefit to the state of Oregon, especially in the context of a struggling economy. The economic benefits of conserved lands and waters are not always fully quantified, but these wilderness areas and wild and scenic rivers can provide ecosystem services (such as erosion and flooding controls and drinking water sources), bring in income from tourism and recreation, and ensure that the values of our public lands are not lost in the future.
Excuse me, but Wilderness means LESS recreation, not MORE! I guess me and other mountainbikers will just go somewhere else and spend our time and money. Places like the Tillamook forest, where the ODF provides more and more trails every year.
Good luck clearing the trails with a misery whip saw, Kavita......
There are many interest groups who enjoy hiking and backpacking who travel to wilderness areas via surrounding towns and communities. Furthermore, wild and scenic rivers attract world-wide visitors (think of the Rogue Rivers in southern Oregon) for fishing and rafting and kayaking. There are even studies that demonstrate that wild and scenic rivers raise the value of surrounding private lands.
Here's a fun statistic to put the mountain bike issue in it's place. According to the most recent NVUM (National Visitor Use Monitoring) studies, mountain bikers account for 4% of the users on national forests. Hikers, birders all massively outweigh the use of bikers.
Guess who cleared those trails for the hikers and birders. If it weren't for mountain bikers, a lot of trails wouldn't exist anymore at all. Kudos to squarehead above, you hit the nail on the head...
"Wilderness expansion will incorporate many of our trails. We will no
longer be allowed to clear them yearly with our chainsaws (and our teeth
aren't that sharp). The labor and cost of trail maintenance could rise ten
fold. Currently there is little money for this work as it is. There is no
reason to expect more. The sale of condos at Government Camp will not be
funding crosscut saw crews to keep your trails nice to walk. Expect
deterioration. Climb over, under, and around fallen trees: average ten per
mile per year. This wilderness expansion is really heartbreaking because
we volunteers have worked so hard to recover most of these trails from
years of neglect. We will continue to keep the non-wilderness trails
"IT CANNOT BE OVER EMPHASIZED HOW MUCH OF A DISASTER THE MOUNT HOOD
WILDERNESS BILL WILL BE FOR THE DISTRICT TRAILS. The consequence will be
loss of trails and access to all but the most extreme adventurers, a very
small minority of users."
It's pretty funny that you had to reach over into Washington state to find someone who doesn't like Wilderness.
As a mountainbiker, I believe mountain biking has a positive role in Oregon?s recreation economy and should be supported by Oregon?s elected officials and government administrators.
There is an economic impact related to this reduction of recreational possibilities.
There will be a direct and indirect impact to local bike shops, tour guides,
eateries and other special use permitees that have legally run events in these areas for over ten years and indirect loss of tourism.
In June 2004, Bike Magazine identified the area around Hood River, Oregon, as some of the finest singletrack in the mountain bike universe, all lying within an 80-mile radius of Hood River. Why does a pro-bike Congressman like Earl Blumenauer want to close 120+ miles of trails to bicyclists?
Designating these new areas as wilderness will protect several important streams with pristine habitat for salmon and trout. Streams or sections of streams, such as Roaring, Clackamas,Salmon and Elk rivers, will be protected from logging and other habitat destruction. With this protection key populations of species such as coho, chinook, steelhead, cutthroat will have areas that they can live within very healthy habitat. Some of these streams, such as the Elk or Roaring, have great habitat that now is protected and will provide great angling opportunities.This wilderness designation will be great for Oregonians who want to fish ,and for our native wild salmonid species.
The structure of the Oregon Wilderness Bill has been carefully crafted over several of the last years and has been tied to the Mount Hood Meadows Land swap with their agreement. It has many compromises and has tried to respect all mountain user groups. The over-riding philosophy is that Mount Hood is a very limited resource, especially when it comes to a Wilderness area with the easy access of the Cooper Spur area, and areas like this must be preserved for future generations. If this is not done, wilderness will disappear and the entire mountain will one day resemble the Government Camp/Timberline/Meadows. Is that how we want to care for our Mountain?
It's actually not accurate to say that wilderness designation is "forever"--in fact, one of the many, many provisions of this bill de-designates some wilderness in the Izembek Refuge in Alaska in order to effect a land exchange that makes way for a road that in turn benefits one town. Unfortunately, this horrible precedent--REMOVAL of wilderness protection-wasn't enough even to garner the big enviro groups'opposition to the overall bill.
blaeloch: removal of wilderness protection for an area in Alaska is a very serious matter. I'm sure this information was not widely known. It was probably an amendment that got slipped in when no one was looking. I would like to suggest to you that if you want "big enviro groups' opposition" to bad ideas like this, you need to notify the environmental community and ask for help. Perhaps you read information about Alaska that the rest of us don't read. As a general policy, try to find ways to work with us
Wilderness designation will reduce the number of miles of trail accessible to mountain bike enthusiasts. I feel that designating this land as National Conservation Areas will prevent development and allow mountain bike access. Also note that trail maintenance costs go up in Wilderness areas due to the prohibition on use of power tools in Wilderness areas. A less restrictive land protection standard ameliorates this concern.
Hilarious the position that wilderness has a positive economic impact!
The statement could not be less true when compared to open access, though I expect no less then such a position from one of the Eco-cults.
Yes, there should be wilderness areas but do not try to justify it with falsehoods.
The OHV, et al and equestrian users have a far greater economic impact then any other user group.
Horses ought to be banned from wilderness areas. Horses are very destructive of trails and camping places.
Well, OK, some lands should be set aside for horses but they should be banned from the rest.
I and my family are avid cyclists. When we moved here 11 years ago, I imagined my wife and two kids biking through the many beautiful wilderness areas. I learned that there are very few trails that allow cyclists. There were better MTB opportunities in every state I've lived in (Minnesota, Illinois, Massechussetts, even Iowa) than Oregon. It would be sad if the few remaining places were made unavailable. I suspect it will nudge law abiding folks to sheepishly become scofflaws.
You say only 4% of the land in Oregon is protected as wilderness, and that does indeed sound like a pretty small amount of land. But that also means hikers and mountain bikers, and equestrians and cross-country skiers, must share all that remaining land with cars, trucks, ATVs and snowmobiles. Vehicles classified as Off-Road Vehicles (ORVs) typically are not required to have catalytic converters or even real mufflers. The damage these vehicles do to the environment, including the ground, the air, the water, and the noise, cannot be compared to the impact of non-motorized users. It?s silly to even try.
The remaining 96% of Oregon?s land, or whatever is left after new Wilderness Area is declared, must accommodate all users. This means more conflicts between non-motorized users and motorized users. It also means more conflicts among the non-motorized users, leading to increased tension among a bunch of different groups who generally share the same desires ? to experience nature, not use and abuse it.
The number of people who ride mountain bikes, horses, and in the winter XC-ski, is very small compared to the number of people who don?t know how to have fun without a motor. If less than 4% of the people in this country even walk in town, the number of people who are willing and able to drive to the middle of nowhere to walk around in the woods must be small indeed. Should they be the only ones allowed to access all that land?
Mountain bikes are an excellent way to explore natural areas. As are horses, cross-country skis, and a pair of good boots. Mountain bikes offer people the opportunity to get to places not accessible to people on foot, or certainly not within a one-day outing. You can get a good workout, which most of the people in this country sorely need, and you can have a heck of a good time. Mountain bikers describe a good long ride as epic for a good reason. It?s mentally and physically challenging, you get to see some fantastic nature, and when you?re done and you?re completely spent you feel like you accomplished something. You have a grin on your face and a story you can?t wait to tell. Things are right in the world, and life is good.
Well said. Thank you.
Yeah, very well said... you basically said that this is a bad idea because now motorized users and bikers are going to have to share 96% of the state. Goes, poor folks. And those greedy wilderness advocates, they have a glutenous 4% of the state to use. Very well said indeed.
I feel you have misunderstood the point. The point isn't that he or I don't support the wilderness designation. I absolutely do. If you had read what he said, he said that cyclists support preservation of wild lands. The part that we don't agree with is the exclusion of bicycles from such lands. As for the word glutenous...I'm not sure that word means what you think it means. Or maybe you just mispelled it.
GeeWhiz, only 3.7% of the state is wilderness!
In 2004, 53% of the state was owned, managed or under the jurisdictional control of the Federal Government. In the next couple of year?s there is a federal travel management plan that is going to effectively close ?nationally? vast areas of otherwise open access lands to non-pedestrian users.
It is obvious that there are GAG?s that will not be satisfied until ALL human intrusion is eliminated, those of you celebrating this wilderness bill? watch your backs!
YOU are next!
The writer from Government Camp doesn't seem to understand that the land swap is necessary to get MHM off the north side of the mountain (totally). Government Camp is already urbanized; the north side of the mountain is nearly pristine. The problem with Meadows is that they have a ski permit at Cooper Spur (north side) issued from the FS that allows them to expand and tear apart the old growth and other vegetation -- more bulldozing -- disrupting the migration corridors for wildlife. Among proposed expansion projects, the FS would allow a chair lift landing with all the gadgetry and apparatus into Cloud Cap the area across the gravel road from designated wilderness. Since Government Camp is already urbanized, building condos there would seem more appropriate.
Much of the land being given to developers in Govy is pristine (no roads, old growth, wetlands) while the land at cooper spur has been cut over. There are existing trails on the Govy swap land too. The land at government camp is far more valuble than the land at cooper spur. Let's at least have an equal trade or scale back the land lost to developers at Govy.
If this swap is such a good deal, why can't it stand alone? Because it would be recognized as a give away to developers.
I?m an avid mountain biker who lives in Hood River. And I?m for the wilderness bill and the land swap.
1. The ?land swap? would protect the Crystal Springs Zone of Contribution (ZOC). The ZOC is basically an underground watershed for 1/3 of Hood River citizen?s drinking water. Building hundreds of condos, golf courses, and additional roads would not be a positive step towards protecting this very valuable resource. Next time you are in Hood River riding any of the awesome trails of the 44 road, take a detour on your drive home and check the area out.
2. The best trails around Hood River will remain open. No, not all of them. And yes, this is going to disappoint many people. But all those trails in your guidebook will remain open.
3. Busy trails? Some like to say how ?busy? the trails are today ? or will become with the trail closures. C?mon. The trails that will close are the ones that very few people ride ? and understandably, that?s why we like them. During riding season, I?m out 1-4 days/week around Hood River and White Salmon. I may on a perfect day see more people in the parking lot, but normally see no more than 5-10 people on a ride. I don?t consider that busy.
How about those who like to ride trails that are NOT in the guidebooks? Some mtbers like to get away from it all, explore, just like hikers. Closing over HALF of the 210 miles we can currently ride is hardly fair in any way.
True. Most mtn. bikers will follow the herd to the most popular, easiest to access trails. The group of bikers that want to get away and explore is relatively small, so why keep that from them? Perhaps a good option is to sell mechanized permits for the small population who wants to explore on their bike. Or others who want to volunteer their time and take a chainsaw to clear the trail for all users.
Mountain bikers help all user groups access their forests...and are not prejudice about who uses the trails they maintain.
There have been hundreds of people supported by ten of thousands more working for more than 7 years toward this preservation effort. I represent the Cooper Spur Wild and Free Coalition that has worked on a small 3000 acre parcel on the north side of Mt Hood (www.cooperspur.org). We were throughly involved in the land swap process and believe it is best for the Mountain and the taxpayers. The senate bill has been crafted and redesigned for more than 4 years now. We have argued over rivers mile by mile and forest acre by acre and finally come to a compromise. It represents a minimum that we can do to preserve a small portion of our forests and rivers for future generations.
I am also a biker and this legislation would NOT EXCLUDE me from any trail. I will gladly leave my bike at home and hit the Wilderness trails on boots, skis or snowshoes.
Being a lover of camping, I have to say that I love going to the cascades to set up our tent in a civilization-free area where we can just enjoy nature for what it is. My favorite camping spot is Page Springs Campground in south-eastern Oregon, which is already protected since it is in Malhuer National Wildlife Refuge. I have hiked parts of the PCT, and I have seen how beautiful and scerene it is, and i cannot imagine anyone would come through it and start loging it. Why can't we make tree farms, where trees are grown just for logging? Then we could protect all of the natural beauty of Oregon.
Just presenting facts here, no BS or misrepresentations, unlike OregonWild Reps do:
As presented to the US Congress and Senate in April 2008:
Thank you for the opportunity to offer some observations on House proposals (Oregon Treasures) related to land protection legislation for Mt. Hood.
The new House proposal would close approximately 123 miles of trails to mountain bike access. To the best of our knowledge all these trails are open to bikes in compliance with Forest Service rules and regulations and are actively used by mountain bicyclists. Critical among these trails are those located in the Boulder Lake/Bonney Butte/Twin Lakes/Barlow Butte area, one of the region's most significant riding areas. The House proposal restricts access to more than 20 additional miles of trail beyond that in the committee-approved Senate version (S. 647). These are some of the few areas left to mountain bicycling on the South side of Mt. Hood after the Senate proposed closures at Twin Lakes and Bonney Butte.
As you know, mountain bicyclists are avid trail stewards who support protecting primitive lands around Mt. Hood, and contribute thousands of hours of volunteer trailwork across the state and on Mount Hood. In July 2004, IMBA and ORMBA submitted testimony in support of the Mount Hood Stewardship and Legacy Act (HR 5025), stating they were "pleased the bill includ[ed]:
- An investment of almost $800,000 of unobligated special use permit fees to be retained for trails and recreation on Mount Hood
- Consideration for high use recreation areas that are popular within the mountain bike community ? that these trails were left outside proposed Wilderness boundaries to allow for continued bike access
- A seat on the Mount Hood National Forest Recreational Advisory Council for a mountain bike representative
- The suggestion that the Forest Service consider creating singletrack trails open to bicycles from decommissioned roads
- Recognition of recreation as a dynamic social and economic component of Mount Hood."
Now, it is very frustrating to the mountain bicycling community to see that each iteration of this legislation has gradually closed off more lands from mountain bike access. The Mount Hood Stewardship Act (HR 5025) closed approximately 58 miles, less than half that now in the Oregon Treasures proposal (approximately 123 miles closed). The Senate committee-approved bill (S. 647) closes approximately 100 miles of trails. If more lands are designated Wilderness, and thus made off-limits to cyclists, an important constituency will be shut out. It does not need to be this way.
Land protection efforts do not need to focus exclusively on Wilderness; they can be more inclusive of other designations that are equally conservation minded but allow mountain bicycling to continue in traditional areas. We need a toolkit of strong protections to apply the right designation to suit each area?s distinct history and its future.
That is why the mountain bike community was so encouraged by S. 647 which creates the Mount Hood National Forest Recreation Area (NRA) that will allow mountain biking to continue in areas such as Fifteen Mile Creek, Boulder Lake, and Shellrock Mountain. When combined with the boundary adjustments for other trails in the area, S. 647 preserved access to the most popular and scenic places for cycling such as Fifteenmile Creek, Larch Mountain, Dog River, Surveyors Ridge, Boulder Lake, Shellrock and Mount Defiance.
Instead of taking away trails our community has enjoyed for decades, National Recreation Areas are a way to protect Mount Hood for future generations to enjoy and also to engage more of the Oregon bike community in land protection. National Recreation Areas have been used in many places around the country and on National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and USDA Forest Service lands. Furthermore, the legislative language for NRA's can be narrowly drafted to limit or prohibit motorized uses, permanent structures, mining and extractive uses and so forth (we are very pleased to see these elements are included in the new draft House bill). Inclusion of this designation in S. 647 was very promising. Also promising, was seeing NRA's endorsed by House Concurrent Resolution 305, which states:
"Resolved by the House of Representatives, That the Congress [...] (2) supports policies that [...] create bicycle-friendly Federal land protection legislation, such as national recreation areas, to encourage regulations and management practices for mountain biking as an environmentally friendly nonmotorized use of natural surface trails[.]"
It is difficult to understand why traditional mountain biking areas in the region, particularly on the east side of Mt. Hood, need to be designated as Wilderness when an equally effective land protection designation is readily available; and supported by members of the Oregon Congressional delegation.
We strongly endorse the NRA proposal and suggest expanding it to several other key areas. In particular, we request that the proposed NRA be used for Hell Roaring Creek and the entire Boulder Lake/Bonney Meadows/Twin Lakes/Barlow Butte area.
Designating these areas with an NRA would allow IMBA and the local trails community to work in conjunction with the Forest Service on a pilot, demonstration program to preserve wetlands in the Boulder Lake area. Mountain bikers care deeply about these areas and want the lands protected for our traditional and existing use. Sustainable trail building techniques would allow trails groups to improve and maintain a boardwalk through the swampy portions of the Boulder Lake area, thereby eliminating a hike and bike section through a sensitive wetland area. By working together on such a project, the partners could demonstrate that hiking, biking and recreation uses can co-exist successfully with ecological preservation. Simply restricting reasonable access by designating this area as Wilderness will foreclose this opportunity and squander the potential for a truly innovative ecological preservation project.
Alternatively, if this proposal is not acceptable, we suggest maintaining the NRA boundaries defined by S. 647; and preserving a popular trail, known as the Bonny Butte Trail (Trail #471) under the aegis of Wild and Scenic River status. The Bonney Butte Trail starts in the Twin Lakes area and travels east toward Boulder Lake. This 5. 2 mile trail provides a critical connection across three key areas for mountain biking - Boulder Lakes, Bonney Meadows and Twin Lakes area. It currently enjoys Wild and Scenic River designation status - one of the most protective land designations afforded by Congress. As proposed, the Mount Hood bill would change the status of the Bonney Butte Trail to Wilderness protection. Layering this area with Wilderness unnecessarily prohibits continued bike access and blocks a connector trail to other key trail systems. Keeping this trail protected by a Wild and Scenic designation, removes less than 1,000 acres from the overall proposal and only a few hundred acres if the boundary is narrowly drawn. As a low-impact, quiet and human-powered activity, mountain biking is compatible with Wild and Scenic areas. We ride on many trails protected under this designation.
As we've stated before, mountain biking is a healthy, human-powered outdoor activity with minimal environmental impact and a positive economic influence for Oregon. Oregon is known for being solutions-minded and looking for new ways to tackle old problems. We look forward to working with the Oregon delegation and interested stake-holders to achieve this goal.
Jill Van Winkle
ORMBA and CAMBA representative
IMBA Trail Specialist
Hood River, OR
ORMBA and COTA representative
Eatern Oregon IMBA representative
Western Oregon IMBA representative
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