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yew
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PostThu Jul 27, 2006 10:31 am 
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As you all probably know, funding for trail maintenance on federal lands is declining due to Congress and the Administration's other budgetary priorities.  The US Forest Service has rules that do not allow for the use of chainsaws in Wilderness Areas except when the Forest Supervisor signs a waiver for a special situation.  I've read that Wilderness trails are more expensive to maintain than non-Wilderness trails presumably to their inaccessilbility and that trail crews can only use crosscut saws ("misery whips") to cut through blowdowns.  As you all probably also know, there are a lot of really big trees in the Northwest that fall over and block trails.

National Park Service trail maintenance crews are allowed to use chainsaws in Wilderness.

Do you think trail US Forest Service trailcrews should be allowed to use chainsaws in Wilderness Areas?

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"I aint jokin woman, I got to ramble...We gonna go walkin through the park every day." - Led Zeppelin
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Damian
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PostThu Jul 27, 2006 10:36 am 
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Yes- I would support the judicious use of chainsaws in wilderness areas at the discretion of the local land managers.
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Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore



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PostThu Jul 27, 2006 10:38 am 
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as I understand it, it's not the FS who has rules about Wilderness, it's a Congressional designation.  I thought it was an Act of Congress that issued waivers, not the FS Supervisor.  Am I wrong?

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Damian
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PostThu Jul 27, 2006 10:44 am 
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I thnk you are right, but I may be wrong about you being right (IMBRAYBR).  In any case, MOO is that the decision should be more local. (DSBML).

I'm trying hard to improve my hipness by using these dumb acronyms so I can decode PIB posts.
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Dante
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PostThu Jul 27, 2006 10:44 am 
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Yes, but with fewer Rangers in the woods, what are the chances of a "volunteer" actually being ticketed for using a chain-saw?  wink.gif
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Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore



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PostThu Jul 27, 2006 12:46 pm 
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Often it's less time consuming and less costly to use x-cut saws.  Chainsaws are cumbersome, and the saw plus equipage (extra chains, gas, chaps, etc) require a horse to haul in unless you're only going in a few miles and the saw isn't a large one.  But many FS trails, though designated as horse trails, aren't horseable due to lack of appropriate maintenance.  [edit plus most trail crew don't have horses, fs horsepackers aren't that plentiful.  on the other hand, backcountry horsemen do a lot of volunteer work and can haul saws. but that's relying on volunteerism, which is nice if you can get it)

SUre, there are times a chainsaw would be less time consuming and less costly, money-wise as well as labor-wise such as the (I've mentioned this before) Suiattle Rv trail in 2001 or so, when over 80 old growth logs were down.  Congress denied the chainsaw waiver, and it took quite a while to saw the logs out, taking the maintenance manpower off other trails.

However, I'd rather deal with the klunkiness of trailwork without mechanization than allow chainsaws in Wilderness.  We want Wilderness, by God, we got it.

I do, however, agree to chopper-drops for equipment.  I know that makes me a hypocrite, but I never said I wasn't a hypocrite.

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"...Other than that, the post was more or less accurate."

Bernardo, NW Hikers' Bureau Chief of Reporting
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Sandy McKean
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PostThu Jul 27, 2006 2:18 pm 
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Quote:
You are right, it does require an acto of Congress to get the waiver.

This is incorrect.  The USFS (plus 3 other federal agencies) use a procedure called 'Minimum Requirements Analysis" or MRA to make the determination as to whether tools such as helicopters or chainsaws can be used.  It does not take an act of congress.

For details see: http://www.wilderness.net/index.cfm?fuse=MRDG

P.S. Quark......my favorite subject is physics, and my favorite play is "Waiting for Godot" (which, BTW, will be performed in Seattle on Nov 8-12 at the Moore Theater)
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Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore



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PostThu Jul 27, 2006 2:59 pm 
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Sandy McKean wrote:
my favorite play is "Waiting for Godot" (which, BTW, will be performed in Seattle on Nov 8-12 at the Moore Theater)

I know!  Tix aren't available to the general public yet; only subscribers can get 'em right now.  I'm waiting, and have re-read the play recently in anticipation of this fine event!  up.gif

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"...Other than that, the post was more or less accurate."

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MtnGoat
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PostThu Jul 27, 2006 3:11 pm 
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where it's practical and there are long stretches of concentrated blowdowns, fire up the saws and get more bang for your buck out of limited maintaince dollars. for downers here and there, it may not be worth dragging along all the chainsaw stuff, for planned operations involving a lot of them, i'm certain it is.

i'm sure there are lots of misery whip proponents with tales of rapid cutting at at a Paul Bunyon pace, but there is a reason loggers left them behind long ago, and it's not because the long saw was faster or cheaper for cutting a lot of logs at minimum cost.

they don't drag out injured hikers by mule, exceptions are made all the time in wilderness, getting trailwork done in heavily timbered areas at low cost and quickly seems like a good idea to me.

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Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock. - Will Rogers
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Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore



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PostThu Jul 27, 2006 3:14 pm 
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MtnGoat wrote:

i'm sure there are lots of misery whip proponents with tales of rapid cutting at at a Paul Bunyon pace, but there is a reason loggers left them behind long ago, and it's not because the long saw was faster or cheaper for cutting a lot of logs at minimum cost.

Not really a comparison.  Of course x-cut saws aren't cost effective for logging.  We're not talking about logging, only occasional blowdown.  Like you mentioned, it isn't worth it for most projects where a trailcrew is on a 9 day tour that includes only 2 logs and 15 rock walls to build.

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"...Other than that, the post was more or less accurate."

Bernardo, NW Hikers' Bureau Chief of Reporting
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MtnGoat
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PostThu Jul 27, 2006 3:34 pm 
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sounds reasonable. then we have what sounds like a heck of a lot of work to clean up the whitechuck trail.

a decade ago an avalanche obliterated a long stretch of the Buck Creek pass main trail. there was nothing but log crossed over log over log, way over head high, for hundreds of feet. i'm not sure how this got resolved, but if they went through it, and I don't see how they could avoid doing so since it went from treeline to river for thousands vertical, and they did it by hand, it was a waste of trail dollars, big time, better spent elsewhere.

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Ski
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PostThu Jul 27, 2006 3:45 pm 
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yew_betula wrote:
Do you think trail US Forest Service trailcrews should be allowed to use chainsaws in Wilderness Areas?

It is rather odd that an NPS crew can load a string of pack mules up with chainsaws and gas cans and haul them deep into "designated wilderness" in a National Park, but NFS trail crews can't do the same in "Wilderness" areas.
As noted, fortunately there are exceptions to this.
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Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore



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PostThu Jul 27, 2006 3:49 pm 
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Yeah, I agree that in cases like that and the Suiattle River trail a chainsaw likely would have been more cost effective.  But Wilderness is Wilderness; it's almost sacred.  A huge avalanche swept out the Sauk Rv trail above Mackinaw Shelter a few years ago, and the trailcrew cleared it up very quickly.

Trailcrew, by the time the backcountry trails open up have been trained on lower river trails, and are cracker-jack x-cutters.  They're fast, limber, and know the fastest way to log out a trail.

X-cut saws allow them to move faster along the trail, and you can pack more x-cut saws per tour than chainsaws.  Say you have a crew of 6.  You could have 3 projects going at once.  Chances are a crew of 6 won't have 3 chainsaws with them due to the high maintenance, weight, and cumbersomeness (is that a word?).

A 9 day tour includes pulaskis, shovels and x-cuts because you never know what you'll run into.  A chainsaw isn't something you'd casually bring along "just in case," the way you could with a x-cut saw.

Boundary Waters had a windstorm in 1999 (?) that knocked down hundreds of thousands of trees (I'll have to look up the exact figures, I saw an article on it recently).  No chainsaws were used to do the cleanup work there.  X-cut crews from all over the country were invited to do a tour there for up to 2 weeks, to help out.  It took all summer.  Our own troops from MBSNF spent 2 weeks there, and were lauded as among the best crew. up.gif

Chainsaws could have a place in Wilderness, but more for large scale projects than an average tour.

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"...Other than that, the post was more or less accurate."

Bernardo, NW Hikers' Bureau Chief of Reporting
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Niece of Alvy Moore



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PostThu Jul 27, 2006 3:50 pm 
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ski wrote:
yew_betula wrote:
Do you think trail US Forest Service trailcrews should be allowed to use chainsaws in Wilderness Areas?

It is rather odd that an NPS crew can load a string of pack mules up with chainsaws and gas cans and haul them deep into "designated wilderness" in a National Park, but NFS trail crews can't do the same in "Wilderness" areas.
As noted, fortunately there are exceptions to this.

They have a lot more money to hire pack strings and more crew, and their trails are better maintained for the most part.

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"...Other than that, the post was more or less accurate."

Bernardo, NW Hikers' Bureau Chief of Reporting
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Malachai Constant
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PostThu Jul 27, 2006 3:59 pm 
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If you have ever seen any loggers circuses you know that a Xcut saw can be as fast as a chain saw in the right hands. Of course those guys are pretty fast with an axe too. hockeygrin.gif

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