Forum Index > Stewardship > chainsaws for trail maintenance in Wilderness?
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Quark
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PostFri Jul 28, 2006 1:03 pm 
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Explosives are allowed without a waiver.  Yeah, they're faster at times than a pick to remove rock or a saw for a massive log.  All that's left of that log is smithereens.

Someday, when I get my act together (not act of congress), I'll scan some photos of a blasting project that took out a humongous cedar from the White Chuck trail.  The log was reduced from a mighty fearful thing to sawdust, except for the bark.  Strips of cedar bark drooped and dangled from overhead tree branches, swinging in the now-quiet breeze.  It was like walking into a Salvadore Dali painting.

Cedar bark is indestructible.  That and lupine roots.

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Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore



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Niece of Alvy Moore
PostFri Jul 28, 2006 4:42 pm 
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It's very sad to have to do something like that.   frown.gif   It's a tall order to ask a trail maintenance person to do.

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Jamin Smitchger
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PostFri Jul 28, 2006 7:42 pm 
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I am not sure on this issue. I really am not for the maintainence of trails because I believe that a maintained trail detracts from the true wilderness experience. It also removes a lot of the challenge from hiking. I guess I think chainsaws should be allowed if they are needed. We always should do things in the most efficient way.
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Allison
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PostFri Jul 28, 2006 8:04 pm 
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We always should do things in the most efficient way.

Can you show us where in the Wilderness Act this sentiment is expressed?
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Malachai Constant
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PostFri Jul 28, 2006 8:57 pm 
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What does "most efficent" mean? Does it mean cheapest? Dynamite fishing is more efficent than flys, strip mining better than pits ans clearcuts more efficent than selective helecopter logging. huh.gif

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IdahoHyker
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PostThu Dec 01, 2016 5:00 pm 
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Looks as this thread hasn't been active for some time....I  hope the discussion continues.  It seems the "maintenance" budget continues to decline while the expense increases, leading to many trails that aren't properly maintained.  And, at the same time, the blowdown across the trails seems to have increased.  Trail maintenance, by the governments own figures, are lagging way behind.  The time may be upon us to consider "limited" use of chainsaws in the wilderness, say one week per year, a National Chainsaw Week, to provide an efficient tool to the agencies for trail maintenance.  With preparedness and planning, the agencies could get a "whole bunch of work done" in a week, leaving their crews free to do the other much needed maintenance.
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Voxxjin
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made of hamburger
PostThu Dec 01, 2016 5:15 pm 
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Personal opinion - I think the use of chain saws by the forest/park service to clear trails is acceptable. The amount of trail that they could clear, would be a huge amount over what they can do now. Last spring when I went up the Carbon River trail and up the Enchanted Valley, it would have taken forever to clear all of the downed trees by hand. I am glad that they ended up using chain saws (and a mini excavator at least at Carbon River). I am assuming they used chain saws on the trail to EV because I haven't seen it but I thought that is what I heard they would use. Most of the work would be in the spring and barring a major storm in the summer, probably little to no use once trails were cleared. Financially it makes sense too as it would free up manpower for other projects. They might actually have money for rangers to go into the back country.

Some people will disagree with my opinion. That is fine.

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RandyHiker
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PostThu Dec 01, 2016 6:59 pm 
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Malachai Constant wrote:
What does "most efficent" mean? Does it mean cheapest? Dynamite fishing is more efficent than flys, strip mining better than pits ans clearcuts more efficent than selective helecopter logging. huh.gif

If "efficiency" was the main consideration, wouldn't you want to bring in more motorized equipment than just chainsaws?   Like those motorized wheelbarrows used to construct the Mailbox peak trail -- which of course requires a wider trail -- so now why not use ATVs to transport personnel to and from the worksite...  And you know helicopters can move big old trees out of the way a lot faster than anything else.

Let's not open that can-o-worms.    Heck over the next four years we'll be lucky if parks and wilderness areas don't get sold off to the highest bidder.
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IdahoHyker
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PostThu Dec 01, 2016 7:05 pm 
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All that point(s) well taken. But...if....just allowed for one week each year...and no other uses,  would that be acceptable?   Can we live with just one week?
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Pyrites
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PostThu Dec 01, 2016 7:40 pm 
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One week, all summer. A moot point as long as all the money is used for fire suppression.

Although I must admit I was shocked on a trail project in N Idaho a USFS person was there.

Do they still do work on R-1?
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Ski
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PostThu Dec 01, 2016 11:54 pm 
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treeswarper wrote:
"...the world of the drama king/queen..."

Olympic National Park uses gas-powered equipment (chainsaws, trimmers) for trail maintenance.
I have run into several trail crews up there over the course of years, but I have never heard a chainsaw running up there except for one occasion in the early 1990's when DNR was doing a logging operation on the south slope of Sams Ridge.
Deep forest has a way of muffling sound.

Some of you guys need to get out more.

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I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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RandyHiker
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PostFri Dec 02, 2016 4:47 am 
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Ski wrote:
Olympic National Park uses gas-powered equipment (chainsaws, trimmers) for trail maintenance.

That's a national park -- they have their own set of rules concerning wilderness.   "Wilderness Areas" refer to areas of National Forest Land so designated by an act of Congress. 

The Wilderness Act states
Quote:
...there should be no temporary road, no use of motor vehicles, motorized equipment or motorboats, no landing of aircraft, no other form of mechanical transport..."

The Wilderness Act makes exceptions for wilderness managers to use motorized equipment and methods of mechanical transport, but only
Quote:
...as necessary to meet minimum requirements for the administration of the area for the purpose of the Act (including measures required in emergencies involving the health and safety of persons within the area)...

So as a matter of law, USFS managers could allow the use of chainsaws in wilderness areas -- in fact they did choose to use helicopters for the Green Mountain Lookout rebuilding project -- and they were successfully sued, not for using helicopters so much as for not going through the proper procedure to document that using the helicopter was "necessary to meet minimum requirements for the administration of the area"   An act of congress was required to prevent the rebuilt lookout from being removed.

So using chainsaws within "Wilderness Act" designated areas the forest service needs to document that such usage is "necessary to meet minimum requirements for the administration of the area"  and I think they would need to do that documentation on a case by case base.  I think a blanket rule change to generally allow chainsaws to be used for trail maintenance would certainly be challenged in court and would almost certainly lose IMHO.

Congress could act to specifically allow chainsaws without the forest service doing additional paperwork -- but I personally don't like the idea of the current congress tinkering with provisions of the Wilderness Act -- as the current and incoming congress seem more likely to sell off federal lands to the highest bidder.
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jinx'sboy
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PostFri Dec 02, 2016 7:56 am 
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RandyHiker wrote:
"Wilderness Areas" refer to areas of National Forest Land so designated by an act of Congress.

"Wilderness Areas" referred to in the Wilderness Act are exactly the same, for purposes of definition, and for discussion about motorized and mechanized uses, regardless of agency; NPS, USFS, BLM, USFWS are the same.

The NPS, as a matter of POLICY, has chosen to interpret the "minimum necessary for administration" differently than the FS.  That they have successfully done so for decades, without challenge until lately, has always puzzled me some.....
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JVesquire
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PostFri Dec 02, 2016 8:39 am 
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Most of the people I know who do backcountry trail maintenance are fine with the tools they have. They'd rather not pack oil, gas, a saw, etc and deal with the smell and noise all day ruining their experience. Chainsaws are pretty nasty and if you're good with a crosscut saw, why bother?
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IdahoHyker
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PostFri Dec 02, 2016 9:03 am 
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Appreciate hearing from you guys.  This is a good discussion worthy of time spent to sort out the issues.  I always like to ask:  "If chainsaws were used one week only, would you be agreeable to that idea?  And, I do understand we have differing opinions and different degrees of  acceptance of using chainsaws.  imho, I cannot live with 100%, but can live with one week each year.  this would give the agencies a reasonable time for reasonable planning to get the trails opened and accessible and available for use as the Wilderness Act states, with minimal "read acceptable?" impact on the recreating public.
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Forum Index > Stewardship > chainsaws for trail maintenance in Wilderness?
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