Forum Index > Trail Talk > Continued: closing middle fork rd at dingford crk - in favor or not--speak your mind now
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Tom
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PostSun Jan 13, 2002 12:32 pm 
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Posts were starting to disappear in the original thread so I created a new one. †Apologies for the inconvenience.
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polarbear
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PostSun Jan 13, 2002 1:03 pm 
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Scrooge makes some good points about how turning a road into a longer trail might as a consequence make other trails more crowded. It might also effectively close that trail eventually because less people are now using it. †Alot of trail maintenance is just done by your everyday hiker keeping the trail there. †If people don't use it, the trees and jungle take over (having worked on the TC trail, I can say that). †If people aren't using the trail it might be retired just like the roads get retired--we've all run into that.

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...and a window that looks out on Corcovado...  Corcovado Hill
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Backpacker Joe
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NWH Joe-Bob
PostSun Jan 13, 2002 1:07 pm 
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Well that makes sence. †The trail DID exsist once. †The middle fork road and its usage must have killed the original trail. †I've played on and around much of that original trail. †If mountian bikers and people and horses are using it, at least sections of ti wont go away. †Question, has the trail been reparied all the way to the dutch miller trailhead? †In other words if they close the road can you still make it to the end via trail?

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"If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide."

ó Abraham Lincoln
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Dante
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PostSun Jan 13, 2002 2:33 pm 
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I've been on the whole thing from south of the bridge near the Dingford Creek trailhead (going to Derrick with Backpacker Joe) to the upstream trailhead just a little shy of the end of the road. †I haven't been on the part downstream of Goldmier since last spring, but I did the trail upstream of Goldmier in September and it was in great shape!
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Backpacker Joe
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PostSun Jan 13, 2002 2:45 pm 
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I wonder what the distance/time would be hiking the trail from camp brown (or the bridge there) to the dutch miller trailhead?

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"If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide."

ó Abraham Lincoln
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Dante
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PostSun Jan 13, 2002 3:54 pm 
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I don't know. †We hiked the south shore trail from Dingford to the hotsprings once. †I remember it taking longer than we thought it would. †We hiked back to the car on the road--WAY faster. †You'd probably want to add most of a day if there was a gate at Taylor and you were going to use the south shore trail. †I suspect the road it faster--more direct--and agree that closing it might kill the south shore trail.
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Backpacker Joe
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NWH Joe-Bob
PostSun Jan 13, 2002 5:36 pm 
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Well if they do pave the road to the taylor I hope they leave the middle fork road beyond just the way it is. †That way at least if you are prepared you can use it. †That way it may still diswade others from driving it!

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"If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide."

ó Abraham Lincoln
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Tsolo
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PostMon Jan 14, 2002 12:01 am 
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The FS has put a lot of work and money into the current (re-opened) trail along the MF, so I wouldn't think they'd let it disappear even if the current road were closed and it became the shorter "trail". The FS has built three very expensive bridges across the river, and seems to be giving the trail a high priority for maintenance. I did the section between Dingford and Goldmeyer in June 2000 and there was a contractor in there building some pretty impressive raised wooden trail beds along some of the muddier parts, and two of the creeks there had prep work for new bridges.

The only "hazard" on the current trail is that you must wade Burntboot Creek, just W of Goldmeyer. It looked to me to be a nasty ford except in the driest months, although I managed to get across over a tangled mass of logs just downstream.
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Brian Curtis
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PostMon Jan 14, 2002 1:11 am 
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I just traced out the road and the trail to compare lengths. I'm not sure if I got the start of the trail right. The bridge isn't on my map. Amazingly, each route came out at exactly 13.1 miles.

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that elitist from silverdale wanted to tell me that all carnes are bad--Studebaker Hoch
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Brian Curtis
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PostMon Jan 14, 2002 1:39 am 
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"Gating the MFK at the Taylor River will not turn the valley into a wilderness. It has been used by miners and loggers and recreationists for decades."

Of course the signs of man will always be there. I don't think they should even be cleaned up. That log loader sitting near the end of the road should be left. But given time and no traffic the wounds will heal. Look at the Taylor River. I can still remember the gnashing of teeth when the bridge went out and they decided to let that road go. Now it is starting to look really nice up that valley and the hike is extremely popular. But most importantly, it will start to function as wilderness despite the scars.

"- Closing the road at the Taylor River will have one significant impact. It will put more pressure on all those desirable areas that can still be reached in a day or a weekend:"

An excellent point. But I'm not convinced the impact would be all that great in other areas. When the road has was washed out several miles before Dingford Creek I have never noticed †much, if any, reduction of traffic up that trail. I can remember having significant extra distance added to a trip just because of cars parked down both sides of the road. So only some of the traffic would be diverted elsewhere and my feeling is that the quantities spread over the places you mentioned won't have a huge impact. But I'd sure like to have some concrete numbers since I'm just guessing.

"And every time they do you'll lose a little more - and never get it back."

For many years I've watched it be taken without being able to do a thing about it. Now, finally, here is one place we might get some back.

When the FS comes out with their management plan there will be at least a handful of options to choose from. Despite the impression you all probably have of me from this discussion I'm not going to commit to what option I want until I can see them all. We'll have lots to talk about.

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that elitist from silverdale wanted to tell me that all carnes are bad--Studebaker Hoch
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Randy
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PostMon Jan 14, 2002 8:41 pm 
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I canít support closing the road just because itís there. I get the feeling itís getting a bad rap simply because itís an eyesore on a map to a few folks who want a nice (semi) symmetric wilderness boundary. Show me the adverse impacts (to the "wildness" of the area) that the three (Dingford, Rock Creek, and DM) trailheads and hotsprings create in the area. Let me see an area (along the upper road) ravaged and destroyed by 4x4s or by years of abuse by hikers or whomever. Close the spur roads thatís where the real damage (if any) is taking place. Why close the trunkline? All itís doing is providing access to a select few places between the Taylor and DM. Iíve hiked from the three trailheads along the road and donít see the excessive damage that *might* warrant cut-backs on access. I havenít seen any real trampling at any of the cool off-trail destinations in the area either. To me, gating the road does *nothing* to increase the "wild" aspect of the area, it only takes an already *wild* area from semi-inaccessible to nearly totally inaccessible, not just to hikers but to all user groups. Who is going to walk 13+ miles to get to the end of the road just to start a good hike? If the road is closed who says that trail will even exist in 5 years when you finally get there? In 10 years? Not too many will walk that far, which may be the point (I understand this), but no matter what anyone is saying, the area just isnít used all that much even now. The beauty of the upper road is that it is accessible to all (it really is); yet, inherently a deterrent.

If the DM trail is crowded (I have never seen more than 7 cars here), there are many, many areas in which to disperse and find solitude. Gating the road at the Taylor eliminates any weekend trips from the end of the road, 21 miles in and out, that leaves 2 hours (or so!) in which to relax on a weekend trip assuming your body survived the trip in, doesnít sound like a good time to me. I have to guess Iím like most in that 3-4 day weekends just donít come around too often, which sucks because now I get to enjoy one of my favorite areas maybe only every other year. Additionally, I guess we can forget about anymore day trips up from the Dingford Creek trail as well. Lame.

I first started going to the M FK, especially the upper reaches of the river, even before I can remember to watch my parents kayak the rapids in late spring. It was a great time throwing rocks at the fish in the pools while watching my dad and his buddies negotiate the polished granite and ultra-tight slots in their insanely long 12 footers. Itís where I took my first lessons. What about the kayakers? To them the upper M FK is one of the more wild places around. "Wildness", as some have called it, is relative. Why should they suffer because a map or boundary isnít wild enough to someone else or other user group? Yes, itís true, they have the lower river, but anyone who knows the M FK knows the upper and lower reaches are two very different rivers.

If you drive the upper road on a nice summer weekend or weekday evening youíll undoubtedly see folks fly-fishing. Some of my first trips out with my dad and grandpa were to the upper river. Why? Because there are some fish, itís a nice scenic drive in, and the setting is first class for being so darn close to Seattle. Someone said it well in another post, in some other thread, there really is nothing like dipping a fly, in a clear pool, while standing beneath Burnt Boot Peak. Awesome. What about the folks that want to bring their kids up and teach them how to fish on a wild river, in a wild setting, within an hour of Seattle? Totally denied by a Taylor gate because there was too much of a discontinuity in the wilderness boundary. Or, there was a drivable road too close to the upper Foss Lakes or to Overcoat Peak as perceived by another user group. As I said in the previous paragraph, the lower river is completely different from the upper. Anybody thatís fished both, heads straight for the upper reaches and not just because the fish are bigger and more plentiful there. For me and many others thereís a lot more to it.

The perceived wilderness wound that the upper road creates is just not there IMO. The surrounding area is as wild as any in the ALW. The road may not aid the pattern of a perfect wilderness area, but Overcoat, Avalanche, and Iceberg are still the most difficult to attain (and least visited) lakes/areas in the ALW and theyíre all right along the upper Middle Fork road, go figure. Gate the spur roads, place a strategic jersey barrier here and there, and inhibit, as much as possible, those with malicious intents. But, allow those of us who enjoy the area for what it is, a spectacular and wild river valley, to continue to have access to it whether weíre kayaking, hiking, fly-fishing or out for a Sunday drive.

Anyhow, those are a few of my thoughts, now whereís my beer!
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polarbear
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PostMon Jan 14, 2002 9:56 pm 
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Let's keep the road rugged but usable. †You shouldn't need a Humvee to drive the road, but you shouldn't expect your sedan to retain its blue book value either. †The danger in letting the road get too out of shape is it gets too expensive to fix, so I think there's a real fine line that needs to be tread there. †There ought to be some roads you can drive like that though. †

I'm still trying to figure out the mystery road we took when I was little that seemed to go way the heck all over the place back there (or was it the other side...). †When I get a hold of the few black and white slides I'll scan them in and pick everyone's brains.

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...and a window that looks out on Corcovado...  Corcovado Hill
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Brian Curtis
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PostMon Jan 14, 2002 10:04 pm 
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I should learn never to say anything that disagrees with MtnGoat and Randy. These guys are brutal! smile.gif

I too have childhood stories of recreating on the Middle Fork. I remember a day hike to Iceberg and Overcoat from the end of the MidFork roads as one of the first time I got to go out hiking alone with my dad and uncle. That was a really, really big thing to me at age 13. I can remember being showered with debris from a dynamite blast near the end of the road. Great memories.

But all along I have insisted I don't want to see the road closed in order to cut off access. There aren't bad overuse problems at Middle Fork destinations. The problem is that the Alpine Lakes Wilderness is not a Wilderness. Not a real one. It is a playground carved out of the high country. It isn't something I can put to words with my limited writing skills. It is something I only came to understand by hiking in other places (see the out of state thread). In many of those places I found true wilderness. Wild wilderness. If feels different then any place I have ever been in the Alpine Lakes. It will never be wild when it is carved up with roads. I've been to virtually every lake in the Middle Fork area and while they are beautiful, they aren't wild. I know, I'm naive. The genie is out of the bottle and it probably isn't going back in. An all for something I can't even put in words.

Randy and Chris (and everyone else who has participated), you've both spoken very eloquently and emotionally. As I said before, I haven't made up my mind on this issue and I've entered in this conversation as much to learn as anything else. Your comments will be foremost in my mind as I mull over the options to be presented in the upcoming management plan.

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that elitist from silverdale wanted to tell me that all carnes are bad--Studebaker Hoch
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Dante
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PostMon Jan 14, 2002 11:24 pm 
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I was up at the end of the road a couple months ago. †When we came back to the car there was a Toyota Tercel there, so don't tell me you couldn't get a Subaru up there. †I understand why you might not to try, but if a Tercel can make it, so can an Outback, Legacy (except maybe the GT) or Impreza. †That said, I'd rather have a truck or a beater for that sort of thing--we were in a beater truck wink.gif
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Backpacker Joe
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PostMon Jan 14, 2002 11:32 pm 
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Brian, isnt the very thing that adds to your perception of the difference in these wildernesses you've experienced their level of remote-ness? †The difficulty of acccess? †The very fact that not only are these places remote, but that in addition there just arent many people who live around them, or who frequent them? †If that's the case then you and the trail blazers and the High lakers participate in making the ALW area less wild by your very tresspass into its most/more inaccessable areas. †Dont get me wrong, I'm not critisizing you, as I dont take your same stance. †I agree that the ALW isnt the "Brooks range" or any of the many very remote boundry areas you've experienced. †Heck, it isnt even wild like the North Cascades in comparisson, but it turly is beautiful and I just dont see any ability to devolve it back to something it hasnt been in 100 years. †Protect it certainly. †You arent going to make something where it no longer exsits.

TB

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"If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide."

ó Abraham Lincoln
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Forum Index > Trail Talk > Continued: closing middle fork rd at dingford crk - in favor or not--speak your mind now
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