Forum Index > Stewardship > Olympic Wilderness Stewardship Plan - comment by May 17
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Bedivere
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PostWed Apr 02, 2014 8:48 pm 
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johnson37 wrote:
This is becoming a familiar refrain with almost all levels of federal government. The wonks write the policies, the bureaucrats say "oops," and the citizens are left paying for it in one way or another.

I think this may be more appropriate.

I wish I had taken as much time to study all of this as Rod has.  I intend to go to the Seattle meeting tomorrow.  The main thrust of my questions will be "why do we have to abandon *any* trails?  Who says we need to do this?"

I will also ask if alternative A is really an alternative.  I would like to see the status quo maintained - all trails currently being maintained are continued to be maintained.  No reduction in trail miles.  If alternative A is not truly a choice, then why is there no "no reduction in maintained trail miles" choice?

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RumiDude
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PostWed Apr 02, 2014 9:38 pm 
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Ranger Rock wrote:
I asked if it was true the the park favored option "B" and I was told no, the park did not have a favorite option.

In my post a few pages back I wrote:  "The ONP staff seemed to be pushing Atlernative B. I heard this from three different ONP staff members who were there answering questions.  It was uncanny how they all used very similar phrasing as if it was a talking point."  Let me expand and clarify what I intended in those sentences.

First off I only mentioned that it seemed like the Park staff were pushing Alternative A.  I am sure it is illegal for ONP to present an alternative as the one which is favored or sanctioned. Noone of the Park staff said Alternative B is what we favor to become the Wilderness plan for ONP.

So why did it seem to me ONP staff at the meeting were pushing Alternative B? I heard four or five times from three different ONP staff people say things like "That's what we were trying for we drew up Alternative B" ... or "That is the thrust of Alternative B" ... and "then Alternative B is closest to that" and similar.  (these statements in quotes are approximations of what I heard and not exact.)  Anyway, after hearing those things and not hearing similar about any of the other alternatives, I got the impression that they were subtlely pushing Alternative B.

This was only my impression but it struck me hearing the similar phrasing in response to questions.  I think I asked at least one question for each of the ONP staff people pressent except for Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum.  In the unstructured meeting, people just mill around and ask questions of the staff members present. I sometimes just stood listening to other's questions and the answers.

Hope that clears up what I was trying to convey by my statements.

Rumi

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PostWed Apr 02, 2014 10:01 pm 
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CW wrote:
The main thrust of my questions will be "why do we have to abandon *any* trails?  Who says we need to do this?"

those are the questions we should all be asking.

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Tarzan
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PostThu Apr 03, 2014 9:59 am 
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This is obviously the wrong place to be talking about this. Alternative A is most definitely an option, it is required by law to be an option. Why would it not be an option. It's a rumor that ignorant people keep entertaining, in true internet fashion. I agree with Johnson37, this will all turn out a bigger mess.
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RodF
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PostThu Apr 03, 2014 10:40 am 
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Chainsaw_Willie wrote:
The main thrust of my questions will be "why do we have to abandon *any* trails?

In the first WSP meeting, I heard "Alternative D is what we can currently maintain under current budgets" and "Several of our most active individual trail volunteers are in their 60's".

These are both true statements, but are backward- not forward-looking, and are shortsighted.  And in part they are based on setbacks caused by three 100-year storms in the past decade, from which the Park trail system has not yet fully recovered.

Based on the last decade's growth in volunteer trail maintenance, I am more optimistic.  But no optimistic alternative is offered.

The problem is that if a trail is abandoned or its maintenance downgraded from "all purpose" to "foot only" or bridges are removed, then it'll be illegal even for volunteers to bring it back.  And we'll be stuck with this for decades.

It's as if City of Seattle said "we don't have budget to fill potholes, so the law for the next 36 years cuts the speed limit on all city streets to 20 mph."

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RumiDude
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PostThu Apr 03, 2014 11:30 am 
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My observations about Alternative A:
On this ONP page, PEPC Planning, Environment & Public Comment, is the following paragraph:
Quote:
We have 4 preliminary draft alternatives for you to consider. The no action alternative (Alternative A), is defined as the continuation of existing management practices. This alternative is required by law to be considered during the planning process. It sets a baseline of existing impacts continued into the future against which to compare impacts of the other alternatives.

So it is required by law, though it isn't clear if it is actually an alternative which could actually be implemented.  I say this because in the ONP WSP Preliminary Draft Alternatives Newsletter is the following:
Quote:
National Park Service policy directs wilderness stewardship plans to include “desired future conditions, as well as establish indicators, standards, conditions, and thresholds beyond which management actions will be taken to reduce human impacts to wilderness resources.”
In 1980, Olympic National Park completed a Backcountry Management Plan for park wilderness and backcountry areas. This Backcountry Management Plan is now outdated and does not adequately address protection of the area’s wilderness qualities that are essential to effective wilderness management. The Wilderness Stewardship Plan is needed to replace the Backcountry Management Plan, while ensuring consistency with the park’s existing General Management Plan (2008).

Here ONP states that their current policy does is "now outdated and does not adequately address protection of the area’s wilderness qualities that are essential to effective wilderness management." So though Alternative A is claimed to be a viable alternative, for all practicle purposes it is not for the reasons ONP states.  This is abundantly clear when ONP states the "Wilderness Stewardship Plan is needed to replace the Backcountry Management Plan"

It is not even clear to me that Alternative A meets the minimum requirements of being considered as a Wilderness Stewardship Plan as indicated by this statement: "National Park Service policy directs wilderness stewardship plans to include “desired future conditions, as well as establish indicators, standards, conditions, and thresholds beyond which management actions will be taken to reduce human impacts to wilderness resources.”"

Whether or not Alternative A is technically elligible to be considered for adoption as the new WSP, it is likely not ever considered by ONP for implementation.  The status quo is NOT going to happen unless ONP takes a fresh look at Alternative A and does the things required to make it a viable alternative as the new WSP. That does mean we need an Alternative E.  Alternatives B, C, and D all mean no new trails and  less maintained miles of current trails.  Unmaintained trails disappear, sometimes slowly and sometimes quickly. They all involve more restrictions, such as requiring bear canisters throughout ONP.  Alternative B would establish quotas on ALL Wilderness camping and some dayhiking.  Study this ndocument if you want to see how the changes affect the user in ONP.

These Alternatives require careful study and consideration.  I am not an expert on deciphering government documents.  I sometimes do not clearly express my intent.  But I have tried as much as possible to represent this clearly and truthfully.  If you find where I have misstated something, please point it out for all our benefit.

Rumi

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RumiDude
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PostThu Apr 03, 2014 11:48 am 
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Question for RodF

After looking over the Other Items To Note: Other Features of Value Quality of Wilderness Character I found these two statements:
Quote:
The NPS has defined a fifth quality of wilderness character called, “Other Features of Value” based on the last clause of Section 2(c) of the Wilderness Act which states that a wilderness “may also contain ecological, geological, or other features of scientific, educational, scenic, or historical value.”

Quote:
It has been determined that the only features within the Olympic Wilderness that will be addressed within the “Other Features of Value” quality of wilderness character are Native American resources (i.e., archeological resources, traditional cultural properties, and ethnographic resources.)

Does this mean the trail shelters, Michael's Cabin, Humes Ranch, various Ranger Cabins, and (maybe) the EV Chalet will no longer be maintained?

Rumi

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RodF
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PostThu Apr 03, 2014 12:44 pm 
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Tarzan wrote:
Alternative A is most definitely an option, it is required by law to be an option. Why would it not be an option. It's a rumor that ignorant people keep entertaining, in true internet fashion

NEPA requires a "No Action" alterative as a baseline for comparison with the Action alternatives.  But "No Action" means no plan.  NPS policy requires the Park develop a Wilderness Management Plan (ref: NPS Management Policies, Chapter 6, section 6.3.4.2).  As Rumi details above, the Park clearly states Alternative A does not meet the minimum requirements for a Wilderness Stewardship Plan.

NPS has been severely criticized for decades, and was sued in 2003 (Olympic Park Associates, 2003, page 5), for failing to adopt a Wilderness Management Plan for each Park.  The lawsuit failed, but NPS has certainly taken this criticism to heart.  The idea that our Superintendent, co-chair of the NPS Wilderness Leadership Council, after 3 years of making it her top priority to develop a WSP, would accept failure and in 2016 sign a decision memo selecting Alternative A to continue working under the 1980 Backcountry Management Plan, is simply unimaginable.

Yes, "No Action" Alternative A is required by NEPA.  Yes, the Park is required to say it is an option.  Yes, it is legally possible for NPS to select it.  And certainly, any member of the public (perhaps most, here) may express a preference for it.  But that is utterly unrealistic and futile.

Instead, request a new Alternative E be developed, zoning and preserving all current trails, replacing some missing trail bridges and footlogs, and maybe even consider regaining or completing a couple trails.

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"the wild is not the opposite of cultivated.  It is the opposite of the captivated” - Vandana Shiva
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RodF
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PostThu Apr 03, 2014 1:43 pm 
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RumiDude wrote:
After looking over the Other Items To Note: Other Features of Value Quality of Wilderness Character...
Quote:
It has been determined that the only features within the Olympic Wilderness that will be addressed within the “Other Features of Value” quality of wilderness character are Native American resources (i.e., archeological resources, traditional cultural properties, and ethnographic resources.)

Does this mean the trail shelters, Michael's Cabin, Humes Ranch, various Ranger Cabins, and (maybe) the EV Chalet will no longer be maintained?

Yes, that's precisely what it means.

Contradicting this is the WSP Preliminary Draft Alternatives Newsletter
RumiDude wrote:
Alternative D.
All cultural resources, including historic structures and cultural landscapes, would remain protected to the extent practicable and feasible.

One of these is another "Oops!"  I don't know which.  It is certainly an excellent question many should ask when commenting on the WSP.

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"of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt" - John Muir
"the wild is not the opposite of cultivated.  It is the opposite of the captivated” - Vandana Shiva
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PostThu Apr 03, 2014 10:53 pm 
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so.... CW and AA:

what do you think?

thanks Kim. nice to see you and meet Andrea and Karen.

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I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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Kim Brown
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PostFri Apr 04, 2014 9:49 am 
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Ski – always nice to see you, and it was great to meet CW.  I’m still a bit confused as to the Stewardship Plan, but I’m not sure if it’s the plan itself, or that I haven’t spent a lot of time examining it – I admit it (I’m in school and this isn’t a priority for me right now).

I asked several pointed questions and got some clarification on some issues that bothered me. I understand what they’re up against, and I don’t envy them the choices they have to make.

Howz that for vague?  wink.gif

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PostFri Apr 04, 2014 12:26 pm 
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well.... the way I see it at this moment is that they're making an attempt to establish management strategies which comply to a piece of legislation which is at its core based upon a false presumption.

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PostFri Apr 04, 2014 12:49 pm 
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but don't take my word for it:

Allyson Brooks, Ph.D, State Historic Preservation Officer, Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, in her letter of 09/29/06 wrote:

Finally, the concept of a Wilderness as a place without people completely ignores the profound significance of Native American history and culture. We know from Native American testimony, archaeological evidence, and historical documents that people have lived, used, and altered the landscapes in all of Washington for the last 12,000 years.

link to above cited document at bottom of post here

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PostMon Apr 07, 2014 8:11 pm 
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re: "What is wilderness character?"

(paraphrased and edited for brevity)

rrrrring..... rrrrrrring..... rrrrrring.......

just a couple silly questions:

Q: how did we get these "four qualities"?
A: from an Interagency deal: NPS, NFS, BLM, USFWS

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(allow me to save the reader from having to go look it up)

"untrammeled": "...free from the actions of modern human control or manipulation..."
"undeveloped": "...without permanent development or modern human occupation..."
"natural": "...free from the effects of modern civilization..."
"solitude": "...is degraded by...signs of modern human civilization..."

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Q: definition of "modern" ?
A: anything other than Native American
Q: white man? Y/N?
A: yes.

Q: Lars Ahlstrom, Peter Roose, Grant Humes, Herb Crisler, George Shaube: modern?
A: yes

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I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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cairn builder
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PostMon Apr 07, 2014 9:49 pm 
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That's a strawman, the wilderness isn't land "without people," many of us camp in wilderness whenever we can. It's land without roads and permanent structures and the like.

Sure, native people have been here a fraction of the time North America has. Perhaps several million of them.  Now there are 300 million people in this country alone, leaving a drastically bigger and more all encompassing mark on more and more land.  The situation isn't even remotely comparable. (It's like saying people are made of proteins and carrots are made of proteins so people and carrots are basically the same.)
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Forum Index > Stewardship > Olympic Wilderness Stewardship Plan - comment by May 17
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