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PostMon Sep 24, 2018 10:53 am 
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Please keep this topic within the boundaries of stewardship. Feel free to link alternative discussions below in this wiki post but do NOT spam this topic with such discussion or invite requests.  Such posts will be deleted.

Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/Washington/comments/9erxip/sam_sayers_still_missing_in_washington/
2nd Reddit Thread: https://www.reddit.com/r/SeattleWA/comments/9hc0em/missing_hiker_on_vesper_peak_chaos_in_the_cascades/
Teton Gravity:  https://www.tetongravity.com/forums/showthread.php/321860
Facebook:  Official page and alternative facebook group no longer public

New Facebook study group created by Steve Monchak on 10/8  The Truth of the Sam Sayers Case
https://www.facebook.com/groups/698480987181194/ (no longer public on 11/8/18, reappeared as a closed group 12/7/18)


Wiki summmary last edited by Windstorm on Fri Dec 07, 2018 5:00 pm (this post can be edited by any member)
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Anne Elk
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PostFri Sep 21, 2018 2:32 pm 
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My intent in starting this topic is to collect reports from members who have first hand info (actual observations) re damage to the Vesper Creek and upper Stilly watersheds, including Wirtz Basin. The current private SAR efforts involving a gear-heavy "base camp" above Lake Elan have concerned many of us as much as the disappearance of Ms. Sayers.
'Rolltide' on Websleuths.com wrote:
A gal that was up there hiking and searching a few weeks ago saw human feces with loads of toilet paper in several places around their last camp area.

It's unclear how many camps the "Forty-ninth Parallel" group had prior to their permanent setup, but at least one was located in Wirtz Basin. I'd like to aggregate info here re any of the following: what you've seen, (esp photos), any comms with DNR/FS re their management of this area relative to the private SAR ops, thoughts about clean up & general remediation (probably not possible until next year), discussion about changes to use regs going forward to enable the territory to recover, etc.  It looks like we may have one good week of Indian Summer weather coming on, and it's likely the private SAR activity will continue until the weather turns ongoing ugly. I wonder what frequent visitors to the area think about asking the FS/DNR to put the area on a "visit by permit" system (temporary or permanent).  Is that reasonable, or overkill? I know it's not a "wilderness" area, but still.


Please stay on topic so this doesn't turn into "Trail Talk re Sam Sayers 2.0"

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"There are yahoos out there.  It’s why we can’t have nice things."  - Tom Mahood
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PostFri Sep 21, 2018 6:18 pm 
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No, it is not a designated "Wilderness Area", but according to nwhikers member Schroder, in a previous post the area is within the Morning Star Natural Resources Conservation Area.

Washington State Department of Natural Resources - Morning Star Natural Resources Conservation Area web page

DNR, on its Morning Star NRCA website wrote:
Features Protected: Mid-elevation and subalpine forest plant communities; mid-elevation wetland and bog; one state-threatened plant species; five state-sensitive plant species; marbled murrelet, northern spotted owl, Pacific fisher, and bull trout.

DNR document including map of area showing boundary lines (page 19)

Unfortunately I am not up to speed on this particular project.
Moreover, it seems there is some confusion as to which lands management agency - DNR or USFS - is the lead agency for administration of the area in which this "search" operation is being conducted.

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I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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Anne Elk
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PostFri Sep 21, 2018 6:44 pm 
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Thanks for posting those reference links here.  I believe Schroder also commented in the same thread that Vesper Creek is part of the Spada Lake reservoir watershed.  I'm not up to speed on it either, except for having looked at the maps when jurisdiction wasn't clear.  Wirtz Basin (NFS) may not get as trashed as the Lake Elan side of Headlee Pass.  I can't recall where I read it, but Lake Elan has been considered coliform polluted for some years.  Another consequence of significantly increased visitation since I began going there in the 90's.  Large groups camping above the lake, that sort of thing.  If Gothic Basin warrants a seasonal (?) high altitude toilet, surely Vesper does, too.

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PostFri Sep 21, 2018 7:06 pm 
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Not sure where you're going with this, and I'm probably not going to be a lot of help as I know nothing about the area, but:

The photos that have been posted of the "command center" clearly show that what most of us would consider "Leave No Trace" principles have not been followed.

One of my primary concerns would be habitat degradation and contamination of waters which might be tributaries of Class I fish-bearing streams.

There are questions which need to be answered in regard to the management and disposal of human waste, especially if there are several people in one area over an extended period of time.

Additionally, if this "command center" encampment is indeed within the NRCA, what mitigation efforts are being made to assure there are no detrimental impacts to those species of flora and fauna that might be listed as federal or state threatened or endangered species?

I have already addressed some of these questions to both USFS District Ranger Peter Forbes as well as those individuals at DNR whose contact information was posted in the previous (now closed) thread. I don't expect them to provide answers to me personally, but it would be reasonable to expect them to look into those issues and take actions as necessary and appropriate.

To save anyone else who might have concerns the trouble of having to dig it out of the previous thread, here's the contact information again:

> Peter Forbes, District Ranger, Darrington RD, MBSNF: pforbes@fs.fed.us
> Jean Fike, NW Region Manager, DNR:  Jean.Fike@dnr.wa.gov
> Bob Redling, DNR Communications and Outreach: bob.redling@dnr.wa.gov
> Hilary Franz, Commissioner DNR: cpl@dnr.wa.gov

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"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. 
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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Anne Elk
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PostFri Sep 21, 2018 8:27 pm 
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I've hesitated to contact them because of all the recent abuse heaped on their in-boxes and VM, but plan to do so with respectful suggestions and thanks for their efforts.

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PostFri Sep 21, 2018 8:31 pm 
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I would think that legitimate concerns addressed in a businesslike and cordial manner would be far more effective than the vitriol spewed by an agitated mob.

I would suggest keeping any communications short and to the point - hyperbole and bombast will serve no good purpose at this juncture.

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I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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pula58
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PostSat Sep 22, 2018 8:39 am 
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I've called the Darrington Ranger station a few times about this, to voice my concerns. They are friendly and courteous and listened my my concerns.

I think it's fine to call them, please be courteous and as fact-based as possible.
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grannypanties
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PostSat Sep 22, 2018 8:57 am 
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A call for food donations was broadcast to the 30,000 Facebook followers--cans of soup, coke, sprite, cookies.  A rubbermaid storage bin is placed at the rail head to deposit food. Day hikers are encourage to drop supplies  at the command post.   Concerns about proper bear food storage are dismissed by "Sam's army".       IMO--given recent bear activity at  Monte Cristo, this is inviting trouble.  They got their stupid let's play commando camp in the alpine. Now they want to lure wild life to the trail head and parking area. 

Oh....a list of food purveyors with delivery options are listed on the website.  Question about correct address for amazon deliveries to the trail head.
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PostSat Sep 22, 2018 10:04 am 
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this does not appear to be a "bear proof" container:

food container Vesper Peak trailhead (facebook 092118 01)
food container Vesper Peak trailhead (facebook 092118 01)
food container Vesper Peak trailhead (facebook 092118 02)
food container Vesper Peak trailhead (facebook 092118 02)

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"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. 
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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Anne Elk
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PostSat Sep 22, 2018 10:54 am 
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ski wrote:
does not appear to be a "bear proof" container...

Like Rongoms said in the SS Trail Talk thread, "The ignorance!  IT HURTS!"
That needs to be removed and left either at the Darrington or Verlot Ranger Stations.
$*#&#^@*  !!!!!

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PostSat Sep 22, 2018 10:57 am 
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Suppisively someone donated a metal box.
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Fallaway
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PostSat Sep 22, 2018 12:29 pm 
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Some evidence being shared on other forums of the so-called survival baggies from early in the search still being on the mountain. These bags contained both food items and non-biodegradable material like lighters and batteries and it appears there is no record of where nor how many were distributed. The poster who shared this picture also had pictures of scraps of caution tape in the vicinity of the bag.

Edit: picture doesn't seem to be displaying correctly. Can be viewed here:

https://ibb.co/gho07K
https://ibb.co/mr8BEz
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PostSat Sep 22, 2018 12:38 pm 
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Pahoehoe wrote:
Suppisively someone donated a metal box.

The clueless 49th parallel bunch is being as careless with their food as with their campsite(s).  So I hope the metal box is bear proof.  As well, bear proof storage should be required at the "command center".  If one or more bears get habituated, bear/human conflicts are inevitable.  The rambos may be armed, which implies their willingness shoot anything that threatens them.  But most hikers and climbers are not.  Nor do most hikers and climbers  carry bear spray.
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PostSat Sep 22, 2018 9:14 pm 
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AlpineRose wrote:
Pahoehoe wrote:
Suppisively someone donated a metal box.

The clueless 49th parallel bunch is being as careless with their food as with their campsite(s).  So I hope the metal box is bear proof.  As well, bear proof storage should be required at the "command center".  If one or more bears get habituated, bear/human conflicts are inevitable.  The rambos may be armed, which implies their willingness shoot anything that threatens them.  But most hikers and climbers are not.  Nor do most hikers and climbers  carry bear spray.

Your jumping to a lot of conclusions here. I am in complete agreement with you about the base camp not being a good idea. And about the habituation of bears being bad. But I think you are unfairly generalizing the “ rambos” being armed and their “ willingness” to shoot anything. I know I carry a gun on me in the woods as a hiker climber also and only will use it as a last resort in self defense. I often see others hiking with guns.

Again I’m not saying what’s happening on the mountain is right, but more of trying to get at making these sweeping generalizations does not add any value to the conversation.

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PostSat Sep 22, 2018 10:47 pm 
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Sorry, buddy, carrying a tool, any tool, implies a willingness to use said object.  Surely one doesn't carry because they think it's a good luck charm, like, say, a rabbit's foot or a St. Christopher medal.  So I think generalizations are warranted in this case  - as in see my first sentence.  For example, I carry an EpiPen, not because I want to use it, but I will if I have to.

"Last resort in self defense"?????????????  What on earth does that even mean?  Obviously, it depends on who is interpreting what that means.  I don't trust that bunch up there to think it means what you or I think it might mean.  They have so far shown a serious lack of judgment in their operation.  So my concern is for whatever/whoever it is they feel "threatened" by, whether it's wildlife attracted to their food, hikers/climbers up there enjoying the last few days of glorious fall weather, or an FS/LE person checking things out.  A concern I think falls into the category of "stewardship".

In this instance, I stand by my "sweeping generalizations" 100%.  I am sorry for your fear.
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