Forum Index > Trail Talk > Road to Ira Spring and Talapus/Olallie Lakes closed
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Cyclopath
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PostSun Dec 16, 2018 8:49 pm 
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I'm not finding anything current, perhaps my Google Fu is weak.

I hiked the Mason Lake real a couple weeks ago.  The road is closed before the split as of Saturday the 15th (yesterday).

I doubt anybody has their heart set on being on either of those trails immediately, but wanted to pass this along.  Anybody else knows anything?
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Mikey
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PostMon Dec 17, 2018 6:48 am 
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The Talapus Lake road was closed years ago for a tree thinning project that extended from the Pratt Lake/Granite Mtn trailhead to the Talapus Lake road.  As I recall, there were other tree thinning projects and there was mention that a purpose of these projects was to provide  jobs in the winter for loggers, log truck drivers, lumber mill employees, etc.  There was a logging project along the NF Teanaway road and I chatted with the workers and was told the logs were being trucked to a lumber mill in Oregon.
The Talapus Lake trailhead is on USFS property but I do not know who owns the property just north of I-90 in that region.
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ChanceShowers
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PostMon Dec 17, 2018 10:07 am 
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I don't know if they are all closed for the same reason, but there was a FB post by King County Search and Rescue, advising that the Sheriff's Office and Forest Service had closed the Denny Creek Rd, Tinkham Rd, and the 9030/9031 (the latter being the roads to Mason Lake TH and Talapus Lake TH).  In past years there have been too many people getting themselves stuck on Denny and Tinkham.

I'm not sure if that's been an actual problem on the 9030/9031, if they are being proactive, or if there are other reasons to close those.
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Windstorm
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PostMon Dec 17, 2018 11:01 am 
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ChanceShowers wrote:
I'm not sure if that's been an actual problem on the 9030/9031, if they are being proactive, or if there are other reasons to close those.

I wouldn't be surprised if there was a problem with people getting stuck up there. A few years back, I drove up to the junction of 9030/9031 in the snow. I did ok in my 4wd truck, but put on chains to turn around and get back down. The folks who were up there in the passenger cars and minivan had more trouble and required some digging and pushing to get out. I can't imagine that things have gotten better since then.
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sarbar
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PostMon Dec 17, 2018 3:25 pm 
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I remember New Years Day on like 2005 or something my husband had to winch out multiple cars that had no business driving up to Talapus. They parked on the side.....right into the fluffy snow and sunk in. It was "hilarious" as those people didn't even say thank you......

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HikerJohn
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PostMon Dec 17, 2018 8:23 pm 
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Folks, the sad truth is that the Snoqualmie Ranger District just got hit by a major budget cut-- despite being the 3rd busiest district in the U.S. Forest Service system.   With the late onset of winter weather, there is no full-time staff to keep the roads open and trailheads checked, and with just a few of us volunteers to try to keep things together, they made the tough decision to close and lock gates and bathrooms (normally the snow would have taken care of this problem).

The REAL challenge will be next season as a bunch of us got together on Saturday to discuss options with the USFS bosses.  The reality is there isn't enough money nor volunteers to do it all, so the decision being faced is what trailheads to close, what roads to gate, and what trails to not patrol. 

If you want to wade in on this, I'd suggest a phone call and/or mail to your U.S. Representative and tell them to 1) keep NW Forest Pass funding in the local district where it's collected, 2) Recognize that this lack of funding for recreation in the National Forests WILL lead to deaths in the coming year in the wilderness.

BTW, look for my next post-- I'll be appealing for volunteers to help out!
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sarbar
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PostMon Dec 17, 2018 8:28 pm 
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It wasn't that long ago winter meant these places went to sleep for a few months. It's OK to just NOT go to these places in winter!

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Brushwork
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PostMon Dec 17, 2018 8:51 pm 
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Thankyou Hikerjohn for your input!   And yes, do keep us posted.   It's important that we hear what's going on.   Don't like to see the roads/ trail heads closed, but I understand why.   It's disturbing to me that funding isn't there.   Well, a lot of things are disturbing to me lately.... ha!
Thankyou.

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Jeff
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PostMon Dec 17, 2018 8:55 pm 
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Why do they close trailheads and perfectly good roads due to funding? Do the roads reallyrequire constant maintenance throughout the season? Unless there is a catastrophic event like a washout, the only thing I can see happening is a tree falling, but locals usually take care of those unless they are huge. A trailhead is basically a parking lot and requires nothing; so long as people don't trash it up.
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RandyHiker
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PostMon Dec 17, 2018 9:17 pm 
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Jeff wrote:
Why do they close trailheads and perfectly good roads due to funding? Do they really work on the roads every season? The only thing I can see happening is a tree falling, but  locals usually take care of those unless they are huge. A trailhead is basically a parking lot and requires nothing; so long as people don't trash it up.

Having the road open requires at least minimal patrolling.  Winter weather can erode at a much higher rate, so that's when culverts or bridges can be undercut.  Also wet roads develop potholes much more quickly than dry.

So gating dirt roads does save on costs and headaches of people getting stuck.
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HikerJohn
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PostMon Dec 17, 2018 10:32 pm 
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Jeff wrote:
Why do they close trailheads and perfectly good roads due to funding? Do the roads reallyrequire constant maintenance throughout the season? Unless there is a catastrophic event like a washout, the only thing I can see happening is a tree falling, but locals usually take care of those unless they are huge. A trailhead is basically a parking lot and requires nothing; so long as people don't trash it up.

It's not just road maintenance-- it's trash pickup (I picked up three bags of garbage today at the Greenwater TH), toilet pumping (toilet pumping in the Snoquamie Ranger District this year cost $30,000-- and Snow Lake had to be pumped out three times), trailhead patrols by law enforcement and rangers, and trail patrols for safety (did that today too...).

So with no or limited dollars to do these things they are prioritizing-- and expect more of these "choices" to hit us next year...
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puzzlr
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PostMon Dec 17, 2018 10:40 pm 
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This is going to make parking at Exit 42 a lot more crowded. It's nearly as fast to park at Exit 32 and hike up to the Ira Spring trailhead as it is to drive miles farther up valley and then back on the gravel road.

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RandyHiker
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PostMon Dec 17, 2018 10:59 pm 
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FWIW: The very popular Bear Mountain state park near Peekskill NY charges $8 per day for parking.

At $30 per year for the NWFP what service level do people expect?

But OTH I've been paying $$$$$ in federal taxes for decades, seems like some of that should be going to keeping public lands available to the public and not just for tanks the army can't use and doesn't want and $1300 coffee mugs.
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Mikey
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PostTue Dec 18, 2018 1:30 am 
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Some years ago a former US Senator (Dan Evans) said that the Congressional budget appropriations to the US Dept of Agriculture USFS recreational budget has been reduced because it was (and probably is) a low priority to many US Senate and Congress members.  There might be a political aspect to this. Recently a huge amount of $ was allocated for subsidies to the agriculture industry (ie farms) because of the trade war effect on US farm products.  Also it is possible that USFS recreation $ has been diverted for fire fighting expenditures.
The $867 billion legislation which recently passed the US Senate and Congress and awaits signing by the President, extends federal crop insurance, and expands the definition of family members eligible for farm subsidies to include first cousins, nieces, and nephews (who may not work on the farm) illustrates that there is Congressional support to provide $ to the agriculture industry - but unfortunately not to the USFS recreation budget.
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treeswarper
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PostTue Dec 18, 2018 6:39 am 
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Note that this is the time of year when there is usually bad news about "the budget".  Then, later in the new year, "the budget" has more to it.  I'm not saying that all is well, nor can anybody predict if things will be normal in these times.  We did get a tax cut afterall.... embarassedlaugh.gif

Remember the smoke and fires?  It may be that some work on forest health--thinning and burning might be a priority.  It might not. 

A little bit of history from what I remember is that back in the 90s, when the pressure was on to stop selling timber, a few Congressmen threatened to make the budget decline as long as timber harvest declined.  That's been happening.  Money from timber sales used to fund a lot of roads and a lot of workers,   The money lost has never been replaced. 

I would suggest that maybe a volunteer poop sucking truck should be purchased and run.  There was an article posted somewhere on here about the cost of sucking out toilets.  Once again, we can blame population growth in the West.   

Maybe the WTA can purchase a septic sucking truck and give it a clever name.  Or Microsoft, Amazon, Boeing--the companies that attract so many people to our neck of the woods.

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Forum Index > Trail Talk > Road to Ira Spring and Talapus/Olallie Lakes closed
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