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MtnGoat
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PostTue Dec 26, 2006 4:24 pm 
I appreciate the forthright attitude of the last post. up.gif

Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock. - Will Rogers
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PostTue Dec 26, 2006 4:34 pm 
Ski, I agree with much of what you have written. But not this: "Again, look at the map. You'll find a dismal lack of day hike opportunities along the Washington coast and the west slope of the Olympics." Here’s a list of possible dayhikes you didn’t mention: East Fork Quinault. The hike to the Pony Bridge area is very nice. North Fork Quinault. A stroll out to Wolf Bar should satisfy any rainforest want. South Fork Hoh. Some prefer this to the main river. The Hoh. Forget the nature trails. What’s better than hiking the first 3 miles to Mineral Creek and Tom Meadow? The Bogachiel. Talk about a red-headed stepchild! Not a true Olympic rainforest but good enough. So I don’t believe subtracting the Queets from the menu deprives tourists of a great experience to the west end. Especially those on a ‘tight schedule’. Before the road washed out, I wonder how many tourists drove that 13 mile, liver-jolting hardpan and forded the river with their kids and grandparents? I don’t mean to be snide here. I’d love to know a rough count of not only yearly vacationers but also local hikers and visitors to the Queets. If you were trying to convince the Park to keep access, I don’t think you’d win with numbers. Unfortunately, they currently operate under a triage system. Maybe a better argument would be based on principle, namely, the Queets is a world-class river valley which the Park is obligated to make accessible to the public. Why have a road in the first place if it’s just a survival test just to reach the end? For the record, I’m for access. But I wouldn’t care if they didn’t pursue the alternate route. I might feel differently in another 20 years or so, but I hope not. As I stated in the Dose Road thread, it’s not like we have a surfeit of low elevation (below 1000’) trails. And they’ll only get better with age. BTW, let me make a distinction here between these two valley roads and those in the Cascades, like the MF and Wild Sky. Neither men nor valleys are created equal. From the posted pictures and text I’ve seen and read, I say reopen those roads! As Brownster145 argues, the Queets Corridor was set aside to protect the valley’s ecosystem. His focus is salmon runs. If you could show me that cars impact the salmon in such a detrimental way that it endangers their long-term viability, I would change my stance. I completely understand his caring about nonhuman entities. With all that I know and project, I don’t think – in this specific case – the Queets warrants exclusion.

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PostTue Dec 26, 2006 5:22 pm 
Shacknasty Jim- Sorry for the omissions of the hikes you listed. I'm not aware of them, nor have I seen them mentioned here in threads where new users or out-of-area users were looking for "day hike" destinations in that area. Consider the new user or person unfamiliar with the area who's at home looking at a map. Would those destinations you mentioned in any way appear as "day hike" destinations? Are they mentioned in any guide books, tourist pamphlets, or by ONP staff as "day hike" destinations? I'm not saying they're not suitable for that purpose, but would they appear as such to the unknowing eye, searching a map for trails less than 5 miles in length? As for "how many tourists" drive that 13.2 mile road, the answer is: a lot. More than you can imagine. I would never have believed how much traffic there was on that road if I hadn't spent the better part of a summer up there in the ranger station, listening to them drive up and down up and down up and down all day long every day. As for kids and grandparents, I had a nice little talk one afternoon with an 85-year old man who was leading his 3-year-old grandchild up to the Big Fir. He told me it was an annual event for him. I had a very short conversation with a couple one afternoon just above Spruce Bottom who had an infant in a little back-pack contraption on Dad's back. Those are but two instances out of many I've observed over the years. The children on the Sams Loop Trail were not a "once in a blue moon" occurence. There were cars full of couples with kids up there on that trail every day I was up there working the trail during the summer of 2004. I too, would love a "rough count", but user count studies are dubious at best. There is no regulation requiring a backcountry permit for day-hike use, so there is absolutely no way to even guess at what the user counts are up there. "Tire counter" tallies are misleading at best, and those few which have been done up there did little to provide accurate user count numbers. I have repeatedly asked ONP about user count numbers, and they're at a loss for answers. I can't imagine how cars, in and of themselves, would be a detriment to the resident fish populations up there, unless one were to drive a car into the river.* The problem isn't the cars, it's the road, which has been troublesome since its construction. Washouts are a regularly occurring event up there. Some of them ( like the one just above Matheny ) dump thousands of cubic yards of silt into the river. That, however, is in invalid argument when one considers that there are bank washouts all along the length of the Queets annually, and have been for thousands of years. There is no hard data to support an argument that the washout of a road dumps any more or less silt into the river than would a naturally-occurring bank washout upstream. That argument has been espoused by those in opposition to the reconstruction of the Dosewallips road as well, and is just as full of holes, lacking any merit. * as for driving cars into the Queets: up until the early 1950's, the standard practice was to DRIVE to Andrews field via a ROAD that went all the way to Andrews lower meadow ( presently referred to as "Andrews Field" ). There was no bridge. My mother clearly remembers riding in a car up to the "trailhead" at Andrews field in the early 1950's. They drove right across the Queets, and depending upon the location of its mouth, across Sams River as well. Thank you very much for the list of the "day hikes". I am asked for information by tourists every time I'm up there, and I've pretty much been at a loss as far as where to send them for an easy 3-5 mile walk with their children, outside of those I mentioned previously.

"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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PostTue Dec 26, 2006 6:26 pm 
ski wrote:
Shacknasty Jim- Consider the new user or person unfamiliar with the area who's at home looking at a map. Would those destinations you mentioned in any way appear as "day hike" destinations? Are they mentioned in any guide books, tourist pamphlets, or by ONP staff as "day hike" destinations? I'm not saying they're not suitable for that purpose, but would they appear as such to the unknowing eye, searching a map for trails less than 5 miles in length?
They would be considered dayhike material in the same vein as walking the first three miles of the Queets Trail to see the record fir. Would a casual vistor know that in advance? Probably not. But all are listed as rainforest, so maybe a quick blurb in west side literature could say as much, because each one is worthy of your time, IMO. These recommendations apply triply so in the nonsummer months. I really appreciate your passion for the Queets Valley. I've perused your website in the past and salivated over the old photos. Your trail description is excellent. I, too, have seen the old Andrews barn before its demise, as well as the Smith Place fully intact (I never knew that at one time you could actually drive to the Andrews spread!). Harlow Bottom holds special memories for me and the return ford of the Queets on my first trip was almost the last. I've enjoyed this thread despite any philosophical or practical differences any of us might have. The important point is that everyone cares deeply about the subject. It's just a matter of determining what is best for all parties concerned. Long live the Queets.

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PostTue Dec 26, 2006 7:23 pm 
brownster145- Early Queets history: check my website here, and follow the links to the other information available at windsox. There are stories/photos/historical documents from several people there. Also check out "Elder Bob's" site. His site has information posted regarding the early Queets settlers and the inclusion of the lower Queets into the Park as well. I spent years searching for historical information. The best information you'll find presently is probably on the windsox and Elder Bob pages. (There are a couple errors in MY information there: Oscar Smith operated Meadowsweet Dairy, not Smith Dairy. I can't recall what the other boo-boo is right now. Hopefully at some point we'll get it corrected. ) Let's clear up something here please: Distance from Hwy 101 to ONP park boundary: 0.5 miles Distance from Hwy 101 to Matheny Creek Bridge: 7.0 miles Distance from Hwy 101 to end of Queets River Road: 13.2 miles I've driven the road hundreds of times. I log the odometer readings. The numbers above are accurate.
brownster145 wrote:
assuming that most users beyond the camprgound would be conditioned for backcountry travel and likely out for a multi-day trip
Not at all. I run into dayhikers all the time up there. In regular street clothes. With no gear, no packs, no water, and clearly no common sense. But hey, it's their Park too!
brownster145 wrote:
discontinued maintenance of the trail was based on a news release I received (late last spring or early summer) which deemed the trail unfit for stock due to its unmaintained status and uncertainty about if/when it would be maintained again
The trail is certainly unfit for stock use at present. Hopefully this will not remain the case in the long term, as the Queets is one of very few trails which are still accessible to stock packers. Hopefully the Backcountry Horsemens Association will be more than vocal in supporting the proposed alternate route and restoring access to one of the few areas still available to them. Clearly the news report was in error. If you are basing your statements on information garnered from WTA, please double-check it.
brownster145 wrote:
Having travelled the trail recently, however, I can attest that it is in considerable disrepair
Refer to my last trip report on the Queets. The trail is presently in the worst shape I have ever seen it. The reasons for this are included in one of my previous posts above. That the trail isn't maintained to the standard it was up until the early 1970s (when a grown man could ride a horse and not have to worry about his hat being knocked off) isn't necessarily a bad thing. In 2003, I cleared out the first 2.5 miles and the "Big Fir" trail to that standard, but hiking it today you'd never be able to tell. It requires a tremendous amount of work to maintain it in that manner, something which the Park, with limited staff and funds, is unable and/or unwilling to do. There are, as well, those who feel that particular trail should be a bit rough to preserve the primitive character of the area. And on to your "hard science"
brownster145 wrote:
Once the road closed, however, harvest and c&r impacts were reduced, since guides and other anglers were no longer able to float the Queets Campground to Streater's Boat Ramp drift or drive along its length to access the bank.
On what do you base this, other than speculation? Please provide numbers. Where is the survey?
brownster145 wrote:
Further good news was had with less campground impact on the spawning grounds themselves.
Again, where are the numbers? Are you copy and pasting this nonsense off some website, or just making it up as you go along?
brownster145 wrote:
the effects of crossing herds of elk/deer/bears have been assimilated into the life histories of these fish over thousands of years.
There are far more elk in the Queets valley presently than there were a century ago. Ever spook a herd of about 40-50 elk and watch 'em dash across the Queets? I could go out and stomp around in the river all summer and not churn up the water as much as they do in 5 seconds. Your claim that hikers and fishermen are tearing up all the redds is simply nonsense. In what survey or study is this claim substantiated?
brownster145 wrote:
the number of juvenilles than can be pulled (or "caught and released' (likely killed)) from a single pool by a single angler with even in artificial lure in one day is staggering (on the order of 10-20 or more if timed well). Multiply this by several anglers per week over the course of a summer and the premigratory harvest impact becomes another detriment to the population.
Again, nonsense. More extrapolations of speculations. Again, where on earth did you come up with this?
brownster145 wrote:
Impacts on adults, spawning grounds, and juvenilles, then, have all been reduced since the failure of vehicle access. No, data has not yet been compiled to corroborate this claim, but do you really need it?
Yes, I really need the data. Otherwise respectfully your arguments are dismissed for what they are: nonsense.
brownster145 wrote:
It's intuitive, and supported by studies on other systems
And if my intuition tells me the moon is made of green cheese, would you still need the data? "Other systems" ? What other systems? Where's the data to support this?
brownster145 wrote:
Reopening vehicle access, on the other hand, will almost certainly have some negative impact,
Again, where is the data to support this claim? Your closing statement puzzles me even more so than the rest of the content of your message. My interpretation of it is: Here's my opinion, here's my speculations, take them at face value and don't question the validity of my claims, and don't ask me to back them up with facts. If you do, I will be compelled to recompose and further embellish my previous statements ad nauseam, at which point I will pick up my ball and go home. I've been challenged by users here on statements I've made for exactly the same reason. Unfortunately, in each case it was anecdotal information gathered from conversations or personal observations, neither of which allowed for my being able to substantiate them. I can accept that those who disbelieved my statements had valid reasons for doing so, although that didn't change my mind about what I had seen with my own eyes or heard with my own ears. I have spent the better part of a day here copying and pasting your statements which are in error, providing you the correct information, and have asked repeatedly for anything which might substantiate your claims. What I get in response is more of the same nonsense, recomposed with longer sentences and more multi-syllable words, presented as "hard science". I am truly troubled by your views and your statements which are clearly based on misinformation and opinion and speculation. Don't feel singled out or construe this as some sort of personal attack. I know there are a number of people who are inclined to espouse the same sort of views ( see Dosewallips threads ), and more troubling, a number of so-called "environmental" groups and organizations which have made an art form of foisting this same sort of nonsense off on the public as fact. To conclude, the argument over whether or not vehicle access should be restored to the campground and trailhead is moot. ONP's stated position is to restore vehicle access. Presently their best option is the alternate route via the #21 road. I have yet to read the EA on the project, but I seriously doubt, considering how contentious an issue this is, that they have overlooked or omitted any potential issues in the EA. I'm told the EA runs about 170 pages, so my guess is they've covered all the bases. I would ask kindly, sir, that you have enough respect for me to do a bit more research on the issue before furthering a campaign of misinformation.

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PostTue Dec 26, 2006 7:38 pm 
Ski, did you mean windsox.us? windsox.com appears to be a non-hikey commercial web page.

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PostTue Dec 26, 2006 7:49 pm 
Rich Baldwin- sorry... my mistake... here is my page. there are links there to the main windsox page, on which you can search "queets" and "elder bob". ( at least there were last time I was on there ) and thanks... prompted me to go back and run 'spellcheck'... i guess i'm getting stupid in my old age.... but what i wanna know is: why is it on a hiking website, the "spellcheck" feature doesn't know what to do with the words "trailhead" or "dayhikers" or "streambed" ?? smile.gif

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PostTue Dec 26, 2006 11:59 pm 
Ski, I'll be frank and brief (relatively). Talk to a few fisheries biologists. Ask them if my claims are baseless. Ask them if my statements are "nonsense," as you charge. Read The Behavior and Ecology of Pacific Salmon & Trout (Thomas P. Quinn, 2005), perhaps the most definitive scientific literature we have on the matter. I'm sure there's some basis by which you are systematically invalidating (at least in your own mind) my statements without offering any opposing evidence (naturally, while demanding that I provide evidence additional to that which I have already provided (talk about a diatribe)), but I do not have any more time to try to convince one individual of my position when that individual refuses to hear facts because the facts do not accommodate his position. And certainly, let no reasonable inferences be made, ever, save we conceive a new avenue of scientific investigation (by extension, of course, in lieu of a custom-designed immediately available scientific study (if, for example, there has not been adequate time to collect reliable data), let reason have no place in guiding policy decisions). Green cheese indeed. Forgive my sarcasm, but I find your indignant and unsupported accusations against my statements at least as peculiar as you find my statements pretentious and "nonsensical." In plain truth, I greatly respect your extensive personal history and experience with the basin, but neither your personal experience nor admirable desire to introduce others (including children) to the Queets will undo the aforementioned impacts on its fish, thus ecosystem (which I refuse to rehash without good cause (you have not given good cause)). f(t)=10691e^-.0162t This is a regression line to fit runsize data from the years 1972-2005 (campground in use). Once access is reopened, the temporary closure will be but a blip in the data set, its long-term effects never realized or observed. If this doesn't matter to you or other things matter to you more, that is your prerogative. I will harbor no ill will, I will only hope that more people see it my way. For fun, though, try plugging in some different "t" values. Like 50 (2022). Or 75 (2047). Argue all you like, but those aren't healthy numbers. I do not care to see the day when stepping in a single redd will have a major impact on the run, but inertia will take us there. Activism in other avenues will go far, but I cannot in good conscience ignore recreational impact (especially not when presented with an opportunity to curtail it). I am far from alone in this, I'm just glad to have been able to offer a different perspective in a forum where one otherwise might not have been offered. Anyhow, I guess I'd better be taking my ball home. A very happy (and safe) New Year to all of you since I doubt I'll return until after the holiday has passed. Andrew smile.gif

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PostWed Dec 27, 2006 12:17 am 
see ya next year!

Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock. - Will Rogers
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PostWed Dec 27, 2006 1:43 am 
brownster145- I've talked with a lot of fisheries biologists over the years. I currently am waiting for responses from the fisheries biologists at both ONP and the Quinault Tribe regarding the question of whether or not anadromous returns have increased or decreased in the last two years. While I can accept the book you've mentioned is probably quite informative, I would doubt it addresses the question at hand: has the road washout of the Queets River Road, and the subsequent closure of the road, had a detrimental or positive effect on the anadromous runs? As for my offering 'opposing evidence' to your argument: You've made several statements in several posts on this thread which are clearly in error. I have posted the correct information for you on those issues. Regarding your 'facts' about the fish: I'm sorry, but I still don't see where you have substantiated any of your claims. Your actions follow the same pattern I see in many debates on various issues: (1) present an argument without backing it up with facts, (2) when challenged as to the validity of the argument, change the wording and structure of the statement, adding longer words and constructing more convoluted sentences, (3) when challenged again as to the validity of the argument, present the same argument again in a revised form using more cryptic language ( f(t)=10691e^-.0162t <-- what is this supposed to be?? ) in the hope that somebody will view it as 'scientific', (4) when all that fails, attack the messenger ( indignant and unsupported accusations ?? ), (5) bail out ( happy new year to you too ). You have failed to substantiate your claim that the temporary closure of the Queets River Road has had any impact, detrimental or positive, on the anadromous runs. You have failed to provide any evidence that continued closure of the road, and restricting vehicle access to the trailhead and campground, would have any long-term positive effect on the anadromous runs. You can continue to claim your statements are "facts", but twisting them around and stating the same thing over and over doesn't necessarily make it true. I've repeatedly requested some sort of evidence to support your claims, and all I'm getting is more of the same opinion, speculation and extrapolations of theoretical mathematical equations, none of which are worthy of consideration in the NEPA process. I would submit that there are a number of factors which have impacted anadromous runs, especially on the Queets: over-harvest of food-fish stocks in the North Pacific; degradation of habitat for those food fish stocks; toxic waste and oil spills in marine waters; el niño; increases in ocean temperatures; record-low water years ( especially the last few years ) on the Queets; questionable ( if not illegal ) Tribal harvesting; increases in stream temperatures of major tributaries ( Clearwater-Solleks, Sams, Matheny, Salmon River ); substantial increases in resident and migratory populations of predators ( seals, sea lions ); non-point pollution from residential and agricultural runoff, none of which have anything to do with whether or not there's a road or no road, a campground or no campground, fishermen or no fishermen.
brownster145 wrote:
"Activism in other avenues will go far, but I cannot in good conscience ignore recreational impact (especially not when presented with an opportunity to curtail it)."
That statement makes clear your position: curtail recreational "impact", based solely on some sort of utopian 'environmentalist' argument. Following that course of action, the inevitable next step would be to close the Park altogether, erect a huge fence around its perimeter, and 'save' it for the fish and the rest of the critters. I believe that's called a "wildlife refuge", not a "National Park". I am relieved in knowing that public lands management officials are under no obligation to consider personal opinions in the decision making process under NEPA. Rather, they make decisions based on fact and hard science, something which your arguments sorely lack.

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PostWed Dec 27, 2006 5:29 pm 
Serendipitously (or perhaps not), I find myself with some extra time this afternoon (that'll happen, on Winter Break). I apologize for my premature New Years wishes, then, although I will be shocked if I've got any reason to post until after then (after this). Ski - I'm almost incredulous. Are you really so blinded by your biases that you cannot even fathom an opposing position might have its own merit? Did you really even read my last post, or did you just jump right to the rebuttal? f(t)=10691e^-.0162t <= "What is this???" Are you serious? One line down: "This is a regression line to fit runsize data from the years 1972-2005" (again, run=Queets winter steelhead, data=WDFW). And, evidently, a line of best fit for a 23-year data set is now nothing more than a "theoretical mathematical extrapolation," with no practical application in resource managment. Are you unaware that scientific data is useless (to resource managment or anything else) without intepretation, or do you just pretend so when the interpretations don't agree with your preconceived notions? Are you further unaware that it is impossible at this point in time for anybody to have a "hard science," data-based interpretation of the effect of recent changes in Queets access? As I indicated previously, spawner escapement, the most readily available data (well over 6000 in 2005 with near-zero sport harvest, for what its worth) is only one dimension of run health; improved outmigrating juvenille survival would not be reflected in returns for at least 4 or 5 years from the date of closure; redd destruction is difficult to measure quantitatively since many people don't know when they've destroyed a redd and nobody is there to ask them about it anyway. Besides the multiple variables to account for, it would likely take at least a few generations of fish to detect a reliable change in run-size trends (due to statistical margins of error; as you addressed in your last post (as if I hadn't in my previous posts), there are several other factors impacting the fish which could some years negate or exaggerate whatever positive effect restricted access had had). Your premise, then, is that since no direct scientific study has been done to quantitatively describe the impact of access changes on declining populations of Queets anadramous salmonids, no reasonable comparisons or logical deductions can be made based on the outstanding body of existing scientific literature which overwhelmingly indicates that (1) more fishermen mean more dead returning adult fish, (2) more boats and people in the water mean more destroyed redds, and (3) more anglers mean more dead premigratory juvenille fish... even though it would be impossible to have your requisite scientific study for another several years (and waiting to make a decision until then, naturally, would be an unacceptable solution). While you have continued to ignore the numbers and cited data I have provided you, you have continued to propound your agenda, lauding its validity simply because my arguments have not disproven its validity sufficient to your standards. Your conclusion is that since I can't prove your perspective wrong to your satisfaction (which, I'm guessing, exists at an unattainable level), then your perspective, by default, is right? Let's take a look at your arguments: There are "more" elk in the Queets basin now then there were at some arbitrary point earlier in the 20th century so their effect on spawning populations of salmonids could not possibly have been assimilated into the runs' genetic history, therefore, human-caused redd destruction must have no significant additional impact. Reopening road access will be economically positive and might help local proprietors' babies "get fat." The displacement of would-be Queets tourists has increased pressure on nearby destinations which maybe has had an adverse impact on those ecosystems. Once again--are you serious? Do you have scientific studies designed to corroborate these claims? The only clearly discernable aspect of your argument which is valid is that you want to hike the upper Queets, and you want others to be able to do the same. This, alone, is a perfectly acceptable reason to favor restoration of access. Just don't hide it under a facade of concern for the fish at some higher level of scientific understanding which you obviously do not possess. The devaluation of salmon--from the Pacific Northwest Indian perspective (equals of mankind) to the modern perspective (a commodity, or, at best, a quaint artifact of Northwest history)--is remarkable, and is clearly reflected in the decimation of PNW salmon runs over the last 200 years (where PNW Indians were able to sustain a healthy and productive relationship for several thousand years or more (starting at the end of the Wisconsin Ice Age)). My personal perspective is not nearly so extreme as the ancient Indians', but I do think salmon and steelhead are an incredible natural asset to our region which deserve substantially more consideration than they get. As such, I am willing to temporarily limit access to some areas in hopes that some runs will some day enjoy better status than they do currently. If we ever reach this day, I'm sure incidental recreational impact will no longer be a concern. A fence around ONP? Absurd. Public resources depend on compromise. Some basins are hopelessly exploited in their lower reaches--Hood Canal, have at it--and others offer immense recreational and economic opportunities (#s of people, $s of money) which cannot be ignored. I can't imagine where Forks or Port Angeles would be without nearby major ONP access corridors. I only thought that the Queets (which I still contend is not nearly as popular as other areas in the park), having experienced a natural lapse in the current access corridor without earthshaking consequnce to the area economy or recreational value of the ONP at large, might benefit from some time away from the public. You know, just to see if, by some miracle, the predictions made by the best available scientific information would be fulfilled in a healthier Queets for the long-term. I realize that I have represented this perspective imperfectly during the course of this debate. To that end, sorry for my multisyllabic words and convoluted, cryptic sentences--it's just the way I write. Sorry that the body of information I am using to support my position changes as I add more information to support my position. Sorry that my sore lackings continue to require your wise elucidations. Oh, and thank you for your shrewd dissection of the characterstics of my argument and other arguments you have seen? I understand opposition, but that much opposition, and with so many unsubstantiated contentions to obscure your underlying motive? Whatever. Bail out, ball home, environmentalist utopia here I come. biggrin.gif Andrew

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PostThu Dec 28, 2006 1:13 pm 
brownster145 wrote:
Are you further unaware that it is impossible at this point in time for anybody to have a "hard science," data-based interpretation of the effect of recent changes in Queets access?
No, not at all.... which is exactly the reason I contend that your claims of impending doom are based more on speculation and conjecture than on science. Let's back up here a bit. Your opposition to the re-opening of a road ( unless I'm misinterpreting what you've written ) is primarily based on an argument concerning fish. That is ( unless I've misunderstood your statements ) that restoration of vehicle access to the campground and trailhead is going to somehow result in lower return numbers. I'll concede that eliminating all human traffic could be of possible benefit for anadromous runs. However, your argument seems ( to me, at least ) a bit alarmist in that you contend that restoring vehicle access is somehow going to result in "more" fishermen, "more" hikers, "more" boats, etc. "More" than what? Zero? As MtnGoat indicated earlier, it seems that your starting point ( base line ) is the present condition. By what stretch of the imagination can that be considered valid? According to ONP, vehicle counts on the Queets indicate there are about 37,000 visitors annually. Are you contending that restoration of vehicle access is somehow going to result in a substantial increase in that number? I would contend that it will not. There is as likely the possibility that the alternate route might result in fewer visitors.
brownster145 wrote:
The only clearly discernable aspect of your argument which is valid is that you want to hike the upper Queets, and you want others to be able to do the same.
Sorry if it came across that way. No, actually I have other reasons as well. Lack of vehicle access will result in the deterioration of park facilities and trails, slower response time by law enforcement, slower response time for fire control, increased use of helicopters in the area to perform law enforcement, fire control, and maintenance operations. It also makes it more difficult to conduct scientific studies ( UW Fisheries Dept., Quinault Tribe, etc. ). As for increased impact on other areas caused by the lack of access to the area, no, I don't have any "scientific studies". I was unable to put together a comprehensive list of all vehicle-accessible campsites on the Olympic Peninsula: Current campground count at Olympic National Park: Total 16 Campgrounds No. Fork Quinault (9 sites), Graves Creek (30), Altair (30), Deer Park (14), Dosewallips (30), Elwha (40), Fairholm (88), Heart o' the Hills (105), Hoh (88), Kalaloch (170), Mora (94) (* plus one walk-in site), Ozette (15), Queets (20), Sol Duc (82), Staircase (56), South Beach (50) Formerly, July Creek C.G. had 29 available sites. If my math is correct, I count a total of 921 campground sites at 16 ONP campgrounds ( available for use by motorized vehicles ). Subtract Dosewallips ( closed for the last 5 years due to a road washout on NFS land ) ( - 30 ) Subtract Queets ( presently inaccessible due to a road washout at Matheny Creek ) ( - 20 ) With the re-assignment of July Creek CG to a "day use only" area ( due to a root-fungus problem ), 29 sites were made unavailable. This leaves, at present, 871 available campground sites at 14 campgrounds, down 79 sites and 3 campgrounds from 5 years ago. The above numbers don't include vehicle accessible campsites on NFS, DNR, or private lands. That's the point at which I kind of ran into a wall and abandoned the effort. The rest of the numbers are here , but as you can see, the list is incomplete. I think it's reasonable to assume that a net reduction in available campsites is going to displace users to other areas, resulting in higher user counts ( and thus greater user impact ) in those areas.
brownster145 wrote:
Your premise, then, is that since no direct scientific study has been done to quantitatively describe the impact of access changes on declining populations of Queets anadramous salmonids, no reasonable comparisons or logical deductions can be made
Exactly. Especially in light of all the other variables involved, a partial list of which I posted above. As well, I think the impact of other factors I mentioned on anadromous runs is underestimated. ( ie: How many adult salmon does a sea lion eat in a day? How many salmon are unable to find adequate food sources at sea because of the decimation of food fish species from the North Pacific? )
brownster145 wrote:
There are "more" elk in the Queets basin now then there were at some arbitrary point earlier in the 20th century so their effect on spawning populations of salmonids could not possibly have been assimilated into the runs' genetic history, therefore, human-caused redd destruction must have no significant additional impact.
ONP elk counts clearly indicate a substantial increase in elk populations on the Olympic Peninsula and the Queets Valley since the early 1900s. ( btw: the "Queets Basin" is way upstream below Dodwell-Rixon pass. ) I'm not saying that human-caused redd destruction doesn't happen, but I'd contend that human activity and its impact on the redds is negligible compared to the natural process of streambed scouring during high-water events. ( Ever drive up there and watch that river during a mid-November storm? ) I think you're overestimating the net effect of hikers fording the river ( which, from my observations, is generally done only where they have to get their feet wet at the mouth of Sams River ), or fishermen ( most of which, ( again from my own observations ) seem to stick to standing along the bank, or in shallow water right along the edge of the river.
brownster145 wrote:
Reopening road access will be economically positive and might help local proprietors' babies "get fat."
According to the EA, tourism only accounts for about 3% of the total economy in the west end of Jefferson County. Perhaps this is insignificant in the big picture. However, for the fishing guides who rely on access to the area for their own economic survival, I've no doubt the road closure has had a substantial negative effect.
brownster145 wrote:
I only thought that the Queets (which I still contend is not nearly as popular as other areas in the park),
I was surprised myself to find in the EA "...the Queets Campground is one of the most heavily used campgrounds in the park during the winter months."
brownster145 wrote:
I understand opposition, but that much opposition, and with so many unsubstantiated contentions to obscure your underlying motive? Whatever.
Outrageous, but funny nonetheless. Your dismissive "whatever" is something I'd expect from a 16-year-old kid, and I'm rather dismayed to read it in what I've so far enjoyed as a lively, intelligent, and cordial debate on what we obviously both consider an important issue. As for "underlying motive", the claim is baseless and doesn't warrant a response.
brownster145 wrote:
I am willing to temporarily limit access to some areas in hopes that some runs will some day enjoy better status than they do currently
On that point we differ, sir. Hopefully we can respectfully agree to disagree. I am not willing to limit access to any pubic lands ( even on a temporary basis ) based on "hopes", nor on unsubstantiated claims that restoring access is in some way going to have potential detrimental effects on ecosystems. Again, let's back up a bit. I started this thread with an ONP news release on the EA for "restoring interim access to the Queets area". The scoping process and public comment period ended well over a year ago. The Park received a total of 50 responses from individuals. The majority of those responses were in favor of restoring vehicle access. Clearly those who share your view favoring "restricted access" are in the minority. Again, the Park's stated position is that they want vehicle access restored to meet ONP and NPS management objectives, which are outlined in the EA. The "no action alternative" ( leaving the road closed ) doesn't meet those objectives, nor is it considered the "environmentally preferred alternative". I'm far more inclined ( especially at this point ) to accept that ONP staff members have reviewed potential concerns, and from what I've been able to wade through so far ( I'm only about halfway through the EA right now ), it would appear as though those concerns are being addressed. The EA concerns a proposed road project on the C2180-010 road, and the Park Service Road which connects the C2180-010 to the Queets River Road. While your concerns are valid, they are "beyond the scope of this project". There is nothing which substantiates your claim that restoring vehicle access is in some way going to result in a net increase in user impact over what it was previous to the road washout in March 2005. Nor is there contained in the EA any proposed action which directly impacts anadromous runs adversely. I share your concerns about the decline in anadromous runs on the Queets. I attempted in a previous post to make that clear. "For every complex problem, there is always a simple ( and wrong ) solution. " ( I probably didn't get that quote exactly right, but it's close enough. ) I don't believe that simply leaving the road closed ( which has far more potential for adverse impacts cumulatively than restoring vehicle access via the alternate route ) is the solution for solving the problem of declining anadromous runs, nor would I consider it a reasonable starting point for solving the problem, all things considered. I believe there are other methods by which, with less adverse effect to the Park itself and its users, remedy can be effected. Primarily among those methods would be adequate law enforcement presence in the area, something which has been dismally lacking over the years, and continues to dwindle as the NPS and ONP funding allocations are reduced annually. I know from personal observation, anecdotal information, and from reading journal entries by ONP staff, that poaching of wild anadromous salmonids on the Queets continues to be a problem. Another method is better public education, by means of a comprehensive program, to educate the fishermen on proper catch-and-release methods. Another means might be better public education about protecting redds. There are signs all over down at Kalaloch saying "careful where you walk!", why not something of a similar nature up at the Queets trailhead kiosk concerning the redds? Another action which I would consider effective in reducing pressure on anadromous runs ( only on the proviso that permanent access to the trailhead and campground would be established via the alternate route ) would be to close the Queets River Road just above the Hartzell Creek boat ramp, and immediately west of its junction with the Park Service Road, and to close permanently the boat ramp at the Queets Campground. This would eliminate the boat ramps at Streator's Crossing and at the campground, restricting most of the fishing guide and boat traffic to the lower reaches of the river below Hartzell Creek. Considering the number of users of those ramps, however ( 170 vehicles in one day, per the EA ), that option may not be viable due to opposition from that user group. Additionally, closing the road permanently has the potential for creating more problems than it solves, something which is mentioned in the EA. Although even more contentious, I would fully support shorter fishing seasons ( especially for anadromous winter-run fish ), and/or full closure of fishing seasons should return numbers ( or water levels like we've seen the last two summers ) indicate the need to do so. ( Every time ONP's superintendents have closed the river to fishing, they've gotten a nice "thank you" note from me. ) I also think that NOAA and USFW should review their policies and the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and in cases where sea lion and seal populations have shown dramatic population increases and the subsequent extermination of substantial numbers of fish, more aggressive measures ( ie: shooting them ) should be taken to minimize the predation of fish. And while this may sound outrageous, I think more careful monitoring by USFW of Tribal harvesting is in order. I'm all for tribal fishing rights ( the Nation is only as good as its word on treaties, especially with its own people ) , but from front-page news articles ( Reel News, 1994 ) and anecdotal information ( long-winded stories from grumpy old men ) , I have reason to wonder if perhaps there might be some abuse of those tribal fishing rights. Again, I am presently of the belief that poaching is one of the primary causes of declines of the Queets anadromous runs. I also believe it's one issue that can be expediently addressed, without negative impact to the ecosystem or legitimate users, simply by throwing money at the problem in the form of increased congressional funding appropriations. On January 21, 2007, control of the House and Senate in Washington DC will change hands. The Honorable Norm Dicks ( D-Washington ) will become the new Chair of the House Interior Appropriations Committee. Coincidentally, his district includes Olympic National Park. I would urge you to write a letter ( not an email ) to him, and express to him your concerns about the anadromous runs on the Queets, and express your outrage over the fact that our National Parks have been allowed to "die on the vine", particularly ONP, from lack of adequate funding, and that it is inexcusable and immoral ( if not illegal ) that enough money can't be doled out to NPS to hire enough law enforcement to provide adequate protection of public resources for future generations. Additionally, address the same letter to every member of the House Interior Appropriations Committee. While you may not be in their district, they are nonetheless accountable to you when it comes to dealing with issues on a nationwide basis. Send the same letter to every member of the Senate Interior Appropriations Committee as well. Don't forget the NFS. Their lands adjacent to ONP ( especially those adjacent to the Queets Corridor ) are also notorious poaching grounds ( elk, deer, bear ). Write the same letter to every member of the House and Senate Agricultural Appropriations Committees. And the Secretaries of the Department of Interior and Department of Agriculture. And the new Speaker of the House. Insist that the matter be brought up on the House floor. Letters ( snail mail ) are far more effective than e-mails. As well, in light of how things are actually run in a congressional representative's office, it's sometimes more effective to make contact with the aide ( of a congressional member ) who deals with that particular issue ( interior, agriculture, environment, etc. ) ( This is particularly true with Dicks ) . Generally, contacting your own congressional representative's office and asking one of their staff for the names and mailing addresses of various committee members is fairly easy, provided they have time. The information is also available at public libraries or online. I admire and have the utmost respect for your conviction. I just don't necessarily agree with you on the best plan of action for solving what we both consider a major and important problem. I sincerely hope that this dialog comes to some good, and spurs you ( and others reading this ) to action in the form of letter-writing to elected representatives, something which I feel would be a more constructive use of energies than the two of us pummelling each other here. And finally, before you again claim I have some "underlying motives", I'd ask you to read this. Thanks. smile.gif

"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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PostThu Dec 28, 2006 3:59 pm 
Honorable Norm Dicks 2467 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 the congressman's "aide" referred to above is: Mr. Pete Modaff, Legislative Director same address

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PostWed Mar 07, 2007 5:03 pm 
Olympic National Park News Release March 7, 2007 For Immediate Release Barb Maynes 360-565-3005 Finding of No Significant Impact Signed for Interim Access Route into Upper Queets Valley The environmental analysis for restoring interim access to the upper Queets River valley has been completed and a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) was released today. An Environmental Assessment (EA) for Restoring Interim Access to the Queets Area was released in December for public review and comment. The EA analyzed a single action alternative for restoring interim access into the Queets Valley, along with a no action alternative. The selected alternative will use existing U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) roads to access the upper Queets area of the park. The Queets Road has been closed to traffic since March 2005, when a landslide at milepost 8 undercut the road and rendered it unsafe for vehicles. In January 2006, an even larger slide at the same site completely wiped out 150 feet of the road, leaving a 100-foot deep chasm and closing the area to pedestrian traffic. “We are excited to be moving ahead to restore access into the Queets rain forest by the end of this summer,” said Olympic National Park Superintendent Bill Laitner. “We are particularly grateful to the DNR and U.S. Forest Service, for working with us to establish an alternate route into the upper Queets.” The roads to be used in restoring access to the Queets are USFS roads 21 and 2180, both of which are currently open to the public. These roads connect to USFS road 2180-010 and DNR road FR-Q-2100, neither of which is currently open. In turn, these roads lead to a National Park Service road to provide a route into the upper Queets. Park crews will begin improvements to these existing roads this spring, including installing a bridge, clearing the roadways, adjacent ditches and shoulders, and grading and resurfacing the roads. Restored access is anticipated sometime this summer. Once road access is available, crews will prepare the ranger station and campground for opening. Both the EA and the FONSI may be reviewed online at the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment website, http://parkplanning.nps.gov. For more information or to request a copy of the FONSI, people may call the park at (360) 565-3004. - NPS -

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PostWed Mar 07, 2007 11:00 pm 
Wow, that was a fun read! My brain hurts... dizzy.gif

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