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fourteen410
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PostWed May 26, 2021 4:22 pm 
FYI, the South Fork Cascade River trail has been getting some TLC lately by a fellow who posts as "CP" on WTA. He's clipped out a number of miles of the trail so far: link to report. But, not everyone is happy about this. WTA replied to his recent reports with this: Like you, WTA cares a lot about trails and access for all. The desire to keep trails open to hikers is what inspired us to start our trail maintenance program nearly 40 years ago, and it's thanks to our relationships with land agencies that, with decades of experience under our boots, we are able to put crews on hundreds of trails across Washington each year. Any trail maintenance done outside of agency approval can slow down WTA crews and undermine the planned work, making it even harder for agencies to make progress on the thousands of miles of trails in Washington that require attention. We understand that waiting for a trail to be cleared can be frustrating, but as we have mentioned several times in emails to you and in comments on your trip reports, unsanctioned trail work such as this is illegal. We have also requested that you not recruit other people or encourage them to do their own trail work. Any further reports documenting illegally-executed trail work or recruiting others to do the same may be removed. Seems a little like biting that hand that feeds you, but maybe I'm missing something here?

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philfort
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PostWed May 26, 2021 4:33 pm 
Awesome. We need more trails. Surprised to see that WTA is planning on working on this particular one though, I thought it was left permanently in disrepair.

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neek
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PostWed May 26, 2021 4:37 pm 
This guy does a ton of good work but sometimes has an abrasive attitude e.g. by leaving negative comments on reports that mention overgrown trails (clip them yourself!) and by bragging about how much more efficient he is than WTA teams. Also on the south fork trail he's clearly treading on WTA's turf. So while I think they're being a bit extreme, he's sort of been asking for it. Also, I will continue to saw the odd branch when I'm out, thanks.

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fourteen410
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PostWed May 26, 2021 5:02 pm 
neek wrote:
Also on the south fork trail he's clearly treading on WTA's turf
What do you mean by turf - are you referring to the upcoming work parties? I'd like to think that trail work should be open to anyone who wants to help, WTA or not. Of course that could be a slippery slope (no pun intended).

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Slugman
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PostWed May 26, 2021 5:25 pm 
Since when is it illegal to clear brush from a trail? Maybe it always was? News to me anyway. My problem with the trail was the lack of a bridge over the middle fork Cascade river. The report doesnít mention a dangerous river crossing.

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Slugman
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PostWed May 26, 2021 5:33 pm 
Hmm, the guy posted several reports in the last week or so. Most of them really trash the WTA, implying and even stating that they are lazy, incompetent and deliberately drawing out the trail work. News flash to this guy: donít go to an organizationís site, trash them mercilessly, then expect them to roll out the red carpet.

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Waterman
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PostWed May 26, 2021 5:37 pm 
My understanding is it is permissible to cut vegetation back 3 or 4 feet from the center line. No pointed stubs left to cause injuries. Common sense goes along ways. Bigger bang for your effort is drainage work. Repairing water bars, diverting water with a well placed dip. In general cleaning out what is already in place. Brush in the spring, drainage in the fall.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference. Robert Frost
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Sore Feet
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PostWed May 26, 2021 5:58 pm 
Slugman wrote:
My problem with the trail was the lack of a bridge over the middle fork Cascade river. The report doesnít mention a dangerous river crossing.
I was up there a couple weeks ago, there's a good log to cross on presently, and it's very visibly been used for quite a while it would seem, based on the worn tread. Didn't go past that point though, so no idea how it looks beyond.

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rossb
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PostWed May 26, 2021 6:13 pm 
WTA wrote:
unsanctioned trail work such as this is illegal
Says who? What aspect of the trail work was illegal? What particular law was broken? The WTA spokeperson made that claim without citing any regulations. That implies that you can't touch a single rock or stick without breaking the law. Be specific, or shut the fu** up.

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Randito
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PostWed May 26, 2021 6:59 pm 
The South Fork trail was abandoned long ago for a number of good reasons. If some gung ho dude wants to tire themselves out cutting through slide alder that will regrow in a couple of seasons that's their business. However if they also try to siphon off volunteers from WTA planned projects for his pet project using the WTA's own website, I wouldn't exactly be surprised if the WTA admin locks them out.

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Slugman
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PostWed May 26, 2021 9:22 pm 
What good reasons? That used to be a nice hike when lots of places were still snowed in. So many of the most decent low elevation hikes have been abandoned or neglected. It seems like only peak baggers count anymore. I guess that makes sense since about a million people go to a place like Mailbox to join the herd for every one person who just wants a nice hike without climbing thousands of feet or encountering thousands of people.

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Ski
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PostWed May 26, 2021 9:58 pm 
fourteen410 wrote:
But, not everyone is happy about this.
Most likely for good reason.
fourteen410 wrote:
I'd like to think that trail work should be open to anyone who wants to help, WTA or not. Of course that could be a slippery slope (no pun intended).
And therein lies the crux of it. Some "vigilante" work might be being done by experienced people who have worked with lands management agencies in the past, and know what needs to be done, what should be done, and (more importantly) what should not be done. Unfortunately, I'd submit that would be a very small percentage of those people who are inclined to take it upon themselves to effect "improvements" to existing (or abandoned) trails. Individuals who have worked as volunteers, either with WTA or other groups, would most likely be more inclined to work "within the system". As a "VIP" (Volunteer in Parks) for the National Park Service, and as a volunteer working with other members of The Mountaineers, and as an independent volunteer working for the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, other than snapping off an odd branch here and there I wouldn't seriously consider going off on my own without first gaining the approval of the appropriate lands management agency.
ross wrote:
The WTA spokeperson made that claim without citing any regulations.
Who said they needed to cite a regulation? Call the local USFS Ranger Station and ask them. It's not WTA's responsibility to act as a law library.
Randito wrote:
The South Fork trail was abandoned long ago for a number of good reasons.
And therein we have one of the more salient points raised thus far in this discussion. Nobody's addressed the question of why the trail has been abandoned. Almost every comment supporting these actions (mistakenly) assumes "The trail is abandoned, so it's okay for me to go in and clear it out." There could be any number of reasons why any given trail has been abandoned, or fallen into disrepair. Without knowing those reasons, all arguments supporting this sort of "vigilante" trail work start from a false premise, thereby arriving at erroneous conclusions. Going back to fourteen410's "slippery slope" comment: If it's okay for any individual to take it upon themselves to effect "improvements" to any trail, is that limited only to established system trails? Or might that also include trails that are not in the trail inventory system of the lands management agency? Does it also include trails that mountain bike users might want to use that are currently hiker only trails? Does it also include trails which have been officially abandoned by the lands management agency? Does it also includes the thousands of "fisherman" trails that exist near any number of rivers in the Pacific Northwest? Where exactly do you draw the line? Without a point-by-point rebuttal of the statements of "C P": A good number of his statements are based on false premises, and arrive at erroneous conclusions. There might be any number of reasons why progress on any particular trail might seem to be moving at glacial speed. In a few cases, the assumptions made by "C P" are laughable at best. Is this "C P" a civil or roads engineer? Are we to believe he is more qualified to determine when a road should be graded than the lands management agency or the local highway department? Respectfully, I am seeing a number of comments from members of both WTA and nwhikers.net that while doubtless written with good intentions, are unfortunately ill-informed. I'd suggest contacting the appropriate lands management agency first and asking them about any trail about which you have concerns, and finding out from them, or WTA, or The Mountaineers, if you might be able to work as a trail volunteer. In conclusion, I appreciate fourteen410 bringing this to my attention. WTA's response has provided me the impetus to mail WTA a check and renew my membership, if only for the purpose of thwarting the irresponsible actions of knuckleheads who believe they know better than the lands management agencies or WTA. cc: Andrea Imler, WTA cc: Jill Simmons, WTA

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Cyclopath
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PostWed May 26, 2021 10:29 pm 
fourteen410 wrote:
Seems a little like biting that hand that feeds you, but maybe I'm missing something here?
WTA isn't actually against individuals doing some low key trail maintenance. I know that some WTA people carry clippers when they hike recreationally, and will fix a badly overgrown section if they run into one and have time. They make it sound like there's a law against doing unauthorized trail work, I'm pretty sure that isn't the case. A well intentioned person could do something illegal though, bring a chainsaw into Wilderness, get lost and clear somebody's private property, break some kind of environmental regulation. Or they could do a really bad job in a way that gets someone hurt and lawyers become involved. But being an institution and talking to the public means crafting your message to the lowest common denominator. They can't just tell everybody to go use your common sense. WTA does something called "trail skills college" where there are sit down lectures about the concepts involved in building and maintaining trails, and then you sign a waiver, put on a hard hat and gloves, and do trail work related to what they discussed earlier. There's a class specific to drainage, several about vegetation removal, etc etc. They also go over legal and regulatory stuff. They do this with the hope that "students" will go on to join WTA work parties, and the knowledge that some will go renegade.

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Slugman
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PostWed May 26, 2021 10:31 pm 
Sorry, ski, too long, to much nonsense and speculation. Nonsense: the WTA is not a law library. Ha! But they are claiming illegal activity, so they better back it up. Your comment is ludicrous. This guy is not building bridges back in there. He went past the area the WTA has marked for work, and cleared some brush. BFD! He obviously pissed someone off by bashing the WTA on their own site. I too would like to see the WTA back up their claim, otherwise the person who posted that is a slanderous jerk.

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PostWed May 26, 2021 10:50 pm 
Happy to hear you're in disagreement with me, Sluggo. Lets me know I'm on the right track. up.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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