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RodF
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PostThu May 16, 2019 3:31 pm 
"Wild Olympics" bill endangers SNOTELs. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (Washington Snow Survey Office in Mt. Vernon) operates two SNOTEL sites, and plans a third, in Olympic National Forest: - Dungeness SNOTEL 943 in the Dungeness watershed, - Mt. Crag SNOTEL in the Quilcene River watershed, and - Mt. Tebo SNOTEL in the Skokomish River watershed (planned, fall 2019). SNOTELs enable snowpack and river flows, which vary greatly from year to year in our Northwest climate due to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, El Nino Southern Oscillation, weather and climate change, to be predicted. This affects endangered salmon, fisheries, floods, water supplies for Port Townsend, Sequim, Port Angeles, their industries and agricultural irrigators, managed cooperatively with the tribes and affecting their treaty rights. It affects all of us concerned with conservation and recreational use. SNOTELs measure snowpack, snow water equivalent, temperature, precipitation, etc. They require annual maintenance, including replacement of dozens of gallons of glycol antifreeze in the precipitation gauge, and periodic replacement of the rubber snow pillow which is filled with antifreeze. This requires motorized access, either by vehicle or by helicopter. The "Wild Olympics" bill would place two of these SNOTEL sites entirely within designated wilderness, permanently cutting off motorized use and road access, and the third on the wilderness boundary, half within wilderness. This would make them impossible to maintain without a full Environmental Assessment, and even then, leave them vulnerable to removal by a lawsuit like the one which resulted in the court order to remove Green Mountain Lookout from Glacier Peak Wilderness. Sen. Dan Evans held public hearings on the peninsula prior to drafting the 1984 Washington State Wilderness Act that designated the existing wilderness areas in Olympic NF. The lack of similar public hearings prior to introduction of the "Wild Olympics" bill in 2012 resulted in this oversight of SNOTELs, and was not noted by USFS in its subcommittee testimony. Please join me in writing the sponsors of the "Wild Olympics" bill, Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Derek Kilmer, to amend their companion bills to explicitly enable the continued operation and maintenance of SNOTELs within wilderness.

"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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Brian R
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PostThu May 16, 2019 8:46 pm 
West coast politicians and empowered agency bureaucrats seem less and less inclined to care what we think. Hearings, if they're held at all, are simply window dressing check the box nonsense.

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altasnob
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PostThu Jul 23, 2020 7:15 pm 
In 2012, in the first post of this thread, RodF said:
RodF wrote:
The "Wild Olympics Campaign" seeks "instant designation" by Congress of 130,000 acres of additional Wilderness within Olympic National Forest. Of this, 80,000 acres are roadless areas which, under current law "shall be reviewed with Wilderness as an option" in the next Forest Plan, expected to begin in four years, anyway [1]. The "Wild Olympics" campaign is unnecessary for continued protection of these roadless areas.
RodF wrote:
As these unroaded areas are currently managed as de facto wilderness, I expect the majority to be recommended as Wilderness in the next Forest Plan. It will then be up to Congress to act on the USFS wilderness recommendation.
So in 2012 RodF was arguing the Wild Olympics was not necessary because the National Forest plan would already analyse whether the 80,000 acres of roadless area should be designated as wilderness. RodF mentioned that Forest Plan would start in 2016. We are now 8 years later, in 2020. I assume those 80,000 roadless areas were not made wilderness and that is why the House just passed the Wild Olympics Wilderness Act. Did the Forest Service look at whether this area should become wilderness like RodF said they were legally required to do and if so, did they recommend these areas become wilderness? RodF, still think the "Wild Olympics" campaign is unnecessary to protect these 80,000 roadless acres?

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altasnob
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PostThu Jul 23, 2020 7:43 pm 
RodF wrote:
Permanence? The "Wild Olympics Campaign" advocates Wilderness designation as a more permanent protection for these areas than their current Late Successional Reserve status. However, last month, Congress removed Wilderness protection from 222 acres of Olympic Wilderness for purposes of housing development [7]. The coalition backing the "Wild Olympics Campaign" voiced no opposition to this (although only one member of the coalition, Olympic Park Associates, requested it be first be reviewed under a NEPA process, it was not). No such transfer of Late Successional Reserves protected under the Northwest Forest Plan has ever been proposed, let alone passed, by Congress. NWFP has so far proven to provide more permanent protection than Wilderness designation.
If you look at the law that removed 222 acres of Olympic Wilderness the primary purpose was not done for a "housing development" as RodF claimed, but the primary purpose was to provide for tsunami and flood protection to the Quileute Indian Tribe. If the Quileute Indian Tribe then built housing and administrative buildings on the land that was transferred to them that does not change the primary purpose. Any land designation could in theory be changed by Congress. So any land designation could be viewed as non permanent. But I don't think RodF's argument that wilderness designation is somehow less permanent than other land designation is persuasive, particularly based on the example he provides. I do commend RodF for providing cites to support his arguments though. Most on nwhikers just like to flame without any supporting evidence.

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BigBrunyon
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PostThu Jul 23, 2020 11:39 pm 
altasnob wrote:
Most on nwhikers just like to flame without any supporting evidence.
We've beaten this to a dead horse: this is the post-evidence era. Ya hear 10 different facts from 10 different people and they all claim each other's facts are fake. Can't trust in no evidence these days. Gotta stick to yer beliefs!!

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gb
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PostFri Jul 24, 2020 1:50 pm 
RodF wrote:
[i]"An analysis by a U.S. Forest Service staffer shows that only about two-thirds of the Wild Olympics proposal to include more land in “wilderness” designation would involve timber that could be considered “old growth.” "Out of the 132,817 acres of forest land being considered in the Wild Olympics proposal, which has been endorsed by Congressman Norm Dicks and U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, around 88,900 acres are older than 160 years of age. That leaves the balance as land that has been logged before or re-planted following a fire or wind storm.
You can find a history of wildfires in the Olympics online. It is evident to this frequent visitor that many of the places I visit in the Eastern Olympics have evidence of historic wildfires and hence would not be old growth. That doesn't make many of these areas any less valuable as wilderness in the Wild Olympics proposal. The other great advantage of the Wild Olympics legislation is the designation of Wild and Scenic River status that would prevent destruction of many beautiful areas by pointless, cheap damn proposals.

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RodF
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PostTue Jul 28, 2020 2:15 pm 
altasnob wrote:
RodF, still think the "Wild Olympics" campaign is unnecessary to protect these 80,000 roadless acres?
Yes. There has been no proposal to log even 1 of our 80,000 roadless acres, as they are already protected under law. There have been no proposals to "damn" any of our rivers, either those actually eligible for Wild and Scenic River designation, or those not. (And this is not only in the past 8 years, but for the past 40.) There is now 8 more years of proof "Wild Olympics" is not necessary to protect areas worth preserving. My concern is "Wild Olympics" will also forestall stewardship of 45,000 additional acres which are not roadless areas. These include former clearcuts which may benefit from thinning to accelerate the development of old growth characteristics, with roads which have been abandoned but never properly decommissioned and may continue to fail, damaging streams and destroying wetlands. USFS needs more funding for staff to get Forest Plans done sooner.

"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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PostTue Jul 28, 2020 4:27 pm 
Rod wrote:
"Wild Olympics" will also forestall stewardship of 45,000 additional acres which are not roadless areas. These include former clearcuts which may benefit from thinning to accelerate the development of old growth characteristics, with roads which have been abandoned but never properly decommissioned and may continue to fail, damaging streams and destroying wetlands. USFS needs more funding for staff to get Forest Plans done sooner.
^ and THIS is WHY "Wild Olympics" is such a terrible, ill-conceived plan. But people who don't understand forestry and silvicultural management don't "get it" - they just want to stop ALL forest land management at any cost, even if it forestalls the development of "old growth characteristics" by decades (or in the case of some of those old Matrix units on the ONF, centuries.)

"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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altasnob
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PostTue Jul 28, 2020 7:15 pm 
Regarding the proposed Wild and Scenic Designation for select rivers in the Olympics, what is the negative of the designation? Just because there has been no damn proposals in the recent past, does not guarantee there will not be in the future. There are other commercial activities that could conceivably occur without Wild and Scenic designation (i.e. bottling water for export). Washington has approximately 70,439 miles of river, of which 197 miles are designated as wild & scenic—less than 3/10ths of 1% of the state's river miles. For comparison, Oregon has approximately 110,994 miles of river, of which 1,916.7 miles are designated as wild & scenic—almost 2% of the state's river miles.

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altasnob
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PostTue Jul 28, 2020 8:23 pm 
RodF wrote:
There has been no proposal to log even 1 of our 80,000 roadless acres, as they are already protected under law.
Which law protects the roadless areas in the Olympics from logging? As I understand, they are not being logged because of the current forest plan, and also because of court injunctions (which the forest plan incorporates). But a forest plan and a court order is not a law. Both can be changed in the future. If the roadless area were to be designated as wilderness, then it would be protected from logging by federal law and require an act of Congress to change that law. So would you support this 80,000 roadless acres becoming wilderness? What is the downside? The area is roadless, so I presume it does not need thinning. Why hasn't the forest service designated this area as wilderness? As I understand, the only new wilderness areas in Washington since 1984 have been Wild Sky in 2008 and expansion of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness in 2014. Both of those were created by congressional act, just like Wild Olympics is trying to do. The fact that there has been only two newly created wilderness areas in Washington since 1984 proves that the only way to increase the amount of wilderness in Washington is through congress. These 80,000 roadless acres seem like a prime candidate for wilderness expansion and I don't really see the negatives unless you want to cut down the trees in them.

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Kim Brown
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PostTue Jul 28, 2020 8:35 pm 
Ski wrote:
Rod wrote:
"Wild Olympics" will also forestall stewardship of 45,000 additional acres which are not roadless areas. These include former clearcuts which may benefit from thinning to accelerate the development of old growth characteristics, with roads which have been abandoned but never properly decommissioned and may continue to fail, damaging streams and destroying wetlands. USFS needs more funding for staff to get Forest Plans done sooner.
^ and THIS is WHY "Wild Olympics" is such a terrible, ill-conceived plan. But people who don't understand forestry and silvicultural management don't "get it" - they just want to stop ALL forest land management at any cost, even if it forestalls the development of "old growth characteristics" by decades (or in the case of some of those old Matrix units on the ONF, centuries.)
So when are they going to manage thinning and properly decommission roads to accelerate old growth characteristics and restore hydrology? Shouldn't they do that now? Then it wouldn't be a the terrible, ill-conceived plan you say it is. They've had years to do so if they were going to - or are they? (I'm not familiar with what goes on over there). Wild Olympics will eventually go through. If they intended on managing it to promote old growth, and properly decommission roads, they would be doing it now - because wilderness is coming, eventually.

"..living on the east side of the Sierra world be ideal - except for harsher winters and the chance of apocalyptic fires burning the whole area." Bosterson, NWHiker's marketing expert
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PostTue Jul 28, 2020 9:00 pm 
Actually, Kim, they should have started on it two or three decades ago, but efforts to commence operations have been thwarted by legal appeals, threats of lawsuits, and lack of adequate funding. Nothing new - this has been going on for at least 30 years now. Some of those old "Matrix" units were clearcut in the 1940s and 1950s, and have not been revisited since. Ergo, we have what treeswarper often refers to as "doghair" stands of "pecker poles" - overstocked units full of crowded, stunted trees which would benefit greatly from pre-commercial or commercial thinning. The most glaring example* I can give you is that unit you pass through as you drop down off the 2180-010 road onto the "Park Service Road" (aka "Back Door Road") and connect to the upper end of what is now referred to as the "Upper Queets Road" - an entire section that (according to my communications with Josh Latterell, UW Fisheries) was clearcut at some point between (hope my memory is good here) about 1936 and 1939. It's almost all Western Hemlock, with a tiny bit of Sitka Spruce here and there, and I don't think there's a tree on that entire section that's more than 15-18 inches DBH. Moreover, there's almost a complete lack of any understory growth. Those are the kind of conditions created when all management activity is halted. Sure, at some point in the distant future it may evolve into what you and I would think of as "old growth", but that could possibly take (according to text and diagrams in Ruth Kirk's book The Olympic Rain Forest © 1992 Ruth Kirk University of Washington Press) several centuries, possibly a couple millenia. These are examples of where "letting nature take its course" is simply misguided and foolish. (* This section, and the one immediately to the west of it, which was also cut at the same time, are both within the boundaries of Olympic National Park, and therefore would not be part of the "Wild Olympics" thing. I use that example because I am familiar with it and know the history (thanks to Mr. Latterell.) *)

"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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Kim Brown
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PostTue Jul 28, 2020 9:14 pm 
So might as well be wilderness for all the managing the USFS will ever do. I know the doghair, it's a common term. it makes me sick to see it, and on behalf of the forest, i can't breathe.

"..living on the east side of the Sierra world be ideal - except for harsher winters and the chance of apocalyptic fires burning the whole area." Bosterson, NWHiker's marketing expert
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PostTue Jul 28, 2020 9:28 pm 
I should note as well, concerning that particular unit I cited above: For reasons which defy explanation, over the course of the last 31 years (the period of time I've driven on that particular section of road) there has been very little, if any, disturbance by wind, which (as Rod has pointed out many times here) the primary cause of "disturbance" in west-slope Olympic temperate rain forest. I have no idea about the "why". I just know it is, and without disturbance, forests don't evolve and change and display all those dynamics we associate with what is commonly referred to as "old growth". Maybe it's on the lee side of the hill. Maybe the denser forest downslope blocks the wind. Maybe space aliens are the cause. In any case, it hasn't changed one iota in decades. Achieving the objective of "recreating old-growth characteristics" on units which have been previously managed as "Matrix" units or (in some cases) "Late Successional Reserves" requires disturbance. "Disturbance" occurs in nature in a number of ways: lightning, fire, wind, and/or disease. If you don't mind waiting a couple thousand years for those things to happen, great. Personally, I'd prefer to expedite the process a bit, which is easily accomplished with a fast saw - if you just knocked down about 60-80% of it and let it lay on the ground, you'd speed up that process considerably. (There is still, as Rod mentions, the issue of decommissioning roads and removing culverts, which won't happen under the "Wild Olympics" plan. Dumb, dumb, and more dumb. Leaving old plugged-up culverts in place is a recipe for disaster, which you should know all about.) You could have confirmed all of that with Brenda or Kevin (or even Margaret McHugh) up at Randle in the mid-1990s, but I believe they've all retired by now. wink.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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altasnob
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PostTue Jul 28, 2020 9:40 pm 
RodF wrote:
My concern is "Wild Olympics" will also forestall stewardship of 45,000 additional acres which are not roadless areas.
Where again do you get the Wild Olympics proposal includes 45,000 acres that has roads and needs to be thinned and roads decommissioned? I see in 2012 you mentioned 50,000 and now you use 45,000 acres. I also see on Wild Olympics' page: "Creates 126,661 acres of new Wilderness in Olympic National Forest." and "Creates potential for additional 5,346 acres to become Wilderness (Potential Wilderness) if Forest Service completes restoration under current management plans." I assume this 5,346 acres are lands like you mentioned that are not today suitable for wilderness because they need to be thinned and roads decommissioned. So looks like Wild Olympics dropped some lands from their original proposal for the exact reasons you mentioned. So of the 126,661 acres you state 80,000 acres of those are road less and meet the criteria for wilderness. Just wondering where you get 80,000 acres? I added up all the most updated, roadless areas from appendix C in the FEIS and got 85,807 total roadless acres. So I assume that means 85,807 acres of the 126,661 acres proposed as wilderness by Wild Olympics are roadless, do not need to be thinned, and do not require roads to be decommissioned. If you want to see where I got the 85,807 acre number see page 224 of this document: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fsbdev3_049474.pdf If 85,807 acres of the 126,661 acres proposed are roadless, that leaves only 40,854 acres having roads. Not all of these 40,854 acres have been clear cut. In 2012, you mentioned 12,400 acres have been clear cut. So to get to my point, it appears the vast majority of the 126,661 acres of proposed wilderness are suitable as wilderness and are not "doghair stands of pecker poles" as Ski describes. Sure, maybe not all the lands proposed as wilderness should have been included, but it appears most of the lands are prime candidates for wilderness. When it takes decades for any wilderness to be created, I am ok with overshooting a bit. I am curious about where specifically the lands RodF argues are not suitable for wilderness are. You can read the exact language of the act on page 246 of this document: https://www.congress.gov/116/crec/2020/07/20/CREC-2020-07-20-pt1-PgH3114-2.pdf It lists the specific acres included in each wilderness unit but does not describe the acres by roadless/not roadless. The map I posted does not answer my question either. Wild Olympics says no roads will be closed so I assume today, one cannot not drive through these wilderness areas that have been previously logged with roads now closed.

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