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thuja
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PostTue Nov 15, 2022 5:41 pm 
Saw an 11/9 NPS report on Carbon River road-trail conditions after the last big storm in early November and there is more bad news. Big trees down across the road, bridges damaged and more sections of road damaged, including damage to the shoring up of the roadbed near the trailhead. Ipsut Creek campground is only accessible by wading a creek. Sounds like some work is underway but will take some time to address all the new problems.

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philfort
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PostTue Nov 15, 2022 5:54 pm 
What's the reason they can't open the road to the Green Lake trailhead at least? I was there a few weeks ago after the first rains, and was impressed with how good the road/trail conditions were to that point. Would be totally drivable. Is it because there's no parking area until Ipsut Creek CG, so managing traffic would be a nightmare?

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thuja
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PostTue Nov 15, 2022 7:26 pm 

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thuja
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PostTue Nov 15, 2022 7:30 pm 
View of the bridge before the campground.....

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PostTue Nov 15, 2022 7:38 pm 
^ What happened on the upper Carbon (between the toe of the glacier and down past the NPS boundary) is that the streambed elevation rose to a point where it was higher than the roadbed, which had been constructed in the 1930s. If you follow along the outboard side of the roadway, you can still find some of the wood cribbing they laid in and tied with cables - an early form of "bank armoring". The last time I was up there, most of that had failed. There's really not a lot you can do when a river decides its time to reclaim the territory within its flood plain that may have been temporarily occupied by forest (or roads, campgrounds, and parking lots.) That's an ongoing, continual, natural process, and at that elevation, with a whole bunch of ice and snow just uphill, there's really not a lot to be done about it. This is a fun read. Bear in mind that Latterell is working at much lower elevations (sea level to about 1000 feet above sea level) and the Carbon is at a significantly higher elevation (about 1100 ft?) so timelines are going to vary, but generally speaking the same dynamics are in play (although the Carbon wouldn't recruit as much LWD simply because the trees aren't as big and everything outside the NPS boundary has been cut.) It should provide a fairly good general overall view of how the system works: Dynamic patch mosaics and channel movement in an unconfined river valley of the Olympic Mountains

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PostTue Nov 15, 2022 11:58 pm 
^ And this is one of the reasons I object so strongly to the closure of the Dosewallips Road - leaving all the infrastructure behind - inaccessible other than on by foot - in a riparian zone within the flood plain. At some point in the future the Carbon River WILL reclaim the territory that is now occupied by an asphalt-surfaced parking lot. (As I recall it was about 50 feet x 150 feet.. that sound about right? With concrete parking bumpers.) All of that petroleum-based asphalt is going to go right into the river. We can debate about what potential detrimental effects introducing toxic substances into Class I anadromous-fish bearing streams might have, or to what degree it might affect aquatic life, but one does not have to be a scientist to understand that dumping a parking lot into a river is not a good thing. Let's not forget the buildings containing glass, all sorts of plastics, fiberglass, asphalt roofing shingles, electrical components that may or may not leach toxins when immersed - which is what poisoned all of the ponds between DuPont and the mouth of Sequalitchew Creek. Did I mention water treatment facilities, detention ponds, and other assorted nasties? But hey, let's just leave it all there, pretend like it's not an issue, and everybody has more hiking opportunities so it's all good. Your grandchildren will enjoy paying for the SuperFund cleanups. 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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altasnob
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PostWed Nov 16, 2022 7:19 am 
philfort wrote:
ote: What's the reason they can't open the road to the Green Lake trailhead at least?
Isn't there a massive, irreparable wash out of the road right at the beginning? At least there was was in August last I was there. It required a 50 feet trail detour with no way vehicles could make it past this point. I am a huge fan of both the Carbon River and Westside Road being closed to cars. Grab a bike and enjoy some uncrowded hiking trails. If you want a vehicle road into the depths of the park there is always Sunsrise, Paradise, and Mowich.

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PostWed Nov 16, 2022 7:28 am 
Ski wrote:
this is one of the reasons I object so strongly to the closure of the Dosewallips Road - leaving all the infrastructure behind - inaccessible other than on by foot - in a riparian zone within the flood plain.
If they removed all the asphalt would you be ok with the Dosewallips Road closure? The asphalt breaking down in the river over time can't be good for the river ecosystem. But neither are cars, and all the junk the comes off them and in particular, the tires. How do you remove the asphalt, and decommission the road into a trail, if you can't access the road with heavy machinery (becuase of the wash out)? The majority of the closed, paved, Carbon River road is not in terrible shape. Seems like a waste of money to try to remove the asphalt from these sections. Plus, the paved asphalt makes the bike ride, and stroller pushing more smooth.

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PostWed Nov 16, 2022 8:22 am 
Years ago, there was a massive washout just south of Randle along the Cispus River just below the confluence of the mainline Cispus and the North Fork Cispus. During a high water event, the river took out a couple hundred yards of the roadway:
map Cispus River at confluence with North Fork Cispus - 23 road
map Cispus River at confluence with North Fork Cispus - 23 road
Since then the road has been resurfaced (as required by Federal Law - you cannot go from paved to unpaved on a federal road - I had a couple conversations with Brenda about that one. The site was one of the very first (if not the first) installations of "man made log jams" which were based on the work done by Tim Abbe and others up at UW Fisheries. Brenda was the project supervisor on that project. Can't recall her last name. Several hundred yards of asphalt roadway, presumably about four inches deep at minimum, all went into the Cispus River. Both you and I, as laymen, can figure out that's not a good thing for fish and frogs and salamanders and other crawlie things. Unfortunately, nobody has ever quantified what, if any, detrimental effects that incident may have had. Additionally, there are two hydroelectric dams downstream which were designed by morons who made no provision for fish passage (on one of the largest watersheds in the State.) The inability of anadromous fish to swim upstream past those dams makes it impossible to determine what, if any, effect that washout caused (in respect to the fish.) I suppose it might be a good subject for someone's Masters Thesis. You do raise a valid point regarding the runoff from automobiles. Since 1958, when construction of Interstate 5 began, all of the stormwater runoff between South 56th Street and South 74th Street, between Hosmer Street (since renamed Tacoma Mall Blvd.) and east to about South L Street, has been diverted into Wapato Lake. The aquatic life in Wapato Lake has been pretty much wiped out, but it was not because of the stormwater runoff. Rather, the two primary factors were the lawn chemicals being used by homeowners who owned properties along the lake's shore (mostly at the north end) and several attempts by the city to "cleanse" the lake with various chemicals, which turned out to be a disaster. Based solely on that anecdotal nothingness, I'd posit that runoff from automobiles wouldn't really be that great a factor - considering all the other things being dumped into the water - notwithstanding that weird chemical they put in tires to keep them black. (How dumb is that?) No, I would not be okay with simply removing the infrastructure from the Dosewallips for a couple reasons: First of all, it's simply not a practicable idea, unless you want to completely reconstruct the road. Rod Farlee actually crunched the numbers on that idea - you can find it in the Dosewallips thread. The extant infrastructure at the National Park Service and National Forest Service campgrounds cannot simply be picked up and put into a knapsack and carried out - you are talking about a project along the same scale as building the pyramids at Giza. Secondly, with closures of overnight campground facilities (Kopachuck SP, July Creek CG, and many others) we are losing overnight camping sites, not gaining. The population continues to increase, and the demand for outdoor recreational opportunities is increasing. Not sure where the numbers are here - I did an inventory of all of the overnight camp sites on the west coast of Washington State, including those on the Olympic Peninsula. It's here on the site somewhere. We have seen an alarming loss of overnight camp sites over the last 30 years. While not many of us here on nwhikers.net use those drive-in campgrounds, a lot of other American citizens - and foreign tourists with fat wallets do. You want to keep the economy of Washington State going but you don't want to cut down trees, and we've managed to completely f### up our fisheries? You need tourism, baby. And you need a LOT of it to generate the revenue we used to get out of trees and fish. We cannot all work high-paying "techie" jobs. You've got to have little people cooking burgers and changing sheets in motel rooms to keep the machine running - tourism supports all that. We, as Washington State citizens, should be making every effort we can to accommodate those people who want to drive their 42-foot-self-contained-house-on-wheels into a campground and live for a week smelling wet wood burning and listening to the next door neighbor's kids screaming. Because THEY are the ones who pump the money into the economy. Hikers and backpackers don't inject much money into local economies - nothing even close to what the "car campers" spend. The USFS had a plan all drawn up to re-route the Dosewallips Road, which would have required the removal of a few dozen trees, but by the time they finally got around to implementing the plan, they ran out of money. There's no reason that road cannot be reconstructed and those campground cannot be re-opened. None. Additionally, as I mentioned above, federal law does not allow either agency - USFS or NPS - to simply abandon that infrastructure into perpetuity. They will at some point need to deal with what is their own Sword of Damocles. Back to the Carbon: When the washouts first began in the mid-1990s, William J. Briggle was the Superintenent up at MRNP. Briggle wanted to simply close the road. I think he saw the handwriting on the wall. There was a huge push-back from the hiking community, as well as residents and business owners of Enumclaw, Buckley, Wilkeson, and Carbonado, who really raised hell because that road closure was killing their bottom line. In the summer of 1997, I interviewed every business owner in Buckley, Wilkeson, Carbonado, Elbe, and Ashford, and to a man, they all told me the same thing: The closure of the Carbon River Road cut into their bottom line (yes, even on the other side of the Park.) Several attempts were made to "fix" the road. I spent an entire day up there with a volunteer crew from The Mountaineers - they gave me a shovel and I threw sand all day long. They'd patch it up enough so the Park service trucks could get up to Ipsut Creek, and the river would tear is all out again the next season. Briggle moved on, and Uberuaga came in as Superintendent. When the road got washed out again at the lower end, the only option was to cut a re-route. Unfortunately, there's a marshy area at that point which would have been the only suitable location for a re-route. You cannot build roads over swamps. They couldn't go up the hill, because they don't own that real estate, and the owner wasn't about to sell it. Uberuaga closed the road, and after reviewing the numbers, I fully supported that position - the Carbon River Road became a lost cause when the streambed elevation rose above that of the roadbed. You are correct: it would be a huge waste of money to attempt to remove the asphalt surfaced roadway. Digging it all up might cause more problems than it might solve. If it's not IN the water, it's relatively benign. (I edited this about seven times. I know the part about Wapato Lake is screwy - it's been 8 years since I had the conversation with MetroParks about all that. They've got it all on paper, though. It's all really counterintuitive - you'd think all that gunk from all those trucks flying up the freeway would be the big nasty, but it was just "Weed-n-Feed" that turned the lake into a giant algae pool. Kinda-sorta along the same line as how they killed Lake Steilacoom. - BK)

"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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PostWed Nov 16, 2022 9:07 am 
Ski wrote:
There was a huge push-back from the hiking community, as well as residents and business owners of Enumclaw, Buckley, Wilkeson, and Carbonado, who really raised hell because that road closure was killing their bottom line. In the summer of 1997, I interviewed every business owner in Buckley, Wilkeson, Carbonado, Elbe, and Ashford, and to a man, they all told me the same thing: The closure of the Carbon River Road cut into their bottom line (yes, even on the other side of the Park.)
LOL! Those communities are just sprawling subdivisions today, with Costcos and every chain store imaginable. They are not poor little towns relying on tourism. They are sprawling suburbs whose residents work for Amazon, Microsoft, and Boeing, just like the rest of us. We should never manage our public lands just to make people who voluntarily chose to live in the sticks happy. The funny thing about the closure of the Carbon, West Side, and Doesewallups Roads is that the areas are still immensely popular. And popular with all sorts of different people. On the Carbon, I see fit people using a bike to make day trips to Mystic Lake. I also see families and novice backpackers going in to Ipsut Creek for their first backpack of their life. I love pushing my little kids in a stroller along the road and have used a stroller to make a day hike to Green Lake feasible with two small children. My four year old loves riding her bike on that road. If you are old, or out of shape, and don't want to ride a bike in, get an ebike. I am not sure they are legal or not on those roads but I see them all the time and no one will care. The closure of the Carbon and Westside roads are the best thing about Rainier National Park. Let the masses have Sunrise, Paradise, and Mowich.

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PostWed Nov 16, 2022 9:27 am 
Well, they may well be subdivisions today, but they were not in 1997 when I did those interviews. Only business owner who wouldn't talk to me was the lady who ran the "Copper Creek Inn". (My feelings weren't hurt - I make WAY better pie than they do, so I get the last laugh there.) Of course the areas are still popular. They always were popular. Just as Pt. Defiance Park is still popular with walkers, runners, cyclists, skateboarders, and roller-bladers. Please don't conflate all this stuff together - each of these areas needs to be looked at on a case-by-case basis - a "one size fits all" approach involves compromises that end up short-changing everybody.
altasnob wrote:
We should never manage our public lands just to make people who voluntarily chose to live in the sticks happy.
You might want to go back and look at how James J. Hill worked in cooperation with the federal government when he built the Northern Pacific Railway and made sure that it went to Glacier National Park to carry east coast tourist dollars out to those people who voluntarily chose to live in the sticks. If you think that we have National Parks solely for the purpose of recreating and "preserving nature", you weren't paying attention. We have National Parks - in great part - because they're money-making machines.
1930s Saguro National Monument promotional poster
1930s Saguro National Monument promotional poster
1904 Northern Pacific Railway Yellowstone National Park advertisement
1904 Northern Pacific Railway Yellowstone National Park advertisement
1905 Northern Pacific Railway Yellowstone National Park advertisement
1905 Northern Pacific Railway Yellowstone National Park advertisement

"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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philfort
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PostWed Nov 16, 2022 9:35 am 
altasnob wrote:
Isn't there a massive, irreparable wash out of the road right at the beginning? At least there was was in August last I was there. It required a 50 feet trail detour with no way vehicles could make it past this point.
I guess they must have fixed it? I don't recall seeing that.

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PostWed Nov 16, 2022 10:32 am 
altasnob wrote:
The funny thing about the closure of the Carbon, West Side, and Doesewallups Roads is that the areas are still immensely popular. And popular with all sorts of different people. On the Carbon, I see fit people using a bike to make day trips to Mystic Lake. I also see families and novice backpackers going in to Ipsut Creek for their first backpack of their life. I love pushing my little kids in a stroller along the road and have used a stroller to make a day hike to Green Lake feasible with two small children. My four year old loves riding her bike on that road. If you are old, or out of shape, and don't want to ride a bike in, get an ebike. I am not sure they are legal or not on those roads but I see them all the time and no one will care. The closure of the Carbon and Westside roads are the best thing about Rainier National Park. Let the masses have Sunrise, Paradise, and Mowich.
All true as far as it goes. I'm sure it is still popular and the road walk/bike has its own charms. And I get that maintaining it just became unfeasible. But I don't know if you remember what that trail was like before the big washout. It may be popular now, but no way does its popularity come close to what it was. It was one of the best and most popular family hikes in the state. Hundreds could comfortably walk on the nice, wide tail, cross the fun suspension bridge, and come close (but hopefully not TOO close) to the toe of a glacier, with fairly young kids. Those with longer legs and more energy could jaunt up to spectacular Moraine Park and Mystic Lake as a longish day hike (and without needing a mountain bike). But it never felt unreasonably crowded, or that sensitive terrain was being ruined. Just big-time, wholesome, outdoor family fun for everyone. And we lost that. Am I going to buy mountain bikes for my whole 4-person family, and then buy the apparatus necessary to get it all on my car, just for this one road and maybe a few others? No way. I'm still bummed about it, although I get it.

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PostWed Nov 16, 2022 10:54 am 
Today those areas are sprawling. In 1997. and in even 2006, places like Wilkenson and Carbonda were moldering into the ground.

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PostWed Nov 16, 2022 10:58 am 
Foist wrote:
I'm sure it is still popular and the road walk/bike has its own charms.
I have hiked the closed Carbon road many times - and it is ALWAYS packed now. And yes, I have hiked the old Wonderland Trail from the old car campground - and drove in there. That road was horrible on a good day, the parking area was tiny and the campground loud. When it turned into a trail (after the fall 2006 floods) in early 2007 it became a joy. Because it was an old road, it's a wide path - and the bike rule meant you could push a jogger stroller with kids. I camped in the old campground many times on backpacking trips in off season. Hike out 5 miles, set up and then go wander. What used to be packed up the trail was so quiet now. It was a good thing. The forest on the Carbon River is a magical treat to hike along.

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JimmyBob
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