Backcountry regulations are getting ridiculous! | High Sierra Topix  

Backcountry regulations are getting ridiculous!

Grab your bear can or camp chair, kick your feet up and chew the fat about anything Sierra Nevada related that doesn't quite fit in any of the other forums. Within reason, (and the HST rules and guidelines) this is also an anything goes forum. Tell stories, discuss wilderness issues, music, or whatever else the High Sierra stirs up in your mind.
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Postby SSSdave » Sun Aug 26, 2007 3:33 pm

From the SEKI fire website:

"The Mineral King area is a top priority for risk-reduction burns. Large accumulations of dead trees, forest debris and heavy brush surround visitor facilities and private development, all within a steep, narrow canyon. Fires starting low in the canyon would quickly race upslope, putting people, property and the Mineral King ecosystem in danger.
Research in Mineral King's Atwell Grove of sequoias has revealed some of the area's fire history. The annual rings of wood created as trees grow record the fires that burned hot enough to penetrate the tree bark. Studies of these fire scars on tree rings show that, before humans learned to put fire out, flames moved through parts of the Atwell Grove an average of every six years! "

Very informative is the fire history map of that East Fork of the Kaweah area. From the below link, download the "Burned Areas - East Fork Watershed" pdf file to view where all the fires since 1921 have occurred

http://www.nps.gov/archive/seki/fire/fire_map.htm#other

What that shows is a huge area has not burned in decades due unfortunately to fire suppression earlier in the century so there is a huge build up of fuels that if ignited would threaten even the mature forest and sequoias. Note since this map is from 2000 it doesn't show all the burned area at the north end of Mineral King Valley. Not surprisingly a lot of the fires seem to be around the road though notably none up where you were camping mountaineer. Thus I'd expect until they complete their current program of selective controlled burns during safe weather periods while fuels are moist, they will be conservative about allowing fires in that drainage. ...David



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Postby mountaineer » Sun Aug 26, 2007 3:36 pm

Dave, I still think they are shotgunning the whole thing. Not allowing fires lower down during dry conditions is understandable. Not allowing fires at a place like Eagle Lake, a small forested area on an island of granite, is overkill.
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Postby giantbrookie » Sun Aug 26, 2007 4:04 pm

mountaineer wrote:
Charles2 wrote:Rightstar, I am not aware of any NPS operation in the western US where cattle grazing is permitted. USFS and BLM, yes, but Park Service, I don't think so. I stand willing to be corrected.

No cattle grazing is allowed in the NPS.
I don't even think it is the money...the BLM and USFS gets a pittance from those ranchers. I think more than anything it is the historical use of the lands for cattle grazing. When you think about it, in a lot of wilderness areas the cattle have been grazing for a long time before we started using it as a recreational area. I don't agree with allowing them to overrun the place but they do have some historical right to be there. There really aren't THAT many places where cattle ruin the experience anyway.

In point of fact, grazing rights were grandfathered into the Wilderness Act, but it is also important to remember that so were the existing trout air dropping policies . We all know what happened to the latter (significantly changed in light of the MYLF issues), so it would be nice to see a bit more flexibility from the feds on the former. However little money it may be the folks grazing cattle up there have a lot more clout than recreational users to be sure. Actually, I guess I've been to enough places where cattle really did detract from the experience, including my recent trip out of the Rancheria trailhead to Blackcap Basin--the poopy, gassy, dusty, opening of that trip really sucked.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Postby mountaineer » Sun Aug 26, 2007 4:40 pm

brookie, only wilderness areas outside national park boundaries are open to grazing....

I know the trailhead that you speak of...been there...complained about the cow crap...however, the Sierra Nevada is so vast there are thousands of untrammeled areas to visit if you don't want to see cow crap. It is just one of those things we have to put up with in a world that is not perfect.

I STILL want to build a campfire when I want to!!!! :)

Speaking of wilderness, this is a cool interactive site:

http://www.wilderness.net/index.cfm?fuse=NWPS
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Postby Charles2 » Sun Aug 26, 2007 6:17 pm

Giantbrookie wrote:
"In point of fact, grazing rights were grandfathered into the Wilderness Act"

Correct but this was an act that primarily created wilderness areas from USFS and BLM multiple-use land. There are wilderness designations for Park Service land but since grazing was prohibited prior to designation it remained prohibited afterwards. The Wilderness Act would not have become law if its proponents had proposed to prohibit grazing; the cattle lobby would have squashed it like a bug.

Most of the USFS and BLM wilderness areas in Arizona permit grazing at levels that existed prior to designation. None of the National Parks permit it at all with the exception of Cañon de Chelly where the Navajo are permitted to graze their animals.

I find it interesting that (IIRC) less than 20% of the nations beef comes from public land grazing. Also, Florida is the nations largest cattle producer, or was the last I checked, and none of this beef is grazed on public land.
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Postby caddis » Sun Aug 26, 2007 6:48 pm

This should be a good lesson for anyone promoting government control over (fill in the blank)

Give the government permission to regulate and then the government twists it into granting us permission via permits, licenses, tags,...(they sure turned the control issue around) and that eventually turns to higher costs (fee's and taxes)....piss your freedoms away one drop at a time

Pig hunting is another example. Pigs are a nuisance species and hunters should be thanked for killing them. But, CA decided to regulate and force hunters to pay for tags (yeah, 7 bucks for 5 tags when it started...not bad) There reasoning was they wanted to use the tags to gather information on pigs. Sure enough, those costs have increased 1090%. (average cost of $1.50 each to $17.85 each)....I guess they need to manage the big game species....or pay ranchers for the damage they cause


Socialized medicine anyone?



P.S. I've seen cattle grazing in Cahoon meadow Sequoia NP
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Postby mountaineer » Sun Aug 26, 2007 8:46 pm

Excellent post caddis!!! Did those cattle sneak into Sequoia NP? I doubt the NPS would authorize them being there...

That pig tag situation chaps my hide! Those things were domesticated to begin with and now the DFG wants to charge me $17+ to shoot one?! Last I checked, the DFG wasn't operating boar hatcheries or putting any money into pig habitat. All those things do is destroy land.

This country is so socialized it is pathetic. Everybody thinks the friggin' government is the answer to everything. Like you said, we're pissing away our freedoms and nowhere is it more evident than when I am in the wilderness and they tell me not to build a fire because some muckity muck big-wig thinks it is a good idea. Thanks a lot caddis, I was doing fine at holding my temper then you go and push my buttons! :angry:
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Postby giantbrookie » Mon Aug 27, 2007 8:57 am

mountaineer wrote:brookie, only wilderness areas outside national park boundaries are open to grazing....

I wasn't referring to NPS lands, only the Federal Wilderness lands outside of the NP's (ie John Muir, Ansel Adams, Desolation, etc.) The act that created those wilderness areas is separate from the establishment from the NPs. I am well aware of the fact that grazing is prohibited in the NPs and the other types of activities are also treated differently in the NPs (such as that fish stocking that was eliminated in the NPs long before it became a cause celebre outside of the NPs).
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Postby Charles2 » Mon Aug 27, 2007 9:14 am

Caddis,
I prefer government control over corporate control when it comes to wild lands. If you ever lived in an area where there are large private land holdings such as in western Washington or Texas you would feel different I suspect.

Private landowners will typically either close their land to entry or charge you your left gonad and spare change for the honor of hiking or hunting or fishing. And, if you happen to shoot an animal or catch fish, they charge you more than the going grocery store rate for the meat (I exaggerate here a bit but not much).

Our public lands are a national treasure; the U.S. is one of the few countries in the world that has extensive areas of open-entry public land. If we have to suffer a few rules to use them, I think it is a price worth paying. And, just because one doesn't agree with a particular policy does not mean that there is no good reason for it.

Finally, as I'm sure you already know, socialism and capitalism are simply economic systems, not systems for social control. At the extremes, socialism is public ownership of the means of production and distribution; capitalism is private ownership of everything.

What you are complaining about is authoritarianism versus libertarianism; differences in the way government controls, or doesn't control, its' citizens. It is quite possible to have a socialist-libertarian government instead of the capitalist-authoritarian government we presently have. I agree with you that we have seen major increases in authoritarian government in the U.S. in the past six years. Let's hope things will change soon.
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Postby caddis » Mon Aug 27, 2007 12:16 pm

Charles2 wrote:Caddis,
Our public lands are a national treasure; the U.S. is one of the few countries in the world that has extensive areas of open-entry public land. If we have to suffer a few rules to use them, I think it is a price worth paying. And, just because one doesn't agree with a particular policy does not mean that there is no good reason for it.
The point I was trying to make was that public lands are my lands and your lands. We simply allow the goverment to manage them...preferably for sustained use. What I take offense to is the government limiting my use of our lands, whether it's through unreasonable permit processes, non-sensible fire/stove restrictions, increased costs at every turn (fishing license, hunting license, entrance fee, permit fee,...), or burdensom rules and regulations (bear canisters)

I don't mind them making rules and enforcing them when someone violates them as long as those violators are causing damage to the land. I do mind when I am lectured every time I get a permit by a desk jocky who has never been on the trail, or when I feel like a law breaker because I don't carry out my used toilet paper. I do mind having to leave a zip stove behind because someone thinks I'll destroy the environment one twig at a time.



What you are complaining about is authoritarianism
All social systems evolve/devolve to authoritarianism...it's natural when you surrender your freedoms to a higher authority
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Postby mountaineer » Mon Aug 27, 2007 1:23 pm

Brookie, I understand that YOU knew...I was just clarifying for those reading that might not have known.
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Postby mountaineer » Mon Aug 27, 2007 1:25 pm

Finally, as I'm sure you already know, socialism and capitalism are simply economic systems, not systems for social control.


What is the best way to "socially" control people?

Hint: The answer is in your statement.
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