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uh-oh. This is not good.

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uh-oh. This is not good.

Postby dave54 » Wed Mar 12, 2008 7:31 pm

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Re: uh-oh. This is not good.

Postby asabat » Thu Mar 13, 2008 11:30 pm

Why? The forest service has a reputation for trying to please everyone, thereby failing most. I'd like to see at least some of our wilderness areas run by the NPS instead of the USFS. The NPS is more accommodating to recreational users. For example, I would hope the NPS would run the Mt. Whitney Trail in a way to permit more users to reach the highest point in the 48 states. IMO the current quota system fails many users who will never do another wilderness hike, denying the opportunity to show them the benefits of "wilderness" and perhaps giving us more allies in the fight for preservation of the true wilderness.
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Re: uh-oh. This is not good.

Postby gary c. » Fri Mar 14, 2008 12:13 am

While I don't agree with everything the FS does I do believe that the goals and lands they support should remain separate. I think that people have a right to a certain amount of national forest to use(not abuse) in ways that I don't think the park service would ever come around to understanding. I still believe that there is room for properly managed developement, timber harvesting, mortorcycles, hunting, fish stocking, sking, and a long list of other things the NPS would eventually do there best to completely do away with. I want to emphasis that for the most part I don't think the FS has done the best job managing these things but giving it all to the NPS is not the answer. Better policies and there management within the FS would be a better solution.
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Re: uh-oh. This is not good.

Postby Foamfinger » Fri Mar 14, 2008 10:19 am

The memo doesn't specify that they are looking to combine the FS and the Park Service. More likely, FS & BLM would be consolidated, since their missions are more similar than that of NPS. Consolidation of adminstration and oversight might be beneficial - the agencies have differences on recreation and extractive industries, but it could work.

Dave54, what are your reservations?
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Re: uh-oh. This is not good.

Postby asabat » Fri Mar 14, 2008 12:44 pm

I guess I saw DOI and assumed NPS, when BLM is mentioned. I don't see a lot of difference between the two. I guess I'd like to see more wilderness land moved to NPS because, in spite of all their excessive rules, they seem to have more focus on the recreational user. Understand when I started hiking and backpacking entering the wilderness was a matter of signing in at a register - even overnights on Whitney. The need to plan weekend trips so far in advance or take your chances for me adds a lot of stress to what should be a stress-releasing trip.
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Re: uh-oh. This is not good.

Postby dave54 » Sat Mar 15, 2008 11:22 am

Foamfinger wrote:...Dave54, what are your reservations?


If you recall, the Forest Reserves (forerunner to the National Forests) were in the Dept of Interior. They were moved from Interior from because at that time Interior was rife with corruption and cronyism. Although the corruption is largely gone now, Interior is still very political, much less so than Agriculture. The agency heads in Interior are all political appointees. The Chief of the Forest Service was a merit systems position until Clinton, and the Chief always came from inside the agency and had a long career in land management. The exception was clinton's appointment of mike dombeck (called 'dumb bug' by his own staffers behind his back). The dombeck term was a disasterous one. I met him once while he was Chief and had a brief conversation -- he was clueless as to the issues then facing the agency and seemingly could not carry on an intelligent discussion on natural resources. Bush appointed Dale Bosworth (the ultimate insider. His father was a Forest Supervisor. Dale started out as a summer seasonal fresh out of high school, stayed with the FS, and worked his way up.) Under Interior, there is an increased probability the Chief of the Forest Service would become a political favor position.

As pointed out above, the agencies all have different missions and different sets of laws, regulations, and policies to further the mission. There are some similarities between BLM and FS (many adjacent units from each of the agencies share administrative offices, even some shared technical staff). My fear is the FS would become a subordinate of the NPS rather than the BLM. The FS mission, and the purposes for which the National Forests were created, are not compatible with the NPS mission.

This letter is also being discussed on a few other web sites, and the general consensus is 'not this again'. This does pop up every few years, and every president since Kennedy has entertained the idea. A briefing paper from one of the partisan think tanks (which IMHO the GAO has degenerated into), and a few Congressional committee hearings, and the idea goes away until the latter half of the next presidential term and the pattern continues. This time it seems to have been stimulated by Congressional concern over the exponential increases in firefighting costs -- a hot topic in DC budget circles now. As if moving the FS to Interior would make the causes of escalating fire costs disappear...

The comment about Wilderness under NPS was interesting. It seems to highlight the differences in world view between urban dwellers and rural residents who live in a small town inside a National Forest (like me). To us, Wilderness Areas are not spiritual, special places. They are simply another classification of land use, like zoning codes in a city. In the spectrum of FS land management classifications, Wilderness is not even the most restrictive -- Natural Research Areas are.
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Re: uh-oh. This is not good.

Postby asabat » Sat Mar 15, 2008 3:11 pm

My comment about wilderness in NPS vs. USFS had more to do with user priorities, in that IMO the parks, while not perfect, are focuses on the recreational user, while the forests, as you say, try to please multiple users. That works fine in the average multi-use forest, but not so well in the more popular areas.

I think we really have the same view of different problems. I'm concerned about being shut out of popular wilderness areas because of inadequate quotas imposed because the forest won't spend the resources to fix the problem and instead artificially cut demand. OTOH, nearby areas run by the NPS are much more accessible. I think you are concerned that the NPS running the more typical forest will put restrictions on your recreational use. I see your point, I guess there is a downside.

As for urban/rural views, I live in a suburban/rural area but have an affection to a small community in the middle of forest land, almost having bought property there a couple times and still bugging my wife to do so. So, I see both sides of that issue.
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Re: uh-oh. This is not good.

Postby mountaineer » Sun Mar 16, 2008 4:51 pm

The NPS is more accommodating to recreational users.


You are kidding, right? You have to be...
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Re: uh-oh. This is not good.

Postby asabat » Sun Mar 16, 2008 9:01 pm

mountaineer wrote:
The NPS is more accommodating to recreational users.


You are kidding, right? You have to be...


I guess it depends on what type of recreation. For hiking and climbing, I find too many areas in the forest closed, either completely because it's the "land of many uses" (commercial use for a pittance to the treasury) or fish and wildlife issues. Other than some high-traffic meadows, I have not seen these restrictions in the NPS wilderness. My current pet peeve: Inadequate limites on day access to Mt. Whitney, versus unlimited access to Half Dome.

Now, if you're talking off road vehicles and hunting...
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Re: uh-oh. This is not good.

Postby mountaineer » Sun Mar 16, 2008 9:06 pm

:)

Okay, I understand where you are coming from.

I have received much less harrassment in FS wilderness areas than in NPS wilderness areas.
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Re: uh-oh. This is not good.

Postby dave54 » Fri Mar 21, 2008 9:19 pm

asabat wrote:I guess it depends on what type of recreation. For hiking and climbing, I find too many areas in the forest closed, either completely because it's the "land of many uses" ... or fish and wildlife issues...


????

Some of the best hiking, most solitude, and least sign of human use is in some of the multiple use areas. As I alluded to in my earlier post, Wilderness is just another land designation, nothing special or unique about it, except Wilderness trails often get more foot traffic than non-Wilderness trails. Some non-Wilderness trails near here get less traffic over the course of a year than the Wilderness trails get in a single weekend. One July I hiked the trail to Ridge Lake, just south of LVNP, and my footprints were the first ones on the trail. In September the same year I hiked in again, and I saw only one additional set of tracks other than my originals from July. I have stayed at Heart Lake on a three day weekend and saw no one else the entire trip. Neither of these are in a Wilderness (I have camped in my RV right in the middle of multiple use forest and not seen another soul on a 3 day weekend -- you just have to know where to go). One the other hand... If you don't start into Long Lake in the Wilderness by midday Friday you may not be able to find a campsite for all the other people that preceded you...

You can spend all the time you want in the local overrun trendy Wilderness. I'll be elsewhere at a non-publicized 'multiple-use' area with solitude, more wildlife, and less sign of human impact.
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Re: uh-oh. This is not good.

Postby AldeFarte » Sat Mar 22, 2008 12:08 am

Dave. Good point. You have that spot on. Some of my favorite places in the sierra's are right under the nose of the crowd. And it's fun finding them.There is a lot of country up there. jls
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