Help save the U.S. Nat. Forest? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-24-2006, 07:07 PM   #1
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I just returned from a 2 day trip to Little Sandy Campground in the Sierra Nat. Forest with 2 of my grandsons.

I camped there with my best friend and his grandfather 55 years ago.

I have watched the one water spigot from a spring on the top of the hill disappear and the picnic tables deteriorate and then finally disappear. This has never been an improved campground, just 10 or 12 flat acres in the bottom of a small canyon along a stream. Now it is a reforestation project. I can honestly state that it has not changed one bit in the 55 years that I have been camping there. I have had the privelege to witness at least 4 generations learn to love camping and the outdoors in this campground.

I have never seen the road into this area in such bad condition. My oldest son would meet us up there in his old beater Ford Pinto when he was in igh school and had to work on Friday nights. It is almost to the point now that it is a 4x4 only road. It seem that the only roads the Forest Service is maintaining are the ones to the pay campgrounds run by concessionairs.

The corker is there is now a Forest Service gate on the road into this area. When my boys were little we camped there in the snow several times, I was much younger and crazier then, now those that want to winter camp are going to be locked out.

I now live at the south end of the Sequoia National Forest and they lock most of the dirt access roads into the forest in off season. Their rational is that they do not want us to get stuck in the snow. I saw an inch and a half of snow in the ground at my house last winter and it was gone by 10 am.

There is no one that loves respects and enjoys the mountians more than myself. I understand the need to protect them for everyones benefit. The impression that I now have is the USFS is now run by people that consider you and I interlopers that are out to destroy the forest. I truly believe that in the future our boondock camping is going to be eliminated.

I was wondering if anyone else has had a similiar experience or thoughts on this. How do we keep our Forest open and available?

John
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Old 09-24-2006, 07:14 PM   #2
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My guess is that there is not enough money for the forest service, they may be staffed thin and no $$ for up-keep.
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Old 09-24-2006, 07:46 PM   #3
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There is no one that loves respects and enjoys the mountians more than myself. I understand the need to protect them for everyones benefit. The impression that I now have is the USFS is now run by a bunch of arrogant enviromental nuts that consider [b]you and I interlopers that are out to destroy the forest. I truly beleive that in the future our boondock camping is going to be eliminated.

I was wondering if anyone else has had a similiar experience or [b]thoughts on this.
John
I wish to play Devil's Advocate here.
A couple of maxims I have found helpfull:
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Never attribute to malice that which can equally be explained by ignorance.
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Do not judge someone until you have walked a mile in their shoes.
Between domestic budget cuts and population increases, I have empathy for the persons who have been left to try to do the best they can with what little resources they get.
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Old 09-24-2006, 07:55 PM   #4
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Yes, there are factors here we probably don't know about.

Any gubbmint agency has a budget and must work with them. So, looking at it from a business standpoint, they probably have to pick and choose based on usage (Customers) and running costs. (overhead)

ALL of the campgrounds up here in the San Bernardinos are closed as of NEXT monday. This personally saddens me, as for the most part, all but two are really accessible year round. The two maintained ones at higher elevations get LOTS of snow, but the rest are low enough to be usable.

They DO keep some of the the lowest elevation ones open year round, and they get the most use at any time of year.

I have seen the nicest one up here, which is also the highest up, quite empty on even the nicest summer weekend. With that kind of popularity, or lack of, it may just not be worth it to keep it open.

They do allow the dispersed sites to be used year round, as long as the roads are open, and I go to them until such cercumstances close them.

Maintenance in the snow and wet weather is expensive, and having folks run with weighty RVs on old roads to start with cause damage.

There are others that are open, but they have no water and are nothing more than a gathering area. Water can be a problem in the snow :-P. They may not want to risk pipes bursting, pumps clogging and other unsavory things for the very few that might want to use the campground.

I don't LIKE it, but I understand. I simply switch to Desert or coastal mode in the winter.

It would be nice to leave the gates open and just not provide water or toilets. Many campground in Oregon do this. Use at your own risk and discomfort if you choose.
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Old 09-24-2006, 08:45 PM   #5
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How bout volunteering, the National Parks are only as good as their volunteer program
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Old 09-24-2006, 08:50 PM   #6
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Years ago, we subscribed to 'pack it in, pack it out' for everything. "Leave nothing but footprints". When I started going to the Yosemite Valley, you could go anywhere; do anything. When I used to hang around Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, I could take my Jeep on any trail in the park, spend a week, and not see another soul the entire time I was out there. It was clean and quiet... much like the Cahuilla Indians knew it for hundreds of years.

Now many of the most beautiful places in the world have been overrun to the point that there is now air and ground pollution everywhere. In Glamis and Buttercup, you can't sleep at night for all of the dune buggies and four wheelers criss-crossing the desert at breakneck speed at all hours of the day and night.

Without starting a politcal discussion about national spending priorities, the truth is that the USFS and BLM have seen their budgets reduced consistently for years to the point now that there is little left with which to do anything. Having worked with agents from both agencies, it's unfair to characterize them as 'arrogant'. They care for the land under their stewardship probably more than most of those of use who use them. But there are so few of them and so few resources to go around that it's amazing our public lands have any protections at all. You're right in your assessment that unless a campground is generating funds, it will cease to exist. There's not much money being allocated for their upkeep.

It's a sad state of affairs. Write your Congressman with your concerns! They are valid, and the only way anything can get done is if enough constituents let them know that they see it as a problem.

Roger
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Old 09-24-2006, 08:52 PM   #7
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How bout volunteering, the National Parks are only as good as their volunteer program
I believe they're talking National Forest Land NOT National Parks. There's a big big difference.
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Old 09-24-2006, 09:10 PM   #8
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I wish to play Devil's Advocate here.
A couple of maxims I have found helpfull:

Between domestic budget cuts and population increases, I have empathy for the persons who have been left to try to do the best they can with what little resources they get.
I attempted to vent my frustration without being unseemly, ignorant and displaying malice.

As for ignorance and walking in their shoes, I worked on the Sierrra, in the distsrict that I am referring to, as a full time fireman, and a timber crusier in the off season, for over 3 years after college. I still have close friends that work on the District. The F. S. priorties have changed and according to friends that are still there from the time I worked the priorities are not to our benifit.

They have stopped logging and now the forest is in such an overgrown state that if a fire were to start there would be hundreds of thousands of acres burned with no hope of stopping it. Logging not only generated revenue for the F, S., the logging industry maintained the roads. The logging industry also greatly reduced fire suppression costs. I saw a, minium fifty thousand dollar, paved parking lot on the side of a barely improved road that for the last 50 years that has had a perfectly good decomposed granite surface. Several years ago I watched in amazement as a Forest Service employee drove past me, 13 miles from the improved hiway, with smoke pouring out from underneath my motorhome and transmission fluid running down the dirt road. My 2 year old Itasca had blown the transmission.

When I worked for the F. S. we were told to drive with the drivers window down while on patrol so we could here anyone calling for help or just wanting information. We were told to stop and talk to visitors to the Forest. We tried to make them feel welcome in THEIR forest. According to my friends this is not encouraged any more.

I think it was only 2 years ago that our National Forests in the west suffered millions upon millions of acres of burned forest. This tragedy was caused by improper forest managment pracitces. The new F. S. enviromentialist do not want any logging and this creates an overgrown condition that is perfect for a Forest Service caused disaster as we saw several years ago.

I am speaking from experiance and the wisdom and knowledge of friends that have worked for the F. S. for over 40 years and will retire soon.

John
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Old 09-26-2006, 05:18 AM   #9
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I attempted to vent my frustration without being unseemly, ignorant and displaying malice.
No doubt that you have seen all the changes and here in the North-east things are the same.
Although we do not have too many fires we do get loads of snow and dampness that eats the legs off tables and cruch out-buildings (in time)
The cut backs of the gov. are no doubt the reason and around here in the White Mountain National Forest, where 30 years ago you could park on the side of the road anywhere and have a pick-nick or camp at a clean safe PATROLED campground for $5.
NOT NOW.
First of you can not park your car anywhere in the National Forest without having a sticker on your car that will cost you $25 for the year.
I thought that I was already paying with my TAXES to keep these areas FREE and OPEN for the public to enjoy FOREVER.
I do pay every year with a note on my cheque stateing "Paid in PROTEST"
Now they have sold all the campground resposibilities to a private entity. Now you can camp for $18 a night (Which isn't bad for the area)
I am sure due to the cut backs in staff and the cost to bring the campgrounds up to code, handicaped accesable was too much for our gov. to handle.
Darn another road-side toilet shut down
I am sure it all boils down to $$$$. Even the attitude of some Rangers is "Why be friendly, on top of all the work I do, when I only get paid this much".
Public no doubt can do thier part but the resposible people are vastly outnumbered by the jerks who will no doubt ruin it for all.
Gerry
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Old 09-26-2006, 09:48 AM   #10
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First of you can not park your car anywhere in the National Forest without having a sticker on your car that will cost you $25 for the year.

Gerry


I see you live in Maine. Here's the a link to the only National Forest in Maine. This link describes the use fees. Here's a quote from that web site. "[b]At present, passes are required at some trailhead parking lots and day use facilities that are marked as fee areas. "

A quote from the Federal Lands Recreational Enchancement Act. [b]Each site or area must contain six "amenities," which are picnic tables, trash, toilet, parking, interpretive signing and security.

Furthermore all the Golden Passports are accepted without further cost.

Sorry to disagree with you but that doesn't sound like "anywhere" to me.
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Old 09-26-2006, 10:06 AM   #11
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Here, which as mentioned, is a snow area, they are helping the maintenance of things like picnic tables etc, by installing ones made of cement.

Granted, not easy to move if you want a little different furniture arrangement, but they don't fall apart, and certainly have not been the quest of folks looking to steal one. I have even seen them take the old tables from the established campgrounds and recycle them into the dispersed sites, which didn't used to have them.

All of the bathrooms with flush facilites are lit 24/7 via solar.

New higher firepits have been installed in most of the campgrounds in the past two years, as well as the ones in the dispersed sites.

Every time I have stayed in the dispersed sites, at least twice a day I have had a Ranger come say Hi and make sure :

That I wasn't doing anything unsavory.

and

No one was doing anything unsavory to me.

It's not fair to say it's all gone to pot. Not all araes have seen improvement, no doubt, but I see some progress.
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Old 09-26-2006, 10:11 AM   #12
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I believe they're talking National Forest Land NOT National Parks. There's a big big difference.
I guess I was a bit off base but in the long run if it hit the National Forest guess who's next. I just got a letter in the mail yesterday from the national Park Conservation Assoc and in it it had a Survey asking all kinds of questions about how the parks should be used and what will their condition be in 25 years etc. People take the stand on their paying taxes on that land but if the government keeps lowering the budgets for these places then they will go to pot. If we use and enjoy them then tax money is a mute point, The donated money would be used for that and that only. I'll get off my stump now. Happy Camping
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Old 09-26-2006, 10:34 AM   #13
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I guess I was a bit off base but in the long run if it hit the National Forest guess who's next.
I think you meant National Parks here.
First off the National Parks are managed by the Department of Interior and are charged with maintaining the park lands for the future. However what they're ending up with is closer to Disney Land than wilderness.

National Forests are managed by the Department of Agricltural for the purposes of timber. The problems occured when the Forest Service ignored the laws on "non-declining" yield and cut too many trees.

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I just got a letter in the mail yesterday from the national Park Conservation Assoc and in it it had a Survey asking all kinds of questions about how the parks should be used and what will their condition be in 25 years etc. People take the stand on their paying taxes on that land but if the government keeps lowering the budgets for these places then they will go to [b]pot. If we use and enjoy them then tax money is a mute point, The donated money would be used for that and that only. I'll get off my stump now. Happy Camping
I assume that going to pot means going back to the way nature created the forests. Is that a bad thing?
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Old 09-26-2006, 10:48 AM   #14
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As I fumble around my house in So. Cal this morning, that sits within a national forest that is pock marked with frequent realms of modern civilization, I am preparing for a plane ride up to Seattle for business.

As much as I am learning to despise business travel, I am looking forward to the part of my day that finds me perched in a window seat on a tin eskimo that will fly me OVER the forest vastness of Oregon and Washington.

The view will be marred somewhat by clear cuts, but for the most part, I will see pristine land and tree tops that WERE managed correctly and are second and thrid generation growth that look like they have been there for all time.

I know the clearcuts are often on private land as well as national and state forest land, but I can live with the temporary baldness knowing how it will look in just a few short years. It's part of the cycle.

The rest of the country can learn from the model set in the Pacific Northwest. Oregon and Washington are not immune to the natural disasters of fire and infestation, but, all in all.. it still looks pretty danged good!

Just ask anyone who has stayed in an Oregon park, national or State. They got the best thing going I have ever seen.
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