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    • #4933
      jsp1001
      Participant

      Thick snow cover for weeks, but still fire-related closure because even trails that were far from the fires might be dangerous and we can’t be sure and test the conditions because Covid ….  somewhere we’ve lost sight of “access” and “Service (Forest Service)” for the sake of safety at all cost, protecting the public from itself, and litigation avoidance.

       

    • #4934
      Austin
      Participant

      Very well said. The standard operating procedures for the forest service with no kind of oversight from them restricting public lands from us. How is this okay? Coming from myself who was on this fire and knows what burned and didn’t, much of the wilderness was untouched. I have pretty much stepped foot on every acre of this wilderness and it completely makes me sick how it is still closed. And now portions of the wilderness that were hard to access have burned so I am almost positive that easier access to these parts will never be part of the the future due to recent fires. Open the wilderness back up already. It’s been to long and the reasoning behind it being closed is just as dumb as half of the Covid rules in our world.

    • #4935
      chris in redlands
      Participant

      Sounds like a lot of unwarranted assumptions about the forest service and its motivations are being made in this thread. The forest service has not been forthcoming about why the broad closures have remained in place so long. That’s true. But baseless conjecture about why the closures remain in place is not helpful or constructive.

      We’re all disappointed that the wilderness is closed. Jumping onto the forum of the organization that defends the wilderness to cry about the federal government agency that hasn’t reopened the wilderness, building straw men out of unsubstantiated rumors in the process, is probably unlikely to motivate the USFS to hasten the reopening of the wilderness.

      Try contacting the forest service. There are numerous phone numbers and emails on their websites. In the end, this is a forum for discussing trail conditions. The trails are closed. That pretty much sums it up.

    • #4936
      Ed
      Participant

      This national forest has a history of closing large areas for years after a fire, for briefly-stated safety reasons which seem highly questionable to many users.  I think that invites speculation and criticism.  Some of it may be unwarranted, but it is very natural and predictable.  These are areas where people die every winter, and the national forest does not even issue a few pages of advice on winter safety.  The idea that they suddenly become so unsafe that entry must be banned because the chances of a tree falling on someone has increased does make one wonder about how decisions are being made.

    • #4941
      chris in redlands
      Participant

      That’s an excellent point and a great analogy. Has the forest service stated that the forest remains closed to recreation due to increased hazards to users? I had not read that. I haven’t been able to find a thing from the forest service, in fact. Would appreciate a link to a posting or a recent statement or order.

      I don’t object to questioning the San Bernardino National Forest, who has, recently at least, taken a “we make the rules so deal with it” approach to regulating recreational use of the mountains. It just seems kind of lazy to complain about it here.

      Almost like asking the wilderness association to go to bat with the forest service instead of taking it to them directly. I don’t think that’s their job. They’re just taxpayers like you, volunteering their time to protect the wilderness you enjoy, likely without contributing anything more to it than your opinion about how it’s managed. How about engaging the forest service directly yourself? You’re paying for their service, after all.

    • #4942
      Ed
      Participant

      Shawn had a post, under SGW Reopening?, which I believe is a well-stated version of his understanding of the official reasons.  There is a hint there that they are following a protocol.  If it is mandated from a higher level, it would make it more understandable, but I have never seen that said anywhere.  They seem to be completely uninterested in justifying what they do to the public.  I have never had any luck communicating with the forest service, and I think it is clear they are not interested in our views.  What they are doing is completely consistent with what they did with the Mountain and Lake Fires, and those closures were for years.  I expected that the Mountain Fire closure would have serious pushback from the PCT hikers, but that never seemed to happen.  I think it would take pushback from organized groups and media coverage to reverse their policies.

    • #4943
      Whippet
      Participant

      If they don’t want to have the closure follow the fire boundary, fine.  They could make the closure to a mile from the fire boundary if they want a “margin for error”.  But to keep areas many MILES from the fire boundary closed makes no sense whatsoever.  Strikes me as nothing but government agency bureaucracy.

    • #4944
      Austin
      Participant

      The whole purpose of getting on this forum isn’t to “complain” to the Wilderness Association about how the Forest Service has closed the wilderness. The whole purpose is to maybe spark or maybe hint at a reason as to why it is closed because it makes zero sense and there has been no reasoning as to why thousands of acres of land is closed other than “safety from burn scars”. I’ve made many inquires to the USFS and have gotten no information. So no, I am just not on here to banter and complain. Just an outdoor enthusiast that is looking for answers.

      • This reply was modified 6 days, 1 hour ago by Austin.
    • #4954
      stbrnnr
      Participant

      Actually, following the Lake, Valley and Apple Fires the SBNF reopened—relatively quickly—all unaffected SG Wilderness trails and campsites, once a specific series of public safety protocols had been met/ completed.

      I’ve recently spoken to the SBNF’s Public Affairs Officer.  While true that those peaks/trails/topography severely burned by the El Dorado Fire will likely not reopen for an extended period of recovery-rebuild time, the process is underway for an anticipated reopening of trails not affected (South Fork, Aspen, Fish Creek initially, Lower Momeyer/Falls Creek, Vivian thereafter) as soon as possible—e.g, within weeks not months.  The wheels (or paper-work) are currently in motion…

      Reference has been made to BAER possibly still having to conduct surveys.  These are evidently already concluded, resulting in publication of Report FS-2500-8 (2/20), dated 10.27.20.  It can be sourced here and is important reading to understanding the ongoing winter/spring storm-related rock, debris and mudflow concerns in the burn zones (including Jenks Lake Rd. and Barton Flats vicinities):

      https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/article/7217/58544/

      Other process and field work remains to be completed for reopenings to happen: SGWA permits will require new terminology with destination and restricted travel routes clearly spelled out; new trail-closure signage must get placed once higher elevation snow/ice has melted off; eventual restaffing of covid rules-affected parking lot and facilities at Big Falls/ Vivian must take place.

      In light of the extended closures of the west and northwest zones along with (likely) SB Peak Divide Trail, the FS is already projecting heavy usage of reopening zones.  SGWA will likely need all the volunteer assistance it can round up this year to keep these increasingly popular destinations in order this summer.  I’m in.  Anyone else?

    • #4955
      MikeH
      Participant

      Excellent info, Steve.

    • #4956
      Sean
      Participant

      Many thanks Steve! Now all we need is some more snow

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