Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Trying to understand the Forest Service
Okay, let's get someting straight. I am a big supporter of the Northwest Forest Pass, but as long as:

A. The pass is kept at a fair and equitable price
B. The money collected remains in the national forest and is not siphoned to pay for wars, bail out Wall Street or go to corrupt agencies like ACORN
C. The Forest Service doesn't waste money trying to collect the fees in the first place
D. The money actually goes to trail maintenance and development and less so for quarter million dollar privies-
E. Fees are charged at only developed trailheads

Okay, D seems to be an issue, but I'll bring that one up later. Right now I want to address E. The majority of trails that require a Northwest Forest Pass tend to be developed. That is they have ample parking, a privy, perhaps a picnic table or two and some other amenities like a reader board. Then why does the Marten Creek Trail off of the Mountain Loop Highway require a Forest Pass when this trail doesn't even have a place to park! Yep, you need to squeeze on the side of the road. Privy? Nope! Reader Board- yep, but only this year thanks to an Eagle Scout, but there is no information on it!

But here's the real point what I can't understand why the Forest Service requires a Trail Pass on this trail. It hasn't been maintained since the Eisenhower administration. Okay I exaggerated-probably the last time a trail crew came down here was during the Bush administration-and no not W's , it was during his old man's tenure. Yep, we are looking at least 20 years, probably longer since this trail has had any work on it. So, why then require a pass? Again, I have no problem displaying my pass (I buy an annual America the Beautiful Pass, so I guess it doesn't really matter to me if a pass is required or not)-but it does seem kind of silly to require one here when we the fee-paying public aren't getting anything in return. Yep-we need a citizen action trail crew here ASAP. Which is fine because I don't want to depend too much on government anyway. I think its great that we have volunteer trail crews. But if the government is going to require a fee for this trail, then the government needs to at the very least deliver something in exchange. Instead, we continue to get a growing backlog of trail maintenance and a growing debt that is going to ruin this nation. Sigh.

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