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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Post by mountaineer » Sun Aug 26, 2007 1:52 pm

SSSdave wrote: In Mineral King that has been set at 9,000 feet and I can speculate why that might be. First in the east part of the valley, there isn't much forest above 9,000 feet. Second a couple areas to the west above the road have recently burned that probably has them very woried because the forest there is extremely dense for miles with very poor access for fire fighting in case it does catch on fire. In fact the whole drive up from Three Rivers on the long very winding road would go up in a horrible inferno if it ever catches fire during dry late summer conditions. And that would be an especially horrible disaster because it is a very special forest with considerable numbers of scattered old growth giant sequoias groves. I for one feel the park service should go the extra distance to help preserve those precious groves.
Okay, east of the valley they should say "No fires above 9,000'" then.

The only areas I saw burned last year were on the NE side of the road and one fire seemed to have burned from MK road towards Timber Gap.

Yes, the entire forest and brush covered hillsides along MK road are susceptible to fire whether during a drought year or not. That is a ridiculous excuse to use. If it is THAT risky, why not just take the next step and ban human intrusion. The "old growth" forests there have already been through numerous fires and they survive, it is the younger, more dense populations of trees that are decimated by fire.

That whole argument really bothers me...Really, it is the friggin' forest, fires might happen. Maybe, for the safety of everybody, we shouldn't let people into the forest...and you know that some in positions of authority would like nothing better than to restrict entry. It is the old frog and boiling water analogy and by accepting these stupid regulations under the premise that they are keeping us safe and protecting the forest we are playing right into their hands. Look at this picture of Eagle Lake and tell me why fires should be banned here. That forest has TONS of downed wood and there is basically a zero percent chance of a large fire starting there and spreading.

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Post by mountaineer » Sun Aug 26, 2007 1:55 pm

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.

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Post by 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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Post by 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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Post by 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" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Post by 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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Post by 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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Post by 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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Post by 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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Post by 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" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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