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Mike Miller

Parking Closure at Stuart/Colchuck Lake Trailhead September 3

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Hey Climbers, this is Mike from Leavenworth Mountain Association. Beginning September 3 the Forest Service will enforce a permanent parking closure on Mountaineer Creek Road. Here is what you need to know.
  • Beginning September 3rd there will be no parking along the road except in Eightmile and Stuart Lake Trailheads.
  • There are no changes to the Enchantment permit system or any wilderness regulations. There is no restriction on how many people can enter, hike, climb or travel through the wilderness. Changing these rules would require public comment and collaboration.
  • Campsites and parking on spur roads, like the Mountaineer Creek Bivy will remain open, and LMA will keep it's toilet there.
  • There will be no restriction on driving on the road, shuttling, or dropping off passengers.
  • Parking will be first-come, first served. Overnight permit holders will not be guaranteed a parking spot and will compete with other users.
  • The Forest Service plans to educate the public, and enforce (ticket) people illegally parked as necessary.
  • This parking ban does not effect Snow Creek Trailhead or Icicle Road.
The reason given for the closure is that the toilets and garbage at the trailhead are unsanitary. Lack of access for emergency vehicles was also given as a reason. The Forest Service came to this decision in early summer but has not informed anyone until now.
LMA promotes climbing access and environmental protection. We are concerned that this plan does not address these core issues in the Enchantments. We need to hear from the climbing community while we consider our response.

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Yeah, I'm sure it's not because you can park on the road below the sign without having a discovery pass, no way would revenue be a consideration here.

 

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Thing is they won't get any more revenue, as the parking lots are jammed completely full as it is.  That is *why* people are parking down the road, at least next to the trailheads.  It's just a way of limiting access in a backdoor way while cutting out that undesirable "public comment and collaboration." 

 

 

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Revenue or not, and public safety claims or not, this is a dangerous thing to accept. Basically USFS has to consult with effected user groups and allow for public comment period. This needs to be stopped, not because of the principal, but because of the process, or rather lack off. If this is allowed to be implemented, there will be more arbitrary decisions made, possibly effecting climbers in a very direct way. 

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23 hours ago, glassgowkiss said:

Revenue or not, and public safety claims or not, this is a dangerous thing to accept. Basically USFS has to consult with effected user groups and allow for public comment period. This needs to be stopped, not because of the principal, but because of the process, or rather lack off. If this is allowed to be implemented, there will be more arbitrary decisions made, possibly effecting climbers in a very direct way. 

The process is being followed. In these types of cases there is no requirement that the FS put such a change out to public comment. That is because there is an issue, safety that needs to be addressed. Such actions are quire common. I have seen this occur at other trailheads, they get slightly overcrowded but there are no issues, but then get really overcrowded and something has to change.

What should be looked at is how best accommodate the large number of people. Does that mean operating a shuttle? Expanding the parking? That does require public involvement.

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Would a public/private partnership that uses donations funneled through the LMA and Access Fund to pay for expanding the parking lots, installing additional toilets, and installing additional garbage cans be a viable solution?  Or is the FS simply trying to reduce the number of visitors and are using this as a backdoor? 

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On 8/5/2019 at 2:36 PM, tanstaafl said:

Thing is they won't get any more revenue, as the parking lots are jammed completely full as it is.  That is *why* people are parking down the road, at least next to the trailheads.  It's just a way of limiting access in a backdoor way while cutting out that undesirable "public comment and collaboration." 

Hah, of course. I haven't been in that trailhead in years, but I leapt to my conclusion because I'm the kind of tightwad who has resisted paying that user fee since the days of the NW Forest pass. If I'd ever seen any evidence that money went to things like expanding parking and facilities at popular and important trailheads like Mountaineer Creek I might feel differently about the user fee.   It seems we all agree there is some sort of hidden agenda beyond emergency vehicle access. 

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