Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • olyclimber

      WELCOME TO THE CASCADECLIMBERS.COM FORUMS   02/03/18

      We have upgraded to new forum software as of late last year, and it makes everything here so much better!  It is now much easier to do pretty much anything, including write Trip Reports, sell gear, schedule climbing related events, and more. There is a new reputation system that allows for positive contributors to be recognized,  it is possible to tag content with identifiers, drag and drop in images, and it is much easier to embed multimedia content from Youtube, Vimeo, and more.  In all, the site is much more user friendly, bug free, and feature rich!   Whether you're a new user or a grizzled cascadeclimbers.com veteran, we think you'll love the new forums. Enjoy!
Sign in to follow this  
Couloir

Mt. Hood Wilderness Blocked Again

Recommended Posts

Bill,

 

The Mt. Hood Wilderness bill is part of a long range program, in combination with Wild and Scenic Rivers Act additions, to extend as much protection to the overall Mt. Hood watershed as possible. If you look at the map you'll see the Wilderness additions are strategically covering critical rivers and streams, in attempt to establish riparian buffer strips and zones - all are critical watershed elements.

 

The "old growth" components are strictly to preserve real old growth stands and in other cases re-establish habitat - via selective thinning of older stands (120+ year old) to give them the best shot possible of serving as components of an effective habitat across the majority of Mt. Hood.

 

As it stands now, Mt. Hood's watershed is as much a dismal patchwork quilt as the vast majority of Oregon's forests. Again, it's a matter of looking at the bigger picture and the long haul for what is best for the overall habit, rivers, and streams. Contiguous works, patchwork doesn't. Give the bill its due, they are attempting to secure and protect the whold of Mt. Hood's watershed. They could do a better job explaining it than they do.

 

I work with Clean Water Services which manages a similar effort attempting to restore the Tualatin River watershed which is fully embroilled in rural farming, industrial and commercial development, and suburban sprawl - but these folks have done a remarkable job working with the cards they've been dealt. Nothing is pure anymore, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try to restore, protect, and manage resources to the best of our ability.

 

cascade_3.jpg

 

 

[ Edited for an updated map, thanks Winter... ]

Edited by JosephH

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Winter,

 

I think there are probably few regular or even occasional posters to this board who would want to see a grossly expanded ski resort in the Tilly Jane area, though there may be some. Looking at the map that Joseph liinked, is that the area shown as “potential wilderness" or "unprotected wilderness” as opposed to areas potentially to be included in the expanded wilderness? If so, might the protection you report come from agreements made in consideration of but perhaps not specifically within the new wilderness?

 

As for broader watershed and wild lands protection, I bet similarly there are not that many posters on this board who would support any logging of old growth forests anywhere in the Mount Hood area, but on the other hand I bet there is little real threat of such. I recently attended a summit including rangers from the Mount Hood National Forest and we talked about wilderness management issues with some of the key land managers involved. They spoke about recreation management issues and in particular the creation of a new plan for the management of motorized recreation throughout the National Forest and about the management of designated Wilderness. It wasn't on the agenda, but I didn't hear anything about threats of roadbuilding, mining or large scale logging.

 

I don’t agree with Fairweather’s “line in the sand,” but there certainly ARE grounds for concern over what may happen with recreational access in wilderness areas. Not many years ago, for example, there was the fixed anchor ban that disallowed even the placement of rappel slings. The solitude provisions that I believe were central to the challenges brought by Wilderness Watch at Mount Hood, too, are subject to interpretation that may include severe limitation of even the most benign recreational use such as hiking on already established and maintained trails.

 

I’m not posting against the proposed expansion of the Mount Hood Wilderness but to what extent is wilderness designation about recreation management as opposed to logging and road building?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The map Joseph posted is somewhat misleading regarding the Tilly Jane area.

 

Here is the up to date map. TJ is a central piece of the proposal.

 

Background on the dispute at Cooper Spur and the role of the Wilderness bill as part of the proposed solution.

 

Testimony submitted to House Subcommittee by Local Hood River County Families.

 

This bill is a win-win for the climbing community - permanent protection for the wild North side of Mt. Hood without interfering with current access. I appreciate everyone's concerns, and they've largely been addressed during a five-year long collaborative process that has included many climbing and backcountry recreational interests, including the Mazamas, the Ptarmigans, the American Alpine Club, the Friends of Tilly Jane (which manages the A-Frame), the Oregon Nordic Club and many many other groups. They are all in unanimous and enthusiastic support of the proposal.

 

If there is a concern about access to a specific crag or recreational resource, then we should definintely address that issue (let's go out and get some turns!). But a general fear of use restrictions without reference to specific places included in the bill should not stand in the way of a proposal that has been fully vetted with the organized climbing community for many years.

 

Its a complicated issue, and I appreciate the concern. I don't want to get locked out either. But this is a solid proposal that protects the watersheds of Mt. Hood, preserves the best remaining wild places for backcountry skiers and climbers, and protects the rural agricultural economy in the Hood River Valley. That's why conservation groups, recreation groups, and rural family farmers have all come together around a common proposal with bi-partisan support. I'm admittedly biased because I've been wrapped up in it since 2001 and love this place, but its a pretty unique story.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks Winter :tup:

what he said, and oh-by-the-way-coulior, can you get a new hot avatar pic? the current one kinda looks like a guy in a banana-hammock and i'm not certain if what i'm feeling is appropriate :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Winter,

 

Don't misunderstand me: good on you for pulling this thing together.

 

In your last post, you at least answered one part of my question - as to the Tilly Jane area anyway: there was apparently a real proposal to log and some old growth groves would be protected by the proposed wilderness expansion. But although it is perhaps of greater interest to climbers than many of the other areas to be included, Tilly Jane is a tiny part of the land at issue.

 

It is not clear from the materials you produce just how broadly there is a logging threat to all of the areas being included, or whether strengthening of the Roadless Area rule, various applications of the Endangered Species Act, or other pertinent law is sufficient to address such threat. However, you certainly deserve thanks from the climbing community for working to preserve the flanks of Mt. Hood and I bet you won't get many complaints about protecting some of the surrounding watershed areas as well.

 

Are you uninterested in discussing wilderness management policies and the politics behind current efforts to expand wilderness other than to list the groups who have indicated agreement here?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Matt - Yeah, logging on the Mt. Hood and wilderness.

 

So part of the proposed wilderness is in the Clackamas River watershed. Don't know if you will remember this, but back in the late 90s/early 2000s, a Forest Service plan to log old-growth in the Eagle Creek area generated tremendous controversy/tree sits/public outcry etc etc. Those areas were not logged because of the public outcry but were certainly threatened and are now included in the bill.

 

That's just one example, but the bigger picture is that the Mt. Hood is still proposing to log old-growth, much of it in the Clack, and the wilderness bill includes areas that are both potentially threatened and of critical ecological importance for the watershed.

 

If you're interested in the nitty gritty details of the Mt. Hood's logging program, check out the on-line database of all current and recent timber sales.

 

Are existing laws and policies adequate to protect the remaining old-growth we have on the landscape? Whew - so I don't have time for a dissertation, but the short answer is no. We currently have no mandated protections for old-growth on westside forests, and yes they are being logged.

 

So what are the solutions? The Roadless Rule would provide protections for old-growth within inventoried roadless areas, but who knows what will come of it - and in any event its just a rule and could be changed at the whim of the next admin. Under the ESA, FWS and NOAA Fisheries can and routinely do issue incidental take permits/biops to the Forest Service to log old-growth despite the presence of listed species. The Northwest Forest Plan does not prohibit the Forest Service from logging old-growth. So yeah, at least from my perspective if the goal is to permanently protect some of the last reamining old-growth and to ensure that certain high quality core habitat areas are protected so that they can recover and develop back into late-successional habitat, then we need more wilderness on the landscape. So that's a long-winded answer to what could be an even longer dissertation on forest law and policy. Ugghh. Gripping prose right?

 

Btw, I appreciate the props, but it wouldn't be appropriate for me to take that kind of credit, because of the all the other people involved.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It SHOULD generate tremendous public outcry if they propose to log in some place like Eagle Creek. There may be some parts of the Forest where I'd approve of some cutting that might even include some old growth if I knew more about the situation, but I doubt that is one of them. Is this something that you think will be subject to ebb and flow with every successive change in Presidential administrations?

 

By the way: isn't there current legislative activity afoot which is intended to strengthen the Roadless Area Rule? Is that, in your opinion, of no reliable value?

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, the ebb and flow is a problem. The Bush Admin has been doing away with large chunks of the Northwest Forest Plan over the past eight years and that was supposed to be our long-term blueprint for landscape scale management. We need permanent protection of core habitat areas that are not subject to the whim of individual administrations - permanent reserves of biodiversity. That's a key role for Congressionally designated wilderness.

 

I've heard of the legislative activitiy on the Roadless Rule (thanks to your earler post on the WCC), but I wouldn't bet the wilderness bill on it. What do you think the chances are of passage?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I understand that the Roadless Area legislation is stalled for now, but Cantwell and Inslee have been working on it (these two have recently been working on funding for roadway repair and decommissioning with a strong environmental emphasis and fairly broad support as well).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Chris--wasn't Eagle Creek the sale where things got so ugly that the timber company tried to back out of the operation but the FS was forcing them to log? I know thats the sale where Tres camped out at FS headquarters.

 

I am especially glad to see them trying to protect the Roaring River area as well.

 

I'm in favor of this bill.

 

Thanks for taking the time to share all that information.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That Roaring River piece looks pretty large and it has some pretty low elevation land it it. Cool.

 

But looking at Topozone, it appears that it may have a road and a campground in the middle of it. Am I reading this correctly? Is Shining Lake campground in the area proposed for new wilderness?

 

http://www.topozone.com/map.asp?lat=45.19926&lon=-122.03349&s=200&size=l&u=4&datum=nad83&layer=DRG100

Edited by mattp

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rob, yeah you have the story right on Eagle Creek.

 

I'm not sure about the Shining Lake campground - if I dig something up I'll let you know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What I'm wondering is this: have they changed the requirements for Wilderness areas? I thought an area that had previously been logged or had roads was not supposed to "qualify" yet the Wild Sky Wilderness contains areas that have been at least selectively logged, I believe, and here is one that has at least one road and campground.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bill,

 

The Mt. Hood Wilderness bill is part of a long range program, in combination with Wild and Scenic Rivers Act additions, to extend as much protection to the overall Mt. Hood watershed as possible. If you look at the map you'll see the Wilderness additions are strategically covering critical rivers and streams, in attempt to establish riparian buffer strips and zones - all are critical watershed elements.

 

The "old growth" components are strictly to preserve real old growth stands and in other cases re-establish habitat - via selective thinning of older stands (120+ year old) to give them the best shot possible of serving as components of an effective habitat across the majority of Mt. Hood.

 

As it stands now, Mt. Hood's watershed is as much a dismal patchwork quilt as the vast majority of Oregon's forests. Again, it's a matter of looking at the bigger picture and the long haul for what is best for the overall habit, rivers, and streams. Contiguous works, patchwork doesn't. Give the bill its due, they are attempting to secure and protect the whold of Mt. Hood's watershed. They could do a better job explaining it than they do.

 

I work with Clean Water Services which manages a similar effort attempting to restore the Tualatin River watershed which is fully embroilled in rural farming, industrial and commercial development, and suburban sprawl - but these folks have done a remarkable job working with the cards they've been dealt. Nothing is pure anymore, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try to restore, protect, and manage resources to the best of our ability.

 

cascade_3.jpg

 

 

[ Edited for an updated map, thanks Winter... ]

 

It looks...gerrymandered. I've seen wilderness areas in two or three non contiguous units, but this one looks utterly contrived. I like the Mount Hood north section additions though. Why is White River Glacier (what's left of it) canyon on the southeast being added? Is someone gonna open a pumice quarry or mine the remaining ice? Could it be that it is being included for social reasons? Gimme a break.

 

edit: This "revised" map shows the Cloudcap Road is, in fact, going to fall victim to the infamous narrow road corridor strategy of exclusion and will be unrepairable if and when it eventually washes out. Sad--and somewhat underhanded.

Edited by Fairweather

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes the map shows lots of little discontinuous pieces and that doesn’t seem to be in the spirit of the Wilderness Act as I have come to appreciate it. I don’t think saving small parcels of land from logging has historically been the intent of the Wilderness Act and wonder if that is the best application of the law and whether incorporating areas with roads and campgrounds into new wilderness areas is good for the long term sanctity of the act as a whole.

 

At one time, after the Spotted Owl when the NW Forest Plan was new, it looked like we might see broader protection of our forests but Clinton signed into law the salvage rider and the Forest Plan, Winter suggests, wasn’t or isn’t doing the job. The Bush administration certainly launched a more direct assault on our public lands, cutting funding and increasing privatization and, more to the point, directly attacking the roadless area rule.

 

Has Wilderness area designation become the ONLY way to preserve wild land? If so, will this mean that Wilderness areas will be “saved” while anything else is “up for grabs?” Will we lose management flexibility for recreation planning in areas that we’d like to preserve but are also prime recreation areas -- particularly in places close to the urban centers? On the other hand, may we see the sanctity of wilderness degraded if wilderness areas regularly include small parcels, areas with roads and campgrounds, or very active and popular recreation ares?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some more insight into this and Senator Coburn .

 

I suppose $11 million is a lot of money. :rolleyes:

 

I wonder what his take is on the $12 billion per month we're spending in Iraq. Isn't that "government spending itself into ruin?"

 

I like the principle of his stance in general, but there are so many other much bigger issues than this to make your point on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

edit: This "revised" map shows the Cloudcap Road is, in fact, going to fall victim to the infamous narrow road corridor strategy of exclusion and will be unrepairable if and when it eventually washes out. Sad--and somewhat underhanded.

 

Any thoughts on this, Winter?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

×