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unklehuck

Vantage Porta-Johns

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Canadoug, you suggest that we wouldn't need porta-johns at Vantage if camping was not allowed there. I might ultimately agree that camping is a significant part of the issue but I don't agree that restricting the area to day use will solve any problem. I have camped there once but I have poohed there several of the times that I have visited. I'm sorry to disappoint you but it is three hours' drive and I often drink coffee on the way there. I do the right thing and before the Johns were there I would head down the hill and stir dirt into my cathole and all but it was still a mess. There are enough people visiting Frenchman Coulee, generating enough human waste, that some kind of sanitation facilities are needed.

 

I can imagine that barricades (closing camping) may be on the top of the list for Fish and Wildlife planners. For a very cheap initial investment, a closure would eliminate need for enforcement and maintenance expenses and they are facing serious budget cuts just like all of the State agencies are these days. But Vantage is a popular climbing area and I'm not sure any public interest would be served by closing it to camping and forcing climbers to camp at the state park.

 

It may ultimately be the case that as the economy is doing poorly we cannot sustain all the access to public lands that we have previously enjoyed but from where I sit it looks as if the past history of camping at the climbing area at Vantage did not require a large public subsidy. The Gorge concessionaires have kicked in for at least some clean-up expenses and the Access Fund and the Frenchman's Coulee Climbers' Association have contributed to some of the maintenance and the Washington Climbers' Association might be able to pony up some funds as well. I bet we could raise some money to keep a porta-potty going and I bet thsi could help while it might not permanently solve all land management issues there.

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Matt,

No matter what there still needs to be restroom facilities of some sort. Some solid structure like they have in National Forest campsites would be a great option. The porta-potties just keep getting destroyed.

 

There is still the problem with people throwing garbage, needles and all kinds of crap in the toilets. Once that happens they can not be cleaned and then we are at another impasse. It is just too bad there are so many irresponsible people around these days.

 

I remember the times when there were no fences along the road down to the coulee and you could easily explore everywhere. The fences had to be put up because the land was being trashed just as it is at the climbing area. When people decide to trash an area what can be done really except to limit access.

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communication from WDFW to me on 3-16-09

 

The problem has been that we can't find a vendor to go/pump out the outhouses. the one we had previously tolerated ( at extra cost to WDFW)removing rocks and or garbage prior to pumping them out, it was after hypodermic needles started showing up in the pots that caused them to quit. I havent had any luck finding a vendor that's willing to go clear out there to service the outhouses. I'm confident that any facility you would like to provide will suffer the same abuse and vandalism that led to the removal of the old outhouses.

Any low-cost industructible, self-cleaning alternatives you might suggest I'd be willing to consider

sincerely

Greg Fitzgerald, manger

columbia Basin wildlife area

 

 

 

I have made some suggestions addressing the problems and am waiting a reply from WDFW

LUCKY

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communication from WDFW to me on 3-16-09

 

The problem has been that we can't find a vendor to go/pump out the outhouses. the one we had previously tolerated ( at extra cost to WDFW)removing rocks and or garbage prior to pumping them out, it was after hypodermic needles started showing up in the pots that caused them to quit. I havent had any luck finding a vendor that's willing to go clear out there to service the outhouses. I'm confident that any facility you would like to provide will suffer the same abuse and vandalism that led to the removal of the old outhouses.

Any low-cost industructible, self-cleaning alternatives you might suggest I'd be willing to consider

sincerely

Greg Fitzgerald, manger

columbia Basin wildlife area

 

 

 

I have made some suggestions addressing the problems and am waiting a reply from WDFW

LUCKY

 

Wow. Good work Lucky and good conversation so far, but let's call a spade a spade. Whatever the solution, it'll cost big $, by most climber's standards. Of course harder to do in current times but still very possible. WA Dept of F&W didn't have the funds in previous flush times to manage or maintain the area, and I'm not sure they had the care or concern. They obviously don't have the capability now. For what?

 

I believe the issue to be two things. First, the right shitter, as Canadug mentions. It has to be a bombproof-type concrete, USFS-spec type. They're made here in Spokane by CXT. Their cheapest single-hole (appropriate for Frenchman Coulee area) goes for about $10K just for the shitter. Other costs will be transport from Spokane (negligible in the scheme of things), installation (significant in the rocky substrate of the Frenchman Coulee area, could rival the cost of the shitter), and on-going service and maintenance, which is even more significant.

 

The bigger issue is who would be responsible for not just the shitter and it's maintenance, but the overall management of the area including camping. I think WDFW fails. I believe they were overwhelmed not so much by the climbers, but by the summertime concert-goers who I believe to be responsible for the needles and trashing there. Lots of policing is necessary to transcend that bullshit, part of where WDFW fails. Smith Rocks State Park is certainly a model, but would WA State Parks be capable? So what's the answer? Is a land swap from WDFW to another entity in order? Perhaps some sort of maintenance/utility district?

 

As far as the needles and bullshit from the concert-goers, there should be some responsibility from the The Gorge Ampitheatre, which is managed by LiveNation. Perhaps even DMB would kick in. As Matt mentions, there are several outdoors organizations who could be willing to pitch in. I don't believe the FCCC is functional, so it would have to fall to another group. It'll have to come from those who care about the place, who are us climbers. Honestly, I personally don't climb there any more and haven't since it became popular back in the 90s; I seek out more solitude for my central Washington desert climbing. But I'd be willing to help improve Vantage-area climbing from the Spokane side of things.

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Whatever is done, short of nothing and/or blue bags is going to be expensive. And something physical will have to be done, there are too many people, and too few will use blue bags. A fair assumption I feel, because IV drug users do not seem like the type to carry a blue bag.

 

1) Grant County has always been trying to shun off the Coulee and the Gorge. But because they receive a huge amount of money due to concerts in the gorge, they should fairly be expected to give something in return.

 

2) Real live vaults could easily cost $100 K when it is all said and done. I think that a reasonable analysis of need would show that they should be placed in the parking lot, and in the "main" camping area. You could end with three or four vaults, add to that the costs of site preparation, and maintenance.

 

3) Climbers need to remember that they have been complaining for years about paying the parking fees. None of this will be free.

 

4) The Gorge needs to be leaned on for money. A portion of the problem is their customers

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When my father worked for the FS in Region 1, they spent enough on repairing vandalism every year to pay for construction of one new campground.

One strategy that was considered was to let the public trash an area and then close it for a year due to the vandalism. The closure signs would state that and hopefully the combination of seeing the area trash beyond use and then closed would stir a positive response when the area reopened.

This was never put into practice so no one knows how it would work.

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This might be pretty silly but I'll take a swing anyways.

What about trash cans? I dont recall if I've seen any out there, but could it be that by putting in a few trash cans, even the big dumpster kind, people putting things not intended for toilets in the toilets might decline.

Seems to me if I was shooting smack, I wouldnt want to pack it in, pack it out with my hypodermics, so into the nearest container they go, but if there were big dumpsters would this remain an issue?

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This might be pretty silly but I'll take a swing anyways.

What about trash cans? I dont recall if I've seen any out there, but could it be that by putting in a few trash cans, even the big dumpster kind, people putting things not intended for toilets in the toilets might decline.

Seems to me if I was shooting smack, I wouldnt want to pack it in, pack it out with my hypodermics, so into the nearest container they go, but if there were big dumpsters would this remain an issue?

 

The needle issue would go away, but the newest issue would be the costs of dumping the dumpsters every two days. Un-supervised dumpsters become a magnet for those who do not want to pay dump fees.

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This might be pretty silly but I'll take a swing anyways.

What about trash cans? I dont recall if I've seen any out there, but could it be that by putting in a few trash cans, even the big dumpster kind, people putting things not intended for toilets in the toilets might decline.

Seems to me if I was shooting smack, I wouldnt want to pack it in, pack it out with my hypodermics, so into the nearest container they go, but if there were big dumpsters would this remain an issue?

 

The needle issue would go away, but the newest issue would be the costs of dumping the dumpsters every two days. Un-supervised dumpsters become a magnet for those who do not want to pay dump fees.

 

Hmm, yeah. what about those dumpster tops that only allow a certain size object in. Cant stuff a couch through an 8x8 hole. I think in tandem with a set of port a johns or pit toilets perhaps garbage's would make a marked improvement.

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One must not forget the Tool who will leave whatever does not fit in the dumpster beside the dumpster. If they drive furniture all the way out there they will leave it rather than take it back home.

You see that problem with dumpsters in alleys so just think about the crap left behind by dumpsters out in the middle of nowhere.

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I've said it before. The only hope for that place is for it to be made part of the State Park System. People will have to pay to camp but it will be managed and kept clean. You get what you pay for.

 

Don't you need a fish and wildlife permit to park at Vantage? What is that money being used for - enforcement of the permit?

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They hardly ever enforce the parking rule anymore. They can't afford to.

 

I'm thinking that camping at the Coulee is on its way out. Grant County doesn't like the bullshit, F&G doesn't, only climbers and partyers do. It's too bad, but I'm sure it'll go day use only, and may become part of the State Parks system. Which is a whole new set of problems, the Parks love gates, and hours, and seasons of operation

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No style crampage at all. Park the car, hike the trail, climb the falls, hike back out. Beer in George or Quincy. What's not to like? "Seasons of operation" mean nothing to the ice climber.

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No style crampage at all. Park the car, hike the trail, climb the falls, hike back out. Beer in George or Quincy. What's not to like? "Seasons of operation" mean nothing to the ice climber.

 

Truth, i guess the hike isnt too terribly long (read: long at all), dependent upon where they would put in a gate.

Edited by frankstoneline

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So a gate is gonna stop me? WTF??? I just can't see being kept out of the Coulee during winter by a State Parks "gate" at the parking area. That's why roads are built with shoulders...

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No way they'll gate the main road. Too many duck hunters all winter using the boat ramp.

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Exactly, Dane. State Parks/BLM/F&W could never get away with gating the road up at the 4-way, for just the reason you state. The worst any of them could do would be to gate the parking areas at the Feathers and Algatha. Then you'd just park on the shoulder of the road.

Edited by sobo

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Exactly, Dane. They could never get away with gating the road up at the 4-way. The best they could do would be to gate the parking areas at the Feathers and Algatha. Then you'd park on the shoulder of the road.

 

That is the scenerio I would envision also

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Update from 3/31 (yesterday):

 

There was a porta-john in the middle of the campground...and a person had driven their subaru about 1/4 mile up the trail toward fuggs and parked near that pond thing. What the hell is going on?

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They used to have a barrier of rocks bolted together with metal tape, closing that dirt road, but people took sledgehammers to it. They need to put something more substantial like a two ton Jersey barrier, to keep the dumb f---s out.

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So Kevino - you let the air out of 2 of their tires and explained why they're dumbsh**s on a note you left on their windshield, right?

 

Not that I'm suggesting vandalizing anyones stuff, but sometimes a mild tap on the shoulder does wonders.

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set it up like at IC where there are no trash cans, and have "wag bags" with a suggested donation. have people drive their shit to the gas station or shit under a rock like everyone has been doing because the shitters have been so nasty. then theres no place to vandalize, no place to discard needles and i guess other than some litter pick up there is very little maintenece cost.

 

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How about instead of complaining online, next time you walk over and tell them. It is likely they are new to the area and may have no idea. A tap on the shoulder is the best idea and frankly I bet they would appreciate it.

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