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LeavenworthMA

Welcome Leavenworth Climbing Rangers

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Thanks for the input Mark, Pete, Sol, Darin, Rad (basically anyone using their actual name) - if I skip over the various anonymous rantings, this discussion is interesting and informative!

 

First Sol suggests anyone voicing skepticism of climbing rangers and the FS needs to put up their work-party and bolt replacement resume now you suggest somehow one's username has any bearing on discussions on a climbing board. hah.

If it matters, while Water may not be on my drivers license I have equally gone by this name among friends for years.

 

That is great some of you have gone to bat for climbers. Sure lets hope for the best but don't forget anything you say can and will be used against you. Off the top of my head I can't think of an area that dropped the red-tape and permits and all that bullshit, but I can certainly think of more and more examples where red tape goes up. The past speaks for itself, what is more likely, this is a 2 year grant to try to get things in shipshape and help climbers keep routes clean then it gets passed off to volunteers?

 

The writing is on the wall, they speak plenty of data collection and "The impacts caused by the increase in the climbing population have begun to get noticed and the need for climbing specific programs identified. The major impacts that have been noticed are de-vegetation, soil compaction, impacts to wildlife, safety concerns, and (over) use conflicts. " -

 

You can bet this is a path to more regulation. I am sure those rangers are overall fine fellas doesn't mean they set much of an agenda long term if you look at FS management trends.

 

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First Sol suggests anyone voicing skepticism of climbing rangers and the FS needs to put up their work-party and bolt replacement resume now you suggest somehow one's username has any bearing on discussions on a climbing board. hah.

 

Sol never suggested anything. He wrote: I do wonder what the negative posters on this thread have done to personally give back to the climbing community (though i'm sure some of you have).

 

I never suggested anything either. I said if I skip over the responses from people unwilling to post their own names, then the discussion is interesting and informative.

 

Now I WILL make you a suggestion.

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Sol or Blake -- Do the rangers know about this board (I assume they must) and that they have a chance to address these concerns directly?

 

As for rangers removing tat, the NCNP climbing rangers do it all the time (see the huge display of it in Marblemount, removed from Mt Triumph and elsewhere)

 

- Steve Smith

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The comments about real versus avatar names are unwarranted and uncalled for. They seem to be voiced solely against folks who opposed 2 more rangers in the Icicle - and this crap is coming mostly from Leavenworth dwellers.

 

I can see why they may be invested in such an idea. It's the wrong way to go, and it will not go the way they think it will, but I do see some incentives there.

 

Got a problem with fire rings? Then why'd you walk by them?

 

If they bug me, I destroy them on the spot. It doesn't take that long. Mitigation complete. It's like pulling dandelions. It takes time, but it works.

Edited by tvashtarkatena

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sorry i am not so grammatically pedantic as yourself Blake. both statements are bits of implied character assassination and are not germane to the discussion of the FS, which need not do anything but demonstrate its track record to display poor character.

 

enjoy the new regulations and oversight as it comes. guess its good to be on the ground floor of it, if its coming one way or another.

 

Again, is it thought this two year grant is to get things into some type of pattern/management and then be handed off to volunteers? Or is this a pilot for permanent seasonal roles? They've mentioned data collection and "the need for climbing specific programs". Is what is already listed the totality of their specific programs or what would those specific programs be?

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Tvashtarkatena makes an extremely relevant point when he states that the regulations the local rangers will enforce now or in the future will be crafted by people thousands of miles away.

 

We are right to be skeptical and watchful of the agenda here, but continuing to present our community as disorganized and hostile will not gain any sympathy or legitimacy for us as a user group in Washington DC. Rather, engaging land managers as the LMA is attempting to do, with organized and mature requests for services and fulfillment of our needs be they continuing roads access, new and maintained facilities (trails, toilets, etc.) while simultaneously educating them on and demonstrating the historic legitimacy as a backcountry user group will in my opinion go much further in limiting or evading any future regulation, or worse, the implementation of more fees.

 

In addition to solidifying our group in the eyes of managers, we need to keep pressure on Congress to fund our parks properly instead of the long standing trend of starving them out and leaving land managers trying to extract funding through fee demo programs and privatization. Write your reps and senators!

 

 

 

 

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We CAN all agree that trad climbers shit don't stink can't we?

 

C'mon now, it's the common ground we're all seeking...

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Fairweather, you state that the LMA "Petition[ed] for new enforcement rangers" (when meeting with the local USFS, WCC, etc) which is not only incorrect, it isn't even suggested or implied anywhere. Ever. You state this as a fact, and then attack the group with an argument based on your non-sensical and invented accusation. Seeing that in writing is pretty good reason to disregard what you are writing based on a demonstrated bias at odds with reality and/or simple illiteracy on your part.

 

Huh? Your organization posted their welcome announcement right here! And it most certainly is implied within the text of Sol's posts. In any event, I think you're being a little too sensitive--and feel free to keep the personal insults in check. I am quite literate, and I believe Water is phonetically apt.

 

 

 

 

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It's weird to me that the people on this thread being the most combative and aggressive with personal attacks are the ones who think the rangers are great. Not a good sign, and personally not what I would have expected.

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Me neither. Not what I would have expected. Doesn't help the case for a ranger much - that, and a lack of details on how they'll actually be spending their salaries. Of course, the pro-ranger climbers have zero control over that in the end, particularly in the years to come.

 

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One other from their FB as I browsed more--they've got far more pictures of stuff than any text explaining their total job description:

climberzway.jpg

caption: "The climbers way of hanging food"

 

That is an issue, as is the generalization.

 

counterbalancing I'd like to see a fair bit more of this in high-use areas. So props to them for digging this, that ain't anyone's idea of a 'grand time'. but I personally wonder if a seasonal climbing ranger on a grant is needed to dig a pit toilet. Seems more fitting for an americorps crew of 17-19yr olds, just from a use of public monies, but hey a shitter is a shitter, amirite?

toilet_dig.jpg

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for better or worse, expecting a climber to be enthusiastic about increased ranger presence in the hills is pretty much like asking a republican to get stoked about a whole bunch of new taxes :)

 

most people go to the woods precisely to get away from society, it's bad-noises and its rules, no?

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The comments about real versus avatar names are unwarranted and uncalled for. They seem to be voiced solely against folks who opposed 2 more rangers in the Icicle - and this crap is coming mostly from Leavenworth dwellers.

 

I can see why they may be invested in such an idea. It's the wrong way to go, and it will not go the way they think it will, but I do see some incentives there.

 

Got a problem with fire rings? Then why'd you walk by them?

 

If they bug me, I destroy them on the spot. It doesn't take that long. Mitigation complete. It's like pulling dandelions. It takes time, but it works.

 

Well said. Fire rings don't bother me either--except the ones littered with half-burned beer cans and empty shell-casings. I think there is a distinction that the "do-somethings" often fail to make between esthetics and degradation. One is easy to mitigate (as in your example), the other is not. I haven't seen or heard of anything that justifies this level of government intervention.

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It's weird to me that the people on this thread being the most combative and aggressive with personal attacks are the ones who think the rangers are great. Not a good sign, and personally not what I would have expected.

 

:lmao:

 

Well, I know how things are around here well enough to know what kinda reception they'd get! And its the usual suspects! :battlecage:

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To be clear, I am not pro-ranger. I am pro-engagement.

 

There is a slippery slope from increased monitoring to new rules to restriction of access, and I don't want to see us slide down that slope.

 

There are two ways I see that might help arrest that slide: 1 - get together as a community and figure out a way to change user behaviors that are causing concern, and 2 - engage in a respectful dialog where each party genuinely tries to understand the other's goals and find solutions that work for all parties.

 

These are things the Access Fund, WCC, and others have been doing for years. Maybe something can be learned from them.

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Those of you who've been around a bit, can you provide a couple of examples to think about:

 

1) Areas that actually do need climbing rangers, and benefit from them

 

2) Areas that don't need them, but have them, and are worse for it

 

3) Areas that need them, but don't have them

 

It's a big country, I'm assuming there are examples of each.

 

Was Leavenworth the 4th kind of place (past-tense): Doesn't need them, didn't have them?

 

N

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The question is not whether or not climbers want to be "managed". That decision has already been made. The question is whether climbers can have a say in HOW they are "managed".

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I guess I don't understand why the USFS claims it has to close 75% of its roads--including many popular trailhead access avenues...

 

I think they have walked this back.

 

. . .

 

Meanwhile, I would say that the "skepticism" expressed in this thread is in my opinion justified. I have had many very poor experiences with rangers in the Leavenworth District over the years. But I also think we have a substantial opportunity here: they have hired a climber to be a climbing ranger. And, last time I checked, we still enjoy pretty much the same access we had 20 years ago. Lets work with them!

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Those of you who've been around a bit, can you provide a couple of examples to think about:

 

1) Areas that actually do need climbing rangers, and benefit from them

 

2) Areas that don't need them, but have them, and are worse for it

 

3) Areas that need them, but don't have them

 

It's a big country, I'm assuming there are examples of each.

 

Was Leavenworth the 4th kind of place (past-tense): Doesn't need them, didn't have them?

 

N

 

Those are good questions but i think maybe even a better term than "need" is to ask if an area can or likely would be improved by some rangers or formal land agency involvement. or would it not? the black canyon is a great example of an area with a long tradition of rangers who climb and who make things better and easier for climbers.

But in this case, those questions aren't super important when the new reality is one where we DO HAVE CLIMBING RANGERS.

So the new question becomes not should they be here (as seems to have dominated this discussion) but rather if you should work

With them, or not. simply wishing they were not there is a waste of time. The LMA is trying to get off on the right foot with them, not waste time bemoaning their presence. Sol's posted list of discussion topics are things that will benefit climbers if fixed and these goals and concerns were well received by the USFS.

 

-------

 

The proliferation of social trails to crags and bouldering zones.

Improvement of the somewhat recently dead-falled SCW climbers trail to facilitate litter rescue by SAR personnel.

Improvement of the climbers trail from Castle Rock to Midnight Rock.

SAR litter cache at SCW.

Minimizing/slowing the impact of bouldering at Leavenworth's most popular bouldering zones Mad Meadows and Forestland.

Forest Service sign at Forestland Parking lot discussing low-impact bouldering practices.

Bathrooms at Forestland parking lot.

A more actively assessed falcon closure of Midnight Rock/Noontime Rock.

Active list of unsafe fixed climbing protection and updated protection.

A Leavenworth Climbing Ranger facebook page and blog site (yes this was our suggestion),

 

 

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But in this case, those questions aren't super important when the new reality is one where we DO HAVE CLIMBING RANGERS.

 

Understood. However, my understanding is that this is a temporary deal, funding wise. Someone in the USFS thinks this is a good idea, and I think it behooves climbers to work with them while they are here but we shouldn't be afraid to tell the USFS if we feel that the money paying their salaries could be better used elsewhere in the forest at the end of this trial period.

 

Like many of the posters on this thread, I have a bias based on years of negative interactions with rangers in both the USFS and NPS. That's not fair to these new guys, but I think it helps to warn them that they will have to win hearts and minds. Proudly kicking over cairns isn't helping.

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[Proudly kicking over cairns isn't helping.

True that. Some of the communication is concerning. But they have also held a rare "stakeholder" meeting concerning climbing access issues around Leavenworth and they put a lot of effort toward a recent trail project at Castle Rock that was not their idea, but a proposal from the WCC and the Access Fund.

 

They recognize climbing as a legitimate use of the Forest and it IS. We have an opportunity here.

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Well folks I honestly appreciate this discussion and no doubt it was to be expected. Locally, my friends and I have hashed over many of these same points.

 

To clarify some statements:

 

The LMA had absolutely nothing to do with the formation of a climbing ranger program in Leavenworth. The USFS applied for a grant, was awarded that grant, and have the funding now to run this program for 2 years. We were very excited, as an organization, to be solicited by the USFS to participate in their roundtable discussion (this solicitation was the first we had heard of this new program, though something inside of me had a feeling that this was coming..).

 

I can assure you that I had many of these same reactions when I first heard about the program. If anyone has anything to lose if our access ever becames restricted I would say it would be me, the local climber, active first ascenecionest, who owns a house in town, has a full-time local career, married, with a 14 month old daughter who I take climbing 1-2/days a week in the icicle (yes at 14 months, she crushes). I'm not going anywhere and I imagine that any changes to our current freedoms would hit us locals the hardest.

 

I can also assure you that if I noticed any negative actions by the rangers that I will be the first to address it with them (we are in active dialogue about the cairn photos, this thread, and any recent anchor modifications). I'd say individually and as as a united front the LMA, WCC, AAC, and Access Fund would be a formidable force to contend with.

 

There is no current climbing management plan.

 

I am not pro-ranger (I am pro-climber).

 

Looking back, the tone of my first two posts could have been more sympathetic in understanding some of the posters in this threads apprehension to these new rangers. I totally get it, prior to the roundtable discussion, I was right there with ya. Fortunately, I liked what I heard at the roundtable. Time will tell how it goes from here.

 

I have been 100% transparent with any and all information I have about this new program and I will continue to be so. Nonetheless, I will not be spending time and energy defending misconceptions to my statements on this thread any further. Again please email me: solwertkin(at)gmail.com or PM me here with any concerns.

 

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One point I usually bring up when it comes to discussing "Wilderness" here in Wyoming is this:

 

it's probably a far better thing to have folks enjoying the wilderness, even if their activities "degrade" it to some degree, than not because "Wilderness" lands are a mere act of Congress, and may be modified or repealed.

 

There are quite a few folks who see the forest here in Wyoming for the drilling fields.... Jobs, jobs, the economy, jobs!!! The environment? Meh.

 

Personally, my view of the public on public lands is that they own it, that's the bottom line. They will decide how to use it, and be glad they care enough about it to tread lightly(ish) and love it enough to keep coming back.

 

So Welcome fellas, and do try to keep the larger picture foremost in your minds, and not the daily aggravations.

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