Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Big Three + 1

Big Three identifies our three highest priority followup projects; projects that need vocal support from wilderness users like you.  So many projects.  So many things to get done.  Right?   Well in order to achieve results we think it is important to stay tightly focused, and ask WR volunteers for assistance only on issues of critical importance.  For this reason we limit our Priority One project list to three items, plus one.  

What's Plus One?  It's a project where we need eyes on the ground; followup to confirm that wilderness managers are implementing the changes promised.  That means boots on the ground so, Plus One projects are seeking wilderness travelers who plan to be in the specific wilderness identified.  

Wilderness road access on the Nez Perce National Forest

Wilderness road access on the Nez Perce National Forest

Priority One

While floating the Idaho's Main Salmon River, I discovered that motorized vehicles were violating the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness and the Salmon River Wild River Corridor by historic mining roads, trails and a pack bridge clearly closed to motor vehicles.  

 
 
Bowern Lakes, Canada

Bowern Lakes, Canada

Priority Two

Drones are one of the new exciting outdoor toys of the new millennium.  However, if you have had the experience of their buzzing circling over your backcountry camp or encounter them hovering over a glorious rapid and you will quickly understand that they do not belong in our wilderness areas or on our wilderness rivers.

Summary

Cheryl Probert, Nez Perce-Clearwater Forest Supervisor, finally responded to our initial request for information about this matter with a cryptic half-page letter after nearly four months and two written requests.  Requests for a clarification of her comments, dated 3/12/17, and 7/5/17, have received no response. It remains unclear whether the Forest Service is allowing the use of motorized vehicles within a designated wilderness.

Action

A letter has been sent to the Regional Forester requesting her assistance.  Please send your note of concern about the failure of the Nez Perce-Clearwater Forest Supervisor to respond to a public request for information to: Nora Rasure, Regional Forester Federal Building, 324 25th Street, Ogden, Utah, 84401.

Summary

Drones are showing up with increasing frequency on our Wild Rivers and managers are often unprepared to deal with this new technology.  It is time to address this issue before continued lack of actions establishes unalterable precedents.

Action

Contact wilderness and wild river managers in your area and ask if they have a written policy on the use of drones.   If possible, send us a copy.  If you see drones used within designated wilderness (a prohibited use) or within a wild river corridor (possibly a prohibited use) let us know.

Saldang, Nepal

Saldang, Nepal

Priority Three

As a user of public lands do you have any right to privacy within your campsite?  What are the boundaries?  Do State Police have the authority to cite users on federal lands for the violation of federal statues?   Can State Police cite users for the violations of state law that occur on federal lands?  

Nengla La, Nepal

Nengla La, Nepal

Plus One

While hiking the Wonderland Trail around Mount Rainier in Washington state I was disappointed at the extensive use of chainsaws to remove fallen trees from the trail. In his response to my inquiry Randy King, Superintendent of Mount Rainier National Park, indicated that the practice of bucking trail swaths fifty feet wide or wider was not in accord with park trail maintenance guidelines.

Summary

An uninvited, unannounced visit from two Oregon State Police officers to our riverside campsite raised the question, "can police and/or government employees enter your campsite without permission"?  If so, what are the boundaries, can they look into your tent? 

Action

Ask your local managers about your rights to privacy while using public lands.  Ideally, request copies of appropriate management guidelines, agreements or regulations and send copies to Wilderness Report.

Summary

On the ground observations indicate that trail crews in Mount Rainier National Park use chain saws in wilderness on a regular basis.  However, the Park Superintendent has assured Wilderness Report that the practice of cutting fifty foot trail swaths when removing fallen trees should not be standard practice.  
 

Action

Observations and photos from hikers of the Wonderland Trail concerning the removal of fallen trees would be useful in providing additional followup on this matter to the Park Superintendent.