Future Of Old Logging Roads In National Forests, etc.

idahohuntr

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Dec 19, 2013
Messages
102
I've thought plenty about the argument of people getting old and expecting special treatment...and I wont change my mind. They had their chance to hunt when they were young and more physically able. If they squandered their chance, well tough luck, I wont be losing any sleep if another gate goes up or they can no longer reach the places they did in their youth.

Funny thing, my grandfather, who hunted well into his 80's, never expected roads to stay open, or asked for any special treatment. He just continued to hunt, where he was physically able to, due to his age. The last thing he would have wanted, is for roads to be punched into the areas he hunted in his youth, so that it was easier for him to get to those same places.

He was happy knowing that those places were still unroaded, still wild, and that those following were going to be able to experience the same thing he did. I feel the exact same way.

I would be doing his legacy a disservice if I pushed for easier access, more roads, more special privileges for those that are too old, too lazy, or too unmotivated to hack it.

As for disabled people, again it sucks, same as it sucks getting old. If I were to become disabled, and when I get old, I wont be asking others to sacrifice public lands for my sake so that I can still access the same places I have in the past. They can find/buy private to hunt on, hunt off a horse, or just be happy hunting the 380,000 miles of roads on FS lands they have already.

If that doesn't work, well, take up a different hobby.
Well said. I have the exact same sentiments on the aging/access arguments. If I live long enough or otherwise lose the physical abilities necessary to access wild places - I will resign to a rocking chair, a cup of coffee and a photo album of past hunts.
 

lastlight

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Mar 30, 2018
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144
Location
Northern California
Here's what I know...I have worked for over 20 years in the woods studying permanent growth plots across 8 Interior Rocky Mountain States. In a typical field season, I visit 90-110 of those sites. The sites were established on a random grid and cover all ownerships. Probably have visited 2200-2300 different locations in National Parks, most all the Wilderness/WSA's, tribal land, DOE, BLM, private, USFWS, private timber lands, etc. etc.

Its a very rare day, even in wilderness areas, where I hike cross country more than 2 miles to access my work locations. Between roads and trails, its pretty damn tough to find areas where you're further than 3 miles from either. Outside of wilderness its even less likely to find anything more than 2 miles from a road or trail.

Which leads me to believe that all this blustering about "no access" is a joke. In no time in history has the West been more accessible than it is now.

Could not agree more. Personally, the amount of trails in wilderness areas upsets me for two reasons - Constant pressure on wildlife, and the lack of the ability to get away from people.
 

Sytes

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Sep 25, 2009
Messages
5,517
Location
Montana
Different areas might have different management plans and more roads being built or destroyed. My experience in the region of NW MT I live in and hunt is that for every road being re-wilded there are multiple roads being built . Gated roads open and close seasonally but the overall road density across the county is increasing rather than decreasing.

Is your experience different in your areas Charles or are you commenting generally about your philosophy of access and road use?

I know a lot of folks highlight closures and road destruction and claim lessened access but I don’t usually see an acknowledgement of additional access via new roads from the same folks.
My perspective is an old blocked road (left to the decay from time without human intervention) works in the same capacity as a trail into the backcountry. New temporary gated roads or full-time roads, etc are motor driven and diminish opportunities, as we've discussed.

I don't place them in the same category. I understand the -X road churned = +Y road installed and that is good for the sake of temp or open road use to keep within the local FS management's desired road quota.

I believe if it enables legal non motorized access to our backcountry and marked illegal for motorized use... Blocked, culvert dug, churned up for 50-100 yards (instead of the entire length) to best deter criminal activity, law abiding backcountry enthusiasts *should have access... Again, so long as it does not directly interfere with wildlife calving or other significant needs of wildlife.

Hence, the reason we use these routes. If our moral compass pointed the same direction as our posts, well more power to you for not walking these old roads.

Edit: Added basic examples of criminal deterrents. Many others exist, I imagine.

Oops, forgot the portion re: actual or philosophy.
Actual for a few that are now thick, one destroyed to now find routing via game trails as possible or hiking over deadfall.
Philosophical for the overall basis due to my physical experience and with a tad nod to those who may find it a fraction more challenging, physically speaking.
Add a fraction of bummed consideration as an old, old road I used to bring game out from the backside of an area is no mas... over time, it's limited my packout distance, or should if I did not drag my... all over that range.
@Nameless Range , is that a statistical written 2.5 miles? Some of the roads I walk are old logging road switchbacks that really gain a mile for maybe every two listed, if that.
A tad off topic though to better understand, is there a Euclidean distance for dummies explanation?
I tried to follow this YouTube and my head feels strained in the two+ minute video. 😅


I had a few opportunities to venture the distant area of the Thorofare and if I recall that is the the farthest distance from any accessible road in the lower 48. It's been close to 20 years ago since my last employ in the Bridger-Teton Wilderness though holds some of my most fond memories. Absolutely beautiful.

Thanks for the useful info Buzz.
 
Last edited:

Nameless Range

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Jun 6, 2013
Messages
2,799
Location
Western Montana
My perspective is an old blocked road (left to the decay from time without human intervention) works in the same capacity as a trail into the backcountry. New temporary gated roads or full-time roads, etc are motor driven and diminish opportunities, as we've discussed.

I don't place them in the same category. I understand the -X road churned = +Y road installed and that is good for the sake of temp or open road use to keep within the local FS management's desired road quota.

I believe if it enables legal non motorized access to our backcountry and marked illegal for motorized use... Blocked, culvert dug, churned up for 50-100 yards (instead of the entire length) to best deter criminal activity, law abiding backcountry enthusiasts *should have access... Again, so long as it does not directly interfere with wildlife calving or other significant needs of wildlife.

Hence, the reason we use these routes. If our moral compass pointed the same direction as our posts, well more power to you for not walking these old roads.

Edit: Added basic examples of criminal deterrents. Many others exist, I imagine.

Oops, forgot the portion re: actual or philosophy.
Actual for a few that are now thick, one destroyed to now find routing via game trails as possible or hiking over deadfall.
Philosophical for the overall basis due to my physical experience and with a tad nod to those who may find it a fraction more challenging, physically speaking.
Add a fraction of bummed consideration as an old, old road I used to bring game out from the backside of an area is no mas... over time, it's limited my packout distance, or should if I did not drag my... all over that range.
@Nameless Range , is that a statistical written 2.5 miles? Some of the roads I walk are old logging road switchbacks that really gain a mile for maybe every two listed, if that.
A tad off topic though to better understand, is there a Euclidean distance for dummies explanation?
I tried to follow this YouTube and my head feels strained in the two+ minute video. 😅


I had a few opportunities to venture the distant area of the Thorofare and if I recall that is the the farthest distance from any accessible road in the lower 48. It's been close to 20 years ago since my last employ in the Bridger-Teton Wilderness though holds some of my most fond memories. Absolutely beautiful.

Thanks for the useful info Buzz.

Hey @Sytes , sorry, I missed this tag.

A simple way to think about it is that Euclidean Distance is just the straight line distance between two points in space. There's a bit more to it, but that is all a person really needs to know. It may not represent the true isolation of a place. Example below.

Imagine the black polygon is a public parcel with one public access.
The solid red lines are public roads.
The blue circle is the chunk of public you want to get to.
The red sprayed line is the euclidean distance from the road to that chunk you are interested in.
The green sprayed line is your walk to get to that chunk of that public you are interested in.

So, though a rough analysis of distance from public roads may be indicative of the wildness/difficultness to access of a place, there are many exceptions. In this instance, a place may be a half mile from a road, but takes a two mile walk to get to. This is just one scenario, many others involving topography, different accesses, etc could be displayed.

Euclidean.jpg
 
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