USFS suddenly shuts public roads prior to elk hunt

bullbugle307

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I understand the frustration, but imagine the flip side where they don't close it and someone possibly loses their life.

We just had a major storm in my neck of the woods, and one of our contractors lost his life hauling the mail when a tractor trailer hauling fuel jackknifed in front of him. I found out after originally reading this thread, and needless to say it was a bad night at work for everyone, it's going to be a hard Thanksgiving, and it's on my mind as I revisit and comment. He was one of my favorite people to work with.
 

hank4elk

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Several feet on ground already above 7k'. More to come. They close the roads til spring in many mountain west forests. Have for years,with the usual comments.
I have had to rescue folks who "got this". Seen plenty of "Rigs" stuck til spring too. There have been deaths a few hundred yards from said "Rigs" too.
 

MTGomer

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I agree with Gomer and Randy. If you have that tag, you should be allowed to make the decision about whether or not you drive to your hunting spot.

I live in the foothills of the Gravelly mountains, one of the most heavily roaded mountain chains in the state of MT. The roads never close due to snow during elk season. They are closed Dec 1. Every year people make bad decisions and get stranded, but that goes with the territory.

I have a neighbor who stuck his truck way up top last year. He had to walk out. A mutual friend drove a chained up skid steer in and dug him out.

I heard about another guy who got stuck up there and they drove snowmobiles over the top of his truck all winter. He got it out the next summer.

It’s risky business, but people generally know their limits. If not, one mistake is usually all it takes.
In 2017 someone got their truck and stock trailer over Lulu pass and all the way down to Lake Abundance before it snowed 3+feet. (Gasp... the Custer Gallatin doesn’t close roads for snow, let alone forecasted snow)
They had to hire the groomer/plow thing from Cooke to get them out. I saw a picture of it taken from a plane. Hilarious. And beyond stupid, but I fully support their freedom to make bad decisions.
Bet he doesn’t do that again.
 

Addicting

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I listened on the VHF as people ignored small craft warnings many times growing up in eastern N.C. including more than once where people lost their lives.
Darwin Awards happen every day. Difference is they had free choice to either apply for the award or just heed the warnings.
 

rwc101

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Darwin Awards happen every day. Difference is they had free choice to either apply for the award or just heed the warnings.
I don't have much sympathy for those who knowingly go into dangerous conditions and end up on the losing end of mother nature. The USCG didn't have the free choice to send men and women into a storm to look for them and their bodies though.
 

Addicting

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I don't have much sympathy for those who knowingly go into dangerous conditions and end up on the losing end of mother nature. The USCG didn't have the free choice to send men and women into a storm to look for them and their bodies though.
I get what your saying and I don’t advocate for unnecessary risk. However, everyone at MEPS knows what they are Voluntarily raising their hands for, there is a choice.
 

hank4elk

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Friend near Lake Mary rd. says it will be a few days to clear roads to get to Flag.....a couple miles from town.
 

rwc101

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I get what your saying and I don’t advocate for unnecessary risk. However, everyone at MEPS knows what they are Voluntarily raising their hands for, there is a choice.
If they are turning people away from walking in, then I agree with you. I don't think the USFS is under the obligation to facilitate bad decisions by keeping roads open though. Anyone who wants to can strap on some snowshoes and really put some sweat equity into that Darwin Award if they're that motivated to punch a tag.
 

Nameless Range

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It sure seems like a strange slippery slope.

Numerous accidents with road blockages all across the county I live in yesterday. Paid first responders as well as volunteers were out on the sides of the interstate doing dangerous work all day long. Our VFD got paged out to a rollover with ejection. All of Montana was busy.

Far more action and danger than anything that’s gonna happen on a USFS road. But the roads were and are open.

Not apples to apples I know, and highways are sometimes closed, but I dislike the spirit of the decision. Mountain roads when closed, should be closed for management decisions and wildlife under official travel plans, not weather. Then again, I suppose weather shuts down roads in other ways like floods or gumbo. It just seems wrong to close the road down due to snow.
 

Carnage2011

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Z
If they are turning people away from walking in, then I agree with you. I don't think the USFS is under the obligation to facilitate bad decisions by keeping roads open though. Anyone who wants to can strap on some snowshoes and really put some sweat equity into that Darwin Award if they're that motivated to punch a tag.
We get two feet of snow and 40mph winds every year in MT. It’s extremely rare for someone to die during those storms due to using a USFS road. They don’t need to close these roads. We are adults and can make our own decisions. There is obviously a risk associated with it, and someone may end up hiking out and leaving their vehicle for a while, but they’ll be more prepared next time.

I feel like these types of decisions are the ones that give the pro land transfer crowd fuel. “If it’s our land how come I can’t drive these roads during my hunt?”
 

Addicting

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It sure seems like a strange slippery slope.

Numerous accidents with road blockages all across the county I live in yesterday. Paid first responders as well as volunteers were out on the sides of the interstate doing dangerous work all day long. Our VFD got paged out to a rollover with ejection. All of Montana was busy.

Far more action and danger than anything that’s gonna happen on a USFS road. But the roads were and are open.

Not apples to apples I know, and highways are sometimes closed, but I dislike the spirit of the decision. Mountain roads when closed, should be closed for management decisions and wildlife under official travel plans, not weather. Then again, I suppose weather shuts down roads in other ways like floods or gumbo. It just seems wrong to close the road down due to snow.
Or just close the road system to wheeled vehicles. 2 feet of snow and blowing conditions may suck, but as soon as the storm breaks it’s perfect Mountian Snowmobile conditions.

I guess I am a little jaded. Where I live in MI, 2 feet of snow is a 2 hour delay to work, but everything is still open, minus schools. Numerous days my bumper has acted as a snow plow opening up a two track down our road.
 

rwc101

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We get two feet of snow and 40mph winds every year in MT. It’s extremely rare for someone to die during those storms due to using a USFS road. They don’t need to close these roads. We are adults and can make our own decisions. There is obviously a risk associated with it, and someone may end up hiking out and leaving their vehicle for a while, but they’ll be more prepared next time.

I feel like these types of decisions are the ones that give the pro land transfer crowd fuel. “If it’s our land how come I can’t drive these roads during my hunt?”
Comparing MT to AZ is a stretch as is associating the decision with land transfer. Again, you're free to access the land, but your decision can affect other people.
 

Carnage2011

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Comparing MT to AZ is a stretch as is associating the decision with land transfer. Again, you're free to access the land, but your decision can affect other people.
Not a stretch at all. I guarantee there are people from Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, and other states that are going down for those hunts and are well prepared to make the decision when the time comes, but they don’t have that choice now.

I’m not associating it with the land transfer. I’m telling you that they are going to use this decision as part of their argument.
 

MTGomer

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If they are turning people away from walking in, then I agree with you. I don't think the USFS is under the obligation to facilitate bad decisions by keeping roads open though. Anyone who wants to can strap on some snowshoes and really put some sweat equity into that Darwin Award if they're that motivated to punch a tag.
If you had any consistency you’d want all of Wyoming’s roads closed from September -June because it might snow. But you likely don’t.

Look at the list of closed roads. It is everything but the paved state highways, for a storm that *might* happen. People traveled hundreds of miles to be here. Some burned 10 points and have been scouting for several years for this hunt. Now, they can’t get within 20 miles of where the hunt would begin because the road that could be driven in 2wD is shut.
Snow is usually considered an asset to an elk hunt.
This seems more like anti hunting activism in the USFS than a public safety move.

I had a 100% chance of showers beginning at my house at 10PM. It hasn’t rained a drop yet.
 

MTGomer

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Yep, it furthers the Bundyesque narrative that these aren’t your lands, these are the crown’s lands and they can flippantly deny you access at a whim.

These are federal lands in a National Forest managed by federal employees. What state it is in should not matter.
 

rwc101

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People that live in states where weather regularly affects travel are going to be swayed to sell the land they hunt and fish because of one road closure?

Anyway, it's Thanksgiving and
 

MTGomer

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People that live in states where weather regularly affects travel are going to be swayed to sell the land they hunt and fish because of one road closure?

Anyway, it's Thanksgiving and
Like the ebike thread, you have derailed this one with a bunch of half baked ‘opinions’ from a position of complete ignorance of the topic.
If Wyoming needs anything, it’s a few more coastie transplants with no facts and strong opinions. It’s been working well elsewhere.
 
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bigjohn

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I have watched the National Weather Service snowfall forecasts for the Arizona mountains for many years. Frequently the actual amounts are about half of the forecast amounts. It seems to me that the USFS is over reacting given the accuracy of the Weather Service snowfall predictions. This is a bad deal for hunters and sets a bad precedent. Good luck to all the late bull hunters! I hope that you find a way to access your hunt units.
 

elkantlers

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I would love to see someone hook a chain to those gates and rip them out of the ground.
 
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