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Author Topic: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds  (Read 81446 times)
T. Eastman
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #75 on: 06/09/11, 06:16 PM »

As stated before, I think access to areas for non-motorized users is a beginning answer to the "conflicts" of user groups. Now, how to figure out how to get the roads groomed and parking managed by funds from non-motorized users.

Non-motorized users currently pay for SnoPark passes and support winter trail head maintenance.  These passes also support trail grooming where such agreements have been developed.
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gravitymk
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #76 on: 06/09/11, 08:54 PM »

Non-motorized users currently pay for SnoPark passes and support winter trail head maintenance.  These passes also support trail grooming where such agreements have been developed.

When they actually purchase them.
There are a high ratio of users that come up to the pass that end up with tickets on their windows because they don't have passes. As a result the forest service has take to posting a person at the main intersection of the Gold Creak area the last couple of season to sell passes.
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T. Eastman
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #77 on: 06/09/11, 10:09 PM »

Gravitymk, as the system is set up, those that don't buy passes at most areas get tickets.  That is how the system works.  I assume after being issued a ticket many users can recognize the utility of purchasing a SnoPark pass...

... now your point in regards to this discussion was?
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yammadog
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #78 on: 06/10/11, 03:14 AM »

Non-motorized users currently pay for SnoPark passes and support winter trail head maintenance.  These passes also support trail grooming where such agreements have been developed.

With the "conflict" of a few people, why not find/establish non-motorized only access areas that are not shared use? over 3/4 of Baker is non-motorized wilderness, why the same access? Give the haters an alternative instead of eliminating a user class entirely?

which would still leave the need to educate those riders that are unfamiliar with the lines, particularly if they are not easy to identify by terrain. the blatant poachers need more than training....they need slapped with fines and confiscation of a few sleds. Cetainly the total number of violators don't come close to the number of lawful riders that would be impacted by closing an area.
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gravitymk
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #79 on: 06/10/11, 07:21 AM »


... now your point in regards to this discussion was?

You opened the door to my post with your comment T.

Edited to add: A great trip report Amar, worthy discussion of user group access as well.
« Last Edit: 06/10/11, 07:25 AM by gravitymk » Logged
ruffryder
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #80 on: 06/11/11, 10:39 AM »

Non-motorized users currently pay for SnoPark passes and support winter trail head maintenance.  These passes also support trail grooming where such agreements have been developed.
I believe yammadog was talking about paying for plowing and parking for new access areas...

Also, it is important to not forget that money is spent from snowmobilers gas tax funds for plowing and grooming.  This is extra money on top of the snopark passes that snowmobilers purchase with their registration.
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T. Eastman
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #81 on: 06/11/11, 11:03 AM »


Also, it is important to not forget that money is spent from snowmobilers gas tax funds for plowing and grooming.  This is extra money on top of the snopark passes that snowmobilers purchase with their registration.

As suits the far larger amount of parking space required for trailers used by some...
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Amar Andalkar
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #82 on: 06/11/11, 12:24 PM »

Update: I received a call from the USFS law enforcement officer for the Mount Baker Ranger District on Friday, June 10. Yes, there is only a single LEO for this entire vast ranger district which covers everything west of North Cascades National Park and north of SR 20 (Mount Baker Highway and the ski area, Mount Baker Wilderness, Baker Lake, etc), plus a bunch of area south of SR 20 and north of Darrington including Cascade River Road. Kind of shocking. No wonder violations of all sorts go unpunished, they are very understaffed.

We spoke for a half hour, a good conversation. He stated that he thought the discussion raised by my report had been constructive, both within the USFS office and with snowmobile groups, and that some good would definitely result from it.

However, I was disappointed when he started by informing me that there was no way he could cite any of the violators, since the one photo which shows a registration number shows no background to identify where it was taken, while the photos that do show the snowmobiles inside the wilderness have no visible numbers. This is a very annoying catch-22, as I explained to him that there is no practical way to take a single photo which shows both a number and also landmarks which identify the wilderness boundary. To see the tiny number, you have to zoom in or be really close (which means no background), and to see landmarks on the boundary, you have to be wide-angle (which means the number is not readable). He felt that using a sequence of separate photos to try to prove the violation would not stand up in court, and it would end up wasting his and everyone's time since they would eventually be let off anyway due to insufficient proof of trespass. Very lame that the burden of proof is so difficult to meet given the current size of snowmo registration numbers. It would require much larger numbers posted on all 4 sides of the sled to have any chance of meeting this absurd standard. As it stands now, practically the only way to cite them is to have a USFS employee (the LEO, or a seasonal climbing ranger, or other ranger) actually see the snowmobiles inside wilderness and then testify in court to the violation.

He also said that he had spoken on the phone to one of the snowmobilers involved, who insisted that he had been using a GPS which showed that they were inside the legal NRA, and so any trespass either did not occur or was unintentional. I had already heard this story a few days ago, relayed to me by a third party. Unfortunately, his claim of a GPS just doesn't hold water at all, and sounds like a total fabrication. If they had been using a GPS which said they were inside the NRA boundary, they would have told me so when I confronted them! They did not make any such assertion at the time. Especially their apparent leader who was insistent that what they were doing was legal. Also, no GPS can be 1000-1500 ft in error, that is not in the realm of possible error over a sustained hour-long period (it could happen as a brief glitch of a few seconds at most, but not likely on a wide open glacier with unimpeded view of satellites). And regardless, GPS or not, they rode to Sherman Crater and looked into it from the gap at 9720 ft, which is so far inside the wilderness boundary (1500 ft) that no GPS is needed to know that you are trespassing.

The LEO also was contacted by the president of one of the local snowmobile clubs, who had seen this thread online and was worried about another potential black eye for snowmobilers and looking bad in public opinion. He was suggesting self-policing, education, flyers at the trailhead which show the wilderness boundary, etc. I told the LEO that those all sounded good to me, anything that snowmobile groups do to help prevent wilderness incursions is great.

I made a few suggestions too: a large sign at the snowmobile bridge, showing a map of the legal riding area in the triangle and the surrounding wilderness. Also, any maps or flyers should include some easy instructions for identifying the wilderness boundary (on the west side of the triangle at least) in the field. There is no way to post signs marking the boundary on a glacier as there is in forest, so this procedure is needed:

Look uphill and identify Sherman Peak (tall triangular point). Look downhill and find the cliffs that mark the east side of the Deming Glacier where it splits from the Easton. Mentally draw a straight line connecting those two points (or use your arms to point at each). If you're left (west) of that line, then you are inside the wilderness.

That method is very easy and foolproof on any clear day. The boundary on the east side of the triangle is harder identify in the field, since there is no visible landmark at its downhill end. But the number of trespasses across the east boundary is minuscule compared to the west boundary, so there is less urgency to deal with that.

I also suggested that the signs and flyers specifically point out that riding up to Sherman Crater is forbidden, since that is 1500 ft inside the wilderness, as is riding to the flat area near 9500 ft where they like to stop (about 600 ft inside the wilderness). Snowmobilers are welcome to visit these locations (along with ANY other location in ANY wilderness), as long as they are on foot or skis and leave the snowmobile parked behind in a legal area. Their freedom is really not restricted at all by closing areas off to snowmobiles. They still have just as much freedom as me or anyone else does to visit those areas, but they must do so on foot or ski just like the rest of us. No special treatment.

Snowmobile use is a privilege (just like driving an automobile), it is not a right and is not protected in any such way. Restrictions on where you can ride a snowmobile are no more burdensome than the restrictions on where you can drive your car. You can't legally drive a 4WD truck with balloon tires up the Easton Glacier. Why can you ride a snowmobile?. And specialized 4WD trucks have driven nearly to the summit of 22,600 ft Ojos del Salado (the world's highest volcano and second highest peak in the Western Hemisphere after Aconcagua), which included a bit of glacier travel. So similar vehicles could perhaps drive most of the way up Mount Baker too, or many other places in the Cascades. But they are forbidden to do so, and I don't hear drivers complaining that their freedom has been restricted.

Lowell stated this point above, and I was going to post the same thing before he beat me to it. I think it's one of the most crucial points and counterarguments in the entire snowmobile / motorized-recreation land-use debate. Any snowmobile owner is welcome to visit any location in Mount Baker Wilderness, or any other wilderness area. As welcome as any automobile owner. But both will need to leave their vehicle behind at some point in order to do so.

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CookieMonster
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #83 on: 06/11/11, 02:11 PM »

I don't think that the final bell has been rung yet, but as I've said in other threads on this subject, people are only just starting to get the most basic idea of what it's going to be like when the coming plague unfolds.

Thanks to Amar, Lowell, WMC, and anyone else who speaks out.
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yammadog
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #84 on: 06/11/11, 07:04 PM »

LEO's have a very tough job with tons of land and very little budgets.

Most of the snowmobile community is very much against the violations and if you get a picture of the folks doing this, not so much the tabs, but faces even add the group as a whole. But if you can get the tabs in a photo bonus, post those picts on this forum or the sledding forums. Or even pm/email me directly, I'll take the heat on the sled forums to call these people out to stop violating and get educated. We have been working on the self policing and marking wilderess boundaries to try and help USFS. It is a culture change in it's infancy and will grow. Just as many now have AVY gear/training, they will also learn and know the boundaries of the areas they ride.

Even though we can agree to disagree on my right to sled legally in high alpine areas, I will support any effort to stop the intrusions as it does nothing to help protect our current, limited riding areas.
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hilly1h
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #85 on: 06/12/11, 07:55 AM »

Amar, I was one of the snowmobiliers that was in the second group that stopped and turned around. So if we were out of bounds then I am truly sorry! I am an avid snowshoer, hiker and skier as well and I can't stand people that break the rules and screw it up for the rest of us!!
But you are way out of bounds of saying that we should only ride on roads and to say off the glacier!! We have already been restricted to very few areas to ride and every year they try to restrict us even more, it will come to the point were we will have no where to legally ride!!
So instead of getting all bent out of shape and saying we shouldn't ride on Baker at all, how about looking for a better way to inform snowmobiliers were the boundies are!
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T. Eastman
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #86 on: 06/12/11, 09:09 AM »

Perhaps suggesting to the USFS, a one or two year probationary period of agreed self-enforcement by the motorized users with an expectation of close to zero trespasses into the Mt. Baker Wilderness, might yield positive results.

Tracks within the Wilderness indicate violations. 

Should the effort not produce significant behavior change and reduce the number "bad apples", stronger, more restrictive policies should then be considered.
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aaron_wright
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #87 on: 06/12/11, 12:21 PM »

But you are way out of bounds of saying that we should only ride on roads and to say off the glacier!! We have already been restricted to very few areas to ride and every year they try to restrict us even more, it will come to the point were we will have no where to legally ride!!
So instead of getting all bent out of shape and saying we shouldn't ride on Baker at all, how about looking for a better way to inform snowmobiliers were the boundies are!
I believe the day will come that snowmobiles are managed just like any other OHV and will be restricted to roads and some trails and maybe a few clear cut areas that function as OHV parks for off trail play.

I don't know about the MBSNF but outside of Wilderness areas where are snowmobiles illegal on the OWNF? Tronsen area, where else? There are a few voluntary closures, but that status is meaningless. The Wenatchee Ridge road at Blewett sees as much traffic as Scotty Creek and the Diamond Head side. The reality is that there are huge tracts of land available on the OWNF for unregulated snowmobile use. I don't like it when snowmobilers talk about being restricted to smaller and smaller areas, it's just not true. At least on the OWNF.

Like any user of Forest lands, it is my responsibility to know where I can and can't go. Using the argument that it's non motorized users job to educate snowmobilers about closures and boundary lines is BS. Claiming ignorance about laws is the oldest excuse in the book for violators. I hear the same story over and over again in all seasons from motorized users, "I didn't know". Most of the time if you point out that if they entered on any legal trails they had to pass signs about motorized closures they disappear. I would love to ride certain trails in Wilderness on my MTB, but don't because it's illegal. I have no problems sharing trails with motorized users if they are allowed, it doesn't ruin my day. Most of the trail in my area(Wenatchee valley) are shared use and legal for dirtbikes and I have had no negative encounters while on foot or my bike.
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Lowell_Skoog
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #88 on: 06/12/11, 06:06 PM »

However, I was disappointed when he started by informing me that there was no way he could cite any of the violators, since the one photo which shows a registration number shows no background to identify where it was taken, while the photos that do show the snowmobiles inside the wilderness have no visible numbers. This is a very annoying catch-22, as I explained to him that there is no practical way to take a single photo which shows both a number and also landmarks which identify the wilderness boundary.

Would a court accept two (or more) digital photos as evidence if the metadata showed that they were taken within a minute of each other? Or is metadata too easy to fake? What if the photos are still in the camera? Just curious...
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James Wells
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #89 on: 06/12/11, 06:49 PM »

Video, zoom out.
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Scotsman
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #90 on: 06/12/11, 07:36 PM »

Well if they succeed in banning snowmobiles you can always go to Svalbard.
Looks like paradise. Grin
http://vimeo.com/24858865
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T. Eastman
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #91 on: 06/12/11, 08:19 PM »

Well if they succeed in banning snowmobiles you can always go to Svalbard.
Looks like paradise. Grin
http://vimeo.com/24858865

Is that near Concrete?
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Scotsman
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #92 on: 06/12/11, 08:29 PM »

Is that near Concrete?

I think its near Wenatchee.
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aaron_wright
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #93 on: 06/12/11, 08:35 PM »

I think its near Wenatchee.
Looks like Cashmere or Peshastin maybe.
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yammadog
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #94 on: 06/13/11, 06:54 AM »

Well if they succeed in banning snowmobiles you can always go to Svalbard.
Looks like paradise. Grin
http://vimeo.com/24858865

I wonder if they make them wear helmets there....maybe just one of those goofy hats and a flask of vodka.
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