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Old 06-24-2008, 09:27 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Partnership with the Nantahala NF?

Have any of you local peeps ever pursued a partnership with the Nantahala NF? It seems their biggest bitches are about sedimentation and the cost of trail maintenance. It would be pretty easy for some volunteers with heavy equipment and permission to install erosion controls and it would cost the FS a few cents on the dollar. (mostly administrative)



"Volunteering" for the FS is a pain in the ass, and you have to have chainsaw training, equipment training, horse training, first aid training/certification, blah-blah, blah.

There is another vehicle that many people in the FS don't even know about:

"Challenge Cost Share Agreement"

Rather than volunteering for the FS, your group can actually partner with the FS. It gives them a lot more freedom to let you do trail work with less $$ oversight on their part.


I'll find a copy of our club's agreement with the Flathead NF and scan it...can anyone host a .pdf?
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Old 06-24-2008, 09:45 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Kurt suggested this and I think it's a definite avenue we need to pursue. For some reason I get the feeling that the FS thinks we aren't helping enough and they're not hearing from us.
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Old 06-24-2008, 09:55 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Nick...

I think you should contact Del, take his online course on it and start something along those lines.

The online course is HERE: http://www.delalbright.com/RLTC/rltc.htm

It is worth every penny. No shit.

Even BETTER: Fly out here this fall and take his VLLS training! Then I can take you on the 'Con! Del holds that course at Robb's resort near the head of the trail, and it is hands-down one of the best seminars I have ever taken.

Again, I am so far away removed from Tellico, I am not completely sure what is happening on the ground but IMO it looks like you guys need a bigger "grass-roots" effort to bolster what the organizations are doing.
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Old 06-24-2008, 10:15 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Folks, SFWDA has been doing this (albeit informally) since 1987. We have equipment we bought and maintain specifically to do trail work up there. We also rent equipment and provide operators (for free) to do the work. In fact, some of the folks that are doing the work today helped build those trails (under the direction of the FS at the time) year and years ago.

That being said, entering into a more formal agreement is something to look into.

Kurt, visit our website at www.sfwda.org for more information.

And everyone else, please understand something. We have people on the ground that have been doing this for years and years. That's part of the sting of all this. We have a great relationship with the FS locally and have busted our asses to help them out. We do work days, take up portable welders and install barriers to keep people on trail, we haul tons and tons of surge stone up trails to harden the trouble areas, we clean silt traps multiple times a year, etc.

And what have they done? Well, they deferred maintenance of many of the areas and spent money collected for fees on other areas. They told us to our faces that closure wasn't going to happen. Then TU filed their intent to sue with SELC and they turned tail and freaked out. The folks from the Region were brought in and we were told not to worry. Then they proceeded to scope to close the trails.

So forgive me if I seem a little pissed off, but I can't help it. I would venture a guess that Tellico has a team of people as dedicated to it as anywhere else in this country. And to be honest, we have been consistenly let down by the FS.
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Old 06-24-2008, 10:50 AM   #5 (permalink)
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So forgive me if I seem a little pissed off, but I can't help it. I would venture a guess that Tellico has a team of people as dedicated to it as anywhere else in this country. And to be honest, we have been consistenly let down by the FS.
Totally understandable, especially when they put this comment in the scoping letter after all you have done:

As it exists today, the OHV System cannot be maintained adequately so as to limit future sedimentation. The money and people available to do the maintenance are severely limited. While current user fees and volunteer efforts make an important contribution, they do not meet the current or projected need. The resources to do the work must increase dramatically, the long term maintenance requirements must decrease dramatically, or some combination of both must occur to financially maintain the Upper Tellico OHV System.

The scoping letter ITSELF needs to be attacked in itself with comments.

For example, from this paragraph, EXACTLY WHAT are the long term amintence requirements? what equipment, $$, etc. is needed to maintain the trail system? The letter does not give specifics, and it NEEDS to. They cannot just say they cannot afford it (a common FS excuse) they need to tell us HOW MUCH it would cost and PROVE it. Increase by HOW MUCH? If they gave us numbers, maybe we could meet them...

Heather, do you guys log in your hours on the ground with the FS like we do out here? meaning, can you show on paper how many man-hours were spent on Tellico TOTAL from volunteers? I would throw that in thier face.

Will there be a "No-action" alternative?

Again, I am all the way across the country and have no idea what is happening on the ground so forgive me, I am just trying to help out in anyway...

KURT
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Old 06-24-2008, 11:27 AM   #6 (permalink)
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The scoping letter ITSELF needs to be attacked in itself with comments.

For example, from this paragraph, EXACTLY WHAT are the long term amintence requirements? what equipment, $$, etc. is needed to maintain the trail system? The letter does not give specifics, and it NEEDS to. They cannot just say they cannot afford it (a common FS excuse) they need to tell us HOW MUCH it would cost and PROVE it. Increase by HOW MUCH? If they gave us numbers, maybe we could meet them...

Heather, do you guys log in your hours on the ground with the FS like we do out here? meaning, can you show on paper how many man-hours were spent on Tellico TOTAL from volunteers? I would throw that in thier face.

Will there be a "No-action" alternative?

Again, I am all the way across the country and have no idea what is happening on the ground so forgive me, I am just trying to help out in anyway...

KURT
You are absolutely right on the money on all counts. We do have record of time and money spent, and those are documented in the law suit we have already filed with the District Court seeking an injunction to have the trails that are already closed, reopened. It also seeks to lift the Seasonal Closure. And we will send those with our comments to the scoping letter.

And you are right to attack the document. For anyone reading this, if something in that scoping letter doesn't make sense to you, is not substantiated with fact or some citiation, etc., ASK ABOUT IT!

Kurt, I didn't see a no action alternative, but they must have one under NEPA. But my feeling is that the will dismiss it as "not supporting the purpose and need for the action."

You are helping a lot. A LOT! THANK YOU SO MUCH!
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Old 06-25-2008, 02:29 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Heather and Nick,

I do not mean in any way to imply through my negligence of your situation that SFWDA has been inactive. We can all learn a lot from each other.

...and our CCSA hasn't been perfect...we're in a similar battle in Montana...you have sedimentation of trout streams, we have "security of Grizzly bear habitat". We have one Ranger District who bends over backward for us (and we do the same in return) and another Ranger District who systematically closes trails every year...with the stated objective in their EA's to "close motorized access".

I like the attack-the-scoping-letter idea. I'll get out another reply doing just that.

Keep your chins up.

Shawn
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Old 06-25-2008, 02:52 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurtuleas View Post
Nick...

I think you should contact Del, take his online course on it and start something along those lines.

The online course is HERE: http://www.delalbright.com/RLTC/rltc.htm

It is worth every penny. No shit.

Even BETTER: Fly out here this fall and take his VLLS training! Then I can take you on the 'Con! Del holds that course at Robb's resort near the head of the trail, and it is hands-down one of the best seminars I have ever taken.

Again, I am so far away removed from Tellico, I am not completely sure what is happening on the ground but IMO it looks like you guys need a bigger "grass-roots" effort to bolster what the organizations are doing.

That looks awesome. I would love to do that. I'd have to start saving now though. I think I might have a few miles stashed away somewhere too. Also, to have a chance at ridin' the 'Con would be worth it
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Old 06-26-2008, 05:51 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Totally understandable, especially when they put this comment in the scoping letter after all you have done:

As it exists today, the OHV System cannot be maintained adequately so as to limit future sedimentation. The money and people available to do the maintenance are severely limited.
Bullshit. They had enough money to put in that 80 ton load limit bridge on trail 5, which was completely unwanted, unnecessary, and typical USG overkill. The cost of that bridge alone could have provided the necessary maintenance for the area for two or three years. Unless they are planning to log the area, drill for oil/gas or build condos or something, why in hell do they need a 80 ton (160,000 pound) capable bridge on trail 5?

They are talking about putting in a bridge at Fains Ford, and my understanding (anecdotal, rumor etc) is that it will be identical in design to the one at trail 5.

This is insane, to bitch about lack of available funding and use same as an excuse to shutdown trails while at the same time building (and proposing to build) bridges that are grossly overdesigned and cost more than several years worth of maintenance budget!
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Old 06-26-2008, 06:20 AM   #10 (permalink)
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that bridge is rediculous and you're right. i wonder how much sediment that bridge actually reduced vs. proper engineering of trails. the thing that's killing me is that they're getting their money from us and instead of putting towards concerns that we have about the area they build the next golden gate bridge in the middle of the forest.

and if they say something about flood protection I'll have to laugh in their face.
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Old 06-26-2008, 07:41 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Thanks for the great points about the overbuilt bridge and the possibility (albeit slight) of a no action determination. My "letter" that I'm working on is actually a thorough dismantling of the scoping proposal itself and that info will certainly help.
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