That being said I will give you my take on the meeting. The 72" rule is in fact in force. They may not be out there enforcing it persay but its still the law on the books and if you were to be stopped for anything you could be cited for being wider than 72" . Bob has been and is receptive to increasing the width to 80" This is a win as a first step and its great that he's willing to back this with the decision makers. As I have stated before in other threads the forest service is weighed down by a monstrous set of rules. These rules decide what happens and what doesn't. If we are lucky the width will be pushed to 80" without requiring any studies done. Bottom line is we don't want any studies to be done. We basically could loose the entire park if a full blown EIS or even a neppa study were done today. The PNW4WDA has been pushing for the 80" width expansion. We feel it is a appropriate width that will suit a large number of the rigs using the system and can be achieved without requiring any more "studies".
The seasonal closure will be in affect this winter. Bob stated at the meeting that the gates will be going up(installed) at the entrance before the Dec. 15th date. There may be some trails that get temporary closures before that time as well as after that time if conditions dictate. He talked about having goalpost style gatekeepers at the trailheads as well with provisions for gates to enforce the closures. He will also be installing some kind of gates up on the Naches trail as well as better signage to help enforce that seasonal closure as well.
I asked Bob if he would compile a list of areas on FS roads that will be open to wheeled vehicles over the winter for snow runs. We also discussed the issue of non street legal rigs using these roads. His interpitation of the rule regarding street legal use is that when a road becomes unusable to two wheeldrive use it can be open for "non legal" vehicles. He will be checking more on this and getting back to me but this might sound like a win that can be used in other forests as well. Of course these kinds of things are generally left up to the rangers discretion so having a good relationship with your rangers is again a great idea
The 4x4 trails will be being marked with orange diamonds. The MC trails will be getting yellow ones.
The 7920 road between the entrance and the day use area will be getting reworked before this winter. There may be some closures of the road during the week.
One thing to keep in mind is how the FS looks at trails compared to the DNR. We are all familiar with the fact that the DNR lets us have a "trail corridor" which is a area that the trail has to stay in. This gives us the ability of some flexibility to move a trail around within this "corridor"
The FS isn't so flexible the trails is where it is and the trees or other natural obstacles do not delineate the trail corridor. The actual width is designed as the tread of the trail not the sides or banks. (Maybe someone that was there that is better at drawing pictures can show a drawing) Also to be considered is the way the FS looks at "resource damage" The Evans creek park is part of a LSR (late sucsesional reserve ) forest. This means the trees are critical habitat for all the little endangered critters that "may" live there. The FS takes a much strong stance on protecting this "habitat" than other land managers and quite simply the debarking of trees or undermining of them is strictly taboo to them.
Member #40 Hombres jeep club
Region 2 landmatters chairman
Wa. State Director PNW4WDA