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USFS Employees still out of control.
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madrasrock


Nov 16, 2006, 11:14 AM
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USFS Employees still out of control.
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If you thought letting the USFS personal limiting people going into the wilderness was ok, well lets bring this a little closer to the climbing community. (See the article below). There are 100 and 1000 of government regulation, and a USFS employee can use any or all of them any time thay want. So join me and write your congressman, and let then know this is not acceptable.
Madrasrock

U.S. Forest Service in Oregon Attempts to Criminalize Fixed Anchors (08/17/2006)
BREAKING NEWS: Illegal Bolting Charge Dropped
(08/17/06)
The Access Fund received news from Medford, OR that the US Attorneys Office contacted a local defense attorney indicating that a citation will be dismissed that charged a climber with illegal bolting (see story below).
This particular citation was dismissed because there “appears to be no legal restrictions on the using anchor bolts on the Winema Forest.” For the last several weeks the Access Fund and local Oregon climbing community had rallied behind this issue, urging both national and local USFS officials to drop this charge and follow management policies more consistent with national guidelines that allow the use and placement of fixed anchors on National Forest System land.
(08/16/2006)
Law enforcement officers with the Fremont-Winema National Forest in southeast Oregon have made new and unique interpretations of US Forest Service (USFS) policy and regulations in an effort to criminalize the use and placement of fixed anchors. Citations have been issued to climbers who put up routes with fixed anchors on National Forest land with no special management designation such as wilderness.
This is an ominous development for climbers and if not stopped, could lead to severe restrictions on developing new routes and new areas on federally-managed land elsewhere.
In the first case, climbers were charged under 16 USC 551 for “failure to remove personal property to wit: rock climbing gear” at the Sprague River Picnic Area near Bly, Oregon. The gear that was not removed consisted of bolts and top anchors—safety equipment that is intended to remain permanently in place. The climbers were also issued a written warning that they had violated 36 CFR 261.10(a): “rock climbing gear placed and maintained on National Forest when such activity requires a special use permit.”
In the second case, a climber was issued two citations under 36 CFR 261.10(a): building or maintaining trails without a special use permit. The climber had put up climbing routes that used fixed anchors for protection, replaced old, poorly located bolts used primarily for top-roping, and had improved a badly-eroding access trail at the Williamson Cliffs near Klamath Falls, Oregon. In these citations, the USFS law enforcement officer claimed that putting up a climbing route was the same thing as constructing a hiking trail, which requires a special issue permit. In both these cases the citations are without merit and the Access fund is supporting local Oregon climbers with their legal defense efforts.
Forest Service policy does not require that a climber obtain a special use permit to go rock climbing, whether climbing established routes or developing new ones. Nor has the USFS previously equated fixed anchors (bolts, pitons, etc.) with abandoned personal property (e.g. junker cars, hazardous materials). In both cases, the climbing occurred on USFS land that was not under a special management designation, such as Wilderness, proposed wilderness, traditional cultural property, or Research Natural Area. Climbing was not prohibited in either area at the time the climbers were cited, and both areas have long been used for climbing, particularly the Williamson Cliffs.
A trial date of August 31st has been set for one of the cited climbers. The climber has hired an attorney, and Access Fund Policy Director Jason Keith will testify as an expert witness for the defense explaining why the interpretations made by the USFS law enforcement officers are unprecedented, in opposition to established policy, and therefore unlawful.
This trial will be very important in determining whether the USFS, and likely other federal land agencies, will recognize the legitimacy of using fixed anchors when climbing on federal land.
From The ACCESS Fund Web page


notch


Nov 16, 2006, 11:51 AM
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Re: [madrasrock] USFS Employees still out of control. [In reply to]
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No disrespect intended Madrasrock, but it seems you've got a USFS vendetta. No, the Forest Service may not use any or all of their "100 and 1000 government regulation" any time they want. They may only use those regulations which apply to a particular set of circumstances at the particular time. If, in the case of a climbing route being equated with a hiking trail, there is a question of interpretation, that's for the courts to decide. Hopefully the courts will make the correct decision, as the spirit of that policy really doesn't apply to climbing routes, but if they don't, that's why (hopefully) we're all giving to the Access Fund so that they will influence better laws and regulations.

My wife works for a division of the USDA, just like the Forest Service is a division of the USDA. I'll tell you first hand that they are rarely staffed as well as they should be and don't have nearly enough time or resources to be able to memorize their 100 and 1000 of government regulation. They do the best they can to protect our resources, and most of them are passionate about doing just that.


madrasrock


Nov 16, 2006, 7:40 PM
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Re: [notch] USFS Employees still out of control. [In reply to]
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Notch

I have no USFS vendetta, I just am reporting what is happening. If you think the USFS is doing the correct thing then that is great, but I do not. This is just one of many stories of the USFS employees miss using there powers.

As a government employee I think you need to read the Federal Code of Regulation, I do. What you will find is any federal employee can charge you with anything they want to, and there nothing you can do about it. There are regulations for every thing.

I is obvious that this incident is just an example of a federal employee using the Federal Code of Regulations for some personal reason agents climbers, I was very pleased that the department of justice, through the case out. But, what did it cost, the climber? How much time and money? It should have ever happened in the first place. This is not a mater of interpretation.
It is just absurd to even think that a climbing route is the same thing as a hiking trail or safety bolts are abandon property.


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