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Slow Roller
08-06-2018, 12:29
Heard on the radio today that clean up from storms in GA mountains is still far from over. What is the reason power saws are not allowed? Seems silly to me.

colorado_rob
08-06-2018, 12:32
Not sure about out there, but out here, power tools are not allowed in a Wilderness designated area. Yeah, a bit silly for officials doing cleanup, but them's the rules and the trail crews abide by the rules.

BuckeyeBill
08-06-2018, 13:01
One spark from a power tool could touch off a fire, which nobody wants.

Tipi Walter
08-06-2018, 14:15
There's a vast conversation of this here----might have to join the group---

https://www.facebook.com/groups/38455654062/permalink/10156957136904063/

Slo-go'en
08-06-2018, 14:33
To use a chainsaw on FS land, you need to have the proper training and certification and wear all the required protection gear. It can get complicated as various agencies have different training and certification requirements (National Parks). And as noted, in wilderness areas power tools are banned.

DuneElliot
08-06-2018, 14:38
Chainsaws are allowed by permit for those clearing trails but they are limited to who and when...usually NFS rangers clearing trails or the Backcountry Horsemen organization when they go clear trails. There are definitely chainsaws used in the west to clear wilderness trails....those downed trees certainly aren't cut by hand

John B
08-06-2018, 14:56
I volunteer with the Red River Gorge Trail Crew, are we work in the Daniel Boone National Forest, Kentucky.

http://www.rrgtc.com/

When we are in the Clifty Wilderness Area, we are not allowed to use power tools of any type. To clear trails or if a tree has to be felled, old style cross cut saws are the tool of choice, followed by an axe, loppers, hand saws, etc. We are always under the direct supervision of the US Forest Ranger who has jurisdiction in that area.

In areas outside the wilderness area, we are allowed to use power tools, BUT the person using a chainsaw MUST be certified to do so. Safety first is always the rule. We are required always to wear a hardhat and steel toe boots.

I will ask next time (2nd Sat of every month), but I think there are a multiplicity of reasons -- noise pollution, using hand tools forces you to think before acting, the self-limiting externalities of hand tools, etc.

From a trail maintenance crew perspective, I think that most of us prefer hand tools -- very few are certified to use chainsaws, so with crosscut saws, etc they allow us to do more stuff.

John B
08-06-2018, 15:06
Sometimes it isn't easy to clear blowdowns with a crosscut.

43384

DuneElliot
08-06-2018, 15:26
Sometimes it isn't easy to clear blowdowns with a crosscut.

43384

Maybe I was wrong...it's just a 4ft diameter tree I assumed was cut with a chainsaw, even in the wilderness but with a permit.

John B
08-06-2018, 17:04
Maybe I was wrong...it's just a 4ft diameter tree I assumed was cut with a chainsaw, even in the wilderness but with a permit.

Dune, maybe there are different rules out west to address differences like elevation and terrain. All I know is that we're not allowed to use power tools in wilderness areas no matter the size of the tree or how many blowdowns there are after a big storm. Even our supervising USFS ranger doesn't do it. But then we're rarely more than 5-7 miles hike from at least a forest road access point.

I'll ask our ranger next weekend and get a better answer.

DuneElliot
08-06-2018, 17:10
Dune, maybe there are different rules out west to address differences like elevation and terrain. All I know is that we're not allowed to use power tools in wilderness areas no matter the size of the tree or how many blowdowns there are after a big storm. Even our supervising USFS ranger doesn't do it. But then we're rarely more than 5-7 miles hike from at least a forest road access point.

I'll ask our ranger next weekend and get a better answer.

You're probably right, even for out here. I've seen the No Chainsaw signs but thought they were for the general public and had exceptions for trail clearing.

MuddyWaters
08-06-2018, 17:14
Chainsaws can be used in wilderness areas for cleanup if there is a special permit. These are frowned upon, not first choice.

A section of CT in wilderness area is inundated with blowdowns, same reason.

DuneElliot
08-06-2018, 17:19
Chainsaws can be used in wilderness areas for cleanup if there is a special permit. These are frowned upon, not first choice.

A section of CT in wilderness area is inundated with blowdowns, same reason.
Okay, thanks for clarifying. There are definitely places I passed in the High Uinta Wilderness that had some serious blowdown areas...couldn't imagine doing any of that by hand...quite the mess

rhjanes
08-06-2018, 17:26
Everyone above making great comments. I was hiking in a "NFS Wilderness" area in Arkansas. Some well meaning person had used paint to blaze the trail. The train maintenance team went in and had to like sand off and try and paint match the bark to remove the blazes. In a "Wilderness" area, no power tools, no pack animals, no blazes (cairn's are OK). It is to be pristine (except for the trails).

DuneElliot
08-06-2018, 17:37
Everyone above making great comments. I was hiking in a "NFS Wilderness" area in Arkansas. Some well meaning person had used paint to blaze the trail. The train maintenance team went in and had to like sand off and try and paint match the bark to remove the blazes. In a "Wilderness" area, no power tools, no pack animals, no blazes (cairn's are OK). It is to be pristine (except for the trails).
Pack animals are fine in any wilderness areas here...that's how they get the tools in. No difference between pack and riding animals

Slow Roller
08-06-2018, 19:07
I understand the need for low impact to the land, but a storm has already caused major impact. A common sense approach to clearing these areas should be implemented.

I would take a Bobcat and a crew of the best tree men up there and get the job done. Afterwards go in and repair the trail with hand tools.

Slow Roller
08-06-2018, 19:12
Pack animals are fine in any wilderness areas here...that's how they get the tools in. No difference between pack and riding animals

That's good to know. I had considered buying a goat to haul my gear while I hike.

DuneElliot
08-06-2018, 19:14
I understand the need for low impact to the land, but a storm has already caused major impact. A common sense approach to clearing these areas should be implemented.

I would take a Bobcat and a crew of the best tree men up there and get the job done. Afterwards go in and repair the trail with hand tools.

Rarely need the power of a Bobat...a chainsaw is the only power tool needed most of the time. Why you would ever need a Bobcat in the wilderness is beyond me...all you need to do is to cut a passage through the trees and that only requires a gap of 3-4 ft at most. A Bobcat would destroy trail and vegetation and then add to the cost of trail maintenance by requiring trail repair. The point of the wilderness is to be as impacted by man as little as possible.

peakbagger
08-06-2018, 19:21
Years ago we were section hiking out of Kincora Hostel and therefore was there for a few days. The subject of power tools in Wilderness areas came up with Bob as Kincora is adjacent to Laurel Fork Wilderness. Bob told us the no power tools rule only applies during normal conditions. He told us all it takes is the stroke of the pen by the forest district supervisor to sign a form declaring an emergency. Bob had personally been responsible for clean up in Laurel Folk in "emergency" conditions after a storm with power tools. There was a major event in the Whites and Greens several years ago (Hurricane Irene). In the whites, the forest service decided that even though he could sign the emergency declaration he elected not to. The net result was it took years to clear some areas and large amounts of trail work didn't get done when they ran out of time and money to pay employees to do it by hand.

Having gone through NPS saw training and certification, its a major commitment for a volunteer and the rules that need to be followed make it difficult to actually use the certification. I went through it once and then decided it wasnt something I was going to continue staying certified.

Slow Roller
08-06-2018, 19:27
Just saying what I would do. I did say go in and repair the trail afterwards. If man stayed off the trail for 5 years you would never know there was a trail.

rhjanes
08-06-2018, 19:38
Pack animals are fine in any wilderness areas here...that's how they get the tools in. No difference between pack and riding animalsI bet I was mistaken on that point. Designated "Wilderness" areas have pretty strict rules. I think the area I was in, also has "no animals". But perhaps for hauling in hand tools, maybe that is OK.
Where I was, there is a close by "NFS Wildlife" area....blazes, even florescent disc, power tools on major damage....no problem....

DuneElliot
08-06-2018, 19:50
I bet I was mistaken on that point. Designated "Wilderness" areas have pretty strict rules. I think the area I was in, also has "no animals". But perhaps for hauling in hand tools, maybe that is OK.
Where I was, there is a close by "NFS Wildlife" area....blazes, even florescent disc, power tools on major damage....no problem....

Could be. States also have designated wilderness areas that can be managed very differently from the federal ones

FrogLevel
08-06-2018, 21:16
I understand the need for low impact to the land, but a storm has already caused major impact. A common sense approach to clearing these areas should be implemented.

I would take a Bobcat and a crew of the best tree men up there and get the job done. Afterwards go in and repair the trail with hand tools.

But that's the whole point of a wilderness. It has to be left alone. Move around the blow downs. If we allow chain saws why not blazes on trees. If we allow blazes on trees why not build a shelter? And a privy... You have to draw the line somewhere and I think only using hand tools is a good place to draw the line.

DuneElliot
08-06-2018, 21:34
But that's the whole point of a wilderness. It has to be left alone. Move around the blow downs. If we allow chain saws why not blazes on trees. If we allow blazes on trees why not build a shelter? And a privy... You have to draw the line somewhere and I think only using hand tools is a good place to draw the line.

I think chainsaws, by permit and on occasion due to blow downs and other dramatic events, is a good occasional exception to the rule because if we still have to maintain access to trails and public lands especially within the minimal budgets the NFS already has.

MuddyWaters
08-07-2018, 07:18
I think chainsaws, by permit and on occasion due to blow downs and other dramatic events, is a good occasional exception to the rule because if we still have to maintain access to trails and public lands especially within the minimal budgets the NFS already has.
Maybe.
Someone decides if its necessary
Or just a lazy solution

Most times it would be latter, and that doesnt fly

Ive seen generators, drills used for blasting too, trail construction. All carried up. But thats it. A lot of slow manual labor.

Tipi Walter
08-07-2018, 09:28
But that's the whole point of a wilderness. It has to be left alone. Move around the blow downs. If we allow chain saws why not blazes on trees. If we allow blazes on trees why not build a shelter? And a privy... You have to draw the line somewhere and I think only using hand tools is a good place to draw the line.

I wish Wilderness could be left alone! Back in 2007 the Cheoah Ranger district in NC decided to land a helicopter on top of Hangover Mt which is smack dab in the middle of the Slickrock/Kilmer wilderness. Talk about unhappy campers. They came up and clearcut an acre off the top of the mountain with chainsaws etc.

I arrived with my pack the next day and got to see the rape of a wilderness mountain which you would think would stand protected "against man's impact for ages to come". Ha ha that's a joke. This is what I walked up on---

https://photos.smugmug.com/Backpacking2007/The-Hangover-Mountan-Clearcut/i-jHZskHL/0/0a4068cd/L/TRIP%2069%20036-L.jpg

Next pic---

https://photos.smugmug.com/Backpacking2008/Camping-with-Cuffs-and-Eman/i-wnxcXHj/0/9c1e4971/L/Trip%2076%20034-L.jpg
My dog stares in disbelief.

This is what the forest grove used to look like---

https://photos.smugmug.com/Backpacking2005/Backpacking-With-Kurt-Peterson/i-WdHVbxp/0/01620693/L/46-31%20%20chapel%20hill%20groups%2035th%20annual%20g et%20together%20by%20the%20hangover-L.jpg

I estimate it'll take at least 100 years to return to normal. What has it become?? A giant field of briars, of course---

https://photos.smugmug.com/Backpack-2017-Trips-79/18-Days-in-the-Emerald-Thicket/i-GnnNX8q/0/9c3520dd/L/Trip%20183%20%28332%29-L.jpg

When I returned home from my Clearcut trip I emailed the pics to a lawyer in Knoxville and an avid Sierra Club member. The fotogs caused a ruckus etc.

DuneElliot
08-07-2018, 09:44
I wish Wilderness could be left alone! Back in 2007 the Cheoah Ranger district in NC decided to land a helicopter on top of Hangover Mt which is smack dab in the middle of the Slickrock/Kilmer wilderness. Talk about unhappy campers. They came up and clearcut an acre off the top of the mountain with chainsaws etc.

I arrived with my pack the next day and got to see the rape of a wilderness mountain which you would think would stand protected "against man's impact for ages to come". Ha ha that's a joke. This is what I walked up on---

https://photos.smugmug.com/Backpacking2007/The-Hangover-Mountan-Clearcut/i-jHZskHL/0/0a4068cd/L/TRIP%2069%20036-L.jpg

Next pic---

https://photos.smugmug.com/Backpacking2008/Camping-with-Cuffs-and-Eman/i-wnxcXHj/0/9c1e4971/L/Trip%2076%20034-L.jpg
My dog stares in disbelief.

This is what the forest grove used to look like---

https://photos.smugmug.com/Backpacking2005/Backpacking-With-Kurt-Peterson/i-WdHVbxp/0/01620693/L/46-31%20%20chapel%20hill%20groups%2035th%20annual%20g et%20together%20by%20the%20hangover-L.jpg

I estimate it'll take at least 100 years to return to normal. What has it become?? A giant field of briars, of course---

https://photos.smugmug.com/Backpack-2017-Trips-79/18-Days-in-the-Emerald-Thicket/i-GnnNX8q/0/9c3520dd/L/Trip%20183%20%28332%29-L.jpg

When I returned home from my Clearcut trip I emailed the pics to a lawyer in Knoxville and an avid Sierra Club member. The fotogs caused a ruckus etc.

I've never seen the likes of this out here in the west. Wilderness is untouched except for trails.
The ONLY reason man touches the wilderness around here is to cut a tree that has fallen across the trail OR to fix a trail that has been washed out or affected by a rock slide...and unless it is a blow down or major winter clear out it is all done by hand with help of pack animals to haul the gear. I've seen helicopters go to the edge of the wilderness to drop stuff to repair a fire tower, but never land. I

colorado_rob
08-07-2018, 09:57
I've never seen the likes of this out here in the west. Wilderness is untouched except for trails.
The ONLY reason man touches the wilderness around here is to cut a tree that has fallen across the trail OR to fix a trail that has been washed out or affected by a rock slide...and unless it is a blow down or major winter clear out it is all done by hand with help of pack animals to haul the gear. I've seen helicopters go to the edge of the wilderness to drop stuff to repair a fire tower, but never land. I I'm guessing that in the vastly more crowded eastern wilderness areas, the wilderness rules are more likely to be bent for "special considerations", but really just a guess. I, too, in about 40 years of hiking extensively in the wilderness areas here in the west, have never seen any power tools or other mechanized items (vehicles, etc) in a wilderness area. But I have seen a lot of work being done in wilderness areas, always "by the book". Yet another example of different cultures east/west. Neither good nor bad, just different.

FreeGoldRush
08-07-2018, 10:37
One spark from a power tool could touch off a fire, which nobody wants.
This is simply not an issue in the southeast, especially during this wet year we are having. Power tools are routinely used outdoors.

The Old Chief
08-07-2018, 11:36
I was hiking in the Hunting Camp Creek Wilderness Area in SW Virginia a couple of weeks ago and there were plenty of AT blazes on the trees and a shelter (Jenkins). I can't recall any wilderness area on the AT that didn't have blazes and, if large enough, shelters. I do know that in the Middle Prong Wilderness Area in North Carolina, MST blazes are not allowed and next door in the Shining Rock Wilderness Area they are allowed.

skater
08-07-2018, 17:29
I was hiking in the Hunting Camp Creek Wilderness Area in SW Virginia a couple of weeks ago and there were plenty of AT blazes on the trees and a shelter (Jenkins). I can't recall any wilderness area on the AT that didn't have blazes and, if large enough, shelters. I do know that in the Middle Prong Wilderness Area in North Carolina, MST blazes are not allowed and next door in the Shining Rock Wilderness Area they are allowed.

Blazes in the wilderness on the AT are by special exemption. Blazing as a rule is discouraged or disallowed in wilderness.

DuneElliot
08-07-2018, 17:57
Blazes in the wilderness on the AT are by special exemption. Blazing as a rule is discouraged or disallowed in wilderness.
Having just done the High Uinta Wilderness I can definitely attest the this...cairns to show the trail in the wilderness, blazes and signs outside of the wilderness boundary (to a point, but inconsistent)

MuddyWaters
08-07-2018, 18:34
I've never seen the likes of this out here in the west. Wilderness is untouched except for trails.
The ONLY reason man touches the wilderness around here is to cut a tree that has fallen across the trail OR to fix a trail that has been washed out or affected by a rock slide...and unless it is a blow down or major winter clear out it is all done by hand with help of pack animals to haul the gear. I've seen helicopters go to the edge of the wilderness to drop stuff to repair a fire tower, but never land. I
They land to extract people when needed.
They dump fire suppressant from planes
They send in fire crews to contain non-natural fires
They build bridges over rivers and streams
They build trails...and use blasting.

We have NO true wilderness. It is all "managed".
It is intervened with as necessary.
Combustion engines are kept to minumum, but there is always exceptions

They dont blaze trails out west, they put up signs instead at intersections.

DuneElliot
08-07-2018, 19:51
They land to extract people when needed.
They dump fire suppressant from planes
They send in fire crews to contain non-natural fires
They build bridges over rivers and streams
They build trails...and use blasting.

We have NO true wilderness. It is all "managed".
It is intervened with as necessary.
Combustion engines are kept to minumum, but there is always exceptions

They dont blaze trails out west, they put up signs instead at intersections.

They dump fire suppressant from planes. Mostly here they let fire in the wilderness burn...build fire lines outside of wilderness boundaries.
They send in fire crews to contain non-natural fires See Previous statement
They build bridges over rivers and streams A few, to either better protect the natural environment or enable access and protect life. There is only one bridge in the Cloud Peak wilderness. And in the High Uintas they built boardwalks to better protect the marshland....sadly the lesser of two evils.
They build trails...and use blasting. Depends on the wilderness, but tail building is necessary. If people can't access these places why would people care about protecting them. Being able to touch and see places motivates people to protect them.

Signs or blazes (carved not painted)...both exist here in the west. Of course it's all managed but better managed to be touched as little as possible than not managed at all...now don't get me started on the MTB debate.

MtDoraDave
08-08-2018, 06:42
The first time I became aware of the power tool ban in certain areas was when I noticed a narrow cut an inch from where the final cut was made on a blowdown across the trail.
I've used a chainsaw enough to recognize that this cut mark was about half the width of what a chainsaw would leave.
I was blown away, because it was a large tree.
That occupied my mind the rest of that day.