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  1. #41
    Registered User soilman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Traveler View Post
    No, the insurer does after they confirm the volunteer was working within the prescribed rules and regulations of the maintenance organization.
    The federal government is self-insured. Injury claims would be processed by federal workman's compensation.
    More walking, less talking.

  2. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by soilman View Post
    Not all of USDA is shutdown. I received an email yesterday from the Farm Services Agency (USDA). All offices are to open today. They had opened selected offices for 3 days to process farm loans late last week. This is just an example of how arbitrary this shutdown is. I guess it is essential that farmers have access to government loans and assistance but not so much for the Forest Service to maintain trails.
    We all got to eat I guess. In a shutdown situation federal workers are declared excepted or non-excepted. In general I think in every agency affected there are some people working and some not working. We are going to have to limit this to trail related workers only. Thanks in advance.
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  3. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alligator View Post
    It's not that simple. There are agreements in place from the simple to the complex. In a nutshell, the crux of a government shutdown is that the government cannot order work for which there are no appropriated funds. So the government cannot uphold its agreement to provide insurance for trail volunteers that is provided for in some of those agreements. The government has to say "Don't work on the trails, you might get hurt, we're not funded right now", so they don't get sued.
    In other situations, there are no federal personnel working in whatever capacity called for in those trail agreements. Nobody to conduct chainsaw certifications for instance. Logging is one of the deadliest occupations, cited sometimes as #1.
    Agree. You have described the problem well. I'm saying that we can do better. Anyone can get themselves tangled up into a complicated rats nest. Private companies do this all the time and fail. Individuals complicate their lives and fail. Too much overhead is a state of being that we each have to work to overcome.

    Chainsaw certifications?? Im sure you can describe some problem this once solved, but the truth is that I am fully capable of grabbing my Stihl chainsaw and safely removing some small trees from a trail. I'm also capable of paying for my own injuries and making sure I don't start a fire (which is extremely difficult to do with a chainsaw on the east coast. Just try it.)

    There is a reason individuals and small businesses get up everyday and work hard without all that entanglement. It's called productivity. It works. You want a government that promotes individual productivity, not one that gets in the way of it.

  4. #44
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    The perfect "shutdown" would be for everyone to "shutdown" the non-hiking related dialogue! I believe most of of come here for hiking related information, not political discussion. Although the thread started innocently (and hiking related) enough, it has quickly spun away from it's original intent. This is one of the few sites that I see as a safe haven to escape from such political discy and would greatly appreciate keeping it that way. Thanks in advance for your consideration. Keep it hiking related, and may all your travels bring you peace.

  5. #45
    4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soilman View Post
    Yes. Several years ago while working on the volunteer Konarock trail crew my wife was injured and required stitches. She was covered by USFS if she would have elected to use this. She had her own medical insurance and it was simpler for her to go that route than through the USFS.
    Quote Originally Posted by Traveler View Post
    No, the insurer does after they confirm the volunteer was working within the prescribed rules and regulations of the maintenance organization.
    Quote Originally Posted by soilman View Post
    The federal government is self-insured. Injury claims would be processed by federal workman's compensation.
    Some info on injury, etc when volunteering for Fed Gov. https://www.volunteer.gov/faq.cfm

    Quote Originally Posted by FreeGoldRush View Post
    Agree. You have described the problem well. I'm saying that we can do better. Anyone can get themselves tangled up into a complicated rats nest. Private companies do this all the time and fail. Individuals complicate their lives and fail. Too much overhead is a state of being that we each have to work to overcome.

    Chainsaw certifications?? Im sure you can describe some problem this once solved, but the truth is that I am fully capable of grabbing my Stihl chainsaw and safely removing some small trees from a trail. I'm also capable of paying for my own injuries and making sure I don't start a fire (which is extremely difficult to do with a chainsaw on the east coast. Just try it.)

    There is a reason individuals and small businesses get up everyday and work hard without all that entanglement. It's called productivity. It works. You want a government that promotes individual productivity, not one that gets in the way of it.
    While your intentions may be good, as a volunteer on government projects and property you cannot legally authorize yourself to perform work nor can you self-certify that you are capable of operating safely. In this case, somewhere, there's a furloughed NPS/USFS/BLM/??? employee who is accountable for getting the job done properly AND productively AND ensuring established safety procedures are followed.

  6. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4eyedbuzzard View Post
    While your intentions may be good, as a volunteer on government projects and property you cannot legally authorize yourself to perform work nor can you self-certify that you are capable of operating safely. In this case, somewhere, there's a furloughed NPS/USFS/BLM/??? employee who is accountable for getting the job done properly AND productively AND ensuring established safety procedures are followed.
    No one suggested breaking any laws. But this does highlight how crazy broken laws/rules/regulations/procedures are when it prevents people from working for free. Millions of people pick up limbs and clear small trees from their own property without such complications, and it works just fine.

  7. #47
    4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FreeGoldRush View Post
    No one suggested breaking any laws.
    I wasn't implying that you were suggesting breaking laws. Just informing that there has to be someone with legal authority (typically a gov employee at a supervisory or higher level) to authorize/perform work on Federal lands.
    But this does highlight how crazy broken laws/rules/regulations/procedures are when it prevents people from working for free. Millions of people pick up limbs and clear small trees from their own property without such complications, and it works just fine.
    Key words, "their own property". While Federal lands belong to "The People", they only do so collectively. What you or I decide on our own doesn't give us the right to impose it on the other 325 million who also own it. I get where you're coming from - it's just one guy cleaning up a short section of trail. A guy frustrated with the bureaucracy. Trust me, no one is more frustrated with the bureaucracy than Federal employees themselves. But if the rules are bent for one, then why not for everybody? And I just don't think we want everybody with what are likely very different ideas, all with good intentions - and chainsaws, or even larger equipment - doing whatever they think needs doing. There have to be controls to protect the resource. It's a big country, with lots of land and trees. And yeah, whether we like it or not, it takes a pretty big bureaucracy to manage it all.

    The strength of the bureaucracy is measured by it's ability to resist giving anyone special treatment. - Colonel Fetisov, Citizen X

  8. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4eyedbuzzard View Post
    I wasn't implying that you were suggesting breaking laws. Just informing that there has to be someone with legal authority (typically a gov employee at a supervisory or higher level) to authorize/perform work on Federal lands. Key words, "their own property". While Federal lands belong to "The People", they only do so collectively. What you or I decide on our own doesn't give us the right to impose it on the other 325 million who also own it. I get where you're coming from - it's just one guy cleaning up a short section of trail. A guy frustrated with the bureaucracy. Trust me, no one is more frustrated with the bureaucracy than Federal employees themselves. But if the rules are bent for one, then why not for everybody? And I just don't think we want everybody with what are likely very different ideas, all with good intentions - and chainsaws, or even larger equipment - doing whatever they think needs doing. There have to be controls to protect the resource. It's a big country, with lots of land and trees. And yeah, whether we like it or not, it takes a pretty big bureaucracy to manage it all.
    The strength of the bureaucracy is measured by it's ability to resist giving anyone special treatment. - Colonel Fetisov, Citizen X
    No one is talking about a "right to impose" or bending rules. Nor are we talking about how you "manage it all". We're just talking about a guy using his spare time to remove fallen limbs and small trees from the trail.

    Two months ago there were volunteers that did this just fine. They can do it just as fine today during a government shutdown. The fact that the bureaucracy prohibits this (even when they are supposedly shutdown) is the problem that can most certainly be improved upon. I can show you countless instances where people work exceedingly well in small groups without the guidance of a large bureaucracy.

    So you and I fundamentally disagree. You think that if these same trail maintainers went out today "doing whatever they think" that it would create problems. I think it would improve the trail!

  9. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by FreeGoldRush View Post
    No one is talking about a "right to impose" or bending rules. Nor are we talking about how you "manage it all". We're just talking about a guy using his spare time to remove fallen limbs and small trees from the trail.

    Two months ago there were volunteers that did this just fine. They can do it just as fine today during a government shutdown. The fact that the bureaucracy prohibits this (even when they are supposedly shutdown) is the problem that can most certainly be improved upon. I can show you countless instances where people work exceedingly well in small groups without the guidance of a large bureaucracy.

    So you and I fundamentally disagree. You think that if these same trail maintainers went out today "doing whatever they think" that it would create problems. I think it would improve the trail!
    You are completely oversimplifying mainly because you don't like government. We're not here to debate government. This thread is about what are the actual consequences of the shutdown on the trail. Quit spinning the thread out to debating government. Thank you, last warning.
    "Sleepy alligator in the noonday sun
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  10. #50
    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alligator View Post
    fWe're not here to debate government. This thread is about what are the actual consequences of the shutdown on the trail.
    In some prior shutdowns hikers were not allowed to enter and pass through National Parks.

    One could hike the AT in National Forests, but not in National Parks.

    I understand that kimd of punative restriction is no longer the case, but I do wonder about GSNP.

    Since that Park requires thru hikers to be registered and others to have site-specific permits, would it be legal for thru hikers to camp in the park if the forms or other means of registration are not available?

    Splitting hairs, I know.

  11. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickb View Post
    In some prior shutdowns hikers were not allowed to enter and pass through National Parks.

    One could hike the AT in National Forests, but not in National Parks.

    I understand that kimd of punative restriction is no longer the case, but I do wonder about GSNP.

    Since that Park requires thru hikers to be registered and others to have site-specific permits, would it be legal for thru hikers to camp in the park if the forms or other means of registration are not available?

    Splitting hairs, I know.
    For a direct answer, I'd try contacting District Ranger Joe Pond 828-497-1918 for an immediate answer, or by email using the form mail link on this webpage https://www.nps.gov/grsm/learn/news/grsmaccess.htm
    No time to try right now, I'm "essential" (well, only marginally so according to my wife).
    Last edited by 4eyedbuzzard; 01-24-2019 at 07:42.

  12. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by soilman View Post
    The federal government is self-insured. Injury claims would be processed by federal workman's compensation.
    That has been a fuzzy area in terms of insurance for non-employees versus employees, my information may be old if this has changed and the federal government now considers all volunteers "employees" and self insures them as opposed to outsourcing insurance for these folks or for particular groups of volunteers.

  13. #53
    Registered User soilman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Traveler View Post
    That has been a fuzzy area in terms of insurance for non-employees versus employees, my information may be old if this has changed and the federal government now considers all volunteers "employees" and self insures them as opposed to outsourcing insurance for these folks or for particular groups of volunteers.
    It is spelled out quite clearly on the ATC website.

    https://www.appalachiantrail.org/doc...rsn=4e5686a0_2
    More walking, less talking.

  14. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickb View Post
    In some prior shutdowns hikers were not allowed to enter and pass through National Parks.
    One could hike the AT in National Forests, but not in National Parks.
    I understand that kimd of punative restriction is no longer the case, but I do wonder about GSNP.
    Since that Park requires thru hikers to be registered and others to have site-specific permits, would it be legal for thru hikers to camp in the park if the forms or other means of registration are not available?
    Splitting hairs, I know.
    The GSMNP website will allow you to register and obtain permits. Here's the message that comes up when you choose a site:

    During Government Shutdown, facilities are closed. Trails and backcountry are open. Emergency response will be limited, please use caution.

  15. #55
    Registered User rmitchell's Avatar
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    Safety and lack of emergency services is the reason volunteers are asked to stand down during the shut down, according to e-mails that I received from Smoky Mountain Hiking club.

    The backcountry website for GSMNP is not directly managed by the National Park Service so it is still active. It is funded by reservation fees.

  16. #56
    Clueless Weekender Another Kevin's Avatar
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    31 USC 1342:
    An officer or employee of the United States Government or of the District of Columbia government may not accept voluntary services for either government or employ personal services exceeding that authorized by law except for emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property.
    In the shutdown, there was no law enabling the National Park Service to accept voluntary services. This has been construed as requiring the shut-down departments actively to forbid and attempt to prevent volunteer work. In fact, the original legislative intent was to prevent government workers from 'volunteering' to work unpaid during a shutdown, or 'volunteering' to work unauthorized overtime, and then demanding back pay from Congress In short, it was to make a shutdown or budget ceiling 'stick,' rather than have the President ask/demand that workers volunteer and promising that they'd get paid later. Sound familiar?

    http://ultimatehistoryproject.com/an...-shutdown.html has a fairly balanced treatment of the law that forbids volunteering for the government.
    I always know where I am. I'm right here.

  17. #57
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    A deal has been reached to temporarily end the shutdown for three weeks. Hopefully a long term budget will be negotiated so that our parks and trails can resume business as usual.

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