The following was some discussion about the impact of the wilderness bill on our district trails. Since the wilderness bill passed, this information was deemed out of date, however we wanted to keep it for reference:
Wilderness expansion will incorporate many of our trails. We will no longer be allowed to clear them yearly with our chainsaws (and our teeth aren’t that sharp). The labor and cost of trail maintenance could rise ten fold. Currently there is little money for this work as it is. There is no reason to expect more. The sale of condos at Government Camp will not be funding crosscut saw crews to keep your trails nice to walk. Expect deterioration. Climb over, under, and around fallen trees: average ten per mile per year. This wilderness expansion is really heartbreaking because we volunteers have worked so hard to recover most of these trails from years of neglect. We will continue to keep the non-wilderness trails nice.
IT CANNOT BE OVER EMPHASIZED HOW MUCH OF A DISASTER THE MOUNT HOOD WILDERNESS BILL WILL BE FOR THE DISTRICT TRAILS. The consequence will be loss of trails and access to all but the most extreme adventurers, a very small minority of users.
Wilderness expansion impacted trails:
502, 502-A, Old Bissell, 506, 507, 521, 517, 518, 510, 512, 515, 516, 521, 702, 704, 703, 705, 715, 727, and a handful of user trails and access trails.
If the Bills pass, we will consider lobbying for abandonment of some of the above trail mileage and work to replace it with mileage outside wilderness that could actually be properly maintained – with modern equipment and available manpower.