Queets River "back door" access - Fly Fishing Forum
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Old 12-23-2006, 11:11 PM
Todd Ripley Todd Ripley is offline
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Thumbs down Queets River "back door" access

From an e-mail from a couple of days ago...surprised it hasn't shown up on this board yet!

Anyway, here it is...and place me firmly in the "DO NOT open the back door access up for public access.

************************************

Olympic National Park News Release

December 21, 2006
For Immediate Release
Barb Maynes 360-565-3005

Interim Access Route Proposed for Queets Valley; Public Comment Invited

An Environmental Assessment (EA) for Restoring Interim Access to the Queets
Area was released today and is available for public review and comment. The
EA analyzes one action alternative for restoring interim access into the
Queets Valley, along with a no action alternative.

The Queets Road has been closed to traffic since March 2005, when a rock
slide undercut the road bed, creating cracks in the road and rendering it
unsafe for vehicles. In January 2006, an even larger slide at the same
site completely wiped out 150 feet of the road, leaving a 200-foot deep
chasm and closing the area to pedestrian traffic as well.

“Thanks to excellent cooperation from our two neighboring agencies in the
Queets, we are proposing to use DNR and U.S. Forest Service roads in order
to establish an alternate route into the upper Queets area,” said Olympic
National Park Superintendent Bill Laitner. “Our goal is to re-establish
access into the Queets rain forest, allowing people to once again enjoy the
area.”

The roads considered for restoring access to the Queets are U.S. Forest
Service Roads 21 and 2180, both of which are currently open to the public.
These roads would provide access to another U.S. Forest Service road and a
DNR road, which would lead to a National Park Service road sometimes
referred to as the “back door road.” These roads have been used in the
past for access by park staff, for emergency and administrative purposes,
and when flooding or washouts have occurred along the first ten miles of
the Queets Road.

Comments should be sent to the following address no later than January 31,
2007.

Superintendent – Queets EA
Olympic National Park
600 East Park Avenue
Port Angeles, WA 98362

Fax: 360-565-3015
Website: http://parkplanning.nps.gov
Email: olym_ea@nps.gov

Comments may also be submitted on-line by visiting
http://parkplanning.nps.gov, the website for the National Park Service’s
Planning Environment and Public Comment system. Initial public input on
restoring access to the Queets was invited in July 2005. Twenty-one
comments were received.

For more information or to request a copy of the EA, people may call the
park superintendent's office at (360) 565-3004.

Commentors should be aware that their entire comment – including personal
identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time.
While commentors can ask that their personal identifying information be
withheld from public review, the NPS cannot guarantee that this will be
possible.


- NPS -

**********************

Fish on...

Todd
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  #2  
Old 12-24-2006, 11:01 AM
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juro juro is offline
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I remember abusing my 4x4 to get around the Quinault washout many moons ago to access the upper river. It was a near religious experience with grazing elk, drafting eagles and cougar tracks on the banks of crystal tributaries with red-sided spawning steelhead in them. I hardly even fished while marveling at the incredible stuff around me.

However anyone could do anything they wanted up there, even the elk were hanging out like cattle on a grassy bend of the river, 75-100 of them.

I would have to agree with you unless this back door came with a vigilant watch from the EPOs and park officials.
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  #3  
Old 12-26-2006, 01:03 PM
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Feiger Feiger is offline
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More info requested...

Ripley and Juro...

Curious as to your concerns regarding this proposal. am on neither side of the fence, just wondering about your concerns... Issues w/ poaching? other resource damage?? thanks for your input... am unfamiliar with this area...
feiger
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Old 12-26-2006, 09:48 PM
Todd Ripley Todd Ripley is offline
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I have a couple of different reasons for feeling like I do...

First, there are no hatchery fish up there...and NPS regulations require the release of all wild steelhead...poachers do not readily have access to the upper watershed, because they aren't likely to do a 16 mile roundtrip hike and pack out a poached wild fish...there are dozens of places where they can drive right out onto the river bar and do that.

While fishing pressure would undoubtedly increase, that's not really much of an issue...it is on an "experience" level, but I doubt it would affect the fish runs there so much. My last several trips up there, I haven't seen a single person other than my partners.

The most important factor for me is the overall increase in use of the area in total...the campground was notorious for being a mess...garbage everywhere, junk in the firepits, firewood gathering from the surrounding woods (illegal in the Nat. Park), and worse, lots of garbage...beer cans to shrimp containers...laying on the river bars and washed up in the log jams.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of places on the OP where recreationalists can drive in, set up camp, or go fishing...there are only a handful where you can do a two hour hike and be into some great fishing water without all the mess and people, and the upper Queets is one of 'em.

The hike isn't so bad...eight miles of flat road bed...but it keeps out all but the serious fishermen and hikers, and serious fishermen and hikers are much less likely to make a mess.

When the Park was created the Queets Valley was touted as "the most pristine" in the Park...that's why the Park includes a corridor along the lower Queets all the way down to the Quinault Reservation, rather than just being up in the mountains like the other watersheds are.

This helps keep it that way.

Fish on...

Todd
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  #5  
Old 12-28-2006, 08:36 AM
jhicks jhicks is offline
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Here is my input on the issue at hand. I have fished the Queets on many occasions and love the river. It is truly one of the the jems of our country. How many rivers can we put in and float all day without seeing a road, bridge, house, cow, or some other manmade object? Not many. If it were up to me I would leave the Queets completely unfettered and wild. Adding access adds man to an already fragile equasion.

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  #6  
Old 12-28-2006, 05:36 PM
Moonlight Moonlight is offline
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The road and access is not new it is simply a road repair and the EA is just a formality, the Park is going to re establish the link to the Ranger Station and Campground.(Period)
Perhaps there could be additional regulations to restrict some uses that pre exisisted the roads slide into the river but those will be dealt with by the Parks Manangers at another venue.
The work will not take place until late in the Spring well after this fishing season.
Where the road ends at Sams River and from there it is now and always was and will be a walk in show. The road is a logging road the whole place was logged adjacent to the road after the second world war. The few old growth trees that exisist below Sams River are just the few that they could not get to with the equipment to yard them out and we are very fortunate that the cutters left them standing.
I have been making the trip by foot and bike and to be perfectly honest I am looking forward to never having to push my montain bike up that friggin hill again.
Interesting comment about litter and campground clutter I must have overlooked something but I think that was just hyperbole to justify a position. But hey I'ev done worse
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Old 12-28-2006, 07:54 PM
jhicks jhicks is offline
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Moonlight,

Is riding a bike into a national park that bad?
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  #8  
Old 12-29-2006, 10:55 AM
Moonlight Moonlight is offline
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Riding a bike in a National Park is perfectly acceptable and after the park reopens the road you will be able to continue doing so. I will probably switch back to driving my truck in and out of the Valley but if it offends you to use a form of transport other than bike then by all means do not offend yourself.
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Old 12-29-2006, 11:17 AM
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Access

Would you deprive older and handicapped access ?

Skilly
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  #10  
Old 12-29-2006, 01:09 PM
Moonlight Moonlight is offline
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Skilly next year I will celebrate my 60th year and my 44th fishing the Queets I have arthritis in a variety of my joints and while it was a struggle I managed to find my way in and out of the affected area and will no doubt do the same this season. However I know that it is simply a matter of time until the forces of age and deteriation will take there toll and stop me from enduring the access as it now exisist, (actually the trips in and out are probably detremental to the joints in question. )
As I stated earlier there is and always was an extensive area in the Queets and other Olympic river drainages that are restricted to non vehicular access.
Its always nice to have a little room to yourself and the few folks who used the area since the slide see it as a way to get away from the crowds now there are several websites having these same disscussions and unfortunately this begging the rest of the angling world to come and enjoy that solitude. (Kind of reminds me of the old 60's era lament of "Fighting for peace is like F ing for Virginty"!
I am certain that the road work will be completed and access will be regained. There may as there always is a potential to address additional restrictions by the managers through the Parks fishing season and boating rules.
Whatever rules are made in the Park to address any issuess of access they will have to consider Handicap Access.
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  #11  
Old 12-29-2006, 02:25 PM
SSPey SSPey is offline
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I assume they intend to re-open the river road someday, so this backdoor access is an interim measure? If that's the case, then why bother? The EIS speaks of general problems with lost of access. Recreation, sure, but some recreational experiences benefit from the lack of access. Are any significant long term scientific studies jeopardized by lack of access? Anything else substantive?

over the long haul, a good case can be made to decommission the river road, and only have the backdoor access, since the river will continue to maul that road as long as it flows to the sea.
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Old 12-29-2006, 06:41 PM
Moonlight Moonlight is offline
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The back door access already exisist and has been utilzed in the past when bridges at Salmon River and Mud Creek were washed out or being rebuilt. I doubt the Park will ever rebuild or reroute the road around the slide above Matheny Creek were talking well over a Million Bucks to engage in such a job. Using the West Haul Road (so called back door) would take one man with a rubber tire backhoe a day at most to reopen. The EA that is 90 pages long is make work job security for a lot of people and has apparently wasted the time of many others myself included. The road portion across State land (which is recently logged ) Has recently been designated by the State as wild life habitat and they closed the road. I was lead to beleive that this was Bureaucratic fighting over who controls what and why. There of course is no way on this earth that any of the agencys involved in (this pissing match) would admit to it in public. I have checked out post on other boards re this issue and I must say it is pretty amazing the misinformation and BS that is floating around I wonder if this might be part of the reason a lot of management agencys have a hard time working with Advocacy Groups in there deliberations.
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Old 12-30-2006, 12:26 AM
flytyer flytyer is offline
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I find myself in complete agreement with Moonlight on this issue. In the 15 years I've been fishing the Queets, I've never found a "crowd" at the end of the road at Sam's River. I do miss being able to drive up to the campground on the Queets Road (which is more of a dirt track or logging road than a proper road) and camping in the back of my truck under the topper (or canopy, or camper shell as it is called in different locales) for a week end or 3-4 days. I know I wouldn't want to push a mountain bike up that stinkin' hill either.

Lest we forget, the Queets is a long drive for most fishers in Western WA, it is not a quick little 2 hour drive. Plus once you get there, there are not services, food, water, etc. except for those you provide.

I mean at this rate, we ought to be requesting the upper Hoh road be closed and possibly the OP's Clearwater River Road as well.
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Old 12-30-2006, 04:08 AM
SSPey SSPey is offline
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thanks for indicating threads on other websites. I was on the fence, but after reading the exchanges on Piscatorial Pursuits (which I haven't visited in a long while), I'm now more clearly resolved on my position. Not that it matters, as I expect the "open it up" perspective will prevail, fully in line with the NPS philosophy nationally of interpreting their "public enjoyment" mandate a bit too liberally (i.e., not conservatively) under the Organic Act.
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Old 12-30-2006, 12:16 PM
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