IMPORTANT: Stewards of the Sequoia trained productive volunteers Denied

Discussion in 'Trail Maintenance' started by Mikie, Mar 24, 2020 at 9:15 PM.



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  1. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Hightower/Yeti 5C
    I would like to ask an imtbtrails favor of each and every one of you.
    Please read and sign this petition if you agree... it would mean a whole lot to me.

    Thank you.

    This group does amazing work on the trail maintenance in and around the Greater
    Kernville area. Yes this include Just Outstanding and the Can ell Plunge.

    https://www.opencampaign.com/petition/forest-service-terminates-award-winning-volunteers/8183


    Dear Mikie,

    Sadly, Sequoia Kern River District Ranger Al Watson just cancelled Stewards of the Sequoia volunteer trail maintenance agreement of 15 years.

    Per his termination letter Ranger Watson has no issue with any of Stewards trail work and thanks Stewards for their service, but he feels we are not good partners because Stewards object to the PCT Corridor and question the validity of the 2010 Piute Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM). These are freedom of speech issues, totally unrelated to volunteer trail maintenance. Ranger Watson should not be allowed to terminate our volunteer trail maintenance program based on anything other than our trail work. Stewards have not violated any law or regulation, we just do tons of hard trail work.

    As a Forest partner, Stewards of the Sequoia volunteers have performed so much valuable work to prevent erosion and keep trails enjoyable for everyone including clearing over 10,000 downed trees, maintaining over 5000 water bars and brushing hundreds of miles of trails. Without Stewards work, many trails would be impassable which would harm tourism and concentrate use. The Forest Service is unable to perform this work. The Forest Service needs to renew the partnership to allow Stewards to continue maintaining Sequoia trails.
    The real losers here are the trails and the public. We hope everyone will sign the petition now urging the Forest Service to let Stewards volunteers continue to maintain Sequoia trails so they can be enjoyed by everyone. We need thousands of signatures showing overwhelming support for Stewards volunteerism, and objecting to this unjustified termination.

    CLICK HERE TO SIGN PETITION TO REINSTATE STEWARDS VOLUNTEER AGREEMENT

    Please ask everyone you know to sign the petition. Feel free to forward this email to your friends and family.

    upload_2020-3-24_21-14-0.png
    The Forest Service is supposed to encourage volunteerism, not turn away willing and able partners like Stewards of the Sequoia with a proven track record of maintaining over 300 miles of trails each year

    You can read our letter to Supervisor Benson asking to be reinstated HERE, as well as Ranger Al's termination letter HERE

    Be sure to sign the petition NOW

    Thanks for standing up for volunteerism and for the right to free speech.

    SOS-Logo-400.jpg
     
  2. Cyclotourist

    Cyclotourist iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Redlands
    Name:
    David
    Current Bike:
    Chameleon 60%
    Signed, but can't believe that such a thing needs to be signed. I wonder what is going on that led up to it. Shame that the NFS has enough time to play politics like this.
     
    Luis, mike, Mikie and 2 others like this.
  3. mtnbikej

    mtnbikej J-Zilla

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    J M
    Current Bike:
    SC Chameleon SS, SC Hightower
    You never turn away volunteers. Volunteers have a shelf life, and you are never guaranteed to get more.
     
    Luis, mike, Mikie and 2 others like this.
  4. Derek13

    Derek13 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Costa Mesa
    Name:
    Derek Smith
    Current Bike:
    SC Hightower and Chameleon
    Signed and shared. Not sure if the Stewards take care of the Quaking Aspen area, but if they do then I hope they get to continue.
     
  5. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    If misinformation is justification for cancelling a stewardship agreement then the PCTA should be kicked off the PCT. They have been advocating against anything that comes even close to the PCT for years using all sorts of outlandish claims.
     
  6. mountaingirl sara

    mountaingirl sara iMTB Addict

    Location:
    So Cal
    Name:
    Sara Ford
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz 5010
    Done and shared:thumbsup:
    What absurdity to let go of volunteers!
     
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  7. herzalot

    herzalot iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Laguna Beach
    Name:
    Chris
    Current Bike:
    2020 SC Megaplower
    So what's the full story? I tried looking up the PCT corridor and the Paiute MVUM to get a glimpse of the politics behind the cancellation, but I couldn't piece it together. I also see that the exact same thing posted above was posted in Dirt Bike magazine.

    So is the underlying issue that the Stewards of the Sequoia favor motor vehicle (dirt bike) use of the PCT?
     
  8. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Hightower/Yeti 5C
    Chris,
    I'll reach out to Stewards of Sequoia and ask if they can jump on this thread. Their leadership is a member of imtbtrails. Thanks Sir!
     
  9. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Hightower/Yeti 5C
    Hey I'm also asking any folks that lurk imtbtrails to please click on the links above to sign the petition. You do not have to be a member of imtbtrails to sign this petition.
    Please share...
     
  10. Big Clyde

    Big Clyde Member

    Location:
    Oceanside
    Name:
    Harley Phillips
    Current Bike:
    Bronson
  11. mike

    mike iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    GG Smash
    Quick and easy.

    TFPU, @Mikie.
     
    Mikie, mountaingirl sara and mtnbikej like this.
  12. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    This goes back to a forest management plan update for Sequoia, Sierra and Inyo national forests. At one point the draft plans included a half mile buffer zone on either side of the PCT which would turn it into some sort of special visual management zone. The PCT people wanted a veto over any new trail crossings, and the visual management area could have restricted any development that is within that buffer. They also wanted to eliminate any competitive events from the PCT. I don't recall all the specifics. But of course as happens on either side of the issue all sorts of claims were being made about what the other side wanted.

    Stewards were not asking for motorized use on the PCT. They were concerned that the PCT people could push to have motorized trails which cross the PCT closed. The more likely outcome is they would have a tougher fight to get approval for any new trails that cross the PCT. Given how hard it already is to get new trails approved I'm not sure this would really have much effect.
     
  13. HBkites

    HBkites Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Huntington Beach
    Name:
    Sharone
    Current Bike:
    Why Cycles S7
    I started reading the letters.

    "Ranger Al" a little disrespectful IMO.
    Like Chris said, it looks to me like the main issue is motor vehicle usage.
    Personally, I prefer riding on none motorized trail.
    I can see how in lower density areas multi use trail could work, but it on the surface it doesn't look like MTB trails are the group main focus.
     
  14. BonsaiNut

    BonsaiNut iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    Laguna Hills
    Name:
    Greg P
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Hightower CC XX1
    Signed!

    I added a note: "Do not confuse Freedom of Speech with a volunteer's actions and quality of work. How would you feel if you lost your job because your political views didn't align with those of your boss - even if your work performance was excellent."
     
  15. herzalot

    herzalot iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Laguna Beach
    Name:
    Chris
    Current Bike:
    2020 SC Megaplower
    @Mikie - If Stewards of the Sequoia were an e-bike advocacy group doing work on non-e-bike-access trails out of the kindness of their heart, but hoping to gain access to those trails eventually, would you support them? Do you support the statement "dirt bikes do no more damage to trails than horses or mt. bikes?"

    I am looking over the documents, websites and maps before signing a petition. I would hope that anyone who signs a petition actually does a little bit of research first. I am not against the Stewards of the Sequoias (as I don't yet know enough about it) but I am dismayed at the numbers of people willing to sign something concerning territory they've never visited, supporting a group they know nothing about based on a claim of "violating our freedom of speech" without digging a little (double entendre intended).
     
  16. tick

    tick Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    Tick
    Current Bike:
    Process 111
    Mikie, I don’t know enough yet to have an opinion.
     
    Mikie, herzalot and mountaingirl sara like this.
  17. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Hightower/Yeti 5C
    The Stewards of the Sierras is predominately a Moto Club. They do a significant amount trail work in one of my most favorite places to ride, The Greater Kernville Area far beyond just Moto Trails. They are not EBikes. I’m failing to see the analogy I guess.
    When I went up to ride The Tobias Trail their was a HUGE fallen tree right smack in the middle of it. No way to get around it, had to climb through it (it’s in my Tobias video. The Stewards cleaned it up. They maintain the Cannell Plunge trail and hundreds of miles of others.

    My opinion is whether they want access to non motorized trails or not, I don’t care. That is their fight. But that fight has nothing to do with their over generous trail repair and maintenance activity. They are not going to “bargain” for access to the PCT or any other non motorized trail. Based on their “opinions” why would we shut down one of the larger organizations from continuing their efforts to fix and maintain motorized and non motorized trails? They are not trying to “leverage” the Forestry with the threat of NOT conducting trail maintenance.

    Sounds to me like Sierra Clubbers are trying to shut down trails that cross the PCT. That sounds about right. As well as prevent new trails from being built that crosses the PCT. They can’t have it all.

    I’m an ex Moto guy. @Voodoo Tom and @hill^billy both know how I feel about Moto’s. But if I got an Org out there clearing thousands of fallen trees on trails so I can ride them, I’m going to support them. They have been around for a very very long time, it’s not like some new rebel rousers just slinked into town.

    I say support ‘em. If not? Then don’t.

    :thumbsup:Mikie
     
  18. hill^billy

    hill^billy Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Prescott
    Name:
    hill^billy
    Summoning @BIKEMONSTER who happens to be a steward can you shed any light?

    @ALL, I just saw @Mikie give a stink eye to a moto on Saturday, it’s real. :Roflmao
     
  19. Voodoo Tom

    Voodoo Tom MTB Addict

    Location:
    Castaic
    Name:
    Tom Kokkinakis
    Current Bike:
    Mango one, blue one, black one
    Yes I have to agree with @Mikie on supporting these guys. Yes I know a couple of the members of the Stewards and I make lots of parts for one of them but that doesn't factor in here.

    I'm also an ex Moto/Quad dude. Much of my life was admittedly spent tearing up everything with dirt on it that was in front of me. Truth be told I was young & dumb and didn't know or care about trail advocacy. I cared about trying to win races and trophies.

    That said the Stewards of the Sequoia as a group of very organized volunteers have kept hundreds of miles of badass trails available to us as trail users for many years now. I'm talking thousands of hours of work over the years. I can't think of a single trail in the turf they maintain that I've ridden that wasn't terrific.

    Trailwork isn't an easy gig. Sure we can fly under the radar and take care of our local stuff. Try doing it the proper way though and dealing with all those that don't see through the same lenses as we do and are employed by our government. I can guarantee I wouldn't donate 10 seconds of my time to GE or any other trail if I had to deal with government peeps and being proper.
     
  20. tick

    tick Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    Tick
    Current Bike:
    Process 111
    I decided to read into this. So 10 years ago the FS decided not to adopt some off-menu trails. This organization “questions the validity” of the decision. If they merely “questioned the wisdom” of the decision, I’d agree this is a free speech thing and might be on their side, I don’t know.

    But they question the basic jurisdiction of the FS, which is pretty bold if you ask me. they shouldn’t be surprised if the FS doesn’t consider them to be a good partner.

    They stewards could either tone down their rhetoric or keep poaching in the Paiutes. But you can’t expect to get to do both.

    I could be getting this all wrong, all I know is what I’m reading. The Stewards need to clarify some things before I sign on.
     
  21. herzalot

    herzalot iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Laguna Beach
    Name:
    Chris
    Current Bike:
    2020 SC Megaplower
    I am not against them. I am against the sheeple behavior I am seeing over and over and over in our society where someone makes a claim and a hundred people jump in with an opinion, but no knowledge at all.

    Perhaps it’s the same type of thinking that goes into lining up outside a Costco for two hours when you can get what you need at almost any time almost anywhere.

    Also the same as the incendiary rhetoric coming from the echo chambers of the right and the left. Mob mentality.

    Stewards were actively undermining the USFS on their website, so USFS said enough. Sounds to me like the Stewards did a hell of a lot of good for 15 years. Perhaps if they were a little less overt, or perhaps sought clarity before jumping to conclusions they wouldn’t have ruffled as many feathers.

    If you had an employee badmouthing you and overtly and systematically working against your direction, would you keep them on?

    Not saying I agree with the direction of the USFS either, just pointing out why they were kicked to the curb.
     
  22. BIKEMONSTER

    BIKEMONSTER Member

    Name:
    BIKEMONSTER
    Current Bike:
    Vintage Stumpjumper
    Good on you Herz for questioning and being informed about something you are about to sign. It's true, I am a long-time member and financial supporter of the Stewards. That being said, there is a very good reason that you and everybody else who enjoys backcountry trails should sign the petition: No one single user group is going to defeat the greenies in their agenda, you need a coalition. Motos, Mtb'ers, Snowmobilers, Hunters, 4x4 drivers, etc are all on common ground when it comes to land use issues. We are all in this game together and we must stick together if we are to defeat the Green Gestapo. After the greenies are successful eliminating the folks who maintain the trails (motos), they will going after the other user groups as well. Believe it!
    Environmentalists have created their own multi-million-dollar industry just for themselves by suing the Federal Government over groundless claims of environmental abuse. Perhaps Ranger Watson is now in their back pocket? Follow the money.
    I think you are on-point with the notion that the Stewards may have ruffled some feathers, but if the Stewards don't ask the questions, who will? Who will shlep the chainsaws and shovels deep into the backcountry to maintain trails when the Stewards are gone? Nobody!

    Petion signed and forwarded.
     
  23. herzalot

    herzalot iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Laguna Beach
    Name:
    Chris
    Current Bike:
    2020 SC Megaplower
    Thank you for your input on this. I truly appreciate (albeit indirectly) the work that the Stewards have done clearing and maintaining trails for a wide variety of users.

    Unfortunately, land use issues will always be highly political, because not all forms of recreation are mutually compatible. I have enjoyed driving my 4x4 over rugged mountain passes and forest trails. I have enjoyed riding a moto on some great forest roads (and all too infrequently, on trails). I've never piloted a snowmobile or jet ski, but I am sure they are fun. However, mt bikes and motorized vehicles really don't belong on the same trails. Motos and 4x4s create trails and roads that are very difficult to navigate on bicycles. One twist of a throttle can dig a trench in a trail that would have taken 1000 passes on a mt bike to create. We all need a place to play and recreate, but with the exception of forest roads, there aren't too many places where we can play nice together.

    I will sign the petition, for what it's worth. I would like this well-intended army of volunteers to be allowed to continue clearing and maintaining trails for the good of all, and I don't (on face value) support a mile wide (or even 1/2 mile wide) swath of un-crossable land along the PCT. I do however support keeping some pristine wilderness in this nation that is not open to anything but foot traffic, and I do support other trails open to bikes and horses, but not motorized vehicles (ANY motor).
     
  24. evdog

    evdog Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San diego
    Name:
    Evan S
    Gotta disagree that motos and MTB don't belong together on the same trails. I always prefer non-motorized but some of my favorite rides are on motorized trails like Downieville, Calico National Rec Trail near Telluride, and various trails Boulder White Clouds and Sun Valley ID. Corral Canyon near SD is great. And lots of motorized trails around Kernville are great for MTB - Just Outstanding, parts of Cannell, Portuguese Pass, Cedar Canyon, Kern Canyon Trail, Mill/Remington. We seem to coexist best where motos climb trails that bikes descend. Some of the classic Whistler/Squamish trails are trials moto trails - they ride up the rock faces that we descend. Where it doesn't work so well are trails that are steep, those are the ones that get torn up worst and deeply rutted. But moto riders who ride singletrack trails like those just mentioned tend to be skilled riders who know how to ride without tearing trails up, and a lot of those singletracks don't lend themselves well to high speed moto riding to begin with which prevents a lot of throttle twisting. But saying they don't belong on the same trails is like a hiker saying that hiking and biking don't belong on the same trails. There are cases where they do and cases where they don't. Kernville is one of those places where they do co-exist pretty well. And a lot of the Stewards ride both types of bikes.
     
    Mikie, Rumpled, littlewave and 3 others like this.
  25. hill^billy

    hill^billy Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Prescott
    Name:
    hill^billy
    ^^^^^
    BINGO!
     
    Mikie and Rumpled like this.
  26. tick

    tick Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    Tick
    Current Bike:
    Process 111
    In Crested Butte, Deadman’s is DH only for motos, to avoid folks roosting the switchbacks.

    While it’s fine to say that different user groups can share a trail, the trail design is dictated by the heaviest and fastest user. No matter how many people hike Maple Springs, that doesn’t make it a “good hiking trail.”

    there are a lot of variables that determine whether a particular trail is suitable for a particular use.
     
    Mikie, herzalot and Cyclotourist like this.
  27. Dr. Wellington Yueh

    Dr. Wellington Yueh Member

    Location:
    Northridge, CA
    Name:
    Tom Kenney
    Signed.

    For most of the '90s, I used to go up every year to Troy/Fish Mdws and Blackrock to ride the trails the weekend before the yearly moto opener (end of April?). I'm pretty sure I've benefited from their work.
     
    BIKEMONSTER, tick, Mikie and 2 others like this.
  28. BIKEMONSTER

    BIKEMONSTER Member

    Name:
    BIKEMONSTER
    Current Bike:
    Vintage Stumpjumper
    Every year the SOS clears the dead-fall from the entire Kern Plateau as well as the Piutes, Greenhorn and Brekenridge areas. The Forest Service cannot open these trails until the clearing is completed and they do not have the resources to do it all. So this year and going forward, it is doubtful some of these trails will open at all. August maybe when it's good and hot.
    I guess the local Kernville merchants such as Gateway Market and the brewery will finally realize this season how much of their business came from trail user groups when most of trails are closed and no one comes up to recreate. I imagine the economy of a small town like Kernville is pretty fragile. I worry about things like that.

    I'd love to hear a Kern Valley local's viewpoint of the situation...

    CALLING jfsh, you still with us Bro?
     
    Dr. Wellington Yueh and herzalot like this.



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