JD Donovan: Forest Service double standard | SummitDaily.com

JD Donovan: Forest Service double standard

JD Donovan

It would appear the Dillon Ranger District’s policy in dealing with closed roads and trails is one of “what is good for the goose is not good for the gander.”

Around the end of June, the Forest Service prematurely opened Miners Creek Road. After several vehicles got stuck in a large mud-hole about half a mile in, they prudently re-closed the road to motorized travel, which was having the desired effect of allowing the road to dry.

However, this past Wednesday a Forest Service fire crew went up Miners Creek and attempted to drive through the mud-hole, purportedly to check out a report of smoke in the area. Upon sinking the rather large truck up to its axles, they elected to winch their way through the mud rather than go back, which created huge holes in the road and set the drying process back weeks. After finding no threats in the area, they then came back down and proceeded to drive around the muddy area through the adjoining wetlands leaving huge scars that will be visible for years to come. While we are all very concerned about wildfire, surely three weeks of torrential rains would have eliminated the need to go racing up there at all costs in a big wildland fire truck.

What makes this Forest Service attitude of “do as we say not as we do” all the more appalling is the ongoing treatment of Jeff Westcott. While Mr. Westcott’s actions were both illegal and inappropriate, they left no lasting impacts to either the trail or the forest. Conversely, these Forest Service actions, while not illegal, were very inappropriate, caused tremendous environmental damage, and have rendered Miners Creek Rd. virtually impassable to all manner of travel.

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