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Mt. Evans Road Fiasco GETS WORSE?

Colorado 14ers access and fee issues only, please
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Postby ccunnin » Tue May 29, 2007 9:25 am

Is the area considered a National Park or State Park? If so, I have a NP and SP annual pass. Will that get me past the $10 moron fee?
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Postby cbauer10 » Tue May 29, 2007 10:14 am

I think it would be even better for us to all stand and the toll booth and inform everyone that drives up that they don't have to pay the fee. Explain to them why they don't and get them to not pay the fee either. That is something that you could do on the 4th of July.

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Postby speedpolka » Tue May 29, 2007 10:15 am

Count me in for a little demonstrating. Nothing is funnier than flustered government employees.
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Postby Doug Shaw » Tue May 29, 2007 11:57 am

While I like the FLREA's comments, I am not convinced that they apply here, and I would bet that my thoughts are similar to those of the FS. The apparently-relevant sections of the FLREA only address "lands and waters administered by the Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service, or the Bureau of Reclamation."

Since Summit Lake is a Denver Mountain Park and not federally-administered, I would presume that it is not covered (but I can't find a map showing the borders of the park, so I cannot tell if the parking area is part of the park, or FS property). Similarly, the road is a STATE highway, so they could probably make a strong case that it is not covered by FLREA as well. The big question here is pulloffs and scenic overlooks - are they all within the right-of-way of the road, in which case they would likely not be covered, or are they on FS land? I would bet that a number of them meet the former criteria, but things like the summit parking area would be a gray area - is it part of the road, or FS property?

But despite all this, I enthusiastically support a "14ers.com Drive-by". Unlike a previous poster, I think Indepdence Day would be perfect for it. Yes, there will be 6 gazillion people up there, but just think of them as an audience. What's the point in civil disobedience if nobody knows about it?!

A few other ideas...

- Moreso than just the "I didn't pay" note they give you, we might need some other form of "advertising" of our activity. Maybe something that reads "Mount Evans FREE Area"?

- If we're going to advertise this as a 14ers.com "event" then we should consider Bill's reputation as well. As he says, he's still involved with the FS on some other things, I don't think we'd want to take 50 cars up there with 14ers.com stickers and then have them all explicitly stop and really get the FS pissed at Bill. There are subtler ways you can "work the system".

- Although we may not be allowed to legally stop, if we were to carpool with two or more to a vehicle then we could explain to the ranger at the entrance that we don't need to stop because the passenger would just take pictures on the drive up and down the road. A passenger would also provide the option of pulling over when "the driver began to feel ill" and we "have to change drivers." Would they seriously harass you for make an effort to avoid driving a car off the road? If they hassle you, just ask them if they want to be the guy who says "No" and then has fatalities when a car drive off the road.

- Although not legally allowed to "stop" (again, assuming public safety issues are exempted), there's nothing that says that you can't drive up and down the road repeatedly, or drive loops around the parking area while a passenger runs up to the true summit, etc. It also doesn't say anything about driving really, really slowly since there are those unnerving drop-offs on the sides of the road. A really sketchy driver might need to pull over for a minute or two to let cars pass if he or she can't drive up or down the road very quickly.

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Postby Kojones » Tue May 29, 2007 12:14 pm

Love it!

Perhaps the "Troubleshooter" can work on the issue. He seems to enjoy taking on big challenges. Perhaps then the word would get out to more people about the "rules."

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Postby Scott P » Tue May 29, 2007 12:17 pm

Nothing is funnier than flustered government employees.


I think you are all harassing the wrong people. The lowly ranger or toll booth operator is not the one that sets the policies. They are only trying to do the job they applied for and are paid for.

If you have a beef with the policies, you should go after the people who make the policies, not the lowly and low-salary worker who has a job description given to him or her by his/her superiors.

Anyway, can’t blame them too much for trying to extract some bucks. The Forest Service has seen many cutbacks and is strapped for cash, meanwhile the cost of supplies and resources for the agency is skyrocketing. It will become worse. Next year, another $64.25 million will be cut. The reason is the Iraq War. Anyway, you can read more below:

http://www.fs.fed.us/aboutus/budget/

Anyway, what good is harassing the lowly common worker? Why not go after the people setting the policies? How about the President and the Congress to start with?

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Postby cbauer10 » Tue May 29, 2007 12:27 pm

Scott Patterson wrote:If you have a beef with the policies, you should go after the people who make the policies, not the lowly and low-salary worker who has a job description given to him or her by his/her superiors.


I whole-heartily agree. There is nothing these guys will be able to do anyways. If you have ever work in say a retail position, you would know how they would feel.

That being said, that is why I suggested a demonstration. It gets peoples attention to the underlying problem, not just trying to make some employees mad. If the press were to catch wind of this it brings it into the public eye, which in turn would hopefully entice a politician to address the issue. Although it would appear that U.S. Senator Max Baucus has already got the ball rolling.

http://www.newwest.net/index.php/topic/ ... y/C41/L41/

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Postby Cruiser » Tue May 29, 2007 12:29 pm

Scott Patterson wrote:Anyway, what good is harassing the lowly common worker? Why not go after the people setting the policies? How about the President and the Congress to start with?


I agree with you here in principle, but in practice, I would have to say that the strategy you have proposed of dealing with the decision makers will not yeild an immediate response from the public. Sometimes it's the lower ranking employees who have to deal with these sorts of situations. In this particular case they will be forced to attempt to placate dissatisfied customers which schould be part of their job description. It sucks for them, but they act as the face of their employer. This is the essence of grassroots political activism, IMO.
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Postby Scott P » Tue May 29, 2007 12:41 pm

In this particular case they will be forced to attempt to placate dissatisfied customers which schould be part of their job description. It sucks for them, but they act as the face of their employer.


If someone was harrassing me all day, I would just quit.

It’s not worth it.

http://www.fs.fed.us/fsjobs/payscale.html

Let’s see what the hourly rates for woking at a Forest Service Job is. That’s $12.07 an hour for someone with a BS degree. $18.29 an hour for someone with a Masters Degree. $22.13 for someone with a PhD.

I’ll tell you one thing, if I had a BS degree and made $12.07 an hour, I wouldn’t put up with a bunch of people harassing me all day and would just quit my job. That may cause a policy change from their superiors, but your costing more tax payer money by causing a high turnover and for all the people that have to be retrained.

Besides driving up a 14er is just pure laziness unless you have a disability or something. :D The Mount Evans and Pikes Peak Roads should be for grandmas and people who can’t walk, not for able bodied hikers and climbers. If my 240 pound fat and slow body plus a three to five year old can walk up a 14er, than so could most any of you. Other than one road in California and one in Hawaii no other states in the West are insistant on building/maintaing roads to the tops of some of their highest mountains.

If you don't like the Evans policy, then go after the right people-the policy makers. Either that or boycott the road. Climb from Guanella Pass instead and forget the road.

I agree that it's too bad that you would have to pay to go up there. I just think that it is mostly the fault of Congress and the President for the budget cuts and for sending all our money overseas and that you are picking on the wrong people.
Last edited by Scott P on Tue May 29, 2007 12:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby summitrunner » Tue May 29, 2007 12:46 pm

How about this guy http://markudall.house.gov/HoR/CO02/Home.htm ? He is the US House Representative for the district where the road is. He has gotten off easy representing Boulder for the last however many years. Isn't it about time somebody starts bothering him about the mountains he is supposed to be serving? I don't think Boulder County will mind if we borrow him to help out the REST of the district for a change.

(Sorry, I am a bitter Republican! I used to live in the NE district (Greeley, Fort Collins, Loveland, Sterling, etc.) and with the move to Summit I have to deal with this guy and his radio comments all the time. It seems like his main interest is what the Republic of Boulder is doing!)

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Postby ontopoftheworld » Tue May 29, 2007 2:06 pm

There's already too many damn people on the summit of that mountain. Let's lobby to get the fee raised to $100 so that I don't have to share the summit with so many Texans in their cars after I've spent half the day climbing from Guanella Pass.

Personally, for the once in a great while that I actually plan on going to the top of that mountain, I don't mind paying $10. If I want to climb up there, there are other routes I can take. If I want a quieter summit, I'll pick another mountain.... like Culebra. :?

One of the great things about this country is the right to gripe & complain. If you don't like the fee, you can protest it. Unfortunately, sending letters and making phone calls doesn't get the point across. If you want action, you need to get out there and do something that people will notice. Whether ticking off a bunch of subordinates at the toll booth is the right avenue is up for debate. But there are plenty of ways to get the people who make decisions to take notice.

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Postby MountainHiker » Tue May 29, 2007 2:22 pm

I have been watching this discussion with interest and I’m glad we’re finally getting a few different points of view expressed. As long as USFS, Park Service and BLM have shrinking budgets we will see more of this type of thing. I’ll refrain from political comment as to where billions are being spent instead.

So my question is, if USFS needs to raise some revenue, where would you rather they do it? This is the highest paved road in North America and it’s driven by lots of tourists each year. Meanwhile we camp for free at or near the trailheads for most of the fourteeners.

I’ve been climbing the fourteeners since 1985 and I have seen the effect lots of use has had on those forest service roads to the trailheads. Several of the trailheads I used to drive my passenger car to have become too rough to do so. On the flip side over the years there have been improvements at several of the trailheads (new parking lots, bathrooms, etc.)

How many of you donate to Colorado Fourteeners Initiative http://www.14ers.org/page.phphttp://www ... g/page.php
because you believe in their work to build sustainable trails?

Do you not also see USFS as part of who we need to work with – not against - for our common good? What about the volunteer donations at some trailheads? A lot of our trails, trailheads and access roads need work. How much do you spend on gas, gear and supplies to climb a fourteener? Do you begrudge relatively smaller fees or donations for sustaining this resource?

I have nothing against you pointing out the hilarity of a fee for driving a CDOT maintained road while the Forest Service feels it is charging for the services it maintains on the sides of that road. But please look at the big picture in all this. USFS is an agency we want to remain friends with!

If you want your voice heard then I think it is good to contact your elected representatives. Write letters to the editor also. A lot of people in Washington just see our federal lands as a potential income source. Do you really think the tax payers in the rest of the country care if we have to pay a fee to enjoy some of the greatest real estate in the land?

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