[AZ-Observing] Re: Roadless Act Input Sought by State

  • From: Jeff Hopkins <phxjeff@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: az-observing@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2006 15:57:59 -0700


Thank you for chiming in. I am sure a large and visible organization 
like Lowell/USNO would be treated welI by the Forest Service.

I want to make it clear that we are not talking about roads created 
by monster trucks or off-the-road vehicles.  Off the road travel is 
illegal and a different issue. What the roadless fiasco is about is 
closing roads that have been around for a 100 years or more and newer 
roads that have been created with approval. These roads are used by 
people that live there and must use the roads to access their 

There are some in the Forest Service that would fine you if you were 
caught on any Forest Service road without permission. Many may not 
realize that when you buy a hunting license that in addition to 
allowing you to bag game, it gives you permission to use National 
Forest roads and walk on National Forest land. If you get arrested 
the punishment is a fine up to $2,500 and 6 months in jail.

While the Federal Court put a stop to this in 2003, it has not ended. 
If enough people do not speak up, it is quite possible the next time 
you head out to your favorite dark sky site that the road will be 
closed or no longer there or if you make to the site you may find 
yourself leaving with a ticket or worse - in handcuffs.


At 14:44 -0700 7/10/06, Brian Skiff wrote:
>      Bear in mind the tremendous bureaucracy under which the USFS
>operates, and remember that on any given day they probably get pulled
>in five different directions.  Jeff's experience seems to have been
>one-sided, and contrary to most folks'.  It would nevertheless be good
>if someone from the clubs could attend and report if anything
>significant happened.  It could well be that the road-closures
>that are being suggested would be helpful for the astro-camping,
>since it might reduce unwelcome traffic in the same region.  As Andrew
>(I think) suggested, the roads they'd like to close are probably
>disused ones from logging operations decades ago, and not the graded
>ones to regular sites for observing.  A possible parallel example
>was 10 or more years ago when Lowell/USNO wanted to rejigger the
>special-use area at Anderson Mesa to accomodate the Navy interferometer.
>The Forest Service thought it was great because it allowed them to
>block off at least half a dozen "roads" created by boneheads in
>monster trucks who drive out onto undisturbed areas during the spring
>snowmelt, producing deep ruts, which produces all sorts of erosion
>problems.  Such ruts take many decades to "heal".  The low split-rail
>fence around the interferometer forced everyone to use the legit trail
>(still ungraded) that goes out onto the Mesa well east of the
>telescope site.

Jeff Hopkins
Counting Photons
Hopkins Phoenix Observatory
7812 West Clayton Drive
Phoenix, Arizona 85033-2439 U.S.A.
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