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Mt. Hood Wilderness to Enforce Solitude Values

"Sounds good doesn’t it? But wait a minute. How about the South Side Climbers Route?"

The Bulletin

by Robert Speik
March 8, 1999

Mt. Hood Wilderness to Enforce Solitude Values

Mt. Hood Wilderness to Enforce Solitude Values. Sounds good doesn’t it? But wait a minute. How about the South Side Climbers Route? Yep, the Forest Service is proposing that groups be limited to ten permits per day, even on weekends and holidays!

A seventy-one page report titled "Wilderness Protection Environmental Assessment, Mt. Hood National Forest, November 1998" proposes a comprehensive permit system to increase opportunities for solitude seven days a week on popular trails, waterfall destinations, and climbing routes including generally safe novice South Side Climber’s Route.

Current usage which has remained fairly constant for 80 years, has exempted weekends and holidays from the solitude standard established by the Wilderness Act of 1964 and its subsequent interpretations.

Enforcement of a restrictive permit program will result in parties climbing in marginal or dangerous weather, or force attempts on more dangerous routes beyond the technical experience of the climbers.

The Environmental Assessment Report portrays a howling wolf on its cover. We will soon hear the howls of climbers and other wilderness recreationists against this newest squeeze on their freedom!

Is the Forest Service trying to raise our ire so as to somehow direct it against Congress which is slowly strangling the agency? Should our forest service friends be more direct in their fight for funds from Congress to support recreation on our public lands?

Bob Speik, Webmeister

The Bulletin

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