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South Fork gate to be installed


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#1 flatfenderkris

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Posted 13 February 2014 - 08:36 AM

At our club meeting last night this was brought up that there was a meeting sometime last month and the dnr will be putting up a gate at end of black top going up the main road. Anyone happen to go to this meeting? Apparently 90% of the people in attendance were ok with this saying we can still access the south fork over sedge ridge but that dont work cause its a groomed trail in winter which is the time we use south fork the most for winter wheeling so just curious if anyone went  to this meeting.

#2 Phantom 309

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Posted 13 February 2014 - 09:16 AM

I've been hearing rumors about it all year. Never heard anything definite though. If this is the case, that is bad, bad news.

#3 MIDGET

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Posted 13 February 2014 - 09:40 AM

I'd like to know if there is some truth to this as well... Sucks that they can just close down public roads like this.

#4 kfinney

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Posted 13 February 2014 - 09:54 AM

I don't know how it is there and I'm in no way for closing public roads, lands or access but I can see it happening over here.  People continuing to run on groomed trails over here knowingly and on purpose will be the end of our winter wheeling.  They will snow park everything and start gating certain areas to funnel everyone to a certain place.  Much easier to patrol and control that way :(

#5 flatfenderkris

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Posted 13 February 2014 - 11:00 AM

I totally agree with kfinney I believe they are trying to funnel everyone up the Northfork as it is easier to patrol. I go to almost all of the mundane meetings and am on all of the state and federal lands mailing contact list and this meeting was never announced that I got anyways and all I have been able to figure out is this gate will be put in when weather is better to keep the "kids" out. Because since they gated the wenas there is a constant flow on friday and Saturday nights and garbage animals and cars are being left behind. I encourage everyone to write the dnr office a letter opposing this gate there is many other ways this problem can be fixed.

#6 Phantom 309

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Posted 13 February 2014 - 12:12 PM

They actually have a point with the amount of partying that goes on up there and the trash that goes with it unfortunately. However shutting it down isn't the answer obviously. Kris, is there any chance of one of the clubs/groups adopting the road. Basically doing scheduled runs up there to pick up trash and such?

#7 MIDGET

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Posted 13 February 2014 - 12:13 PM

I understand keeping kids out from damaging the trails and making a mess of things, but instead of closing it off why not do their jobs and let those "kids" know they are doing damage and it's effecting everyone.

#8 kfinney

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Posted 13 February 2014 - 01:04 PM

View PostMIDGET, on 13 February 2014 - 12:13 PM, said:

I understand keeping kids out from damaging the trails and making a mess of things, but instead of closing it off why not do their jobs and let those "kids" know they are doing damage and it's effecting everyone.

Because it's cheaper and less paperwork to install a gate.  They've already stated on more than one occasion that they are not funded to cover even half of the open land.  Gee, I wish there was a pass that we could buy that would help fund land management in this state.  :(   :unsure: :whip: :huh: :help:

#9 Phantom 309

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Posted 13 February 2014 - 03:35 PM

I guess we should look on the bright side.....it will make the fishin' holes better on lower S. Fork. :thumbsup:

#10 MIDGET

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Posted 13 February 2014 - 03:38 PM

South fork isn't even groomed till you hit red saddle correct?

#11 flatfenderkris

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Posted 13 February 2014 - 03:49 PM

I am not sure if it could be adopted or not but I was kinda on same page I have been busy most of today but I plan to e mail Craig from forest watch he is on the boards for ahtanum figured he would know all the details

#12 Phantom 309

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Posted 13 February 2014 - 03:52 PM

View PostMIDGET, on 13 February 2014 - 03:38 PM, said:

South fork isn't even groomed till you hit red saddle correct?

If you stay on S. Fork road you can  go up even higher before hitting the groomed.

#13 JeepinJunk

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Posted 13 February 2014 - 09:37 PM

I just talked to Jeff Jones, and he confirmed there will be a gate on the south fork. The DNR is putting in the gate because of the vandalism, garbage dumping and illegal wood cutting. He made no mention of any four wheelin abuse. He said he's lost over 30 old growth pine trees to wood poachers.He's going to lock it up for awhile, when the idiots stop going in there, he will try opening it up again. I hate these closures as much as anyone, but let's face it, they would have to have armed guards up there 24-7 to stop all these jerks. Anyone who has spent any time in the south fork has seen the mess- shot up old refrigerators, stripped cars, scary looking people shooting bottles, cans, signs and everything else, all left for someone else to clean up. When I was growing up, there were a few of these bums, but most people had respect for other people, the woods and the law. Now that seems to be the exception, everyone has this "I can do what ever I want" attitude. Jeff is not anti-4WD, or out to "save" the forest from the different user groups who go to the mountains to have fun. He has a snowmobile and rides horses. But he also has a job to do. Jeff was a WSP officer for many years before his DNR days. He said he's never seen anything on the highways, like he sees everyday in the Ahtanum! He spent thousands of our tax dollars to grade the snow park only to have it ripped to shit by someone in a pickup, the first time the ground turned white. They bermed the roads last week to prepare for the snowmobile grooming. Everyone knows that when the berms are up, the road is closed. But within  2 days, all 3 berms had tire tracks over them! The list goes on and on. Go to the mountains and have some fun while you can, but try to be at least halfway legal, because we are going to lose it all. How we conduct ourselves now will determine how soon we find a big green gate at Tampico!  :crybaby:

Edited by JeepinJunk, 14 February 2014 - 07:30 AM.


#14 boxboy

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Posted 14 February 2014 - 10:55 AM

ask for a recreational gate key?  or how about a club lock?  most of the DNR gates these days have multiple locks.

#15 ChevyJoe

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Posted 14 February 2014 - 09:53 PM

How does a group of people go about adopting the road or part of the road? Like phantom said, I'm sure you could get a large group together for a trail clean up

#16 MIDGET

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 09:57 AM

My family goes shooting at one spot on the south fork and every time we go up there we end up take a few garbage bags home full of crap that people have taken up there to shoot or just dump. It's almost to the point where it's a dump.

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Posted 19 March 2014 - 01:39 PM

I think I seen that chevy flat bed come out south fork on a weekly basis! ! Full to the point he could drive strait down road ! We all seen him in store parking lots selling that wood!!! We all know who he is.

#18 Phantom 309

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 04:01 PM

From Sunday's Herald.


YAKIMA, Wash. — To drive the South Fork Ahtanum Road is to tour some of the state’s most scenic countryside, a land of rolling hills, babbling creeks and majestic evergreens.

The first 3 miles of that drive into the Ahtanum State Forest west of Tampico, however, is also an ugly testament to the behavior of some of its vilest visitors and is why the South Fork area is about to be gated and closed to the public.

The closure, scheduled for 8 a.m. Monday, won’t be permanent.

But, according to Ahtanum State Forest recreation manager Jeff Jones, it may take months to rehabilitate the areas damaged by indiscriminate “mudding,” illegal roads created over and through the creek and the dozens of 120-foot ponderosa pines either illegally felled for firewood or literally shot down by thousands of rifle rounds.

Jones said the South Fork portion of the state forest lost 33 live trees, most of them ponderosa pines, in December alone. Dozens more have gone down since. At least a dozen more bullet-riddled pines, many of them surrounding a campsite popular for teen beer parties, are already dead and enough of a hazard that they’ll have to be cut down before they fall down.

“It has,” Jones said, “been absolutely unbelievable.”

So, too, the amount of garbage that continually accrues along the South Fork Ahtanum (A1000) Road.

Along the first 3 miles of the dirt-and-gravel forest road beyond the pavement’s end, one can find numerous dumped carcasses, from dogs and cats to horses, including a relatively new one still bearing the dried blood from the bullet wound that killed it.

Nearly 5 tons of garbage have been removed from the South Fork over the past year and a half by volunteers and park staffers. Still, trash is everywhere — sometimes in obvious dump piles, sometimes simply a mosaic of broken glass and crushed or bullet-aerated beer cans, and punctuated by wide swaths of used toilet paper.

“This would have been the girls’ bathroom,” Jones said, shaking his head last week as he surveyed the array of soggy tissues next to a bucket behind a tree on the fringe of that oft-used beer-bash party site.

Yakima County Sheriff’s deputies responded the night of March 22 to a large gathering of teens and 20-somethings at the site, and while no arrests were made, investigators are now following up on reports of a possible sexual assault at the party.

That law enforcement officers were called to the South Fork Ahtanum is nothing new.

The area — state trust land managed by the Department of Natural Resources to generate revenue for public education — has a long and spotted history as a magnet for lawbreakers. Anyone can obtain free firewood permits to chop up any of the unending supply of downed trees in the area, yet many opt instead to illegally cut down live ones — or shoot them until they fall over.

The area is often used as a de facto receptacle not just for garbage, but for stolen cars, tires and other debris. Just last week a stolen car was brought to the Ahtanum Campground and stripped down for parts “right in the campground” and left behind, Jones said.

There are no groomed snowmobile trails in the South Fork like there are in the Middle Fork and North Fork. But even if there were, Jones said, snowmobilers would probably avoid the South Fork anyway because of the area’s reputation and the prospect of returning to a rig that had been broken into, vandalized or stolen.

Like many of the road systems in the 76,000-acre Ahtanum State Forest, the South Fork is popular with four-wheel drive groups — several representatives of which toured the area to assess the very issues Jones has been dealing with.

“We found the area where the party animals had been getting after it, of course,” said Earl Nettnin, regional director of the Pacific Northwest Four-Wheel Drive Association. “There was some debris, there was a stolen car that had been wrecked and left, and a couple of dead horses.”

But Nettnin said his understanding was that, historically, the dumping issue had been even worse at various times in the road’s history. That sentiment echoed those of Ron Rutherford, a local four-wheeling enthusiast and a volunteer active in mapping and maintenance projects on both state and National Forest road and trail systems.

Rutherford said the answer is more education and enforcement by both state officials and by law-abiding user groups willing to put more members in the field to dissuade the abuse.

“When you close that road, you’re just moving that problem to another spot,” Rutherford said. “We know it’s just the 5 percent who are the problem — and they’re either just going to go up the North Fork or go up the (nearby) Nasty Creek now.”

Jones also abhors the idea of having to gate the South Fork Ahtanum, which, as part of the Green Dot System, is a road typically open to public use.

“I hate gating roads. Hate it,” Jones said. “But this is public trust land. These lands are to be managed to support the schools, and so ultimately you have to protect these resources.

“The gate sends a pretty clear message that the DNR is not messing around. We’re serious about protecting these resources from abuse.

“If that means closing a gate, so be it.”

#19 ChevyJoe

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 04:03 PM

Ron is right. Probably closed forever now.

#20 superglock

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 04:52 PM

There is a twig meeting at Naches ranger station tonight. Different land but same problems. Go to the meeting and get involved.

#21 dirk

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Posted 04 December 2014 - 05:54 PM

http://www.yakimaher...-we-all-pay-for

In closure of road, we all pay for acts of a few

Posted on December 4, 2014

Once again, an infantile few have fouled it up for the rest of us — and this time, perhaps for good.
Last March, the state Department of Natural Resources closed the South Fork Ahtanum, a road that offered access to the Ahtanum State Forest west of Tampico. The agency pretty much had no choice after destructive human “guests” used the area to wreak unspeakable destruction. At that time, at least a dozen trees had borne the brunt of hundreds, maybe thousands of gunshots, a legacy of target shooting; animal carcasses had been dropped here and there; the South Fork Ahtanum Creek had endured scores of vehicle tracks in a practice known as mudding; and trash was strewn all about the area.
The area opened up again last June after many of the wounded trees, on their way to dying because of the gunshots, were cut down. Volunteers removed 5 tons of trash from the area, while barrier rock was installed to keep vehicles out of the creek and other sensitive areas, and on the Green Dot roads. But enforcement is difficult, given the many isolated square miles in the area. The state forest’s recreation manager, Jeff Jones, warned at the time that the road’s gate could be closed again if the problems returned.
They did, and Jones says he has no choice but to follow through on his admonition. As of 8 a.m. next Wednesday, the gate to the South Fork Ahtanum Road will be shut for an indefinite period — perhaps permanently — thus denying recreational access to the vast majority of Yakima Valley residents who appreciate nature’s gifts and heed a basic code of acceptable conduct.
This decision has to be a disappointing one to the DNR, which built a parking area and spent about $10,000 on the spring cleaning. And it must be totally demoralizing for the citizen volunteers who did much of the heavy lifting for the cleanup. They included South Fork area residents Mike and Barbara Holford, who recruited many of the helpers; and organized groups such as the Jeeping Nomads, the Backcountry Horsemen of Central Washington and the Yakima chapter of the Backcountry Horsemen of Washington.
Perhaps their work won’t go for naught; DNR says it will evaluate the damage to determine if the gate will be reopened, but that remains a big “if.” The decision to open hinges on another “if” — if those who caused the senseless damage would only learn to act like civilized human beings.

• Members of the Yakima Herald-Republic editorial board are Sharon J. Prill, Bob Crider, Frank Purdy and Karen Troianello.

#22 Phantom 309

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Posted 04 December 2014 - 06:00 PM

Mudding on South Fork. LMFAO. Those "mudding" spots are trails that cross the creek to the Reservation. They were there when I was a child. In fact in later years they've looked  better and less used than I have ever seen them.

#23 OZ-Guard

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Posted 04 December 2014 - 07:50 PM

I've always wondered why they don't use trail cams in areas of destruction...

#24 nacheswheelin

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Posted 23 December 2014 - 03:48 PM

Oh don't worry we'll just close the area instead of finding whos guilty. That way they can go somewhere else and we'll close that down too. Cuase that must be the answer right?  What a lazy way to handle such a volatile problem.

#25 Phantom 309

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Posted 23 December 2014 - 04:52 PM

View PostOZ-Guard, on 04 December 2014 - 07:50 PM, said:

I've always wondered why they don't use trail cams in areas of destruction...

According to Jeff, he does have trail cams up there. :thumbdown: