Friday, January 4, 2008

Making defiance fun

About two miles up the road from my house, there's a road leading out into the desert across U.S. Forest Service land. The road offers some impressive views of the nearby mountains and the river and access to good country for horseback-riding, mountain-biking, ATVing and general playing in the desert. As a result, it's something of a popular destination for people with outdoor recreation in mind.

For some reason, probably related to the controversial roadless policy, the Forest Service has been trying to shut off access to that road. First, rangers installed a no-go sign in the clearing/parking area at the head of the road, and a barrier across the road itself. People just drove through the barrier.

Then the Forest Service laid rocks and mounded earth across the road. That didn't work. Nearly everybody around here owns high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicles, and they just drove around the rocks and mounds, through the desert.

Then the barricades became higher and more extensive. Well, that provided great fun. The serious four-wheelers made the barrier a must-do destination for the purpose of testing their trucks' capabilities.

I thought the Forest Service might have won when I saw that its people had laid a series of huge boulders linked by earthen walls. It was quite an engineering feat. I mean, add machine guns and you had Normandy Beach.

I realized I was wrong when I drove by the road and spotted a couple of guys with a front-end loader simply moving the boulders out of the way. How do you trump that?

Well, the Forest Service probably can't. But in an apparent act of petulance, this morning the feds had a crew out there stringing a flimsy wire fence and wood barricade along the edge of the main road, formally cutting off access to even the clearing at the head of the desert road. It's as if the local ranger-sachem blew a gasket and decided, like an overwrought kindergarten teacher, that if the kids can't play nice, they won't be allowed to play at all.

It's pointless. That fence will be cut within days, and people will keep on roaming the road. I hesitate to guess how much taxpayer money the Forest Service has spent to provide my neighbors' with some amusing recreational challenges.



Anonymous Frank said...

Park Ranger + Sniper Rifle = No More Tourists

January 13, 2008 5:22 PM  

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