Thursday, May 19, 2016

Looking for middle ground at Middle Fork; Camping damaging archeological resources

Concern over cultural and archeological resources at campsites along the Middle Fork of the Salmon River won’t lead to rapid changes there, such as the feared sudden closure of camps or reduction in rafting permits. Instead, officials with the Salmon Challis National Forest say they will take a methodical approach to the problem while working with the Shoshone-Bannock tribes, rafting outfitters and private boaters to better protect artifacts and other resources associated with the camps in the heart of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness Area. Last fall outfitters and private boaters came away from a progress meeting on the agency’s Historic Preservation Plan for the wilderness area with the impression that the U.S. Forest Service and tribe were pushing to close several campsites and perhaps dramatically reduce rafting levels. Elizabeth Townley, ranger of the Middle Fork District, said poor communication led to the mistaken impression. There are no plans to close campsites or limit use. There are 94 regularly used campsites along the Middle Fork, 67 of which have cultural resources associated with them...more 

Nice to see the Forest Service will now take a "methodical" approach.  What kind of approach were they taking before?  Uh oh, it includes a team and "collaboration".  Bet on this:  over the years there will be fewer campsites and fewer days of camping.  Campers are now on the list to be eliminated from Wilderness.

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