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Old 11-03-2005   #1
ski_kayak365's Avatar
Mountains on the river!!!, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 702
Cleaning first D or cleaning other runs: legel or not?

Ok, so I've got some 1st D's that need cleaning and some other runs like grizzly creek (Shoshone area) that need cleaning of logs. What is the rule for using a chainsaw? The areas are either BLM or Forest Service. Can we legally cut in these areas or not? How do some of you guys who do a lot of cleaning do it? Stealth missions or just get permission. Any opinion would be great.


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Old 11-03-2005   #2
Cody, Wyoming
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 260
I have talked to my local forest service about the cutting I have done and they basically tell me they dont care. I have been told as long as i'm not taking wood home with me I do not need a wood cuting permit . The Forest Districts are by no means the same everywhere so i'm sure you may get different answers depending on who you talk to. When I go out i'm not stealth by any means which would be somewhat hard considering the noise you are about to make. I usaully cut the logs into small pieces as if you were going to take them home and split them. Then I will leave them in the river bed and let high water take them out unless you have help then you could throw them on the bank and you will save gas since you can cut the logs into bigger pieces. When I'm cleaning I make sure I clean anything and everything that looks dangerous or could possibly become dangerous, I figure your in there doing the work no reason to do a half ass job. I posted the pics of a creek i'm cleaning that starts right at the east gate to Yellowstone and I thought I may get harrased a bit since the creek is roadside but nobody has said anything. In the pics you can see the pieces I cut and you can see the before and after shots. First D's can somtimes be alot of work and effort but usaully once you get them clean you will only have to do a little up keep. I have cleaned at least 7 new creeks in the past 2 years and I really find it rewardng, there is something about a chainsaw and destruction that is fun.

Make sure you know how to get a chainsaw out of a pinch, I had a buddy that had to leave his 4 miles in backcountry for over a week and when he came back the river had come up and the chainsaw was submereged.


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Old 11-03-2005   #3
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 490
(Aaron, WY is A LOT different from the situation around the populated front range. That includes the land managers. People are still 1/2 normal up there.)

I'd say that around here you're better off cutting first and asking forgiveness later if you get caught -- except for private property, then I would ask the landowner first. The usual MO in a sensitive area is to find the least likely time for an area to get traffic, then go and work fast with sharp, fueled chainsaws and at least one other person to help swamp limbs.

Around Boulder it is adviseable to also carry hippie-spray for protection -- basically anything that disinfects will work.
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Old 11-03-2005   #4
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Mountains on the river!!!, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 702
Lucky me for most of the stuff that I want to work on are in the Kebler pass area, away from the boulder hippies (no offense, I love boulder too).

Thnks for the info
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Old 11-03-2005   #5
Cody, Wyoming
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 260
I agree, I have never asked for permision except from private landowners who I have only had to deal with once and he told me I could access his land once and that was it. The run ended being the goods and we came back a second time with some nice Wine in hand and access was granted.

We unfortuantely have to carry Bear Spray or pack some heat, the griz keeps your nerves in check, Just ask ToddG!
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Old 11-03-2005   #6
no tengo
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Baytopia, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1876
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,768
A side note - DO NOT chainsaw in a Wilderness Area (ala Vallecito) the fines are huge. we used a hand saw...
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Old 11-03-2005   #7
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Laramie, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1992
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 488
I remember Dave Frank had a story about when they were first cleaning out the source and getting reemed by a hysterical hippy because he was "destroying the natural environment". Also I think Gunshot on WFCC and Gunshy on the source are named because of people firing off rounds to scare off the kayakers cutting out wood. Welcome to colorado!
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Old 11-03-2005   #8
GWS, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1992
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 486
I concur that using a chain saw, or any motorized item, in the wilderness will get you in trouble. I had a little run in with the law due to some vallaceto cleaning. Lucky for me the witness did not show up in court so they could not prosecute. The fact that I did not see the wilderness sign was no excuse.

I do remember the Judge telling me that had i cut wood out of the river and in doing so made a hazard that someone else hurt themselfs on, i would be exposing myself to liability.

I doubt that the Judge was right. There would be a good 'assumption of the risk' argument. Not to mention, who would know who cleaned it out.
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Old 11-07-2005   #9
The next zone, .
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,200
It aint a crime if you dont get caught.

If you see the local jonny law RUN LILKE HELL! Just shut the saw off first.
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Old 11-07-2005   #10
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 5
You need to check with the local land management agency (BLM, USFS, etc) first. A lot of times they have river crews that will work to help clear strainers out of the river. There are some rivers or stretches if river that they may not clear the strainers out of the river where recreation is not the main concern, but rather the habitat is. (i.e. Fish, wildlife, etc) A prime example of this is the San Miguel. The BLM works extensively to keep the river clear, but only to a minimal as this stretch of river is in the San Miguel Area of Critical Environmental Concern. By just going out and clearing everything out of the drainage, you could potentially cause more damage then good. Also if caught without authorization, I am sure you will be cited into court. Remember, the managing agency has to look at the whole picture, not just what would please one or two user groups. This includes looking at environmental impacts. If all of us boaters are so environmentally conscious, we need to remember that.

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