Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Kurt's Korner - Grant to Study Hikers Impact

I’ve been investigating the possibility of getting a $1,520,000.00 grant from the Forest Service for a study of the anti-climber's use of the North Rim of Mill Creek. I'm pretty sure I can push it through. I've had grants funded in the past for bike trails in Missoula on Forest Service and Fish, Wildlife and Parks land. My proposal for this grant is the study be conducted by our own FS research staff (retired). As I've done in the past, I'll bring in the top people in recreation activity to assist with the work. My friends at the IMBA will be a good match since the anti-climbers have also been pushing the FS to shut down biking trails in the Bitterroot.

The research will focus on trail wear caused by the anti-climbers' hiking boots per weight class, the effect of the holes in the soil made by their hiking pole tips, and the CO2 global warming effect of their extra hiking as opposed to more sedate activities like sitting around belaying. The second part of the study will involve the feasibility of moving any birds of prey to New York City skyscrapers. I think PetSmart has bird cages, and might be brought on as a corporate sponsor. Some funds could be maintained to relocate the anti-climbers to NYC with the birds.

Update on the ice maintenance: I have a request in with the Missoula City Parks Department for a Private Citizens Use authorization (PCU) of their new cat with a narrow blade. I don’t think it will be that hard to figure out how to run it, and it will be the perfect tool to push the snow off the top of the climbs and help us get snow shovels up there for manual use. The old hiking and animal trail up the ridge should be easy to follow and the cat can help straighten out the braided trails at the bottom caused by the anti-climbers' moving of downed trees and habitat as they tried to block the public's access to public land. Once the path is in, Dave will take a bunch of shovels and extra gas in his bike trailer and can cache the shovels in case we get any late season storms. A couple trailers should do the trick for equipment transport.

It's important to reward those climbers clearing the ice and doing other maintenance for the good of the climbing community. The Forest Service has prohibited us from slowing the erosion at the base of the climbs or reversing the damage the anti-climbers caused when they dug up rocks and branches up there as well. But it is possible that pulling knapweed and picking up litter, like the broken toilet and spent gun cartridges that cover the hillside, may be permitted. Therefore, any climber who presents a knapweed stem (roots must be included) or a piece of litter (especially litter planted by the anti-climbers) will be rewarded with a beer on "Tick Traverse" (trad climb). Remember to double up your anchor when you rap down.
Keg is supported by stoppers and hexes.
No bolts placed.

Other ideas to follow...

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