Closing USFS Roads

Don Baccus dhogaza at
Fri Apr 17 21:24:39 EST 1998

In article <3537F834.355A at>,
Don Staples  <dstaples at> wrote:

>When speaking with a geologist I would bow to his superior wisdom.  When
>speaking with a photographer, I would bow to his knowledge of light and
>composition.  When speaking with a news group environmentalist that 
>apparently pays little attention to his own posts, I'll pass on bowing.

So only professional engineers are qualified to talk about road removal?

Fine, as I said earlier, follow your own advice and shut up.

>> Likewise, saying "road removal's a boondoggle because leaving roads
>> causes no harm and $65,000 to demolish and replant a mile of roadway
>> is too much money" isn't fruitful if the person making the claim
>> is unwilling to 1) refute evidence that unmaintained roads do
>> cause problems and 2) makes no attempt to supply data to support
>> the theses that the cost is too high.  It's the equivalent of
>> saying "the earth's flat because I say so, it is! it is!"

>Not even a close quote, but from you, what can be expected?  Any cost to
>close roads is to high, I have made myself amply clear on that point. 

OK.  Then why the harping on the $65,000 figure?  Are you going to
force me to repost your comments via Deja News?  

>The rational is that the roads are access to remote areas for fire,
>insect and disease control.  Your argument about the unmaintained roads
>do cause problems are unsupported.

"The earth is flat because Don Stapels says so, it is! it is!"

It is supported by studies conducted by the USFS, the Oregon Department
of Forestry, and independent studies. 

Why should I believe you, rather than professionals who have studied
the subject?

After all, "when speaking with a geologist I would bow to his superior
wisdom" (knowledge isn't wisdom, BTW, but specialists often do have
useful knowledge).  

However, if you're speaking honestly, then why do you claim - again -
that unmaintained roads don't cause damage when professional engineers,
hydrologists, biologists and foresters who've actually studied the
problem reach a different conclusion?  I thought you said you pay
attention to conclusions reached by professionals?

>Point 2:  It is absolutely of no significance for any response, other
>than you are so persistent, my first job with the feds was building road
>and bridge, for three years.  Then for three years with my Uncle Sam I
>did the same thing on military posts.  I have since built and removed
>logging roads on state and private lands, for some 30 years.  And rather
>unlike your crystal vision from Mount Olympus, I have some small
>knowledge of the subject.

OK.  What was the cost of building a mile of road.  What was the cost
of removing the roads you did remove, and did it include removing
of culverts, ripping the road bed, and replanting?

If you read my posts carefully - you're welcome to use Deja News
to do so - I never claimed that you must be wrong in your judgement.

Only that you had not - and as yet, have not - done anything except
say "it's true because I say so, and I say all those agency people
are full of it!"  

If you have solid information as to cost figures, share them.  We can
then compute inflation.  Then perhaps someone familiar with USFS
accounting procedures can tell us how much is automatically added for
overhead, possibly equipment depreciation (I don't know if they
account for this separately or if they apportion it by project),
etc to see if the $65,000 budget cost is, indeed, of boondoggle

You have to do better than say "it's true because I say so", Staples.

>Of course, it was not in Oregon, where,
>apparently, the ONLY real federal road system exists.

I have patiently explained that I've restricted my comments to the PNW
because I'm very familiar with the situation here, and can speak with
some authority on the subject.

You're complaining because I restrict my comments to an area I'm
familiar with, but of course if I started commenting on areas of
the country I'm unfamiliar with, you'd complain about that, too.

Unlike you, I freely admit my knowledge is limited and voluntarily
limit my comments to the area of the country I'm familiar with.

I've never said that this is an Oregon problem, only.  I've simply
said "I can talk knowledgably about Oregon, so will do so".  That's

This is the third time I've explained this.

Are all foresters so perversely dense that they can't understand a
simple explanation?

>And, apparently
>from the level of your posts, this all occured before you were born, so
>is of little value.

And, once again, rather than dispute my information, you depend on the
ad hominem attack.  I'm a child, so am unqualifed to speak.  I'm a
photographer, so I'm unqualified to speak.  I'm a writer, so I'm
unqualified to speak.  I'm a software engineer, so I'm unqualified
to speak.

No where, though, do you disprove any of the information I've provided.

Again, why should I believe you - who I know from the past to be politically
motivated - rather than professionals who've studied problems with roads
in my region?  

>> If that's what passes for honest debate in the forestry profession,
>> is it any wonder that the reputation of the profession is so low
>> in the public's eye?

>Honest debate?  When are you starting?

And where have I been dishonest?

If you think I'm lying about the studies I mention, say so.


- Don Baccus, Portland OR <dhogaza at>
  Nature photos, on-line guides, at

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