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[ft-l] Re: Unauthorized usage on the FT (was Fw: Presidents Day weekend hike)

I think Tom MIGHT be right on this one.  I hiked from Clearwater Lake to
Juniper Springs in the Ocala for F-HATT and just south of Alexander Springs
ran into two  gentlemen on a huge four-wheeled ATV driving down our trail.
I stopped and informed them they were on a hiker-only trail and pointed out
the signs.  They responded that they were volunteers maintaining the trail,
cutting blowdowns with a chain saw.  They needed the ATV to haul the "heavy"
chainsaw.  I told them that we were FTA volunteers who helped maintain that
section and that we didn't use motorised transport on the trail, but walked
the chainsaws in from the nearest forest roads.  Since they were both twice
our size I wasn't sure whether they were impressed or incredulous that two
little ladies would do such a thing :-).  They said they had been doing it
all week all along the trail, so it's possible they had worked through the
wilderness area as well.

Anyway, we again told them that they were doing a fine job with the
clearing, but needed to get the ATV off the trail.  They went south and we
went north, so I don't know whether they left the trail after that or not.
When I talked with them about what they were doing I couldn't figure out
whether they were FS volunteers (people can get a free weeks stay in the
forest campgrounds in return for several days volunteer work in the forest)
or lived just outside the forest.

Back at the Clearwater Lake trailhead I admonished two separate bicylists
who were coming in off the hiking trail.  I would hope that all FTA members
do this with any unauthorized users on our trails.   You don't have to be
nasty or condescending (altho it's hard when the trail is consistantly
marked with hiker-only signs).  Just be firm, friendly and informative.

Along this same line, while conducting Trail Inventory up in Blackwater
River State Forest earlier this month we encountered an equestrian riding
along the Juniper Creek Trail.  He was crossing one of the newly-constructed
SCA bridges there.  Horse, man, toddler cradled in the man's arms and large
dog - probably about 2,000 lbs on the 14-foot bridge at one time.  You
should have seen the bridge bow in the center!  As this was a newly-cut
trail no signage other than orange blazes was up yet, so we couldn't be too
hard on the guy for being there.  But I suggested to the chapter volunteers
that they get signage up ASAP to indicate hiker-only status.  Especially on
the bridges - for liability reasons, if nothing else.  Maybe a load capacity
sign?!?!   Just points out the importance of signage in trail construction.
We can't jump on non-hikers using our trail if the trail is not adequately

Deb Blick

----- Original Message -----
From: <sandy@deathsdoor.com>

> > Despite the stipulation of using only hand tools in the
> >> wilderness, it was obvious most had been cut with a chain saw.
> wrong.  ever use a cross cut saw? carry it in about 5 miles one way?