The Care & Feeding of Hiking Trails

March 27, 1998

Sorry, but there were no new trails to report by Steve Otoupalik, McKenzie Ranger District Manager of Trails and Wilderness. Instead, he addressed primarily the trail fee program. Trails obviously need continuing maintenance but funding has been severely curtailed. Congress likes the fee system (surprise!). So Steve recommends channeling any criticism or suggestions directly to Congress, starting with our local Representatives.

The fees are probably here to stay, but Steve is aware that the system needs simplification (e.g., transferable annual passes à la SnoPark).

To date, the trail fee system has worked well, with generally good compliance. A significant, but not sufficient, amount of funds has been raised. The success, to date, appears to a considerable degree to have been due to the very diplomatic manner in which the District has managed the problem of non-compliance.

A program has also been initiated of granting special day or annual passes for pledges of trail maintenance. We were given a packet of the special passes for future issuance to Obsidian trail volunteers.

Steve addresses many organizations, and he was impressed by our turnout (which was only about half of normal), which he attributed to our gourmet potluck!

Bep Fontana

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