Sunday, August 26, 2012

An Open Letter to the US Forest Service

Thank you for your earlier message.  A friend and I were just finishing up a fifteen mile, or so, hike to Hank's Lake in the Mt Jefferson Wilderness when we were approached by a deputy sheriff and young search party members on Saturday afternoon concerning lost hiker, Ronald Ohm.  Given the lack of trail signage and poor maintenance of these trails (large trees left over trail in challenging spots), one wonders if incidents like this might be encountered less frequently if some pro-active signage and maintenance steps were undertaken.

On Jul 23, 2012, at 4:00 PM, Forson, Stacey L -FS wrote:

Hi Karl,

Your email concerning trail signage around Pamelia Lake, in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness, was forwarded to me.  I appreciate hearing your comments and concerns, and I'm happy to hear that you and your family were able to safely navigate out of the area.

I have shared your concerns with the district recreation staff and the wilderness & trails program leader for the Pamelia Lake area.  From what they shared with me, the existing trail signage is appropriate for the wilderness setting.   System trails (trails which have been constructed and maintained for wilderness access) are typically signed at junctions.  User created trails, such as the trail around the shoreline that campers and anglers use, are not maintained or signed.    Wilderness settings are somewhat unique, as they are a much less human-dominated environment, with minimal to no developments, allowing visitors an opportunity for solitude, personal challenge and self-discovery.  Pre-trip preparation is an important element when considering backcountry travel into designated wilderness.  To safely navigate in a wilderness setting, it's imperative to obtain an appropriate map, bring a compass and/or GPS, and know current conditions.

Stacey L. Forson
Recreation, Heritage, Lands & Minerals Staff Officer
Willamette National Forest
541.225.6301 Office
541.510.7482 Cell

-----Original Message-----
From: Hopkins, Shannon S -FS
Sent: Monday, July 16, 2012 10:07 AM
To: Forson, Stacey L -FS
Subject: FW: [ R6 WWW ] Complaint

Comments regarding trail signage...thanks

Shannon Hopkins
USFS-R6-Recreation, Lands & Minerals
503/808-2429 (Fax)

-----Original Message-----
From: Karl Erickson []
Sent: Sunday, July 15, 2012 5:23 PM
To: Lippitt, Bonnie -FS; Hopkins, Shannon S -FS; FS-r6 webmasters
Subject: [ R6 WWW ] Complaint

Below is the result of your feedback form.  It was submitted by Karl Erickson ( on July 15th, 2012 at 08:23PM (EDT).

realname: Karl Erickson
r6location: Willamette NF


Just sharing that the trail signage around Lake Pamelia is really poor.  Considering the unmarked trail loops, it's easy to get disoriented.  We came within minutes of calling 911 yesterday due to being unable to locate two family members by the evening.  It would be very helpful to improve the trail markings.  It really seems like a safety issue to me.

For an account of the situation, you can read it below.  (I also discuss the poor signage and marker issue.)


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