Letter to the Mt. Adams District Ranger from Jurgen Hess, FOMA Board Conservation Chair: ( please see his images in this website’s Gallery)
July 31, 2014
Although the Yakama Tribe is now rebuilding its east-west drift fence line from the Bird Creek Road to the Forest Service boundary, the rest of the Mt. Adams Grazing Allotment fence–long the responsibility of the Mt. Adams Ranger District at its permittee, Neil Kayser of Goldendale, WA–is still in deplorable condition. The “fence”, if you could call it that, runs on the west side of the allotment and is supposed to keep cattle out of the highly sensitive Bird Creek Meadows complex, including the meadows along Gotchen Creek and the campgrounds at Mirror Lake and Bird Lake.
Here is a letter our Conservation Chair, Jurgen Hess, wrote on July 30, 2014 to responsible officials at the Mt. Adams Ranger District and Gifford Pinchot National Forest: (check out his images in the “Gallery Section” of this website:
I did a review of the Mt. Adams Grazing Allotment fence on July 29, 2014. My findings are below. I understand that you are out of the office till Monday, August 4, but this situation needs attention very quickly. I have created a map of all the problem areas for documentation as well as taken numerous photos. A representative sample of my photos are attached. My findings:
* The fence has numerous, at least 10, major spots where there are holes such that a cow or calf can readily get through. These major openings include:
1. Entire sections of the fence are leaning or lying on the ground
2. Wires are loose and would not deter a cow or calf from crossing the fence line
3. Wires are broken and lying on the ground
4. Stays are broken and their effectiveness has been compromised
5. The gate latching mechanism is out of alignment and doesn’t close as designed. It has been “jury rigged” with a chain. But trail users likely would have difficulty closing the gate securely
* In addition to the major spots where a cow can get through there are numerous other spots with loose wires and broken wood stays.
* None of the openings in the fence are due to recent blow-down.
* Besides the major problems there are numerous other spots where wires are loose and stays broken
* The fence is not in compliance with conditions from the Annual Operation Instructions nor the final Decision Notice for the Allotment
*Fortunately cows have not moved into this elevation zone yet. As lower elevation grass dries out cows will be in the area of the fence, likely within several weeks if not sooner.
*There are numerous new stays and round poles that are stockpiled (by the FS) and need to be used to strengthen the fence.
In conclusion, the fence is in the worst maintained condition that I have ever seen it in all the years of my review. The fence in ineffective—there is no way the fence would keep cows from trespassing into closed areas.
The Friends of Mount Adams strongly recommends the Forest Service tell the permittee to get the fence into a useable condition as soon as possible. It appears to us that the permittee is out of compliance with the permit, the Forest Service Decision Notice and the Annual Operation Instructions.
We will be monitoring the on the ground situation. We have high expectations that the Forest Service will take corrective actions.