Letter sent on July 30, 2014, by Jurgen Hess, FOMA’s Conservation Chair:
To: Mt. Adams Ranger District
Attn: District Ranger Mose’ Jones-Yellin
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.
· 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 fenceline
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.
Jurgen A. Hess, Conservation Chair
Friends of Mount Adams
(Please click on an image for an enlarged view. Photos: Jurgen Hess)