Interaction with the Forest Service

After a few calls I managed to speak with someone at the local, North River Forest Service Disctrict office.  WOO!  I had a list of question, some of which I forgot in my excitement to speak to someone, but I got a couple answered. 

The two fire road turn offs, 536F & C at Bear Trap are most likely the two places I feel they are.  They were probably used for logging and that area has not been logged in 10 or 20 years so they were closed up so people couldn’t drive on them.  They are still available to be used but are not being maintained.  He also went on to tell me that on my horse I can ride any and everywhere I choose in the forest, I just can’t clear trails or bring my chainsaw, but to enjoy myself and explore where ever I want. 

Next I asked him about trail 439 that had the wooden signs taken down and now has the green tree tags.  He told me that the local bicycle club got permission to put up the green tags (they have SVBC Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Club on them! Duh Krista!) on trails they are working on and maintaining.  He said the FS is no longer putting up the wooden signs because of people vandalizing them and they are putting up metal signs that are made just like street signs, but they are still brown.  He said they get stolen or kicked down and thrown into the woods all the time.  He is going to pass on to the appropriate person that the signs are not up for that trail any longer too. 

I was so thrilled to talk to someone who was happy (or at least sounded like he was) to talk to me, and truly helpful!  He didn’t just answer my questions but elaborated and really tried to give me useful information.  He knew exactly what area, fire roads and trail I was talking about right away and he didn’t make me feel stupid or like a burden or anything.  It was fantastic.  His name was something like Christopher or something Chris sounding.  Or so that’s what I heard the receptionist call him. 

I had meant to ask about the gates being opened and what the schedule is for that, and what the criteria was for some gates to be open versus others.   And if I am ok to drive up in there in my truck or horse trailer (assuming there is turn around space for the trailer), if they check before locking the gates. 

Anyway, it was a really exciting and positive interaction, and since there have been strained relations with the local FS and the local riders/trail users lately, it made me feel even better about it. 

*To the best of my knowledge, the main issues with the local FS has been more in, what I think is the Lee District area, centered around Cub Run and Catherine’s Furnace. 

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