17 Mar 2009, 6:41pm
2007 Fire Season Federal forest policy
by admin

Yellow Pine Road Workshop Planned

In 2007 the US Forest Service burned 800,000 acres (1,250 square miles) of the Payette, Boise, and Nez Perce National Forests in Central Idaho [here]. The fires were directly atop the Idaho Batholith [here], composed of highly erodable granitic soils.

During the following winter massive erosion, landslides, and mudflows clogged the creeks and washed out numerous roads [here, here] (much to the delight of anti-everything pseudo-environmental groups, such as the Wilderness Society [here]).

In November of 2007 Payette Supervisor Suzanne Rainville thanked the residents of Burgdorf, Secesh, Warren, Yellow Pine, Copenhaver, Mackey Bar, Badley Ranch, Big Creek, Indian Valley, and Weiser for their “positive feedback” [here]. She promised to “work on fire restrictions to improve their effectiveness and intention without causing adverse impacts to land owners, business owners and recreating public.”

Then a year later (October 2008), after the mudslides, Rainville decided to shut the roads to Yellow Pine permanently. Evidently she did not see any “adverse impact” to cutting off the town.

Rainville’s decision caused undue consternation among the residents, who had not been consulted. A great deal of feedback ensued, and none of it was “positive.”

The Regional Forester for the Intermountain Region, Harv Forsgren, was the recipient of some of that feedback, and he nixed Rainville’s ill-considered decision. From a News Release of today:

… [T]he Regional Forester directed the PNF [Payette National Forest] to further evaluate the concerns raised by appellants regarding the decision not to include certain motorized and non-motorized roads and trails in the Big Creek and Yellow Pine area and to involve the public in this evaluation.

So now the Payette NF, by order of the Regional Forester, will be holding two “workshops” where the residents will be voicing their feedback directly to Rainville and Krassel District Ranger Joe Harper.

The entire text of the aforementioned News Release (March 17, 2009):

Payette National Forest Public Affairs Office


If you have an interest in helping the Payette National Forest (PNF) take another look at the summer motorized and non-motorized road and trail system in the Big Creek and Yellow Pine areas on the Krassel Ranger District, then you will want to attend one of the workshops being hosted by the District this month. The first workshop will be held Tuesday, March 24, at 6:30 p.m. at the PNF Supervisor’s Office in McCall. A second workshop will be held in Yellow Pine on Saturday, March 28, at 1:00 p.m. at the Community Center.

“I’m expecting participants to role up their sleeves and work in groups to develop their vision of how roads and trails in the Yellow Pine/Big Creek area need to be designated”, said Krassel District Ranger Joe Harper. Harper went on to say that both he and Forest Supervisor Suzanne Rainville will be in attendance to assist participants as they consider what roads and trails in the area should be opened or closed and what criteria need to be considered in their deliberations.

In October of 2008 PNF Forest Supervisor Suzanne Rainville signed the Record of Decision for the Snow-free Travel Management Plan for McCall and Krassel Ranger Districts. This decision designated the road and trail system for the snow-free season. The decision received numerous appeals regarding roads and trails in the Big Creek and Yellow Pine area. In the appeal response letter the forest received from the Forest Service Regional Office in Ogden the Regional Forester directed the PNF to further evaluate the concerns raised by appellants regarding the decision not to include certain motorized and non-motorized roads and trails in the Big Creek and Yellow Pine area and to involve the public in this evaluation.

If you have questions or concerns about the meetings or the travel management process, please contact District Ranger Joe Harper at 208-634-0601

So the residents will be rolling up their sleeves and developing their vision. We expect the “workshops” will be interesting. We are sorry they are so far away that we are unable to attend and report on the interesting developments.

If you (Dear Reader) happen to attend one or both of the “workshops,” please let us know what transpires.

23 May 2010, 9:29pm
by scott

Suzanne Rainville went through the motions of “collaboration” with the folks from Yellow Pine. Then she decided to over ride 85% of the public comments and enact the travel plan as she had written it before holding the workshops. In addition, she installed locked federal gates on county RS2477 roads.

Several “road closed” signs were posted weeks before the Record of Decision was signed on April 26, 2010. Many appeals are being filed and possible litigation. The record of decision itself promises not to enact the “proposed plan A” until the 45 day appeals period ends (roughly June 12th). So the appeals period isn’t even finalized yet, and she’s already constructed gates, closed them, locked them, and put out many other “road closed signs” on roads which the public wasn’t even allowed to comment on?

It was especially arrogant of her to do an abbreviated environmental impact study and even shorter economic impact study. She stated in her findings that “recreational road use is an important part of the economies of communities in Valley county, with the exception of Yellow Pine”………needless to say that did not sit well with the locals.

It’s easy to see why Suzanne Rainville displays such disdain for the folks in Yellow Pine. She turns a blind eye while her rangers destroy nationally registered historical landmarks and private property. However, people from Yellow Pine keep documenting and reporting the breaking of federal law by federal employees under her watch. So far, no action has been taken by her, other than to harrass the accusers. Including putting a “road closed sign” on my driveway and stating to the Valley county commissioner that she has no intentions of honoring my request for a special use permit.

As to the crimes her high-level employees continue to commit: Many documents proving illegal conduct were obtained through the use of Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) inquiries and there is an ongoing investigation into the conduct of high-level Payette National Forest employees.

23 May 2010, 9:44pm
by scott

On April 28, 2010 Patti Steiger of the Payette National Forest closed and locked the gate on 3-mile road.

There were no warning signs or prior warnings given to closing and locking the gate. At the time she locked the gate there were 5 people and at least 3 vehicles behind the gate. Three of the 5 had medical conditions, including one with diabetes.

The 5 were out hiking, sigh-seeing and exploring. When they returned to their vehicles there was a ticket which read “you are parked behind a locked gate. The gate is now locked and closed. Please remove your vehicles.” REMOVE YOUR VEHICLES? Through a gate, designed to withstand tampering, and 20 miles away from the nearest help? Stranded with no phone reception, no food, water or other assistance? Worse: The person with diabetes reportedly started having a medical emergency.

Due to the medical emergency, 2 of 3 from one group worked vigorously and constructed a bypass around the gate. They then rushed the person with the medical emergency to help. Later they returned to retrieve her vehicle.

I saved a copy of the citation, complete with Patti Steiger’s signature and ordering them to remove their vehicles from behind a USFS locked gate on a county RS2477 road.

I will provide a copy of the citations to all interested parties per their request.

26 May 2010, 8:42am
by Ned Pence

I was District Ranger on the Krassel District from 1971 to 1976. There is no resource reason for the Three Mile Road to be closed. This road certainly qualifies as a RS2477 road. There was probably a wagon road there to access Chinese placer mining before there was a Forest Service. It was improved by the CCC in the 1930s. The road provides access to a trail head for egress to two early homesteads. The trail provides access to some of the most spectacular scenery on the South Fork of the Salmon River.

The only reason I can think for the Payette National Forest to close this road is to show the population of Yellow Pine, Idaho, and the citizens of Valley County that they can. The travel plan does not address a reason.

What happened to the agency that I was once proud to be part of?

27 May 2010, 9:16pm
by Foo Furb

Ned, thanks for the rhetorical question. I hope that it is being carefully considered by the “diverse” bureaucrats that have taken over your once-proud and formerly functional agency.

To be kind, these busybody nitwits have no business being put in charge of anything, much less our nation’s most valued resources. They should be collecting welfare payments, rent subsidies, and food stamps like the rest of their ilk living off taxpayer largesse. In my humble opinion.

It is too bad that today’s USFS isn’t better versed in Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. Destroying public access to important historical and cultural resources should be seen in the same light as sport hunting spotted owls or purposefully destroying ESA habitat with wildfires.

History is important, and Pinchot was correct in his “first and foremost” assessment of the duty of the USFS. Why haven’t these jerks been fired and taken off the public dole? They cost more than they produce, and they leave a bad taste in the mouths of people who are forced to deal with them.

Or maybe obstinance and incompetence were some of the qualities the USFS was lacking when it began diversifying its workforce? Something is definitively wrong and needs fixing.

1 Aug 2010, 10:10am
by Scott A.

Update on said travel plan:

Suzanne Rainville has denied the appeal of an elderly couple who attended five workshops, public comment meetings. Her basis for denying their appeal(s) was this: They did not submit “written” comments.

Under 36 CFR section 215.6 which states “Both oral and written comments shall be accepted” it appears Suzanne Rainville, Payette National Forest Supervisor has stepped out of bounds, breaking federal law.

The couple moved to Yellow Pine in the 1930s. The 77 year old man and his wife in question stated several comments at the public meeting, including concerns about “being too old to hike” into places where they used to live and work. Suzanne Rainville’s response was to the effect “if you’re that old then you shouldn’t live in Yellow Pine anymore.”

Suzanne Rainville may be really well practiced in bullying and denying the rights of 77 year old men and a dear sweet little old lady. However, I and 99% of the town are going to have a few not nice words to say about the criminal act, her denying legitimate claims of an elderly couple loved by all, to have the right to appeal.



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