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Thread: Thoreau Falls Bridge Removal - 30 Comment Period for Revised Assessment

  1. #1
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    Thoreau Falls Bridge Removal - 30 Comment Period for Revised Assessment

    I got a email from the FS today that a 30 day comment period started today August 7th on the revised environmental assessment for the bridge removal . I would love to give you a link but the link they give for more information goes to the original FS site which does not appear to contain the revised assessment . I will gladly forward the new draft assessment in PDF format if anyone has good way for me to link to it (its 1.8 MB Feel free to PM if you have suggestions on how to get it linked).

    I am not impressed by the assessment, it definitely is still oriented to ripping the bridge out and not replacing it. What is does is adds a section saying the bridge could be replaced and how it might be but then it goes back to why it doesn't need replacing. I was under the impression that the two state senators had requested more information on the replacement options and this assessment really does not cover that fully as I expect estimated cost would be a key part of the assessment process. Sadly one of the justifications is that there are other unbridged crossings like Cedar Brook that have to be crossed prior to this bridge. They forget to mention that the Cedar Brook crossing was necessitated by the removal of another suspension bridge previously. There are some pretty slides on assessments of the east bridge river gage and the lack of prior S&R incidents as justification. They also show the upper crossing of the river and forget to mention a fairly simple bushwhack around this crossing using the AT suspension bridge located just outside the wilderness area. At least the replacement alternative is based on helicopter and mechanized equipment use in place of non motorized equipment.

    I speculate that the FS hoped by a delay that some natural event would wipe out the bridge but annoyingly it remains.

    Given the timing of this, I expect the FS timed it to reduce public comment by doing the bare minimum to release the assessment. Many folks are on vacation this time of year and expect they would rather be out hiking than objecting to this project. Given the deadlock in Washington I expect it will be difficult to get much response from the congressional delegation.

    I will remind folks that the only reason this project was delayed previously was written comment from the public with a copy sent to the congressional delegation. Rail as you wish on electronic media, your opinion wont mean a thing to the bureaucracy


    Sadly barring a special congressional appropriation to do this work I expect the FS is going to keep delaying a decision until the get what they want.

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    Senior Member nartreb's Avatar
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    Put the PDF up on the website of your choice, and post the link here.

    Google Docs will do the trick, if you select "public on the Web" as the "visibility option". DropBox was my first suggestion, but I think you need a paid plan to be able to share with folks whose emails you don't know.

    If you get stuck, email it to me (or set up a private DropBox to share it with me) and I'll put it on my website.

  3. #3
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    Bike, Hike, Ski, Sleep. Eat, Fish, Repeat.

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    Thanks Tim

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    From that assesment, they have no intention of replacing the bridge and go to great pains to show that replacing it would be more damaging to the Wilderness area than ripping it out and leaving abutments in place. They also state that its not used enough to warrant replacing and that not replacing it would draw more visitors to the area. They show pictures from an extreme drought year to highlight that it is easily fordable and that smaller rivers and streams are fordable upstream from the bridge.

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    Member JToll's Avatar
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    After reading the draft environmental assessment I also feel the Forest Service has made up their mind. I did however send in a letter in opposition. In urge people to read the assessment and to send in comments.

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    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    When this came up in 2015, both Senator Shaheen and then-Sentator Ayotte were involved, possibly leading to the 2-year delay. Perhaps, if you are in the mood to correspond, you might copy Senator Shaheen and also include Senator Hassan.

    https://www.hassan.senate.gov/contact
    https://www.shaheen.senate.gov/contact/contact-jeanne

    It does appear to me that it will be an uphill climb to make the case for replacement. It does seem that they are willing to relax the Wilderness rules long enough to mechanically dismantle it. I'd like to see them remove the bridge abutments following Wilderness rules, if they choose to remove it.

    Tim
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    Senior Member Becca M's Avatar
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    the govt is going to do what the govt wants
    Yay for winter!!!!!

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    If the government did what it originally wanted the bridge would be a memory already (like the Moriah Brook bridge is).

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    Senior Member TJsName's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Becca M View Post
    the govt is going to do what the govt wants
    The Government is made up of people, and people rarely agree on what to do unanimously. The plans to remove the bridge are driven by people, and people sometimes respond to reason and argument. I think it's still worth trying to communicate if it's important to you. Don't give up all hope.
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    Senior Member Becca M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    If the government did what it originally wanted the bridge would be a memory already (like the Moriah Brook bridge is).
    hmmmm, as the bog bridges rot away into the swamp in there, personally, I don't want to go in there any more anyway

    hmmm, well, the suspension bridge over the Pemi is just a memory too.... if anyone wants to bet, this bridge will also be a memory,,,, as will (eventually) the bridge near the madison gulf junction,,, and until the swamp is drained down to where the people have local control over outcomes, this will continue



    I stand with my opinion
    Last edited by Becca M; 08-09-2017 at 10:11 AM.
    Yay for winter!!!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Becca M View Post
    the govt is going to do what the govt wants
    That's for sure. The govt wrote the rules and now they are following the rules they wrote.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Becca M View Post
    hmmmm, as the bog bridges rot away into the swamp in there, personally, I don't want to go in there any more anyway

    hmmm, well, the suspension bridge over the Pemi is just a memory too.... if anyone wants to bet, this bridge will also be a memory,,,, as will (eventually) the bridge near the madison gulf junction,,, and until the swamp is drained down to where the people have local control over outcomes, this will continue



    I stand with my opinion
    Curious why you feel that way about the Madison Gulf bridge after they just replaced it?

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    Senior Member TCD's Avatar
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    Agree with Becca. The specifics of specific bridges are a sidetrack to the larger issue. And sorry TJsN, but the larger governments are mostly made up of unelected bureaucracies. It's always worth *trying* to communicate, but these are no longer "governments of the people." It's tough enough over here in the Adirondacks dealing with NY State. I am continually grateful the feds are not over here, pulling out bridges and painting over trail markers.

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    Senior Member Grey J's Avatar
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    In a different thread, the Moderator said, "A lot of issues of interest to the VFTT community are political" but that alone would not necessarily be cause to censor a topic or shut down a discussion. I certainly agree with that and also think both Moderators have a deft and nuanced approach to their thankless task. It is always interesting however, when following threads like this one, to see how our political views inevitably find expression, sometimes obliquely and other times thinly veiled or read between the lines.

    As far as the Thoreau Falls Bridge goes, I would like to see it replaced even though I will probably never use it. On the other hand, justifying it's removal as one interpretation of the existing Wilderness regulations is not an entirely unreasonable position. If you want to save the bridge, lobby your Senators with calls and emails. It ain't over till it's over and it ain't done till it's done.
    "I am a pilgrim and a stranger"

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