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 Owl's Head Slide Trail Marker 

Owl's Head Slide Trail Marker
leave as is, consider my section as starting immediately after the entrance to the slide  22%  [ 2 ]
leave as is, photograph what I find each visit and forward to FS  11%  [ 1 ]
restore to a discreet single rock cairn each time regardless of how little or much I find  56%  [ 5 ]
dismantle whatever I find and restore to "Wilderness standard"  11%  [ 1 ]
Total votes : 9

 Owl's Head Slide Trail Marker 
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Adept Ascender
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 Owl's Head Slide Trail Marker
Hi,

I am headed out later this month to do some trail maintainence and to get a GPS track for my entire section.

I saw this recent photo of the entrance to the slide and I have to agree with the photographer that it is excessive. I started to think about what I would do if I came upon this set-up and quickly realized how subjective it is. For example, maybe most people think this arrangement is just fine.

https://picasaweb.google.com/runswithscissors4111/OwlsHead6711?authkey=Gv1sRgCLDHm7D8uIiw_QE&feat=directlink#5617300605266736050

I understand there has been a cat & mouse game over the years between the FS and hikers regarding this. I have NO DESIRE to get caught up in something like that.

My personal belief is that people will always hike to Owl's Head, trails help concentrate use, and the lack of trails to the Owl's Head summit only leads to multiple herdpaths. Ideally the FS will allow a trail marker someday.

So I was wondering what people think I should do as the trail adopter. Not just this time, but everytime, considering that what I find may range from "nothing there" to "wood/rock scree wall on Bondcliff".

I think my options are:
- leave as is, consider my section as starting immediately after the entrance to the slide
- leave as is, photograph what I find each visit and forward to FS
- restore to a discreet single rock cairn each time regardless of how little or much I find [this is probably illegal...]
- restore to "Wilderness standard"

I am leaning towards option # 1 to preserve my sanity but I do wonder if I could hold to that if there was a truly monsterous arrangement.

Thanks.[url][/url]

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Wed Jun 15, 2011 9:04 am
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It is my understanding that the Forest Service supports a single cairn at the bottom and another one on the true summit, in order to minimize the many herd paths ("protect the resource", in their parlance.) If I were the maintainer, I'd ask the Forest Service, or whoever I "report to" in the maintaining/adopting organization, rather than taking an informal internet poll.

Tim

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Wed Jun 15, 2011 9:57 am
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I voted for the single rock cairn, like one BIG single rock. In a perfect world I'd like to see nothing there in accordance with wilderness standards but if that's what you do someone will come along and build up/overkill the situation again. If there was one large rock there that should do the trick and wouldn't look all that out of place. If they can bolt a sign to a tree at the top I see nothing wrong with a small indiscreet marking of some sort.


Wed Jun 15, 2011 10:01 am
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When I did Owls Head, i had zero problems seeing the small cairn there. I cant see how this is any different than the rock wall that was up on Guyot or wherever the heck it was. Tear it down and leave the Pemi Wilderness as is, I say.


Greg

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Wed Jun 15, 2011 10:42 am
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 Thanks
Tim,

Thanks for the information and good advice.

I would be thrilled if the FS supports a single cairn at the base of the slide. IMO that is all hikers have ever wanted. If that is the case, it makes things very simple for me.

This shouldn't have been a poll. I started to list what I could do as a way of thinking about it and it seemed to lend itself to a poll...

I understand that this is not really a decision for me or for Hike-NH to make.

TJM

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Wed Jun 15, 2011 10:43 am
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My personal feelings are that a small cairn at the slide and summit are fine. The question I have is why is it only Owls Head that this a big concern? There are a few other peaks in wilderness areas that don't seem to get this attention.

Image
Image

Note the wall behind my pack on W. Bond
Image

So I repeat the question. Why Owls Head?

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Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:55 am
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Owl's Head is officially trail-less, and on the NH48 list; that's why. The West Bond Spur is an actual trail, and follows the Wilderness guideline for minimal signage, brown on brown (or engraved wood, without any paint), and without distances.

Which other ones? Isolation comes to mind: it has a sign, but the spur is not an official trail either, IIRC.

Tim

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Wed Jun 15, 2011 12:52 pm
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Sounds like splitting hairs to me. If there's that much of an issue with it than it should just be de-listed. I'm sure hundreds, maybe thousands of peak-baggers would be happy with that. 8)

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Wed Jun 15, 2011 1:23 pm
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 drifting...
Joe,

Are you trollling with that one?

My understanding is that AMC's 4k list uses the 200 foot col rule and wasn't based on trail access. I also believe that the 4k list was created before the Pemi Wilderness Designation. So you have a list created by the AMC that kind of creates conflict with the FS position of not wanting to officially open a trail to those summits.

The 4k list does a good job of helping people expand their horizons past the Presidential and Franconia Ridges but the arbitary height and arbitary col rule eliminates some wonderful places like Sandwich Dome, Hight, Boot Spur, Nelson Crag, Rodger's Ledge, Whitewall...

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Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:02 pm
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I'm not sure what Tom_Murphy should do about this. But I do I think the Forest Service should give in and designate the slide trail an official trail. It's going to get a lot of traffic since it's one of the 48. Like it or not, it is the official route.

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Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:31 pm
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 Re: drifting...
Tom_Murphy wrote:
Joe,

Are you trollling with that one?


Nope. I know and understand the col rule. I just thought it sounded like a good idea. Just think of all the peak baggers, who dread the trip to the evil Owls Head and would be relieved when they find out they do not have to go there. :D

This is what I found on my first trip to Owls Head. I found neither of them offensive. The arrow at the entrance of the slide helped me find it. Without it I would have walked right past it. The stone bench at the summit was a good place to rest my weary bones after having just walked 9 miles. :)

These things are just sticks and stones natural to the environment just slightly rearranged by man. I don't see the big deal. :roll:

Image
Image

That's all I have to say about that. :P

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Wed Jun 15, 2011 3:11 pm
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Tom, the only thing you can really do is leave it alone. Someone WILL come along and build something else.
I can see how with someone like Joe being pretty blind (and blinded by flowers and water) can miss the beginning of the slide. But just because there are rocks and sticks and whatnot available does not make it okay to go against the regulations.

Greg

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Wed Jun 15, 2011 4:51 pm
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I may not be the one best to respond directly to the question. When I first did Owl's Head there was no cairn to mark the start of the slide. There was no ugly axe marked tree with an arrow (and boy did that get people's blood boiling). There was no indicator I remember other than the worn treadway. I figured if we could find it back then using the guidebook instructions and some common sense, then everyone should. I don't know, to me this always seemed like a silly game played by child like adults trying to "stick it" to the Forest Service. The Forest Rangers didn't make the policy. They didn't ask to have to spend their days climbing Owl's Head over and over again to take down signs and destroy cairns illegally made, all because some nit wit in Washington made a policy a bunch of hikers didn't like. Yet rather than try to change the system by taking their complaints to the higher-ups responsible they continue to wage a war with the lower level employees who have no say in the matter (well, not unless they want to keep cashing their paychecks they don't.) It looks like enough complaining finally got the "one cairn on top, one on bottom" concession. But was it rally necessary to harass the Rangers who's job it is to protect the resources of the area?

But again, I had no problems finding the slide even without any markers, and I can't understand why anyone would have a problem finding it to begin with. But to be fair (and to bring to light an irony) it was probably a large percentage of people who had been there many times (and thus should have already knwon how to find it) that were placing the cairns, signs and that ugly axe blaze arrow.

Brian


Wed Jun 15, 2011 5:24 pm
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I voted the first option. As a Trail adopter, I take care of my trail point to point. For me, That is from Route 16 to the Summit of Wildcat D at the new wooden Platform. If I had your trail, I would not get caught up in the fiasco that is the marking of the slide. Concentrate on the other 99.9 percent of your trail and have fun working with that. Kudos to you for taking a trail that is a good distance from the road and needs a great amount of TLC. I really applaud you for that.


I can guarantee, if the AMC put a hut on Owl's Head, the slide route would become an "Official" Trail overnight. I think it's a little shameful for an outdoors organization to promote a listing of a peak yet have no say in the discussion and debate that has been going on about Owl's Head. They stick their nose in a great deal of issues and pander for donations with endless mailings. End Rant.

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Wed Jun 15, 2011 7:48 pm
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I agree the technichality is that there is no official trail unlike West Bond. People are marking "nothing" with a big ugly obviously man-made object. Sure to truely adhere to wilderness regulations you'd have to remove all bridges, tracks, signage, tent platforms, geological survey markers etc. but that's not going to happen.


Wed Jun 15, 2011 10:55 pm
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