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Re: cutting zig-zags

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cutting zig-zags
February 26, 2017 03:02PM
Is cutting of zig-zags specifically outlawed in Yosemite ... or elsewhere in the Sierra? I ask not because I'd ever want to do it (quick way to erode the mountainside) but because the following article (by a generally respected author, I think) claims it is yet I've not heard of any specific rules against it.

https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/news/a-look-to-the-future/0015997/

Quote

During our traverse of the [John Muir] trail one of our companions, Terry Leyland, decided to shortcut a series of zig-zags on the trail by jogging directly downhill.

Waiting for him at the foot of the zigzags was a National Park ranger, uniformed and impatiently tap-tap-tapping the holster on her hip, as though gently reminding Terry that there was something inside it. It was apparently a felony to short-cut the zig-zags.
avatar Re: cutting zig-zags
February 26, 2017 03:54PM
It says it's illegal here:

https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/fourmiletrail.htm

I can't find it anywhere else... unless you are on a horse.

It's not explicitly listed in the compendium for non-stock users.

Unfortunately... it's done too often. People are lazy...



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: cutting zig-zags
February 26, 2017 05:22PM
His claim about how he didn't receive a permit for the Wonderland trail is....yea....
avatar Re: cutting zig-zags
February 26, 2017 08:00PM
I seriously doubt the whole story. Park Rangers do not threaten to shoot people. There is nothing I could find that says PEOPLE from countries where HMD is present cannot get hiking permits in our National Parks. Their livestock, of course, but people? No.
Re: cutting zig-zags
February 27, 2017 10:28AM
Quote
Dave
I seriously doubt the whole story. Park Rangers do not threaten to shoot people. There is nothing I could find that says PEOPLE from countries where HMD is present cannot get hiking permits in our National Parks. Their livestock, of course, but people? No.

Here is a fact sheet from the USDA division of Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services. https://www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/animal_health/2013/fs_fmd_hcd_protection.pdf

There is no mention about not being able to get hiking permits for our National Parks if you are from or have recently visited a country with HMD but it does say this for travelers returning to the US from trips abroad " Upon return to the United States, travelers to foreign countries should note on the U.S. Customs Declaration form any visits to farms, ranches, or other areas where livestock are raised or kept. Visits to zoos, circuses, fairs, and other facilities and events where animals are exhibited also need to be noted. Report these types of visits on the form by answering “yes” to the following questions: • 11-D. Are you bringing with you soil or have you been on a farm/ranch/pasture outside the United States? • 12. Have you or any family members traveling with you been in close proximity of (such as touching or handling) livestock outside the United States?
Follow a “5-day” rule. If you visited a farm or had any contact with livestock on your trip, avoid all contact with livestock, zoo animals, or wildlife for 5 days after your return to the United States." You are also not supposed to bring in any milk, meat or other at risk materials into the US.

I hate to assume this but if you are not going to a park before that 5 day rule, then there should be no issue with getting a hiking permit.

I am with you, I doubt the validity of the story and feel it was written as a hype and for entertainment but not for facts.
avatar Re: cutting zig-zags
February 27, 2017 10:54AM
Quote
parklover
...I am with you, I doubt the validity of the story and feel it was written as a hype and for entertainment but not for facts.

As is much of what is claimed to be "news" these days. Big on hype, low on facts.
avatar Re: cutting zig-zags
February 26, 2017 11:08PM
There's signs all over the place on the trails in Yosemite telling you to NOT cut switchbacks.

The story is heavily embellished for dramatic effect, but could have a foundation in a real event. I can see a Ranger doing a Contact with a person the Ranger saw cut a switchback right in front of them. On the other hand, they have much more important things to worry about.

I also believe that UK and US have completely different attitudes towards wilderness management and camping, so the comparison doesn't fly.
Re: cutting zig-zags
February 27, 2017 10:58AM
Quote
Axis Weevil
Is cutting of zig-zags specifically outlawed in Yosemite ... or elsewhere in the Sierra? I ask not because I'd ever want to do it (quick way to erode the mountainside) but because the following article (by a generally respected author, I think) claims it is yet I've not heard of any specific rules against it.

https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/news/a-look-to-the-future/0015997/

Quote

During our traverse of the [John Muir] trail one of our companions, Terry Leyland, decided to shortcut a series of zig-zags on the trail by jogging directly downhill.

Waiting for him at the foot of the zigzags was a National Park ranger, uniformed and impatiently tap-tap-tapping the holster on her hip, as though gently reminding Terry that there was something inside it. It was apparently a felony to short-cut the zig-zags.
I think the key is that when you go visit a park in the US or in another country then you should read the rules of the specific park(s) you are going to. There are variations in rules between different US National Parks themselves and parks in other countries may or may not have different ideas of what park protection is as compared to US parks. I also doubt that the park ranger was threatening the man with their gun. Frankly, after reading the article, it sounds more like sour grapes because the author couldn't get a permit when he wanted one and has written negative things about our parks. BTW, not all US park rangers are LE's and only LE's carry guns. Also, if you go below and see what I wrote in response to Dave, there are rules about what you have to do when you enter the US from places that have HMD and if you follow the rules and precautions, and follow the 5 day rule, a permit should not have been denied for that reason.
Re: cutting zig-zags
February 27, 2017 04:25PM
There are listings for cutting switchbacks in the CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) both for the NPS and USFS. However, there are stipulations on both regulations that it has be a separate order or otherwise posted. Those can be trickier to find, at least online, but can be a posted sign at the trailhead or at the Ranger Station. Could maybe even be in the management plan. Either way, there is a specific rule against it.

NPS: 36 CFR 2.1 (b)
The superintendent may restrict hiking or pedestrian use to a designated trail or walkway system pursuant to §§ 1.5 and 1.7. Leaving a trail or walkway to shortcut between portions of the same trail or walkway, or to shortcut to an adjacent trail or walkway in violation of designated restrictions is prohibited.

USFS: 36 CFR 261.55 (e)
When provided by an order issued in accordance with § 261.50 of this subpart, the following are prohibited on a National Forest System trail:
....
(e) Shortcutting a switchback in a trail.
Re: cutting zig-zags
February 27, 2017 05:05PM
This thread has me thinking about the Alaskan trails mindset, while not universally completely true, hold that Alaskans do not know what switchbacks are and trails generally just go straight up (or as the case may be, down.) Like I said it is COMPLETELY true, but it was quite a shock to my system when moving here how freaking steep the trails are and how switchbacks are really rare.

The Mt. Marathon "trail" in Seward climbs about 3,011 feet in about a mile---or 1.5 miles if you count the road part to the finish line in town for the race. The record for that downhill 1.5 miles is 10:00. That is 10 minutes flat. The up portion was about 34 minutes.

Anyway, none of this has any relevance to this conversation unless the hikers happen to be Alaskan who haven't figured out what switchbacks are.
avatar Re: cutting zig-zags
February 27, 2017 05:41PM
Trails in CA's Henry Coe State Park, being largely old ranch roads, have a tendency to simply go straight up the hill as well. And, certainly, I hiked some stuff in New Zealand that required grabbing onto trees and pulling myself up ("trails" that are just blazed routes going straight up a mountain, over Southern Beech roots, over clay soil, right after a heavy rain...tend to be a bit slick).

But yes, I saw the original at Walk Highlands and beyond this it got several facts wrong about the NPS system while trying to argue against a proposal in the Cairngorms (most notably, it called the NPS a "pseudo police force", when in fact in most parks the NPS is the primary law enforcement, unlike USFS lands).
avatar Re: cutting zig-zags
February 27, 2017 06:16PM
It all boils down to; don't be an idiot and don't cut switchbacks. I've been on several trail maintenance parties and have had to repair the damage caused by cutting switchbacks. One, often used by equestrians, was almost 9 feet deep. We filled it with rocks and covered it with brush.
avatar Re: cutting zig-zags
February 27, 2017 07:26PM
There's a tradition:

Re: cutting zig-zags
February 28, 2017 10:55AM
Thankfully I've never seen a crowd like that here (I'm almost certain that is Skagway) but I've certainly seen that type of trail!
avatar Re: cutting zig-zags
March 02, 2017 04:00PM
Quote
chicagocwright
Thankfully I've never seen a crowd like that here (I'm almost certain that is Skagway) but I've certainly seen that type of trail!

That's Chilkoot Pass. It's a scree slope with pretty big rocks. A "trail" going straight up that is not going to cause much erosion. From the pictures I've seen; it's probably easier to do it after a few good snows. A trail on a dirt slope of the same angle would probably be a huge gully after the first decent rain. So, yes, there is precedent, but on rock, not soil.
avatar Re: cutting zig-zags
February 28, 2017 07:04AM
From my tracks...
Ledge Trail - 1.2 miles 3000 ft.
Indian Canyon - 1.5 2700 ft.

w/r to Henry Coe...

Backpackers Paradise!


went there a LOT... til figured... um... yeah... um... yeah... um...
Yosemite IS BETTER!
tongue sticking out smiley



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: cutting zig-zags
February 28, 2017 08:34AM
I still love the Ohlone Trail in the spring. I counted over 50 different species of wild flowers on one trip.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/28/2017 08:34AM by Dave.
avatar Re: cutting zig-zags
March 03, 2017 10:16AM
Quote
Dave
I still love the Ohlone Trail in the spring. I counted over 50 different species of wild flowers on one trip.

That's been on my list for a while. Some day...



http://www.flickr.com/photos/dqniel/
avatar Re: cutting zig-zags
March 03, 2017 04:05PM
I've done it several times. I never get tired of it. Three days is about right. First night at Eagles Aerie, second (and often a third) night at Maggies Half Acre. Good water at both sites.
avatar Re: cutting zig-zags
March 06, 2017 06:36AM
Maggie's is a nice campsite, and Rose Peak is a short hike away. There's some nice views near Maggie's heading towards Sunol as well.

avatar Re: cutting zig-zags
March 06, 2017 08:09AM
Did you know that Rose Peak is no longer the highest point in Alameda County? Discovery Peak, not too far away, is by 26 feet. Also, the best water in the county is that spring at Maggies.
avatar Re: cutting zig-zags
March 07, 2017 06:50PM
Quote
Dave
Did you know that Rose Peak is no longer the highest point in Alameda County? Discovery Peak, not too far away, is by 26 feet.

Earthquake?
avatar Re: cutting zig-zags
March 07, 2017 08:06PM
Measurement correction.

Same reason Mt. Whitney is now 14505', and not 14496'.
avatar Re: cutting zig-zags
March 07, 2017 09:03PM
Quote
ttilley
Measurement correction.

Same reason Mt. Whitney is now 14505', and not 14496'.

I thought that was from boy sprouts piling rocks.
avatar Re: cutting zig-zags
March 08, 2017 07:56AM
Quote
eeek
Earthquake?
Better map reader.
Re: cutting zig-zags
March 02, 2017 03:50PM
Thanks to everyone for all the responses. I think the answer to my original question was "yes, it is illegal to cut the zig-zags (but it's complicated)".

I agree with everyone who thought the piece was over-dramatised, hyped, or even fabricated. I said I thought McNeish was generally respected but I lost a little after reading the article.
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