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  1. #1
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    Mt. Hood Suveyors Ridge Parking - Fire closure - Got fined

    I was parking today (September 2) at the power lines to ride Suveyors Ridge and High Prairie. When I returned to my car I found under the windshield wiper a Violation Notice for $225 - Motor Vehicle on closed Road restricted by barricade and sign (Fire Closure). Problem was, when I arrived there was no barricade and/or sign - something I would have clearly recognized and obeyed - plus there were many other options to park and to get to SR. Other cars at the parking lot as well as in the area also indicated that no one was aware that this area was subject to closure. However, when I left at 5:30 pm a little, movable "barricade" and sign was indeed put up at the side of the road.

    There was absolutely no fire, smoke, personnel, equipment and/or anything else in the area - except for this officer that went out of his way on this Labor Day at 4:40 pm and drove up to the power lines to fine at that time the only parked car on the parking lot - and to (possibly) put up (again was not there in the morning) the "barricade and sign" at the staging area for the OHV on FR17.

    I checked the incident website and the last order from August 26 (MH-2013-10) shows this area to be restricted which includes "Going into or being upon the area" and "Being on the road". That would also include the trail. What a mess and confusion.

    Needless to say that I am quite upset - was under the clear impression that the trail is open and that any access restrictions or road closures would be clearly visible - not after the fact. Also, no current information available, last updates on the fire were August 29.

    Wanted to warn others - would appreciate if anybody has some advice and/or suggestions.

  2. #2
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    The barricade with the bright orange "Closed" sign has been on NF17 at the ORV parking lot since early last week. If you parked under the power lines, you drove right past it. There is another barricade, two of them actually, at the intersection of NF17 and NF1720. Both barricades have the map of closures stapled to them, this map right here: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/photos/OR95S...21.291-CDT.pdf. That IS the current information, it's a holiday weekend, right? You weren't working today, they weren't either. If you were messed up and confused, you could have called the Parkdale Ranger Station or even stopped in, you can see it from the Surveyors Ridge trailhead parking lot where you parked. Did you call to clear up the mess and confusion? There is heavy equipment still working off of NF17, just because you didn't see them, that doesn't mean they aren't there.
    You didn't obey the rules and you got caught. Accusing the rangers of moving the barricade in after you got there shows what a classy guy you are. Pay the fine and quit complaining.

  3. #3
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    Mt. Hood Suveyors Ridge Parking - Fire closure - Got fined

    There was clearly no "barricade" out there in the morning - I am not blind. I don't think all the other visitors were either.

    Neither I or anybody else would drive past that sign on purpose - provided it is there and visible and was not moved, removed or whatever.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by juergenor View Post
    There was clearly no "barricade" out there in the morning - I am not blind. I don't think all the other visitors were either.

    Neither I or anybody else would drive past that sign on purpose - provided it is there and visible and was not moved, removed or whatever.
    Nobody would drive past a closed sign on purpose, eh? You're sure of that?
    But your explanation makes more sense; Park Rangers, who have a 12,000 acre fire burning on the park boundary as well as dealing with Labor Day "visitors" waited until you drove down a road that is clearly marked as closed(check out that map bro), then brought in a barricade just so they could give you a ticket.
    And you did check with the Ranger Station, right?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by SDOR View Post
    Nobody would drive past a closed sign on purpose, eh? You're sure of that?
    But your explanation makes more sense; Park Rangers, who have a 12,000 acre fire burning on the park boundary as well as dealing with Labor Day "visitors" waited until you drove down a road that is clearly marked as closed(check out that map bro), then brought in a barricade just so they could give you a ticket.
    And you did check with the Ranger Station, right?
    You got that wrong - those busy Park Rangers drove up to the parking lot under the power lines to fill out the ticket.

    Yes, I am fairly certain that people would follow a closed sign. I cannot answer what happened to the sign during the day. No, I did not check at the ranger station and trusted that a closed road or area would be marked and obvious - especially considering the Labor Day weekend and the expected traffic. I realize now that not checking was a mistake.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by juergenor View Post
    You got that wrong - those busy Park Rangers drove up to the parking lot under the power lines to fill out the ticket.

    Yes, I am fairly certain that people would follow a closed sign. I cannot answer what happened to the sign during the day. No, I did not check at the ranger station and trusted that a closed road or area would be marked and obvious - especially considering the Labor Day weekend and the expected traffic. I realize now that not checking was a mistake.
    No, you are wrong again, Rangers and Hood River County Sheriffs have been patrolling NF17 because it is the western edge of the Government Flats fire zone and they need to keep people who don't follow the rules that are in place to protect everyone from getting injured or killed. There are firefighters and heavy equipment moving up and down the single lane NF17 road. They have radios. If they see unauthorized personnel in the area they might report it to the rangers or sheriff. They probably came by the Surveyors Ridge trailhead to see if there were any cars there, because on weekends, especially holiday weekends, sometimes "experienced outdoors people" get lost in the woods. They probably came back after it got dark as well to see if your car was still there so they could start looking for you before you wander into the fire zone.
    You're wrong about the "Closed" signs as well. On Monday, at two different trailheads posted with "Closed due to Extreme Fire Hazard" signs, there were over twenty cars, trucks and SUVs parked there(we were riding by going somewhere else, in case you wanted to know).
    Trust me, the "Closed" sign and 6 x 10' barricade has been on NF17 at the ORV lot since August 26. Information about road and trail closures was provided a week in advance of the Labor Day weekend.
    It's too bad you got a ticket, but it is your responsibility to know what's going on before you head out into the woods. Blaming everybody else for your problems is pretty weak.

  7. #7
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    Someone is quite confident in their assessment of a scenario in which they were not present. Assume is one of my favorite words.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by SDOR View Post
    Information about road and trail closures was provided a week in advance of the Labor Day weekend.
    Putting aside the issue of whether or not a sign was there (and since I wasn't there, I don't know), without a sign I can see how this would be confusing. The trail is open; the north end parking lot is apparently not. The level of detail on the current fire closure map isn't that great. And word was certainly out around town for the past week that all trails are open, other than 451. I don't think that there is a sign on 17 indicating the north end of the national forest (so it would be hard to know where the closure point for 17 is). So, absent a sign it would be natural to think that the parking lot was open.

    Sorry you got tagged with that jeurgenor.

  9. #9
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    Contest the ticket

    Quote Originally Posted by juergenor View Post
    would appreciate if anybody has some advice and/or suggestions.
    ...it sucks getting a ticket, but with so many fires around, and the closure being a pretty well known situation... yeah, I'd have picked another spot to go riding, but hey, we all make mistakes.

    If you're confident you didn't see any signs, go contest the ticket. There should be a means to do so. Show up and make your case. They might reduce the fine, or eliminate it completely if you show contrition around not intending to skirt the closure.
    - -benja- -

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by benja55 View Post
    ...it sucks getting a ticket, but with so many fires around, and the closure being a pretty well known situation... yeah, I'd have picked another spot to go riding, but hey, we all make mistakes.

    If you're confident you didn't see any signs, go contest the ticket. There should be a means to do so. Show up and make your case. They might reduce the fine, or eliminate it completely if you show contrition around not intending to skirt the closure.
    benja55 - thanks for your input and advice.

  11. #11
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    As of today, 9/4, Road 17 is open. Doesn't help the OP's predicament, but worth passing on: Mt. Hood National Forest - Alerts & Notices
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  12. #12
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    Someone is quite confident in their assessment of a scenario in which they were not present. Assume is one of my favorite words.
    And what do you bring to the discussion(aside from the fact that you put in your two cents on just about every thread here whether you know what you're talking about or not)? For your information, we were on FS17 on August 31. We stopped at the closed sign at the ORV parking lot and called the Parkdale Ranger station who told us the road and parking lot at the north Surveyors Ridge trailhead would be closed through the Labor Day weekend. Assume is one of your favorite words, huh? Try STFU when you don't know what you are talking about.

    The trail is open; the north end parking lot is apparently not. The level of detail on the current fire closure map isn't that great. And word was certainly out around town for the past week that all trails are open, other than 451. I don't think that there is a sign on 17 indicating the north end of the national forest (so it would be hard to know where the closure point for 17 is).
    Surveyors Ridge trail was open, FS17 was not. The trail was accessible at the south trailhead on 44. The maps provided are clear enough for anyone that knows how to read a map. There is a kiosk at the ORV parking lot on FS17 that has a map of the area with the National Park boundaries. There used to be a sign on FS17 at the park boundary, but I believe it was stolen.
    You can call the Ranger Station at any time for information regarding the Mt. Hood National Forest. If you choose not to do so, that's your problem.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by SDOR View Post
    Accusing the rangers of moving the barricade in after you got there shows what a classy guy you are.
    Quote Originally Posted by SDOR View Post
    Try STFU when you don't know what you are talking about.
    Is this how classy guys conduct themselves?

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  15. #15
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    When you tell anyone to "STFU" you should be looking at them. That is how I WILL do it. I am pretty sure that your phone call is what prompted the ticket for the OP.
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  16. #16
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    Someone seems VERY involved in the OP's ticket given that a)member just joined MTBR and b)only 4 posts, all this thread. Not a direct link, but quite conspicuous. Most jack-holes who would call in a parking violation instead of leaving a note or speaking to the offending individuals would move on and keep their smug satisfaction to themselves. But, not this guy, he needs to troll this forum to justify this to himself and others. Just my perception, anyways.
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  17. #17
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    …. I have a similar feeling about this.

    As I wrote in my OP there was no indication of any access restriction that day when driving on NF17 to the north trail-head parking lot of SR at 10:30 am (sign/barricade removed). I am in my mid-50s and mature/responsible enough to obey necessary wild fire fighting restrictions that help to protect one of my favorite mountain biking areas. I have ridden SR probably 75+ times over the past 14 years and know my way around – so there would have been enough parking and riding alternatives avoiding the restricted area.

    I am posting the picture below that actually shows the parking area around 11 am on 9/2 – for two reasons: (1) It indicates that also other visitors were not aware of the restriction and (2) maybe somehow the photo helps to get in contact with the other riders that day to share notes. There may also have been other riders that arrived later this Labor Day.

    Mt. Hood Suveyors Ridge Parking - Fire closure - Got fined-img_3362-2-.jpg

    However, when I left the area at 5 pm the sign was out and placed next to the road at the OHV staging/parking area – and as the picture shows quite unlikely to not see it when driving up to the parking lot at the trail-head.

    Mt. Hood Suveyors Ridge Parking - Fire closure - Got fined-img_1193.jpg

    So somebody must have tinkered with the sign and somebody must have made “the call”. I doubt that the ticket that was given to me came from a park ranger. It was printed on a thermal printer - equipment more likely with a police officer or sheriff. So the officer/sheriff had to drive quite some ways to get out to the parking lot, and, since it was 4:40 pm (much less than 5% chance anyone still riding SR and parking at the trail-head) somebody must have sent him out there. If this would have been a general enforcement activity this would have been done around noon time or early afternoon – when people are in the area.

    My ride on 9/2 took me through quite some trails in the area – so I know for sure that there was no traffic by fire fighting personnel and “heavy equipment” "moving up and down" as the poster “SDOR” claimed. SR runs for a good stretch parallel to NF17, so I would see/hear such traffic. So unlikely that anyone of them "with radios" made that call. Also, I parked there so many times until late in the day and nobody ever came out to check for the "experienced outdoors people" who get "lost in the woods". Also many of the other claims of SDOR are bogus. "On Monday, at two different trail-heads posted with "Closed due to Extreme Fire Hazard" signs, there were over twenty cars, trucks and SUVs parked there" - that would not have been in the Mt. Hood area as there have not been more than 2-4 cars/SUVs/Trucks at any of the most popular trail-heads that I passed by that day.

    Considering that the access restrictions were removed almost 24 hours later this has been quite a waste of time and effort and served little to no purpose.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by juergenor View Post
    I doubt that the ticket that was given to me came from a park ranger. It was printed on a thermal printer - equipment more likely with a police officer or sheriff.
    How can you have a ticket and not know who issued the ticket???? A ticket can only be issued by someone with the authority to do so ... which should be clearly indicated on the ticket. I too can print up a "ticket" and stick it on your windshield. That doesn't mean you have to pay.

    You might want to start by contacting whoever the "ticketing authority" is and find out if they actually have a record of a ticket being issued. Make sure the date, time, amount, and infraction all match with what they have. You don't want to be paying someone else's ticket.

  19. #19
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    - good input, never received a ticket before.

    However, this ticket is real as it has my DL# and DOB and other specific information. It is called a "US District Court Violation Notice" with payment address in Philadelphia PA and correspondence address in San Antonio TX. Only officer name and officer#. Has a 800 number that I will call to find out.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by juergenor View Post
    - good input, never received a ticket before.

    However, this ticket is real as it has my DL# and DOB and other specific information. It is called a "US District Court Violation Notice" with payment address in Philadelphia PA and correspondence address in San Antonio TX. Only officer name and officer#. Has a 800 number that I will call to find out.
    OK, at least that does state who the processing authority is. Their FAQ is here.

  21. #21
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    Sure wish that I could have said "STFU" to the right "person" today... rode 90 miles in the Mt.Hood National Forest today and I not only avoided getting lost (SINCE I DON'T KNOW WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT) but I did not interact with one douche bag all day. juergenor, two things: extremely sorry for your experience and excuse me for responding once again to the douche bag who has more to do with this than he has the intelligence, and more obviously SOULLESS EXISTENCE that leads someone to this sort of behavior.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by benja55 View Post
    ...it sucks getting a ticket, but with so many fires around, and the closure being a pretty well known situation... yeah, I'd have picked another spot to go riding, but hey, we all make mistakes.

    If you're confident you didn't see any signs, go contest the ticket. There should be a means to do so. Show up and make your case. They might reduce the fine, or eliminate it completely if you show contrition around not intending to skirt the closure.
    Quick update:

    The US Attorney's Office decided to dismiss the violation. It took me less than 3 minutes to explain the situation and the circumstances.

  23. #23
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    Cheers and thanks for the update.
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  24. #24
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    Very cool!

    I was wrongly cited by a ranger years ago. When the case was called, the prosecutor stood and read the charges. Then I got to explain my side of the story and plead innocent. The judge then asked the prosecutor to approach the bench for a little discussion. They mumbled back and forth a bit then the prosecutor stood back and announced that the government had decided to not prosecute and would the judge entertain a request for dismissal. It was a little humorous to see the prosecutor tuck his tail between his legs after the obvious butt chewing the judge gave him.

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