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  1. #1
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    Hancock Forest Management - New non-motorized permit requirements!

    Real bad news - just learned that Hancock is instituting a new permit for all non-motorized recreational use of their properties in Washington.

    Effective January 1, 2012 a permit will be required to be on their land, including the Snoqualmie property which includes the Tokul trails. Annual permit is $75/person or $150/ family. A little more info is available hereHancock Forest Management

    I know that all user groups and local land managers are getting this info simultaneously and I'll let eveyone know as I learn more.

    Glenn
    Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance

  2. #2
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    Of course I've got lots to say. But, best kept out of print for now...

    The first thing that comes to mind is enforcement though...

    I will say that T-West had probably "dare I say" the best trail conditions of the year out there this afternoon.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Borneo View Post
    Of course I've got lots to say. But, best kept out of print for now...

    The first thing that comes to mind is enforcement though...

    I will say that T-West had probably "dare I say" the best trail conditions of the year out there this afternoon.
    Enforcement will be a function of where you leave your vehicle. Right?
    Wisdom is the domain of the Wiz...which is extinct. FZ

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    Nope Pope.

    You have to have your pass on you at all times. It's a personal pass, not a parking or vehicle one.

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    Is there a pending change in the queue ...

    Glenn,

    Are there any pending changes or amendments in the queue (State Legislature's) regarding modifications to Washington State's Recreational Use Statute?

    According to the current language that if Hancock (or any land owner) charges any fees (except for the cutting and removal of firewood which is capped at $25) for recreational use the land owner waives liability protections granted under the statute.

    JD
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    I was wondering the same thing.

    The real downer to this is, each $75 they get is purely profit. it's not like DNR or Wash State parks where they have to pay for park employees and supplies.

    I see it as total corporate greed.

    Unfortunately, I think in enough years to come, we will have to pay to ride just about anywhere. I guess if your weigh in taxes that may just about be the case now?

  7. #7
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    Welp, looks like we have a new front runner for the Hall of Lame in the ongoing saga that is Tokul.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hancock link below
    From: About Snoqualmie | Hancock

    All access is generally open from January 1st to December 31st except July 3rd, 4th and 5th. Access is allowed from 1 and 1/2 hours before sunrise to 1 and 1/2 hours after sunset and overnight for up to 14 days in a month with a camping permit.
    That pretty much wipes out night riding in the winter. At it's worst, in mid-December, the sun sets at 4:16 PM, so you gotta finish your "night" ride by 5:46 PM. Even at it's best, who ride at night for just an hour and a half?

  9. #9
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    Interesting to read the full rules here:

    http://www.hancockrecreationnw.com/s...Snoqualmie.pdf

    It may be corporate greed, Jimba, but like it or not, it's their land and they get to make the rules. In the big scheme of things, this will generate bupkus revenue for them, so they probably put the fee in place to fund an enforcement person, or weed out those who are not serious about using the place. If you want to buy the land from them and open it back up without a fee I will give you all the moral support you need

    I'll buy a permit because I enjoy riding there many times/year, and also the permit is not setup like the per-vehicle shakedown that the state has going on.

    The rules say no trailbuilding OR maintenance without permission from Hancock. This could be an opportunity to legimitize the trails in there.

    I too wonder about the liability shield, especially since the rules and regs do not have anything about holding Hancock harmless in case of injury.

  10. #10
    Just roll it......
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    Like others have said, the Rec Immunity Law is the biggest issue I see here.

    I can't imagine any meaningful enforcement though.

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    For those just learning about the WA Rec Immunity Law...
    Like myself...
    Rec Use Immunity explanation.
    Seattle Washington Personal Injury Lawyer Legal Articles | Amicus Personae | Supreme Court Update: Recreational Use Immunity | King County, Tacoma, Sea Tac, Olympia

    "RCW 4.24.210 says:
    Any public or private landowners ... who allow members of the public to use them for the purposes of outdoor recreation ... without charging a fee ... shall not be liable for unintentional injuries to such users."

    Cheers,
    Mike

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    Timberland designation at risk?

    I am wondering if a land management company puts its Timberland taxation designation at risk for their timberlands if they start generating alternative revenues from that land outside of timber harvest activities?

    I am sure the B&O tax liability on these use fees is negligible but if they themselves are generating revenue based the use of their property can't the appropriate county taxing authority come after them for property taxes because they are now operating a business outside of timber harvesting?

    100,000 acres
    x $2000 per acre of assessed value (I guessed at this value)
    x 1.00%
    = $2,000,000 per year in property taxes

    The state timberland designation shields land owners because they only pay taxes on the value of the timber and only when it is harvested (and they are required to harvest at a minimum rate). In addition I think they pay a fire protection tax but I think that is about it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ebxtreme View Post
    Like others have said, the Rec Immunity Law is the biggest issue I see here.

    I can't imagine any meaningful enforcement though.
    I can imagine what would happen if this was tried at Galbraith though.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimba View Post
    I was wondering the same thing.

    The real downer to this is, each $75 they get is purely profit. it's not like DNR or Wash State parks where they have to pay for park employees and supplies.

    I see it as total corporate greed.

    Unfortunately, I think in enough years to come, we will have to pay to ride just about anywhere. I guess if your weigh in taxes that may just about be the case now?
    More like employee greed. Hancock is a management company, the funds being managed are institutional investors... things like pensions, endowment funds, foundations, and probably individuals too. If you work somewhere with a defined benefit plan, ask them where the funds are invested - maybe Hancock is managing your $. And, they'll have to spend to enforce this or it'll never work. So definitely not all profit. Maybe even more of an attempt to recoup the costs currently incurred in letting the public have free access, yet having to deal with things like ripping out stunts that magically appear out there.

    Not that I want to pay, but why should private land be open to the public for free? On the other hand, maybe we should be contacting our legislators and asking that public access be required for large timberland holders to qualify for timber property tax programs.

    Very interesting that they seem to be waiving recreation immunity. The biggest problems I see are that very few people will ever hear about this program, they'll never be able to sign every entry point, let alone get people to only enter through the points where one can sign in, and it really sucks for people who might only ride there very infrequently, like out of town guests, etc. The single biggest issue is the very clear prohibition on trail building. Good thing so many game trails are rideable.

  15. #15
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    If I were them, I'd argue that it's an ancillary activity, and that the key issue is that it's still a tree farm. Further, I'd argue that it's really an attempt to mitigate costs incurred by allowing the public to recreate for free

    Back when CLC was trying to purchase the property in 2003 or so, I think the price was about $108 million, so $1K per acre or so. Timber values are correlated with with housing, so should be less now. The KC parcel viewer shows one lot near Lake Marie King County Department of Assessments: eReal Property as having an assessed value of $65K for 314 acres, or $207/acre, and a property tax bill of $800, or $2.50/acre.

    Quote Originally Posted by jdusto View Post
    I am wondering if a land management company puts its Timberland taxation designation at risk for their timberlands if they start generating alternative revenues from that land outside of timber harvest activities?

    I am sure the B&O tax liability on these use fees is negligible but if they themselves are generating revenue based the use of their property can't the appropriate county taxing authority come after them for property taxes because they are now operating a business outside of timber harvesting?

    100,000 acres
    x $2000 per acre of assessed value (I guessed at this value)
    x 1.00%
    = $2,000,000 per year in property taxes

    The state timberland designation shields land owners because they only pay taxes on the value of the timber and only when it is harvested (and they are required to harvest at a minimum rate). In addition I think they pay a fire protection tax but I think that is about it.

  16. #16
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    I see beer is now banned on Hancock lands too.

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    Evergreen should call an "All Hands Meeting" and scrape up the 65K to buy that 314 acres. That's dirt cheap when you look at the cost of Duthie at roughly half that size.

    No beer?

    Woodway, I take "trail enhancement" as written to mean no features built on trails. But, it doesn't mean no maintenaince. At least she's acknowledging the trails exist because that was a sticking point in the last MS Ride negotiation that fell flat in 2006.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Borneo View Post
    Evergreen should call an "All Hands Meeting" and scrape up the 65K to buy that 314 acres. That's dirt cheap when you look at the cost of Duthie at roughly half that size.
    65K is how much it cost to put in Cuss Hollow.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Borneo View Post
    Evergreen should call an "All Hands Meeting" and scrape up the 65K to buy that 314 acres. That's dirt cheap when you look at the cost of Duthie at roughly half that size.

    No beer?

    Woodway, I take "trail enhancement" as written to mean no features built on trails. But, it doesn't mean no maintenaince. At least she's acknowledging the trails exist because that was a sticking point in the last MS Ride negotiation that fell flat in 2006.
    Note, that's assessed value per King County, not a sale listing.

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    I know. I already had an Evergreen member e-mail me asking if they could buy it for the club though.

    And, careful Skooks, Cuss is/was about one millionth of the cost of that pseudo trail thingy you are working on.

  21. #21
    FM
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    $75 each to pay for enforcement is BS.

    We need a Group Rate for Evergreen Members!

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Borneo View Post
    Cuss is/was about one millionth of the cost of that pseudo trail thingy you are working on.
    As of today, taking away the cost of the material on the starting gate, Deuces has cost the grant less than a thousand dollars. There are key factors in why that is but donation time/resources/equipment, volunteering, and the trail being completely dirt has to do with it. So with the pavers you used on Cuss, Deuces from the starting gate down, cost about the same.

    Back to Tokul, i've respected closures for Victor Falls, Griffin Creek and others. i'll respect Tokul as well because i really can't afford that kind of expense. But even if i could, there is absolutely no value in offering that kind of money for what exists in there.

    i have fond memories of riding in there with my friend as we replenished the bra trail with all of her garments a decade ago when hardly anyone even knew about it. As well as my first BBTC work party at Half Bench.

    i love what they did with the new stuff and i'll miss a few of the trails. But at the same time it's private property, and if someone asks or infers you to leave.(by asking a steep price with no value) Then unless something get's worked out it's time to go.

    i hope we as a community use what's happening here and are motivated to help where things are better. We've got private land managers with the church, and Pastor Steve has been really cool. One of his wishes for his land is to provide the community with a positive outlet in recreation. It's a really good situation, and one with alot of stability as land manager and user want the same thing.

    i think FM's idea is a good one, i hope it works out, it would be beneficial. Would finally prompt Evergreen to issue membership cards, which could be used for other cool things too. But i can't help but be cynical because i doubt Hancocks wish is to give back to the community in the same way Pastor Steve is. And really in no way should it be required for them, they are trying to turn a buck on timber, that's it. i mean it really sucks, and i don't like it, but it is what it is. If the land managers and the user-groups aren't aligned there isn't any recourse to it really, like when it's public land.
    Last edited by Skookum; 11-04-2011 at 03:52 PM.
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  23. #23
    JRA
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    Sounds like a good opportunity for somene from EMBA to write a short piece for Dirt Rag's "Access Action" segment. Could highlight the good things happening w/ the Church land and the unfortunate things happening w/ the Hancock lands.

    The recent access struggles around Galbraith got some decent press a few issues ago I thought. An opportunity exists for something similar for access around the Seattle area.

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    I'm guessing trail maintenance will slow quite a bit with these fees, right? is riding there going to be worth it after a few wind storms blow through this winter?

    I will get another ride out there and will make it my last. A real bummer as I was just becoming more interested in riding there.

    I can't believe the camping and motorized costs. You need the camping/motorized permit PLUS the individual permit.

    I'm pretty dissapointed as Tokul East is probably a 10 minute drive. Also, I was loking at the directions for the entry gate. Its super far from the trails I know (flowtron 3k, Last frontier, Crazy Ivan, mud creek).

    Is there people we can email about this direction they are going? There's a form on the contact us page, but I want to email someone directly to express disappointment and ask for reconsideration

    -joel

  25. #25
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    Click on the link ggluv posted in his original post at the top, then hit the contact us and send a message to them, that's what I did.

  26. #26
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    Just in case anyone is curious.


  27. #27
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by ACree View Post
    The KC parcel viewer shows one lot near Lake Marie King County Department of Assessments: eReal Property as having an assessed value of $65K for 314 acres, or $207/acre, and a property tax bill of $800, or $2.50/acre.
    Not sure if you knew which lot you picked out but that 314 acres in the link is the core of Tokul East including the switchback road, Flowtron, Last Frontier, Safety First and all the connectors. That's one sweet piece of dirt.

    BTW, I've been riding FT regularly since the ladder bridge days years ago and it's still so sweet. The new first section gets better the faster I go and the main whoops always deliver. Well done to the trail gnomes. Should be an IMBA epic.

    Also, it's amazing how much Hancock owns up there...millions of acres of Tokul like goodness. It would be worth $75 to get an agreement for legal trails throughout the property. You could build for 50 years.

  29. #29
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    Been thinking that logging Last Frontier and FT3K may also be a ploy to get folks to not bother coming out there anymore. Take away the most popular trail and....

    Though it should be really easy to clear it off after the logging. (For those that still want to ride it after.)

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    I only learned of this Saturday night, but my initial thoughts after reading the thread and FM's are:

    1) I'm not paying the $75, Evergreen will get that money instead.
    2) I'd happily contribute $1k to the cause if we can get 65 folks to step up, purchase the parcel, and create some sort of stewardship trust to keep it open to mountain bikers in perpetuity.

    The rock climbers recently did something very similar in Index. A giant chunk of granite was going to be sold to a mining company and quarried and the rock climbing community raised money, fought the long hard fight, and ultimately bought the parcel. They wanted to hand it over to State Parks, but I believe SP had to turn it down, but the land is a protected "park" going forward (city or county, I forget).

    If enough people are serious about doing that sort of thing, it can be done. Any lawyers/realtors want to contribute some pro-bono due-dilligence?

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    By the way, the Idiot Police should have a license to shoot-on-sight anyone who actually purchases a camping permit.

    Camping permits are also available that allow overnight camping in designated areas. Up to 200 permits are available at a price of $300 each. Campers must also have either a motorized access or non-motorized access permit. Please click on the camping tab for more information.

  32. #32
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    Count me in for 1K

  33. #33
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    I like this idea but one thing, would Hancock actually sell this or any other parcel to a non timber or non government entity? Any previous examples of Hancock doing this?

    BTW I'm good for 200 or $300.

  34. #34
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    Love the input. We've gotta figure out some way to buy some land for a bike park in there.
    • How valuable is the land to Hancock after they log it?
    • If the assessed value is $65K now, what does that really mean in terms of appraised value after it's logged?


    Instead of getting lump sum pledges, in Canada the community gets together and pledges a monthly amount. They take that to a bank and get a loan. 1000 members pledging $10/mo = $10K mortgage payment. Way more than we'd need, right? Our own real community mtb forest (after the trees grow back up). Or if we don't have enough, engage hikers, equestrians, runners, other users.

  35. #35
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    Nice ideas, but I think what is needed is an easement for public access, not ownership of the land. CLC had a great plan in the early 2000's to buy this property, issue tax exempt bonds to pay for it, and log as needed to pay the bonds off. The catch was that federal legislation was needed before the bonds could be issued, and it didn't happen in time. Instead, Hancock bought the land, and sold a conservation easement to King County to prevent future development ($22 million for this... and yet it didn't cover public access). The answer isn't attempting to purchase 300 acres that already has too high of trail density, it's getting a public access easement to go along with the conservation easement. Especially when the conservation easement covers 90K acres, enough to ride all day and never see anyone. Trail from Snoq to Index anyone?

    There's an area near Bend that's also being currently pursued by a nonprofit with a similar plan, hopefully that'll go through.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by ACree View Post
    Nice ideas, but I think what is needed is an easement for public access, not ownership of the land. CLC had a great plan in the early 2000's to buy this property, issue tax exempt bonds to pay for it, and log as needed to pay the bonds off. The catch was that federal legislation was needed before the bonds could be issued, and it didn't happen in time. Instead, Hancock bought the land, and sold a conservation easement to King County to prevent future development ($22 million for this... and yet it didn't cover public access). The answer isn't attempting to purchase 300 acres that already has too high of trail density, it's getting a public access easement to go along with the conservation easement. Especially when the conservation easement covers 90K acres, enough to ride all day and never see anyone. Trail from Snoq to Index anyone?

    There's an area near Bend that's also being currently pursued by a nonprofit with a similar plan, hopefully that'll go through.
    That actually sounds like something to divert energy toward. i mean Tokul is neat, but 300 acres versus 90,000 acres, i've never been that good at math but...
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  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by mwestra2 View Post
    Love the input.
    Very cool.

    With so many unkowns, I feel strongly we need Evergreen to engage Hancock and get some clarity on what the future of mountain bike trails on there properties looks like, and what our options are for an easement/purchase.
    • $75 for access to trails that have been destroyed by logging, with no ability to rebuild, maintain or develop? BS.
    • $75 for access to ride, rebuild, maintain and develop coordinated improvements... maybe.
    • $75 to Evergreen to put towards negotiation with Hancock, purchase, legal counsel for easement, potential skills park development, etc.... already paid!



    Quote Originally Posted by Borneo
    Though it should be really easy to clear it off after the logging. (For those that still want to ride it after.)
    I surveyed the destruction at Tokul East yesterday- as Mike mentioned, dirt highways have been put in, it's obvious Hancock is preparing for a major logging operation. I'm not making any assumptions about what things will look like there in 6 months....if there's even access build/ride/maintain there.

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    EMBA 2011 Listening Tour

    Quote Originally Posted by FM View Post
    Very cool.

    With so many unkowns, I feel strongly we need Evergreen to engage Hancock and get some clarity on what the future of mountain bike trails on there properties looks like, and what our options are for an easement/purchase.
    Agreed, and though I am not in the inner circle, I'm willing to bet Evergreen is fully engaged on this and other critical advocacy issues. I'm actually kinda glad there's been no response other than the initial notification from Evergreen, because these kinds of negotiations have to happen in private.

    To spin this thought entirely around, I think the engagement lacking is between Evergreen and it's members, er, supporters. We really can't have these discussions in public, or if we do, we can't expect anything from Evergreen until there is an official position or response - anything less and we would appear to be waffling on our thoughts. Years ago we had a listening tour where Evergreen representatives went to quite a few neighborhoods to listen to the users. I had a candid discussion with 5 other people at a bar in North Bend as part of the reachout to our community, and I definitely felt that Evergreen was listening.

    There's been a lot of great ideas floating around on this topic, I think best way at this time is to repeat the listening tour. Not just for this issue, but for other hot topics like Issaquah initiative, wilderness, etc. I've been really impressed with the professionalism of Evergreen for the recent advocacy issue on wilderness, which is why I renewed my support. The slippery slope we're treading on is giving support for a specific topic while they address multiple topics, but I'm ok with that because it's clear they are representing us very well. After all, if not for Glenn's initial post, none of us would have been aware that we are on the verge of losing access until it were to become too late.

  39. #39
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    Listening Tour

    Listening Tour sounds great to me.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by nwbikur View Post
    I like this idea but one thing, would Hancock actually sell this or any other parcel to a non timber or non government entity? Any previous examples of Hancock doing this?

    BTW I'm good for 200 or $300.
    Hancock sold Griffen creek. Its know a private hunting area with a gun range.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kliemann53 View Post
    Hancock sold Griffen creek. Its know a private hunting area with a gun range.
    I can't remember exactly how much that transaction was, but I'm pretty sure sale price was something north of $2 million even though assessed value was maybe $150k or so at most?

    We would probably need a few more peeps than 65 to raise that much.

  42. #42
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    According to the KingCo assesor data, it looks like the Griffin property was sold for $2.2M.

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    That's what I was afraid of. It seemed like $65k as an asking price was too good to be true. Maybe the access easement route makes more sense. But it sounds like that's going to take some serious coin to work out as well. Hmmm, what to do.

  44. #44
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    An easement for public access would be awesome, but why would they consider it?

    $$...? The amount involved would be such a tiny drop in the bucket? Manulife Financial posted a third quarter loss of $1.3 billion, a market cap of $21 billion and invested assets near 1/4 trillion C$.

    Corporate citizenship...? IMHO Hancock's real agenda is clear: they want users out. The $75 fee / recreation program must represent a net cost for them and is just a first step in getting recreational use to go away.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mwestra2 View Post
    An easement for public access would be awesome, but why would they consider it?

    $$...? The amount involved would be such a tiny drop in the bucket? Manulife Financial posted a third quarter loss of $1.3 billion, a market cap of $21 billion and invested assets near 1/4 trillion C$.

    Corporate citizenship...? IMHO Hancock's real agenda is clear: they want users out. The $75 fee / recreation program must represent a net cost for them and is just a first step in getting recreational use to go away.
    Unfortunately I think this is right on target. I believe the real motivation behind the $75.00 fee is to discourage people from using their land. Of course its their right, I get that. I'm sure its just part of their overall long term strategy to close the forest to recreation.

    Until now I thought it was a pretty cool arrangement that recreational users had with Hancock, i.e. they'll let us use the property as long as the users don't build too many features, etc. Unless some sort of a deal is worked out between Hancock and King county or EMBA or something like that I'm not so sure how long access will happen.

    I'm a very regular user of Tokul East and West-both as a cyclist and a hiker. I'm going to hold off on forking over my hard earned $75.00 for now. I think I'm going to wait to see just how vigorous the enforcement is. If access will be a problem, well, then I just may stop going there which makes me very, very sad. EMBA gets an extra $75.00 though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nwbikur View Post
    That's what I was afraid of. It seemed like $65k as an asking price was too good to be true. Maybe the access easement route makes more sense. But it sounds like that's going to take some serious coin to work out as well. Hmmm, what to do.
    That's why $65K was never described as an asking price, it's appraised value per King County, and may well have no relation to the real world.

    I'll be the contrary one I suppose. I wouldn't contribute to any effort to buy a 300 acre scrap, when there's over 100K acres there, with 90K covered by conservation easements. The goal should be an agreement that allows recreation and trail management. Think bigger...

    The long term answer is for mtn bikers to be more involved with groups like CLC and be able to be involved with these deals as they occur, and make sure public access is addressed when conservation easements are negotiated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ACree View Post
    The goal should be an agreement that allows recreation and trail management
    Great goal - agreed. But what's in it for Hancock? Not trying to be skeptical... just want to know.

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    [QUOTE]
    Quote Originally Posted by ACree View Post
    That's why $65K was never described as an asking price, it's appraised value per King County, and may well have no relation to the real world.
    Right, that makes sense. $65K was thrown around as the amount needed and so I think its important to know that we're talking millions, not thousands.

    I'll be the contrary one I suppose. I wouldn't contribute to any effort to buy a 300 acre scrap, when there's over 100K acres there, with 90K covered by conservation easements. The goal should be an agreement that allows recreation and trail management. Think bigger...
    To think small for a moment, if an opportunity arose to acquire Tokul East that required many people to commit say, $100-200 over a year I would be all for that. I see that as a pragmatic solution to a very narrowly focused problem. But that's just me, I use Tokul a lot.

    The long term answer is for mtn bikers to be more involved with groups like CLC and be able to be involved with these deals as they occur, and make sure public access is addressed when conservation easements are negotiated.
    I couldn't agree more on this. The real solution is to stay on top of access issues as they arise. Be it Tiger Mtn, Issaquah, or pending Wilderness. I think we are starting to see that speaking up can have a real impact on land management decisions (King County, Forest Service, etc). Regarding the 90K and Hancock it seems like we may be too late on that one. I get the feeling that Hancock is starting a long term process of closing their property to recreational use so I don't see future access easements happening with them. Call this a learning moment I suppose.

    Forgive my ignorance but who/what is CLC?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mwestra2 View Post
    An easement for public access would be awesome, but why would they consider it?

    $$...? The amount involved would be such a tiny drop in the bucket? Manulife Financial posted a third quarter loss of $1.3 billion, a market cap of $21 billion and invested assets near 1/4 trillion C$.

    Corporate citizenship...? IMHO Hancock's real agenda is clear: they want users out. The $75 fee / recreation program must represent a net cost for them and is just a first step in getting recreational use to go away.
    They'd probably want $ up front (at least I would if I were in their shoes), just like when they sell a conservation easement. It'd be a means of generating return to their investors, and best of all, would have little to no cost to them if they partnered with another organization to manage the use - similar to Galby.

    Keep in mind, Hancock and Metlife don't own this land for themselves. They're asset managers, the manage investments in timber made by institutional investors. That $75 shouldn't be hitting Hancock's bottom line, it should be going to the actual owners of the property, who pay Hancock to manage it. Those owners are pension funds, endowments, etc.

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    Rat them out to KOMO 4 Problem Solvers. Not sure if I'm kidding or not

    Problem Solvers | Seattle News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News | KOMO News | Content

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    Quote Originally Posted by kenobonn View Post
    Rat them out to KOMO 4 Problem Solvers. Not sure if I'm kidding or not

    Problem Solvers | Seattle News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News | KOMO News | Content
    Rat who out and what are you going to rat them out for? Charging for access to their own land? Since when is that wrong?

    The only way to know what it really going on with Hancock and find out what is possible re: trail building, trail maintenance, purchasing an easement, etc. is to contact Hancock and ask them. Maybe Glenn is already talking to them or maybe someone here is willing to put the time/energy into that. (I'm not, I'll just pay the $75 and ride there.)

    BTW, looking at the same assesor data, it looks like King County paid $21M for the development rights covering Griffin Creek.

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    Quote Originally Posted by woodway View Post
    Rat who out and what are you going to rat them out for? Charging for access to their own land? Since when is that wrong?
    C'mon... what they're doing is lame. The long-term cost of just ignoring a few miles of trails while providing a great asset to the community has got to be less than the cost of implementing their recreation "program". IMHO they want to scare users away so in the long run they can keep all rec users out for good. It's deception. I really hope I'm wrong... Glenn is talking with them. We'll see.

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    I'll be curious how the talks with EMBA and Hancock go... Is any horse group (Raging River Riders) joining him in conversation?

    I was wondering if the $75 fee was set by an insurance company so they can purchase liability insurance per person for when/if someone gets hurt on their land...just a random thought while on pain meds.

    Cheers,
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    Glenn said Evergreen is talking with lots of folks about this on. Horsey folks, Hancock, various govn't entities. Some kind of deal is needed, but common ground on an issue like this isn't usually found overnight. It's going to take work, lots of work, and some education.

    I personally think that it's more in Hancock's interest to allow free rec access to their land so that the WA State recreational liability immunity statute stays in effect. Charge for access and they lose it - maybe they don't know this? Seems like there's potential common ground here. But yeah, I feel like they just want folks off their land. That isn't realistic. Even if bikers stay off, then local motos and dog walkers will flood the place. We've seen it over and over - less abuse on the land when bikers are using a parcel. Their heads are in the sand on this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mwestra2 View Post
    IMHO Hancock's real agenda is clear: they want users out. The $75 fee / recreation program must represent a net cost for them and is just a first step in getting recreational use to go away.
    Agenda of HTRG management In Vancouver, WA may be exactly what Mike said, but do we know at what level this new rec fee idea is really coming from? Julie and the bunch has never been thrilled with having to deal with rec users ever since they took over the forest management from Weyco, so it doesn't surprise me a bit that they are doing this to kick out the public. But do we know if all of Hancock forests in this and other regions are also rolling out fees like this? If not, I think we may still have ways keep going up the chain of command in our appeal for public access.

    Yes, Manulife is pretty big, but between Vancouver management and Manulife, there are at least two other layers of management companies involved, in NC and Boston. I doubt anyone at Manulife has any clue about or involvement in operational details like this. Two things we should be looking into immediately are (1) check with Hancock's Southern Region office to see if they are implementing similar fees in their forest, and (2) try speaking to WA State treasury to see if they have any of the state's assets with Hancock.

    If (1) turns out that Southern Region is not doing what Vancouver office is doing, we should definitely go over their heads and reach out to NC office with complaints. KOMO4 idea might be worthwhile looking into too. If WA State uses Hancock or Manulife as a pension fund manager, we should definitely team up with other rec users to put pressure on state fund manager to boycott Hancock. Threat like that works good with insurance people who values public relations a lot.

    Food for thoughts...

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    Quote Originally Posted by mwestra2 View Post
    C'mon... what they're doing is lame. The long-term cost of just ignoring a few miles of trails while providing a great asset to the community has got to be less than the cost of implementing their recreation "program". IMHO they want to scare users away so in the long run they can keep all rec users out for good. It's deception. I really hope I'm wrong... Glenn is talking with them. We'll see.
    Of course it's lame, Mike, But that does not mean it's wrong.

    I am going to guess that the liability shield is not important to them. They likely looked at the risk of someone filing a suit and decided that the risk was low, or that their liability insurance would cover it if a suit is filed.

    But, until someone talks directly to them, it's all speculation.

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    Just saying...if they want us out why not just put up gates and signs, disc our trails, and ticket a few people just to send a message.
    There are two interesting parts to the permit agreement.

    1. Trail building is not allowed except with a permit.

    2. Special events, such as bike rides, are allowed with a special permit.

    Hancock might be busier then they think. Hmmm, maybe they'll need a recreation specialist...paid with all those permits.

  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by slop View Post
    Just saying..
    There are two interesting parts to the permit agreement.

    1. Trail building is not allowed except with a permit.
    Not sure where you see that? From the top of their FAQ page:

    "You may not target shoot and you may not build new trails."

    If building and maintenance was allowed, this would be an entirely different conversation...

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    Hi FM,

    Number 5 under the Snoq forest rules and reqs says otherwise.

    http://www.hancockrecreationnw.com/s...Snoqualmie.pdf

    So there may be hope here. As can be expected, conflicting statements from the almighty Hancock.

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    Word from the northern end along the Tolt Pipeline that the permit signs are going up at every conceivable access point to Hancock property. Hoping to get a picture to post soon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slop View Post
    Hi FM,

    Number 5 under the Snoq forest rules and reqs says otherwise..
    Hm, interesting, thanks for that.

    It does say trail building& maintenance requires "written permission"- separate from the permit.

    Who knows? Not me!


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    I don't see anything concerning trail maintenance anywhere so I don't know why that keeps coming up. "Maintain and "enhance" are two completely different things. Even Webster says so.

    As for "written permission"... Like that will ever happen. For anything.

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    Thanks for the update Juice.

    We were, of course, discussing this on our ride at T-West last night and one of things that came up was that old concept of "inherent risk" with respect to mountain biking. I know this topic came up a lot within discussions about features and jumps at Colonnade and Duthie.

    Granted, nobody pays to ride Colonnade or Duthie (taxes, I suppose) but would the concept of the sport having inherent risks shield them from liability? After all, they're not selling us a mountain biking permit. They're selling us access. Kind of like when State Parks had entry fees... if you got hurt mountain biking you were still on your own doing an inherently risky behavior.

    Just food for thought... I certainly don't have the answers on this.

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    I personally think that it's more in Hancock's interest to allow free rec access to their land so that the WA State recreational liability immunity statute stays in effect. Charge for access and they lose it - maybe they don't know this? Seems like there's potential common ground here. But yeah, I feel like they just want folks off their land. That isn't realistic. Even if bikers stay off, then local motos and dog walkers will flood the place. We've seen it over and over - less abuse on the land when bikers are using a parcel. Their heads are in the sand on this.
    I think Hancock's actions boil down to liability and so it seems like the immunity statute would be a good thing for Hancock in this case. So at first blush it seems somewhat illogical that they would negate that legal protection by charging for access. But I'm sure their legal team came up with this policy so presumably they know what they're doing. It could be interesting to go to the actual statute and take a look, I'm sure the actual law is about a page long with a lot of exceptions and other hard to comprehend legal concepts.

    Quote Originally Posted by EnduroDoug View Post
    Thanks for the update Juice.

    We were, of course, discussing this on our ride at T-West last night and one of things that came up was that old concept of "inherent risk" with respect to mountain biking. I know this topic came up a lot within discussions about features and jumps at Colonnade and Duthie.

    Granted, nobody pays to ride Colonnade or Duthie (taxes, I suppose) but would the concept of the sport having inherent risks shield them from liability? After all, they're not selling us a mountain biking permit. They're selling us access. Kind of like when State Parks had entry fees... if you got hurt mountain biking you were still on your own doing an inherently risky behavior.

    Just food for thought... I certainly don't have the answers on this.
    I could imagine that there's still a risk of liability exposure here. For example ski areas have the "skiing is an inherently risky activity, blah, blah, blah" disclaimer on their lift tickets but they still get sued when somebody hits a tree or falls and breaks a finger. Actually I'm kinda curious why liability didn't prohibit Duthie construction-I'm glad it didn't.

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    Some random thoughts here.

    Seems like this could be a public relations nightmare for Hancock. There are plenty of people out there who are against working forests anyway, and now that the public at large doesn't get any benefits from recreating on the land.

    I don't hold much hope from our government, but I would think our politicians could apply some pressure to Hancock and the forestry community in general. At least letting people have access and benefit from the land helped with the PR problem of logging.

  66. #66
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    The old rule of thumb used to be that lawyers for property owners considered the recreational liability immunity statutes to be a complete waste of paper (ie supplying no real protection to property owners). Don't know if that was fact or not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JRA View Post
    .... supplying no real protection to property owners....
    I think this is true. Considering if you built jumps in your backyard, and someone snuck in and hurt themselves riding them, you can be sued.

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    JRA and Tim-H - do you guys have specific examples of land owners who didn't feel the law provided protection? I ask because we've worked for years to educate land owners on the RCW and don't want incorrect information that could hurt mt. biking to be repeated and cause access issues. I'd like the opportunity to talk to any of these land owners and encourage them to read the RCW and relevant case law.

    We've got City of Seattle, King County and State Parks all who've told us it does provide strong protection. The law doesn't distinguish between private owner and public entities.

    Here's a link to the Evergreen Trail Guide that has the text of the RCW and links to a little more info.
    RCW 4.24.210 - Evergreen Trail Guide

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    I do not have specific case to reference. I've just heard of cases where people were warned about possible lawsuits. It could have been fabricated by the land owner though.

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    There's a lot of anecdotes about people not feeling protected by certain laws when it comes to liability. Best to consider those stories a "datapoint of one" and take the lead from city, county, and state parks.

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    I don't have any specifics. I just know that the argument that landowners should allow access because they're protected by the liability laws has been around for quite awhile. Didn't seem to gain much traction w/ landowners. Maybe times have changed. I'd say talk to the access folks at IMBA. It's good that there are local entities who are allowing access under the laws.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JRA View Post
    I don't have any specifics. I just know that the argument that landowners should allow access because they're protected by the liability laws has been around for quite awhile. Didn't seem to gain much traction w/ landowners. Maybe times have changed. I'd say talk to the access folks at IMBA. It's good that there are local entities who are allowing access under the laws.
    And it seems far more common for large timber owners to allow public access then not (can't think of any that charge a fee though, until now). I tend to think if they viewed the recreational immunity protection as worthless, those props would be entirely closed to the public.
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodway View Post
    According to the KingCo assesor data, it looks like the Griffin property was sold for $2.2M.
    How many acres did that buy?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ACree View Post
    And it seems far more common for large timber owners to allow public access then not (can't think of any that charge a fee though, until now). I tend to think if they viewed the recreational immunity protection as worthless, those props would be entirely closed to the public.
    City-owned skateparks were nonexistent in this state until after the law was expanded to include skateboarding. Now it seems like every city has one. Cities certainly seem to take that protection seriously. Orm at least, they took the absence of it very seriously.

  75. #75
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    The liability argument is a total red-herring -- I'm really tired of people throwing it around. We hear it all the time, yet no one here has cited a single legal case in King County, let alone in the State of Washington, where a mountain-bike related injury or death has resulted in either a ruling of liability against the landowner, or a substantial monetary settlement.

    Even the most cynical defense attorney in civil practice would admit (though probably not publicly) that RCW 4.24.210 affords fairly comprehensive protection. Fear of liability is an easy, politically-expedient way for landowners' to justify closing or otherwise restricting access.

    So again, Hancock's move to impose a fee is puzzling. It will *create* liability for them, even in cases where an injured party does not have a pass, and will barely raise enough money to sustain enforcement. Either they are really stupid, or there is something else going on here. And I honestly don't know which one of those things is true.

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    I think what Hancock is up to is obvious. They want less people on their lands. Closing them all together would be a political black eye (and maybe take away some tax advantage? Only speculating here.). So the next best thing is to make it fee-based, charge a high fee (but not so high that it's politically indefensible) and hope that everyone goes away.

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    Lots of discussion at the 356th TH today....

    Logging in the lower area by the pond has begun and there are pink permit signs everywhere.

    Interesting that the power line trail (now road) is opened to the SVT and it's clear that Hancock vehicles are using it for access. It came up that maybe Hancock should pay a $75 per truck permit to use the public paid for King Co Park property that is the SVT for access to thier logging operation. Hmmmm? Maybe Connie Blumen at KingCo can get Julie to pay up to even this thing out.

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    i was wondering about that. I can't imagine that those logging trucks are good for the SVT.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeePhroh View Post
    Either they are really stupid, or there is something else going on here. And I honestly don't know which one of those things is true.
    The two are not mutually exclusive. I'd lean towards both if I were betting.
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    Anyone know if Hancock owns the property under the power lines to the SVT in East? Is that actually Puget Power?

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    Quote Originally Posted by EnduroDoug View Post
    There's a lot of anecdotes about people not feeling protected by certain laws when it comes to liability. Best to consider those stories a "datapoint of one" and take the lead from city, county, and state parks.
    Isn't a data point of one why we had to remove all the teater-totters? Lawyers and insurance

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    Quote Originally Posted by ortedd View Post
    Isn't a data point of one why we had to remove all the teater-totters? Lawyers and insurance


    Nice point, but moving a bit off-direction.

    i could speculate further, and most of my opinion would be garnered in attempting to put myself in the position of the land manager, being completely devoid of my own prejudice concerning recreation. Using that, one could then examine what has changed and happened in the last decade out there, and other places. Nobody wishes for their job to become complicated, and no land manager would wish to share control when it was never their original intention.

    The sentiment of not interfering with private land owners at the expense and or fear of losing access to other grey trails was prevalent in past discussions.

    That being said if Tokul was Galbraith, i'd have a completely different take on this. i'd be all in, for putting all hands on deck. And while there are interesting parallels, at the end of the day Tokul is not Galby.

    Good luck to Glenn and the movement, i'm sure it will be careful and deliberate, and i hope the pass goes away. i can see the benefit to the LM but i cannot see how it would benefit anybody who wishes to recreate in those lands long-term. Seclusion will be nice for the first few years though...
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    Been hearing from several folk with forestry, development and land manager experience and relaying the contacts and info to Glenn. One thing I'm hearing is that it's not just all about co$t. The "it's my land so just keep out" attitude varies greatly. And that attitude is influenced by *individuals* -- not by the objectives of a large corporation or by investors. Just to illustrate...

    There are those individuals who openly share their land (few and far between, but when they do, schweet)...




    Then there are those who don't want people on their land because of privacy, cost of damage, liability, etc...


    And then there are those individuals who REALLY don't want people on their land...



    To them, it's not just about the cost, liability or invasion of privacy -- it's personal, it's theirs and they are driven to do a lot more to protect it.

    Of course, there's everything in between. Just may be dealing with individuals who lean a little toward the later.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mwestra2 View Post
    . And that attitude is influenced by *individuals*
    i blame you then, this is ALL your fault.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ortedd View Post
    Isn't a data point of one why we had to remove all the teater-totters? Lawyers and insurance
    I was like f'sure totally mega pissed off to have to remove the teeter totters from the Nade. I tried to get more info on that alleged case, but nada. If you find anything or know anything about the case, please let me know. At this point, I'm assuming it has been blown way out of proportion.

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    But, do you know of any large industrial landowners - like Weyerhaueser, Plum Creek, etc. that don't allow free public access for nonmotorized use? I've been in the NW all my life, and can't recall any large timber owner that didn't allow nonmotorized use for free. Trailbuilding has been an issue from time to time, and they all seem to close at some point in fire season.

    It's also important to remember, this is NOT Hancock's land, Hancock manages the land for the investors that are the actual owners - similar to if you bought a rental property and had a property management company deal with the renters for you.

    Quote Originally Posted by mwestra2 View Post
    Been hearing from several folk with forestry, development and land manager experience and relaying the contacts and info to Glenn. One thing I'm hearing is that it's not just all about co$t. The "it's my land so just keep out" attitude varies greatly. And that attitude is influenced by *individuals* -- not by the objectives of a large corporation or by investors. Just to illustrate...

    There are those individuals who openly share their land (few and far between, but when they do, schweet)...




    Then there are those who don't want people on their land because of privacy, cost of damage, liability, etc...


    And then there are those individuals who REALLY don't want people on their land...



    To them, it's not just about the cost, liability or invasion of privacy -- it's personal, it's theirs and they are driven to do a lot more to protect it.

    Of course, there's everything in between. Just may be dealing with individuals who lean a little toward the later.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ACree View Post
    But.
    Don't know what the "but" is for... I'm just relaying that in this case, we may be dealing with a different mindset than we are used to in the NW. It was also mentioned that Weyer and PlumC may not be far behind. It's just data.

    Quote Originally Posted by ACree View Post
    It's also important to remember, this is NOT Hancock's land, Hancock manages the land for the investors that are the actual owners - similar to if you bought a rental property and had a property management company deal with the renters for you.
    That point has already been made. I'm also hearing something different... That investors and holding companies are too far removed and unconcerned to influence this kind of a decision. Just like many property mgt co's have a huge influence on the policies and attitudes that renters have to deal with. One in a prop mgt co can be a huge nightmare for a renter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mwestra2 View Post
    That investors and holding companies are too far removed and unconcerned to influence this kind of a decision. Just like many property mgt co's have a huge influence on the policies and attitudes that renters have to deal with.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ortedd View Post
    Isn't a data point of one why we had to remove all the teater-totters? Lawyers and insurance
    I'm not familiar with the teeter issue regarding that one instance that prompted their removal at colonnade, but I will say that moving platforms are a different story altogether. Nobody is talking about moving platforms. We're talking about access.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mwestra2 View Post
    I was like f'sure totally mega pissed off to have to remove the teeter totters from the Nade. I tried to get more info on that alleged case, but nada. If you find anything or know anything about the case, please let me know. At this point, I'm assuming it has been blown way out of proportion.
    Man i would love to make the teeters "totter" once again. Maybe that's something we can work back toward and get reversed in the future. People really liked em, and since wood structures can last longer at the Nade it's a great place for em.

    Mr. Furley would probably not approve though...
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    I was curious about the conservation easement that King County purchased, so I emailed the county and asked for a copy. I wondered if the easement had any recreation protections. From my (brief) reading, I cannot see anything to help our cause. Here it is for anyone who wants a look.

    https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx...0DCFDD86F9!434

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    Quote Originally Posted by woodway View Post
    I was curious about the conservation easement that King County purchased, so I emailed the county and asked for a copy. I wondered if the easement had any recreation protections. From my (brief) reading, I cannot see anything to help our cause.
    Sadly true. Essentially the same reason the trails at Griffin were all lost. The conservation easement doesn't cover receation access.

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    I wish they offered a "day use" permit for like 10 bucks. I've never ridden these areas but would like to. Probably not enough to get an annual pass.

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    Doubtful that will ever happen. There's more logging reported now near the bottom of the power line road. Seems pretty clear that they are targeting the most well used area to quell further usage by decimating the reason we go there.

    While, "No Galbraith" as one noted, these areas are heavily used and an integral part of the local mtb scene. Will be interesting to see how it pans out after the first of the year. In the mean time yo eddy, you should find a regular and get a tour to see why so many folks like to ride there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by yo EDDY View Post
    I wish they offered a "day use" permit for like 10 bucks.
    You'll want to see what's left before giving Hancock any of your money.
    I was out there last night, and it's not very encouraging... I doubt this will be "selective" clearcut like galbraith.

    Not much we can do but wait and see.....

  96. #96
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    Ugh, losing Tokul is unfathomable to me. It may not be the most glamorous area to ride but dammit I love that place. With no Tokul I think the winter riding opportunities are significantly reduced. Lets hope those trails survive all this. Its gonna be interesting to see how this all pans out after Jan 1.

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    Deliberate coordinated strike to keep us at Duthie...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Borneo View Post
    Deliberate coordinated strike to keep us at Duthie...
    Well that's pretty evil. Duthie's great but there's just WAY too many people out there for me. That's one thing I really like about Tokul, even on a busy day you can more or less lose the crowds (FT3K can get a little crowded).

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    Lemonade Time!

    so call me the eternal lemons into lemonade guy but here goes anyway. In New Zealand Hancock leases a forest from the govt. called Woodhill Forest...the NZ govt is not in the logging business, instead they lease the forest to logging companies. Down there forest access for walkers is free and open but for other recreational access you need to follow easements provided through "Continuing Recreational Use" for organisations or clubs through Hancock...still with me...good...There's a horse park, a tree climbing park 4WD and trail bike parks and this...www.bike park.co.nz. Look up Woodhill forest on wikipedia to see the explanation. Now I know rules up here aren't the same as rules down there but perhaps, just perhaps, we can get something positive out of this.
    Hey Hancock, whad'ya say???

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    stupid autocorrect...Woodhill Mountain Bike Park - Auckland's Homeground for Mountain Biking in case you couldn't figure it out.

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