Just when the Forest Service is struggling to figure out what roads to keep open and maintain in the Darrington area, a gate pops up blocking access to a popular fishing and recreation area on the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River. (See the item in Wayne Kruse’s Thursday column.)
My first thought is that it is the work of another self-interest group that has the mentality of “we have ours, now the rest of you stay away.” Much like the people who closed off the Priest Point dock to outsiders in the late summer of this year. The whole area is amazing, is local, has easy access to a wilderness environment and should not be blocked off to the public. So if the private landowners paid to have the gate installed, are they responsible for the maintenance of the bridge seeing they are the only ones that can use it? I would think that would be a big question.
The argument is the gate was put up due to garbage, road damage and vandalism. It would be interesting to find out how many reports were made to the local authorities about these matters, or if it was just used as an excuse to put the gate up. I really doubt it is as bad as they make it out to be. Another area blocked out to hunters and fishermen. The gate could have been put up on the other side of the river so people can still have access to it. What about the Mount Higgins trail — Mr. Joe Public is not allowed to use that either? The last time I checked it was not a private trail. What is the number for that Montana watchdog group that wants to remove the forest fire look-out removed? Maybe they can get the gate removed!