Thursday, November 12, 2009

So, what are we waiting for?!?!?

Getting impatient? Me too. But these things just take time.

Right now we're waiting for the folks from the Forest Service to complete the work required of them by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). NEPA was passed back in 1969 in response to negative consequences to the environment from offshore oil drilling in the Santa Barbara Channel, among other things. While it was certainly well-intentioned, NEPA's effect was to bury the agencies in paperwork and slow recreational development to a crawl.

NEPA requires that all government agencies conduct studies of any potential environmental impacts of proposed actions on public lands. Makes sense, as far as it goes. The challenge comes when you realize the numbers of studies thus required - for everything from moving a fenceline to putting out a drinking trough to building a gold mine to building a trail. Every, single thing done on public land requires a NEPA analysis of some level... Every. Single. Thing. You could just about mow down every tree in every national forest in the country just to keep up with the paper it generates.

I can categorically state that I could never work for the government after watching what these people have to go through to get anything done. I'd strangle people. I really would.

Anyway, the folks from the USFS tell me that we're very close to having it all done. They want to make sure that every T is crossed and every I dotted, which is an attitude I can appreciate. It just takes SO LONG....

Anyway, once the NEPA is done for this first part of the project we can get up there and start doing prep work for the trail construction. Stay tuned and hope the good weather holds!

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