Friday, January 26, 2018

Forest Service Proposes Revising NEPA Process

Letter sent to nepa-procedures-revision@fs.fed.us



Thank you for considering my comments regarding revision of the NEPA process. 



First and foremost: the NEPA process doesn't work when you have renegade forest rangers who deliberately exclude the public from the process altogether.


Such as the Payette National Forest closing Sugar Creek Road without holding a single public comment period required by NEPA and other federal laws, before unilaterally declaring it closed, gating it, and obliterating large portions thereof.



Senator Mike Crapo intervened after Valley County successfully sued the Payette National Forest for violating federal laws. Crapo helped institute a Collaborative. 

Payette National Forest management initially agreed to adhere to the Collaborative,  but then went back to destroying roads before the Collaborative even had time to review them.

Showing the world that the Payette National Forest is not interested in serving the public. Only their agenda for locking it all up to watch it all burn. 

That is why I have joined 12 members of the Collaborative and dozens other community members in calling for a congressional investigation into the Payette National Forest management and their lawless behavior, disdain for public interests.

Sincerely, 

Scott Amos 


208.297.0634


----- Forwarded Message -----

To:
The Honorable Senator Mike Crapo 

From:
Scott Amos 


208.297.0634

Senator Crapo, 

I and those cc'd (or bcc'd) would like to thank you for your continued efforts regarding issues involving the leadership of the Payette National Forest. 

The Collaborative you helped institute was a positive step forward in what has always been a confrontational relationship between the Payette National Forest and Valley County, plus the communities encompassed therein. 

However, it has come to my attention that the Payette National Forest leadership has abused the trust of the Collaborative, and has not been adhering to guidelines which they initially agreed to.

Furthermore, a lawsuit ending in 2014 against the Payette National Forest by Valley County and concerned members of the community found that the Payette National Forest blatantly violated NEPA and other federal laws. 

The lawsuit was ended on the terms that the Payette National Forest would follow NEPA, and assign Cooperative Agency Status to Valley County. 

The Payette National Forest went back on promises they made, by destroying Sugar Creek Road and other RS-2477 rights of way  without any opportunity for public scoping comments from either the Collaborative or members of the affected community. 

The attached letter is a formal response to the blame-game letter Payette National Forest Supervisor Keith Lannom sent you back in September. 

I believe that the actions of Keith Lannom and Anthony Botello warrant further investigation by the Office of Inspector General and Office of Special Counsel, in that the aforementioned were made aware of their actions exceeding the authority granted to the Forest Service by Congress. Especially since a federal court declared such. Which has not stopped unlawful road closures by the Payette National Forest. 

I would like to formally request that a Congressional investigation be instituted into the lawless conduct of Payette National Forest Supervisor Keith Lannom, and Krassel District Ranger Anthony Botello.


Thank you again for your time and efforts regarding this matter.

Please accept this email as my electronic signature. I will be mailing or hand delivering a paper copy to your office in the coming days.

Scott Amos 


208.297.0634

P.S.: I formally request that any responses to this letter also be sent to Valley County Commissioner Gordon Cruickshank and those listed as cc'd in the attached letter.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Formal Letter to Senator Mike Crapo - Congressional Investigation Request

To:
The Honorable Senator Mike Crapo 

From:
Scott Amos 
XXXXXXX
XXXXXXX
XXXXX

Senator Crapo, 

I and those cc'd (or bcc'd) would like to thank you for your continued efforts regarding issues involving the leadership of the Payette National Forest. 

The Collaborative you helped institute was a positive step forward in what has always been a confrontational relationship between the Payette National Forest and Valley County, plus the communities encompassed therein. 

However, it has come to my attention that the Payette National Forest leadership has abused the trust of the Collaborative, and has not been adhering to guidelines which they initially agreed to.

Furthermore, a lawsuit ending in 2014 against the Payette National Forest by Valley County and concerned members of the community found that the Payette National Forest blatantly violated NEPA and other federal laws. 

The lawsuit was ended on the terms that the Payette National Forest would follow NEPA, and assign Cooperative Agency Status to Valley County. 

The Payette National Forest went back on promises they made, by destroying Sugar Creek Road and other RS-2477 rights of way  without any opportunity for public scoping comments from either the Collaborative or members of the affected community. 


The attached letter is a formal response to the blame-game letter Payette National Forest Supervisor Keith Lannom sent you back in September. 

I believe that the actions of Keith Lannom and Anthony Botello warrant further investigation by the Office of Inspector General and Office of Special Counsel, in that the aforementioned were made aware of their actions exceeding the authority granted to the Forest Service by Congress. Especially since a federal court declared such. Which has not stopped unlawful road closures by the Payette National Forest. 

I would like to formally request that a Congressional investigation be instituted into the lawless conduct of Payette National Forest Supervisor Keith Lannom, and Krassel District Ranger Anthony Botello.


Thank you again for your time and efforts regarding this matter.

Please accept this email as my electronic signature. I will be mailing or hand delivering a paper copy to your office in the coming days.

Scott Amos 
XXXXXXXXX
XXXXXXXXX
XXXXX

P.S.: I formally request that any responses to this letter also be sent to Valley County Commissioner Gordon Cruickshank and those listed as cc'd in the attached letter.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Senator Jim Risch Letter About Forest Service Illegal Activities

US Senator James Risch pens angry letter to Agricultural Secretary Sonny Perdue over illegal actions by the US Forest Service.

Namely, that the Forest Service, especially the Payette National Forest, is violating federal laws by locking people out of the wilderness, which is the exact opposite of Congress' intent when it passed the Wilderness Act.

Click for larger image 



Airstrips and certain backcountry roads were to remain in place to give the public access to newly designated wilderness that had been set aside from economic development.

Senator Risch claims that the Forest Service is causing "resentment" and "negative" public sentiment by locking taxpayers out of the wilderness, which Congress intended for the enjoyment of all.

The US Forest Service has been instead treating wilderness as an elite playground that only upper management of the Forest Service may visit, especially places like Cabin Creek and Chamberlain Basin.

 In recent years, those places have become luxury resorts for elite members of the Payette National Forest who find themselves lucky enough to be flown in to the remote locations for private fishing and hunting excursions....all at taxpayer expense.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Rules Are For Thee, But Not For Me

Thomas Jefferson said "tyranny is defined as that which is legal for the government, but ILLEGAL for the citizenry".

Nowhere is this more blatant than the current lock-it-all-up-and-watch-it-all-burn management policies the US Forest Service follows.

Very little effort was made to contain the Chetco Bar Fire on July 12th when it was first detected.

Had it originated on private or state land, it would undoubtedly have been extinguished. If for no other reason than to prevent massive fines from the Forest Service, had it spread to public lands.

The facts from the case are showing a high degree of negligence on the part of the Forest Service, yet not one Forest Service official is in danger of losing their job.

No restitution is being paid to the eight families who lost everything. Or the 8500 homeowners forced to evacuate and abandon their livelihoods for much of the duration of the fire.

Maybe if the Forest Service had to play by the same rules as the rest of us, they wouldn't be so quick to lock-it-all-up-and-watch-it-all-burn.

Or, maybe if we turned management of federal lands over to state control where it belongs, thousands of people wouldn't be displaced by wildfires on the scale that the Forest Service likes to let them grow to.


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Keith Lannom Blames Landowners for Sugar Creek Road Closure

I thought I would respond to Keith Lannom's false claim that he would love to give the public access to Sugar Creek Road, but the landowner is stopping him.

Besides the fact that the landowners at Cinnabar have written a dozen letters saying that they WANT public access to Cinnabar to remain open, the Forest Service has a history of land-grabbing, or stealing access from landowners through the court system in the rare case when the Forest Service wants public access through private property.

Keith Lannom, Payette National Forest Supervisor lies and blames the landowner at Cinnabar as being the primary reason for the Forest Service closing Sugar Creek Road. 


The landowner, in his 12th response, calling Keith Lannom's assertions "false". Numerous emails have been sent to Forest Supervisor Keith Lannom asking him to stop blaming the landowner. Numerous emails have been sent to Forest Supervisor Keith Lannom asking him to look for ways to work WITH the landowner to restore public access. Krassel District Ranger Anthony Botello also blames the landowner at Cinnabar anytime a member of the public asks why he ordered the closure of Sugar Creek Road. 



Such was the case involving  the Wonder Ranch and Indian Creek Trail #328 in Montana, where the Forest Service claimed "adverse possession" over private property because a public trail over private property once existed, when the landowner once agreed to letting the public access public lands through private property.


The U.S. Forest Service targets cooperative landowner in Montana.

https://www.perc.org/articles/arrogance-us-forest-service





The landowner had asked to move the trail away from his home for privacy, even offering to pay for it. However,  the Forest Service wasn't happy with that offer, sued the landowner to retain ownership of the existing route, and won against the landowner in federal court.

Where it suits the Forest Service to retain access to their personal favorite camping spots, they have no problem fighting and winning for public access through private property.

When it suits Keith Lannom, Payette National Forest Supervisor to shift blame onto someone else, he says that he would love to grant the public access to a road in Cinnabar that has been a public right of way for over 100 years.....if only the big mean evil private property owners would let him.

 Which is more childish than the time my son, an only child, blamed one of his stuffed animals for making a mess of his room. He was only three at the time. Keith Lannom is supposed to be an adult who takes responsibility for his words and actions.


Scott Amos
208.297.0634

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Forest Supervisor Keith Lannom Forced Response to Senator Mike Crapo Inquiry

Sign and gate Payette National Forest blocked Sugar Creek Road with. Keith Lannom, PNF Supervisor, failed to show this image to Senator Mike Crapo in his official response. 

*Click photo for larger image*  

Forest Service placed sign on South Fork of the Salmon River claiming millions of tons of sediment and debris from forest fires "helps" fish and wildlife. While trying to make the argument that "12 tons" of sediment from the Sugar Creek Road "hurts" fish. Proof that sediment, which is a vital part of fish nesting grounds, is more of a political weapon the Forest Service uses, than a concern to them. 

Mud flowing into Profile Creek  (tributary of the East Fork of the South Fork of the Salmon River, downstream from Sugar Creek Road). This mudflow was caused by fires in 2007. More than a million tons of sediment from this one mudflow have entered the river downstream from Sugar Creek. Thousands more wildfire induced mudflows dot the moonscape left behind by the 850,000 acre Cascade Complex fire the Forest Service refused to fight in its initial stages.

 The Forest Service has made ZERO EFFORTS to stop this mudflow, contaminated with arsenic and mercury. But has created a public relations nightmare for itself by destroying access to Sugar Creek Road, for the stated purpose of stopping "12 tons, annually".

Pure and simple politics. The Payette National Forest doesn't really care about keeping our rivers clean, unless it provides an opportunity for locking the public out of the forests. 



In his official response to an inquiry from Senator Mike Crapo, into the closure of Sugar Creek Road, Forest Supervisor Keith Lannom either deliberately omitted several facts, or simply doesn't care enough to find them. Which seems to be increasingly common among an agency where his high level staff, such as Sue Dixon, openly state that "NEPA isn't a democracy".

In fact, the Payette National Forest skipped NEPA altogether when closing Sugar Creek Road and hundreds of miles of public access to public owned lands....which is a clear violation of NEPA and other federal laws.

Sugar Creek Road is a perfect example of the Payette National Forest overstepping, abusing and misusing the power and authority granted to it by Congress, as I will explain in the paragraphs below.

This is an open response to the written response Keith Lannom sent to Senator Mike Crapo.  You can download that flawed and inaccurate  response here:
http://tinyurl.com/CRAPO-SUGAR-CREEK

Complaint #1.  The Forest Service violated section 212 of the 36 CFR and held ZERO public comment periods before unilaterally declaring Sugar Creek Road closed to the public some time in 1996-1997.


As stated in the Forest response “36 CFR 261.50 ( c) (5) requires orders to “Be posted in accordance with 36 CFR 261.51”.  The posting requirements in 36 CFR 261.51 are summarized as posting a copy of the order in offices of Line Officers who have jurisdiction and displaying the prohibition in such locations and manner as to bring the prohibition to the attention of the public.”  The Forest letter also states: “Between 1996 and 1998 the road was closed.”

 During the 1996-1998 time period I was a resident of Yellow Pine, which is the closest permanent community to the Sugar Creek Road.  I can submit under oath no such posting as described in 36 CFR 261.51 was done and I was a frequent visitor to Cinnabar.  Furthermore, I have discussed this with other residents during this period and they are willing to sign a similar oath.

I find the following statement in the FS response as a very very disturbing answer to Complaint #1.  “We have been unable to find the records related to the decision to change the management of the Sugar Creek Road sometime between 1996-1998”.


During the 1996-1998 time period the Forest Service had accepted that the National Environmental Policy Act and subsequent CEQ rules applied to actions such as closing federal roads.  Thus any closures should have been accomplished under NEPA rules in effect at that time.  NEPA has always mandated extensive public involvement and a structured process that is well documented.  Losing all evidence of a NEPA process does not seem possible.

In addition, I cannot accept the answer provided of no records because in the past the Forest Service has referred to a Special Order signed by David Alexander in September 1997.

 This document is part of the official record of the 2007/2008 TMP Lawsuit (FS017350).   The order was to establish road status Forest-wide, and replaced six existing Special Orders.  This non conventional use of CFR 261.50 to establish road status Forest-wide clearly identifies all Roads on the Krassel RD as being those on the McCall and Krassel Districts Map, 1995 Edition.

 This reference, I believe, is to the 1995 Visitor Map, although it may have referred to a different McCall/Krassel District Map that I have in my possession, that is undated, but does reflect the same status as the 1995 Visitor Map, namely that Sugar Creek Road is open.

Complaint #2 has a typo error (alluding to the MVUM) but was intended to address the general problem of misleading and confusing direction provided to the public relative to road closures on the Krassel Ranger District of the Payette National Forest with focus on the Sugar Creek Road.


The following is a list of various actions and publications available to the public regarding the Sugar Creek Road.



Backroads Guide not shown on map
in the early 2000 years.

This guide was not intended to
reflect road status as established
through CFR & NEPA process.

The Guide states: ‘…this publication is
Only a general guide.  The 1995 Forest
Visitor/Travel Map show more information
Such as closed roads”. Why Keith Lannom chose to use it for reference in showing the legality of closing Sugar Creek Road is confusing, at best.

During the 2003-2007 period the
legal status of Sugar Creek was
frequently questioned and the
Backroads Guide was the justification.

 No CFR or NEPA analysis was
ever produced for the BC\YP area
even though Forest Officials stated an
underlying action had been accomplished.

During the Lawsuit over the 2007-2008
TMP the Backroads Guide was never
mentioned by the Forest Service
as a basis of establishing road status.


2000 BNF Visitor Map Unimproved Road
2007 PNF Travel Management Plan Not a designated
(This plan was found invalid Road
in District Court on 2/11/2014)
2010 BC/YP Travel Management Plan Not a designated
(This plan was found invalid Road
in District Court on  1/5/2015)
2007 PNF Visitor Map Unimproved Road
(This map states, “This map depicts
the present day open road and trail
system”
2012 BNF Visitor Map Road not maintained
for Passenger Cars
2013 PNF Visitor Map Dirt Road Suitable
for Passenger Cars
2017 The remedy for resolving the Closed as of 7/8/17
lawsuit mandated an all new NEPA
analysis & re-evaluation of all
road status, but allowed the
current MVUM to be implemented
to avoid chaos.




Complaint #4.  The real purpose of the Storm Treatment and Ford Rehabilitation was to illegally and physically close the Sugar Creek Road.


As documented in the Forest Service response immediately prior to this work the public was using the road even with installation of gates and barricades, but no citations were issued, probably because in 2016 the road had never been legally closed.

  The Forest Service used(or MIS-used) the categorical exclusion intended for projects that don’t substantially alter existing road use (such as replacing a culvert or other minor maintenance).

It was obvious from the start the real objective was to make the ford totally impassible by all but a military tank.

I was not aware of the project prior to the construction, but members of the Senator Crapo initiated BC/YP collaboration were briefed on the project and some of those briefed did comment.

At my request, Chris and Lois Schwarzhoff shared their comments.  The following was part of the written comments by Chris and Lois Schwarzhoff supplied to the Forest Service prior to the project being accomplished:


 “Based on the descriptions of actions to be taken it appears the proposed project is really an action to functionally close a road that has not been legally closed, and follows the same objective as placing large boulders in the road earlier this year.  This would be in direct opposition to long standing laws and regulations relating to processes to be followed to legally close roads.”  

Their prophecy turned out to be dead on.  It is interesting the completed construction report of this  project included lots of pictures fixing the road, but none of the final ford that physically completely closed the road to all normal vehicles.  All of this activity is truly ironic in that the Forest Service certainly has an easy and low cost option to legally close roads following 36CFR 261 in cases of emergency or dire need. Instead of following THOSE processes, the Forest Service pretends to act as if "the landowner" or "the public" wanted the road closed, which is a complete and deliberately deceptive move by a shadow agency which prefers to operate outside of any legitimate, legal framework. 





Friday, September 15, 2017

Letter to Idaho County Commissioner Brandt

Commissioner Brandt,

I recently read an article in the Idaho County Free Press where you expressed your disdain for the way the Payette National Forest is sitting on their thumbs, regarding the Highline Fire. 



I am admistrator for a site called Idaho vs USFS, which seeks to chronicle incidents of waste and abuse,  especially by the Payette National Forest.

I thought you might be interested in the following conversation I had with Brian Harris, official Payette National Forest spokesman. 


Apparently, the Payette National Forest believes that the [85,000] acre[and rapidly growing] Highline Fire doesn't even make smoke, because it is "natural caused" and "burning inside the wilderness".
It hasn't contributed to the dirty air we are forced to breathe, and it's actually "good" for endangered species getting incinerated by the Highline Fire, because it is mostly in the wilderness, and is "natural".

Of course the Payette National Forest deleted the entire thread shortly after group members of Idaho vs USFS pointed out how ignorant the Forest Service sounded....

But it gives insight into how dyed-in-the-kool-aid, high level Payette National Forest team members think(or don't), just the same.

Quite frankly, there is a  rapidly growing segment of the public which is beginning to get tired of Forest Service lock-it-all-up-and-watch-it-all-burn management policies. That, and not being able to see the sun or mountains at least four months every year while the Forest Service uses taxpayer money to buy more of our forests, just so it can sit back and lock it all up, to watch it all burn. 

Sincerely, 

Scott Amos 
Outdoor enthusiast and sensible forest management advocate. 

208.297.0634



Saturday, August 26, 2017

Boise National Forest Closed to Debate

Unsurprisingly, the Boise National Forest Facebook page has blocked people from commenting or even liking their page.

Even though comments were respectful, although non-praising of the Forest Service, people making them are banned simply for disagreeing with the Forest Service propaganda machine.

Official Facebook page for the Boise National Forest has banned myself and others from "liking", commenting or discussing anything on their page. Fitting for a public entity where rangers like Sue Dixon openly state that "NEPA is not a democracy".


The Forest Service recently lost lawsuits in federal court for excluding Valley County and other affected members of the public from what NEPA and other federal laws require to be a "public process".

In the business of ideas and open discussion, it appears that the Forest Service knows they will lose. Which is why they hold public scoping meetings 150 miles away from project areas.

Tyranny has to be done in secrecy,  at least at first. Wouldn't want the peasants to find out what the Forest Service is up to and start talking amongst themselves. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The King's Forest

Hassle-Krassel District Ranger Anthony Botello once again steps outside of his power and authority for the purpose of harassment and abuse of an elderly gentleman. 

This time Botello reportedly told a visitor from Iowa "ride your horses, kick a few rocks, but don't stay too long". Or basically, "hurry up and go back to Iowa. You are not welcome here".

When Anthony Botello told Robert that he needed to "inform" him about the purchase of a mining claim, Botello stepped outside of his power and authority. 

When Botello told Robert that he needed "a plan of operations" to operate a recreational  highbanker on Robert's established mining claim: he (Botello) again stepped outside of his power and authority. *See attached court case from 2010*.

The Forest Service has already tried that argument in federal court,  and has lost its case.

Botello's harassment of an elderly gentleman named Robert Ginter this last July is typical of the "King's Forest" mentality that many of the management in the Payette National Forest seem to be suffering from. 

Suzanne Rainville, then Payette National Forest supervisor, at a public meeting in 2008 told an elderly wheelchair bound citizen named Jim Earl and his wife Viola Earl that "we are closing Sugar Creek Road" and "if you are too old to hike the six miles to Cinnabar,  maybe you shouldn't live in the backcountry anymore".


 This was AFTER Jim Earl told Suzanne Rainville that he had been traveling to Cinnabar via Sugar Creek Road since 1936, after Joe Harper told the crowd the Forest Service was closing Sugar Creek Road,  because in Joe Harper's words: "nobody ever uses the road"(even though car counters showed an average of 43 vehicles per day using Sugar Creek Road).

Around the same time, at a public meeting, Valley County Commissioner Gordon Cruickshank made it very clear to Krassel District Ranger Joe Harper that the manner in which the Forest Service closed several public roads was a violation of the law. Joe Harper responded "we are closing the roads anyway, and if you don't like it: sue me!"

A Payette Forest Service internal email obtained through FOIA showed the disdain that Sue Dixon had about so many public comments demanding roads be kept open.

Sue Dixon, an advocate for obliterating public access, responded in writing, stating "NEPA is not a democracy". Implying that she apparently wishes that the Forest Service was exempt from the democratic system. 

Anthony Botello seems to be determined to carry Suzanne Rainville's disrespect and harassment of elderly citizens into the management style of the Payette National Forest, for the foreseeable future. 

I have traveled to more than 40 states, have hiked the Grand Canyon,  parts of the Appalachian trail, almost every national park in Utah, Arizona,  New Mexico. I believe that I can authoritatively state that the Payette National Forest is the worst run national forest in the country. With the rudest rangers, management, and a core belief that the public has no right to even visit public lands.

Which is why I openly support Congressman Raul Labrador and his proposal for returning management of federal lands to local control. Because maybe then, Rangers like Botello would actually have to listen to the communities which they are supposed to serve. Instead of lording over them in the manner seen here which has been unchecked for far too long.

Scott Amos 
208.297.0634


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Citizen Complaint Against Anthony Botello and Officer Dingman

Submitted by an elderly gentleman who had the severe misfortune of dealing with Anthony Botello and Officer Dingman face to face.


This is one of many complaints, but is typical of the type of rudeness and unprofessional behavior you are likely to encounter when dealing with Anthony Botello and most of the Payette National Forest staff.

Forwarded message begins:


TO: USDA, DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR, USFS

IN THE EARLY SPRING OF 2017 I BECAME INTERESTED IN SOME RECREATION ACTIVITIES IN IDAHO, IN THE 90'S I WAS ABLE TO GO THE AVERY, IDAHO AREA AND LIVED IN THE MOUNTAINS FOR 5 WEEKS FOR THE ELK SEASON AND TO TAKE A HORSE I HAD JUST PURCHASED THAT NEEDED TO BE TRAINED AS HE WAS NOT EVEN CONSIDERED TO BE GREEN BROKE. IT WAS THE MOST AWESOME THING I HAVE EVER BEEN ABLE TO DO IN MY LIFE. THE WHOLE EXPERIENCE OF THE WONDERS OF OUR COUNTRY, FREEDOMS WE HAVE, PLACES TO BE EXPERIENCED AND THE FREEDOM TO CHOOSE THE WAY TO EXPERIENCE WAS UNHINDERED.

IN MY INTERNET SEARCH FOR AN AREA TO GO TO I RAN ACROSS THE SUBJECT OF MINING CLAIMS, THE IDEA OF ESTABLISHING A PLACE TO GO, REPEATEDLY AND DO A VARIETY OF THINGS ON A RECREATIONAL LEVEL APPEALED TO ME. I PURCHASED A COUPLE OF CLAIMS IN THE PAYETTE NATIONAL FORREST AND BEGAN PLANNING A TRIP TO THE AREA, NO SMALL TASK, I HAD TO SELL AND PURCHASE A TRUCK THAT WOULD BE SUITABLE FOR TOWING A HORSETRAILER WITH A CAMPER. THIS TOOK WEEKS OF SEARCHING AND FINALLY I FOUND WHAT I NEEDED, A TRUCK IN COLORADO AND A HORSE TRAILER WITH LIVING QUARTERS IN TENNESSEE.

ON THE 19TH OF JUNE 2017 I LEFT MY HOME IN IOWA WITH MY GRANDSON CODY AND MY WIFE PAULINE. I WAS TAKING 2 HORSES AND OUR DOG AS WELL. WE ARRIVED IN MCCALL, IDAHO ON OR ABOUT WEDNESDAY, JUNE 22ST, 2017 ABOUT 1600 HOURS.
I FOUND DIRECTIONS TO THE CAMPSITES LOCATED ON LICK CREEK ROAD AND THE SESECH RIVER, ALSO THE AREA OF THE CLAIMS I OWN.

UPON ARRIVAL AT THE SESECH HORSE CAMP WE CHOSE A CAMPSITE AND NOTED THAT THE ENTIRE CAMP GROUND WAS A MESS OF DEADFALL, DEBRIS AND WOULD NEED A LOT OF CLEANUP TO STAKE OUT THE HORSES AND EVEN PULL OUR TRAILER INTO THE SITE, THERE WAS ONE OTHER SITE BEING USED AT THE NORTH END AND LATER I WOULD COME TO KNOW THEM AS JIM AND JUDITH KEENE, FROM THE CASCADE, IDAHO AREA. WE WOULD ALSO JOIN FORCES AND SPEND SOME THREE DAYS CLEANING UP THE AREA WE WERE USING OF THE DEBRIS, PICK UP BOTTLES AND CANS, CUT UP A DEADFALL THAT HAD CRASHED ONTO THE KEENES TABLE, BREAKING A 3X9X12 PORTION IN TWO, JIM ALSO ASSISTED ME IN CLEANING UP THE SOUTH END OF MY CLAIM, I INTENDED ON MAKING A CAMPSITE ON THE CLAIM. JIM ALSO HAD SOME HAND TOOLS FOR FINDING GOLD, AND SHARED HIS KNOWLEDGE ON THE MATTER WITH ME DURING OUR STAY.



DURING THE NEXT 2 WEEKS I BEGAN A SEARCH FOR ANY OFFICIALS OR OFFICIAL INFORMATION ON HAVING CLAIMS IN THE AREA AND WHAT, IF ANYTHING, IN ADDITION TO MAKING A CLAIM PURCHASE/FILING I NEEDED TO DO.

PAGE 2

THE AREA WE WERE IN DID NOT HAVE ANY SIGNALS FOR CELL OR INTERNET, IT WOULD REQUIRE AN ALL DAY TREK INTO THE CASCADE AND MCCALL TOWNS TO MAKE AN ATTEMPT TO LOCATE SOME INFORMATION OR A REPRESENTATIVE. I WAS ABLE TO FIND OUT THE PERSON I NEEDED TO SPEAK TO WAS THE HEAD RANGER, ANTHONY BOTELLO, I WAS FINALLY ABLE TO DO THAT ON THE 11TH OF JULY, 2017 AT THE MCCALL USFS OFFICES WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF SUSAN LAU, ALSO OF THE FOREST SERVICE, AROUND 1530 HOURS.

I WAS INTRODUCED TO RANGER BOTELLO AND IN A JOKING MANNER SAID THAT I NEEDED A GUN AND BADGE TO FIND ANYONE (IN THE USFS WHO KNEW ANY INFORMATION ON GOLD CLAIMS) AND HE ASKED IF I EVER USED A GUN AND BADGE TO FIND SOMEONE, I REPLIED FOR 30 YEARS OR SO, HE SAID DID YOU FIND THEM, I SAID YES, EVERYTIME.

RANGER BOTELLO WAS ALREADY AWARE OF ME AND THE REASON FOR TRYING TO LOCATE HIM, HE WAS AWARE THAT I HAD CLAIMS IN THE SESECH AREA, THAT I HAD HORSES THERE, AND SAID IT WAS REPORTED TO HIM THAT MY HORSES HAD THE SITE THEY WERE IN 'BEAT DOWN PRETTY GOOD', I SAID IT IS A HORSE CAMP ISN'T IT, HE SAID YES, SARAH LAU WAS PRESENT AND DID OR SAID LITTLE, JUST HANDED ME A MAP OF THE AREA INDICATING OPEN AND CLOSED ACCESSES TO THE AREA I WAS CAMPING IN. THE SUBJECT OF MY ATV ALSO CAME UP AND I THEN ADVISED MR. BOTELLO THAT MY ATV WAS USED TO OFFSET MY DISABILITY TO MY FEET AND LEGS, TO AVOID MEDICATION AND ALLOW ME ACCOMPLISH THINGS IN SPITE OF THE DISABILITY.

 MR. BOTELLO ASKED WHAT I HAD BEEN DOING ON THE CLAIM AND WHAT MY RELATIONSHIP WAS WITH THE OTHER CAMPERS, JIM AND JUDITH KEENE, HOW LONG WE ALL HAD BEEN THERE AND WHEN WE WERE PLANNING TO LEAVE. I ADVISED HIM THAT I HAD SENT PAULINE BACK TO IOWA IN A RENTAL CAR THE 5TH OF JULY, MY GRANDSON CODY AND I PLANNED TO STAY LONGER AND HAD TO BE BACK FOR HIS SCHOOL  ACTIVITIES IN EARLY AUGUST AND WE TALKED ABOUT STAYING TO AROUND THE 20TH. I AM RETIRED AND HAVE NO HARD LINES ON MUCH OF WHAT I DO.

I TOLD MR. BOTELLO WE WERE PANNING, AND HAD A SLUICE ON THE CLAIM KNOWN AS A HIGHBANKER WITH A PUMP. WE HAD JUST PURCHASED IT FROM A PAWN SHOP IN BOISE AND WERE ATTEMPTING TO SET IT UP AND PREPARE IT FOR USE ON A ROOTBALL  HOLE FROM A FALLEN TREE AND ROTTEN STUMP ON MY CLAIM, ALSO THAT WE HAD BEEN CHECKING FOR GOOD PLACES TO LOOK FOR GOLD ALONG THE BANKS OF THE RIVER. MR. BOTELLO STATED THAT THIS WAS A MAJOR DISTURBANCE AND WOULD REQUIRE A LETTER OF INTENT AS WELL AS A PLAN OF OPERATIONS, I SAID 'REALLY' AND WOULD NEVER HAD MADE THAT CONNECTION BETWEEN THAT AND WHAT WE WERE DOING. MR. BOTELLO ALSO STATED THAT THE USFS DID NOT LIKE THAT CLAIMS WERE BEING FILED WITHOUT CONSULTING THEM AND I SHOULD HAVE CALLED HIM BEFORE BUYING THE CLAIMS, HE FURTHER ADVISED THAT THERE IS A PROCESS WHICH THEY CAN PROTEST CLAIMS AND THEY WERE IN THE PROCESS OF PROTESTING  SOME OF THE CLAIMS IN THE AREA. HE DID NOT STATE THAT MINE WERE BEING PROTESTED.

PAGE 3

I HAD INVITED MR. BOTELLO TO THE CAMP AND CLAIM SITE TO DISCUSS THE SITUATION OF THE CLAIMS AND THE CAMPGROUNDS AND HE STATED HE WAS BUSY ON WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY BUT COULD MAKE TIME IN THE MORNING ON FRIDAY.

MR, BOTELLO STATED THAT HE WANTED ME TO STOP SLUICING, I SAID, OK, HE ALSO SAID TO CONTINUE TO STAY IN THE CAMP, KEEP PAYING THE REQUIRED FEE, I AGREED. DURING THIS FINAL MOMENTS OF THE CONVERSATION MR. BOTELLO STATED, 'I'LL TELL YOU WHAT TO DO, GO BACK TO THE CAMP, KICK A FEW ROCKS AROUND, RIDE YOUR HORSES THEN GO BACK TO IOWA'. I WAS DUMBFOUNDED AT THAT POINT AND REASSURED THAT THIS MEETING WAS NOT A POSITIVE GESTURE BY THE USFS AND WHAT I COULD EXPECT FROM THEM WAS NOT ASSISTANCE BUT INTERFERENCE. IT HAS BEEN MY EXPERIENCE THAT THESE ATTITUDES COME FROM BIGGER SOURCES THAN THOSE WHO DISPLAY THEM.

THE MEETING WAS CONCLUDED AND ON FRIDAY ABOUT 1000 AM MR. BOTELLO ARRIVED AT THE CAMPSITES. HE MET WITH JIM AND I IN THE SITE OCCUPPIED BY JIM AND THE SOUTHERN AREA OF MY CLAIMS. MR. BOTELLO WAS SHOWN THE AREAS WE CLEANED UP OF DEBRIS, THE CAMPSITES STILL TRASHED OUT AND OUR CLEANED UP SITES. I ALSO SHOWED HIM WHAT I HAD DONE TO MY CLAIM IN TRYING TO CLEAN UP SOME OF THE DEBRIS LYING ON IT, IN AN AREA OF 50 FEET OR SO, HARDLY MAKING A DENT IN THE BRUSH, DEADFALL OF STICKS AND PARTIALLY BURNED STUMPS. MR. BOTELLO COMPLAINED OF MY RIDING OR USING MY 4 WHEELER ON THE CLAIM, I USED IT FOR TRANSPORTING AND DRAGGING DEBRIS ABOUT THE SITE, ON AND OFF THE CLAIM. MR. BOTELLO FURTHER STATED ALL THIS IS A MAJOR DISTURBANCE OF THE SURFACE AND WOULD REQUIRE A LETTER OF INTENT AND A PLAN OF OPERATIONS. I ASKED MR. BOTELLO ABOUT A ROAD THAT EXISTS, ON THE WEST SIDE OF THE CLAIMS, WHICH WOULD ALLOW ACCESS INDEPENDENT OF THE CAMPSITES AND THE ROAD THAT EXISTS ON THE EAST SIDE AND TRAVELS WITHIN THE CLAIMS TO THE NORTH OFF XENA CREEK ROAD. MR. BOTELLO SAID HE COULD LOOK INTO OPENING THEM, BUT THAT WOULD TAKE A YEAR TO DO. MR. BOTELLO INSTRUCTED ME TO TAKE THE DEBRIS WE HAD PILED UP AND SCATTER IT AROUND THE CAMPSITES AND ON MY CLAIM WHERE IT CAME FROM, HE SAID IT WAS TO MAKE IT LOOK NATURAL, MR. BOTELLO ALSO SAID THERE WAS A BOND THAT WOULD HAVE TO BE POSTED FOR THE USE OF THE CLAIM, MR. BOTELLO AND I DISCUSSED WHAT WAS TO BE DONE WITH THE HORSE MANURE FROM THE AREA I HAD THEM IN AND HAD NO OBJECTION TO THE WAY I INTENDED ON CLEANING IT UP AND WHERE IT WAS TO BE PLACED. MR. BOTELLO THEN TOOK PHOTOS OF MY CAMPSITE AND OF JIM AND JUDITH'S SITE.

MR. BOTELLO WENT BACK TO JIM'S SITE AND WAS SPEAKING TO HIM OUT OF MY PRESENCE FOR A FEW MINUTES, AFTER THAT JIM WAS VERY UPSET, HE MADE A COMMENT THAT HE WAS GOING TO LEAVE THE AREA UNDER MR. BOTELLO'S CHARGE AND NEVER COME BACK. I HAD SOME CONTACT INFORMATION FOR JIM AND JUDITH, I HAVE TRIED TO CONTACT THEM WITHOUT SUCCESS.

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DURING THE STAY AT THE SITE, FROM THE 22ND OF JUNE TO THE 11TH OF JULY WE SAW ONE PERSON FROM THE FOREST SERVICE, HE DROVE IN TO GET THE FEES FROM THE BOX AND OUT AGAIN. ON SATURDAY, THE 15TH OF JULY, AROUND 1500 HRS A LAW ENFORCEMENT TRUCK PULLED INTO THE CAMP, THE OFFICER, DINGMAN WAS THE ONLY OCCUPANT, HE EXITED HIS TRUCK AND APPROACHED JIM AND I, WE ENGAGED HIM IN A CONVERSATION, JIM HAD MET HIM PRIOR TO THIS DAY AND IT SEEMED THEY HAD A CORDIAL RESPONSE TO EACH OTHER. DURING THIS CONVERSATION THE USE OF MY ATV WAS BROUGHT UP, I WAS ASKED IF IT WAS REGISTERED/PERMITTED IN IDAHO, I SAID NO IT WAS REGISTERED AND INSURED, AS A CAR IS IN IOWA, HE ADVISED ME THAT IDAHO REQUIRED THAT IT BE REGISTERED THERE AS WELL. HE THEN ASKED IF I HAD CERTIFIED HAY, I SAID THAT I DO AND THAT I BOUGHT IT AT THE FARM STORE IN BOISE, I ALSO HAD COMPRESSED HAY PELLETS AND GENERAL HORSE FEED IN BAGS.

OFFICER DINGMAN ALSO ADVISED THAT THE USFS DID NOT RECONIZE ANY OF THE AMERICAN WITH DISABILITES ACT IN RELATINSHIP TO WHAT I WAS DOING, AND IN HIS WORDS 'THAT HAS BEEN TRIED BEFORE' I TOOK THIS TO MEAN, AND BELIEVE THAT IT IS SO, THAT MR. BOTELLO, THE USFS IN GENERAL, BELIEVES ME AND OTHERS LIKE ME, OR WORSE, TRY TO USE THIS AS A MEANS TO CIRCUMVENT SOME RULES, OR TO GAIN SOME PREFERENCIAL TREATMENT OVER THOSE WHO ARE DENIED ON A GENERAL BASIS. I REPLIED THAT THE SAME GOVERNMENT THAT CRAMS THIS NON-DESCRIMINATORY RULES AND LAWS ONTO THE REST OF THE COUNTRY RESERVED THE RIGHT TO NOT PARTICIPATE IN THE SAME RULES? NOT SURPRISING TO ME REALLY.  I ALSO ASKED OFFICER DINGMAN IF HE WAS SENT TO CHECK UP ON US AND HE SAID THAT NO ONE SENT HIM, BUT I WILL NOTE THAT THE SAME SUBJECTS INCLUDING THE CLAIM AND THE SAME CONCERNS WERE DISCUSSED, SORT OF A RECOUNT OF THE VISIT BY MR. BOTELLO ON FRIDAY.

JIM AND I HAD DISCUSSED LEAVING THE SITE ON TUESDAY, HOWEVER AFTER ALL THIS JIM HAD BECOME VERY AGITATED, I WAS NOT HAPPY EITHER, BUT HE WAS MUCH MORE SO, HE BEGAN PACKING UP HIS CAMP AND BY SUNDAY ABOUT NOON HE HAD LEFT AND WE LEFT A SHORT TIME AFTER ON THAT SUNDAY.

THE ENTIRE INCIDENT LEFT ME IN QUESTION AS TO WHETHER I WANTED TO COME BACK OR EVEN ATTEMPT TO BRING IT TO SOMEONE'S ATTENTION WHO WOULD LISTEN. I ALSO KNOW THAT TO HAVE SOMEONE LISTEN AND THEN SEE NOTHING REALLY DONE OR THINGS LEFT THE SAME AND SOMEONE ELSE HAS TO DO THIS ALL OVER  AGAIN IS A REAL POSSIBILITY AND LIKELY TO BE THE CASE.

IN DOING SOME INVESTIGATING INTO ALL THIS I SEE AT LEAST 3 AGENCIES IN SOME SORT OF BATTLE WITH THE LAWS THAT ARE SUPPOSE TO AFFORD THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE CHOSEN TO BECOME INVOLVED IN THIS AREA, OR COME TO THE USFS FOR A VARIETY OF REASONS, AS A FREE PEOPLE, IN A FREE AND SELF GOVERNING NATION TO BE DENIED ACCESS FOR REASONS THAT ARE HIGHLY SUSPECT FOR VALIDITY AND REASONABILITY, A GOOD ARGUMENT FOR EACH IS AVAILABLE TO MOST OF THE RESTRICTIONS. THE GOAL IS APPARENT, EXCLUSION NOT INCLUSION OF ALL INSTEAD OF A FEW CHOSEN LIKES OVER WHAT OTHERS SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO DO.
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IN ADDITION I WOULD LIKE TO GIVE AN OPINION, SOMEWHAT EDUCATED ONE, DUE TO MY EXPERIENCE WITH LIVING IN WOODED AREAS MOST OF MY LIFE AND DOING MANY OF THE THINGS DONE IN THOSE AREAS SINCE BEFORE I WAS 10 YEARS OLD, LIKE FISHING AND HUNTING, SHOOTING, HIKING, TRAIL RIDING ON BIKES BEFORE A 'MOUNTAIN BIKE' WAS EVER MADE. BEING TAUGHT HOW TO PLANT, GROW AND MAINTAIN TREES, GARDENS, FLOWERS, LIVING AND WORKING ON FARMS AND ACREAGES. I HAVE ALSO DONE SOME QUICK INFORMATION CHECKING ON WHAT HAPPENED TO THE FOREST IN THE PAYETTE, TALKED TO SOME LOCALS, ABOUT BEFORE AND AFTER, AND NOW. THEIR OPINION IS NOT A GOOD ONE WHEN IT COMES TO THE USFS AND ITS REPRESENTATIVES. THE CONDITION OF THAT REGION IS HORRIFYING, THE SIGHT OF IT MADE ME SICKENED TO MY STOMACH, IT WOULD TAKE ME WEEKS TO EVEN GET AN IDEA OF THE SIZE AND EFFECTS OF THE DAMAGE, THEN TO LEARN THAT ANY EFFORT TO REMOVE THE DEAD AND DYING TREES IS BLOCKED AND MAY BE POINTLESS NOW, AS FOR 15 YEARS AFTER THE FIRE THERE WAS AND IS NO RESPONSE TO CLEAN IT UP AND REDUCE THE DAMAGE AND ENHANCE THE AREA FOR USE OF ALL SORTS OF ACTIVITIES. THE ENVIRONMENTAL ARGUMENTS, THE ENDANGERED SPECIES CONCERNS  DO NOT ADDRESS THE VISIBLE AND OBVIOUS, I COULD SEE MANY LOG JAMS FROM DEADFALL, OBVIOUSLY FROM THE FIRE DAMAGE, JAMMING UP STREAMS, LANDSLIDES THAT DWARF WHAT IS IMMAGINABLE, UPROOTED TREES BY THE DOZENS IN A GIVEN AREA, THIS HAS TO BE THOUSANDS OVERALL, DISEASED LIVE TREES, RANCID MARSHES CRAMMED WITH DEAD AND ROTTEN WOOD FROM COLLAPSING TREES, ENTIRE MOUNTAINS COVERED FROM TOP TO BOTTOM, WITH LAYERS OF DEADFALL TREES PILED LIKE STREWN MATCHSTICKS, IMPOSSIBLE TO TRAVERSE BY FOOT OR HORSE. A NATURAL RESOURCE LEFT TO ROT IN THE SUN.

Valley County RS-2477 Assertions

Lyin' Ranger Anthony Botello says that Valley County has never asserted RS-2477 jurisdiction over Sugar Creek Road. So here is the letter from Valley County Commissioners asserting jurisdiction over Sugar Creek Road, and many other roads.

Click photos for larger view





Monday, July 31, 2017

Senator Crapo's Office Response to Forest Service Lawlessness

This is a recent response from Senator Crapo's office to the lawless manner in which the Forest Service closed Sugar Creek Road.

Signs the Forest Service posted on Sugar Creek Road. The Forest Service offered ZERO public comment periods required by NEPA and other federal laws before closing Sugar Creek Road. 



Follow up from Senator Crapo regarding the Forest Service's unlawful closure of Sugar Creek Road:

Mr. Amos:



We hope this e-mail finds you well. Upon submitting a congressional inquiry to the U.S. Forest Service on your behalf we learned that there is an open Office of Inspector General (OIG) investigation based on a hotline complaint registered with the agency earlier in the year. The investigation includes Sugar Creek Road. On the advice of the Senate Ethics Committee, once a matter reaches this level it is not appropriate for a United States Senator to intervene.



Once the investigation is completed, you may certainly contact us again with any further thoughts or concerns. You may also contact us should you need assistance on another federal matter.



Senator Crapo sends his best regards.



Sincerely,



Sam



Samantha Marshall

Constituent Services Manager

U.S. Senator Mike Crapo

202 Falls Ave., Suite 2

Twin Falls, ID  83301

(208) 734-2515

(208) 733-0414 (fax)

That criminal complaint against the Forest Service can be read here:

http://usfspayettenationalforest.blogspot.com/2017/07/payette-national-forest-under_5.html?m=1