EDITOR’S DESK: The Forest Service botched it
It is easy to stand on the sideline and be a Monday morning quarterback regarding public actions. The best part is not having to face all the pressures, crazy
requirements and excessive bureaucracy that undoubtedly can help lead to major boondoggles. So I really do try to avoid going that “quarterback” route too often.
However... Sitting on the desk in front of me is the Recommendation Memorandum for Gold Camp Road Appeal, 2006-02-12-0031,0032, 0034 and 0035 by Forest Ranger and Appeal Reviewing Officer Clinton Kyhl of Laramie, Wyoming. This five-page document is a response to appeals from four area individuals opposed to reopening an 8 1/2-mile segment of the historic Gold Camp Road to Cripple Creek. It is a blandly written document; you could probably put a child to sleep by reading it out loud. What makes it a little more striking than, say, "Danny and the Dinosaur" is that this memo marked the quiet death knell of a $290,000 study that was supposed to reach a decisive conclusion on what to do with this remote stretch of mountain highway, yet never did.
In a way, the rationale for Kyhl's recommendation was a fitting conclusion to the effort. It's almost an ultimate irony. In recommending for the appellants, the points he said the Forest Service incorrectly handled - the hours of operation and rules governing bicycles - actually reflected the agency's attempt to find ways to accommodate the non-motorized group.
The fact is, the Forest Service's plan for the road was in sad shape even before this happened. Call it a mercy killing. The plan was such an attempt to compromise between the open/close factions that neither side was very happy with it and it was hard to see how it could ever work effectively.
Recently, someone showed me a pithy quote by Bill Cosby. It goes like this: "I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." Case in point: the U.S. Forest Service, Gold Camp Road, 2006.