When will Ventana reopen?

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Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2008 4:41 pm

Re: When will Ventana reopen?

Post by darryl »

This isn't the first time I've heard the "tree hazard" excuse for keeping the forest closed. Let me run you through some math on this to show how "remote" being killed by a tree is.

First - some assumptions (all very, very conservative). The combined acreage of the Chalk/Basin and Indian's fires was a little under 260,000 acres (11,325,600,000 sq ft burned). Lets also pretend that the entire forest (all the burned area) was completely full of 30ft x 30ft trees (900 sq ft each). and when they fall, they "kill everything in that 30x30 ft area.

The total number of trees would be 11,325,600,000sq ft /900 sq ft = 12,584,000 trees (again assuming no brush areas, rock areas, and no clearings at all - nothing but trees).

OK, now lets assume that over a 5 year period after a fire, every single one of those would come crashing down.

12,584,000 trees / 5 years = 503,360 per year
503360/365 = 1,379 per day. OK so in this extreme case, 1,379 trees would fall per day. If they destroy/kill everything under them - thats 900 sq ft * 1,379 trees = 503,360 sq feet of danger each day.

Since the whole forest is 11,325,600,000 sq ft the danger area in any given day as a percentage of the total would be: 503,360/11,325,600,000 = 0.004% of the forest.

Thus for 1 person to get killed on any given day (assuming all the people where all distributed equally around the forest), there would have to be 1/0.00004 = 25,000 people in the burned area. On the most crowded day, say opening day of hunting season, there are probably less than 500 people in the burned areas total.

The other argument I've heard for not opening it up is just as bad. That argument is that the "footsteps" of people in the forest will destroy it while it's already "injured". OK. Lets say people have BIG feet - 1ft x 1ft (1 sq ft). Lets also assume that each footstep does "destroy" any new growth (also being very, very conservative). It would take 11,325,600,000 foot steps to "step on" every sq ft of the burned area. Let say a person's stride is 2 ft, so basically every 4 ft traveled, 2 sq ft get "damaged". Lets also say that a hiker hikes 1 miles - that would be damage 5280/4*2 = 52,640 sq ft. This also assumes that everyone stays completely off trails and just tromps around - never stepping in the same place they or someone else did. OK. So for everything to get damaged (stepped on - just one time), the hiker would have to walk 11,325,600,000 / 52640 = 215,151 miles. To walk that far in one year (after which the whole "new growth" argument is over). In reality, the sq ft per step is about half what I used, and one "step" isn't going to damage anything - plus 90% of the "steps" would be on the same trails, which are dirt anyway, which we all don't care if there is a 2 ft wide trail with no plants.

i.e. It's all a bunch of nonsense - there's no valid reason not to open the forest up now that the fire is out. - at least do it first thing in spring after the winter storms knock over all the weakened trees.

Re: When will Ventana reopen?

Post by wes »

No one knows, but it's likely to be next spring at the earliest.

If it's any indication, the area burned in the 2007 Zaca fire reopened April 4 of this year. But that's no guarantee the Ventana Wilderness will reopen by the same date next year. For one thing, there are a lot more trees in the Ventana Wilderness, which could be hazards.

Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2008 7:39 am

When will Ventana reopen?

Post by dgraybill »

Does anyone know when the Ventana Wilderness will reopen to backpacking?
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