During the last week three of the Middle Fork gates and/or locks were vandalized. The Bessemer Gate (DNR) was bent out of shape and hanging open until it was partially repaired and the lock replace.
The Bessemer Gate is mostly back together but these bars were pulled away from the hinge post.
The left-side lock on the Taylor Campground gate was removed and was still missing as of February 21. It may have been cut off twice.
The lock was cut off the left Taylor Campground gate and the signs were tagged. The graffiti was quickly removed by volunteers.
The lock was also cut off the Dingford gate — quite a trick as located in a hard to access spot inside a sturdy metal post. No damage to the Dingford gate itself was observed and the lock has been replaced.
The Dingford Gate lock was removed, but a replacement was in place quickly
In addition the cable car just downstream of the TANW1 river gage was removed by the USGS because nearly every time they came out the lock had been cut and the cable car was stranded in mid-span. This has been going on for several years and the USGS started locking the cable car in 2012. In the future the river gage engineers will us a remote controlled device to calibrate the gage by measuring water flow at various depths and locations across the river. This is what used to be done in a more manual process by lowering a flow meter from the cable car.
The TANW1 cable car has been removed
USGS engineer measuring river flow to calibrate the TANW1 gage
One of many times the TANW1 calibration cable car was stranded mid-span by vandals cutting the lock and setting it loose
Graffiti is not uncommon along the Middle Fork road, but it’s rare that it’s done so elaborately and results in such a cryptic message. Between the USFS and others, defacement of signs, bridges, trees, rocks and other objects doesn’t remain in place for long. That’s a good thing because graffiti contributes to a perception of disorder and permissiveness, and that can be reversed by timely removal.
Around New Years day of 2014 vandals removed the sign board, spray painted the frame in two shades of blue and painted the enigmatic word “Tree” along with an arrow pointing to the right.
Within two weeks of being vandalized, the graffiti has an obscuring layer of paint
This particular sign board has been in place since 2011, featuring several different messages all related to fire prevention.
Before the fall of 2011, this location had a simple “No Target Shooting” sign. The new sign allows for a changing message, in this case “A Beautiful Forest Is A Matchless Sight”
A year after this sign board was erected it got a new message — “Wanted, Your Campfire DEAD-OUT”
The third message on this board appeared in the spring of 2013 — “Protect And Enjoy Your National Forest”
The Middle Fork has it out for cars and I’m not talking about the potholes. This week added another chapter to the history of cars being dumped, stolen, incapacitated, or torched. All the spur roads were closed long ago, so this Mercedes was burnt to a crisp in the middle of the concrete bridge at MP 5. Authorities were quick to get a truck in to haul off the ashes, but it took winter storms to remove all traces of the high temperature incineration.
USFS enforcement on the scene
Later that day, just a shadow
One month later, a Mercedes nugget