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Cabin Tract Self Inspections - Has FS asked anyone else to do this?
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5/18/2019 at 8:43:43 PM GMT
Posts: 11
Cabin Tract Self Inspections - Has FS asked anyone else to do this?

Tract Leaders from 3 tracts in our forest recently met with our permit administrator to go over tract-related business. Due to tightened resources in the local office, she asked if we'd be will to go through training to do the cabin tract inspections and then report back to them. 

Looking for any examples where cabin owner volunteers are doing the tract inspections and self-reporting to the Forest Service.  


Thanks so much,

Desiree La Maggiore

Salt Creek Summer Homesites Association, Shasta-Trinity


7/1/2019 at 9:07:36 PM GMT
Posts: 4
Our Forest Service District -- the Mountaintop District on the San Bernardino NF -- has used volunteer cabin inspectors on several occasions to carry out the required annual cabin inspections when FS staff have been unavailable. The Special Uses staff have identified the cabins to be inspected and divided them into manageable assignments for a single individual or a team of 2-3. FS staff then did a training session to explain the inspection form and the criteria to be used in each category -- for example, what constitutes inadequate fire clearance or when "repainting required" might be justified.
Volunteers for solicited through our Cabin Coalition on the San Bernardino and nearly 24 volunteers were used in the last inspection. The experience was enjoyable and informative, connecting many of the volunteers to cabin tracts they'd never visited before. And, just a note, no one was allowed to inspect their own tract for obvious reasons.
We're presently awaiting communication from our Special Uses staff of the number of volunteers needed to conduct the 2019 inspections and which tracts are to be inspected.

7/9/2019 at 7:49:10 PM GMT
Posts: 99
We are seeing the practice of self-inspections growing across the country as Forest Service staffing continues to diminish. The self-inspection process appears to vary from forest to forest. In the Okanogan-Wenatchee NF, our self-inspection process consists of a questionnaire included with our annual permit fee bill that we are asked to fill out and return to our recreation specialist. The questions generally follow the theme of "have you made any recent changes?" or "are you planning any changes in the near future?".  Presumably, your answer might trigger a response or inspection by the rec specialist.  The questionnaire is sometimes referred as the self incrimination form and are not taken too seriously by the cabin owners.

Last edited Saturday, September 14, 2019
7/11/2019 at 5:06:00 PM GMT
Posts: 24

Apart from Roy's great example and the questionnaire mentioned by Doug, I don't currently know of other tracts or cabin groups that perform self-inspections. But the topic has been raised at NFH. Particularly with regard to historic cabins.

Where the USFS has not been able to complete historic assessments in some forests, local tract associations have banded as a community and hired an approved outside historic consultant. That's a step toward self-management. When Mike Kaczor, former lead in the Heritage Department of the USFS Washington Office, was on our NFH Board, we talked about whether some historic districts might be able to self-manage through the local tract association. While having this authority/responsibility might put pressure on your association and thus suggest a bit more in the way of incorporation and insurance coverage, there are advantages to developing this kind of public-private partnership in the right circumstances.

If and when we speak with further leaders of cabin associations who have been given this opportunity, we'll ask them more about their self-management experiences. Glad to hear it was enjoyable and informative for Roy's tract.  - Sharon Leach, NFH Executive Director

Last edited Thursday, July 11, 2019