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Bivouac Road Names versus "FSR"
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ArticleId: 2077 Written: 2008.10.21 by: Robin Tivy

There have been several cases in the past few months where I've spent considerable hours unravelling some confusing road name situations.

In general, we document forest service roads using official names (assuming we can figure them out). However there are a few cases where there is too much confusion that it's better to have separate names for Bivouac. One common case is when an upper section of the road has been abandoned, or is significantly different condition from the lower section. Another case is when the names typically used to refer to the road aren't the same as the "official" FSR name. Another case is where for whatever reason, the FSR name doesn't correspond to the river name that someone would see on a map. In general, it should be possible to figure out what is going on from a 1:50K topomap. Another case might be where the original road naming company has long since left town, and their signs have long since disappeared into the jungle, and there ARE convenient publically known river names.

Don't worry, we aren't going to rush out and rename familiar old branch road names for no reason such as the old Ashlu Creek branch names like A1300. Let well enough alone, as long as there is no evidence of confusion. It would only be if there was a major inconsistency, and general confusion, that we might consider it. But in that case, the creek names are also not official, so we would be unlikely to come up with better names anyway.

These things are decided on a "case by case" basis.

I wrote up a proposal for how to handle these situations. (which I will revise and expand based on comments). See FSR Road Names Versus Bivouac Names


#1087 - 2008.10.31 Robin Tivy - In Most Cases Use FSR Name
We would use the FSR names, as long as we know the definition of it. However, consider the case of the Cross River, Mitchell River and BayMag road which I documented in my example. In that case, nobody at Bivouac knows what the signs actually say. Yet we need names for the road segments. Since the condition of the road below the Mitchell-Cross intersection is quite different from the upper road. So in this case, I spent a couple of hours and rationalized the road system to a set of names that we understand, and which we can have our own documentation, and understand. So that everything is consistent.

The example paul uses is for a set of roads that he knows very well, and that's OK. However if he puts himself in my position, and thinks about the Cross river/mitchell river situation, he would quickly find out what its like to deal with a bunch of roads you have never seen in your life. All you have is maps, so what should I do?

Is there some definitive place on the forest service website that defines the names of all their roads, and what that covers?

The problem with simply blindly applying the "trump" rule that Paul talks about is that somebody might go there, see some old Forest service sign or BayMag sign that may or may not still be official, and then make a quick ad-hoc change to the main road name in Bivouac, and thus make the whole naming system inconsistent. And then I go in there 6 months later, and try and straighten out somebody's trip report or whatever, and can't figure it out.

So in a case like this, I think the forest service name (if any) should be in the "alternate" name field. That is not to say that we couldn't at some point revise the whole system of names in that area, but we have to know what we are doing, and it takes a couple of hours.

What I'd like to prevent is somebody making a quick change without an overall plan. Now I think Paul would agree that we don't just want somebody making a quick ad-hoc change.

In summary, if you see a name that is wrong,

#1085 - 2008.10.22 Paul Kubik - Furry Creek FSR example
Looking at it from the "map" point of view is one thing. Being on the road looking at a forest service sign is actually the more germane situation. It is essential to use the official name. I know Robin is confused about Furry Creek roads because he emailed me last week about it. The fact is when you drive the road the sign from the forest service says "Furry Creek FSR" not "Furry North Main" or anything like that. So if you're confronted with a Bivouac printout that conflicts with what you're seeing with your eyes on the actual trip it leads to confusion and distrust of your information source. You can have rules such as what Robin is offering as web site rules because there are many, many situations where there is no sign from any agency on a road; however, I think the official version should always trump the web site rules. Sorry, I don't think the idea of having "consistency" warrants changing reality. Pass the fattie, please.