Forestry Roads & COMS

Bill Ruttan

New member
Interesting, and understandable, that the downhill traffic (heavy trucks) on the “Resource Roads” in B.C. have the right-of-way, exactly the opposite of the rules on public roads in the U.S. (at least in California).
 

NOPEC

Member
This video is a good reminder of the reality of the off road pecking order on the FSRoads in British Columbia but I am sure it applies directly to similar industrial resource extraction in the mountains anywhere in the world. It doesn't matter how great our off road rig is, these guys are the rulers of the road. The size and weight differences are such that, we should never ever assume we have or take, the right of way. They cannot stop if they meet you in a blind corner while you are "apex trimming" and they will not go off the road for you as their lives are just as much at stake as yours. Also, if they have a wreck, it is their livelihood. When we are travelling on a road which is posted as active haul status, we should consider it a work place in which we are absolutely guests. We are out there just having fun on the road and the truckers are there making a living.
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This video dealt a lot with radios being used to call out your location. This is the best case scenario but the vast majority of recreation users of these roads do not simply have them. If you don't have a radio or a nice lady guide, here are a few suggestions, most folks here will know already. These apply mostly to your going "Up" a logging road and potentially meeting a loaded truck coming "Down". First thing, become hyper sensitive to foreign engine noise, turn off the tunes, open your window, cut the chatter, slow down and really pay attention to what you are doing. Before you go into a dubious (not every) corner, stop well before it, as far to the right as possible and turn off your engine. Listen carefully, you can hear the engine noise and especially the Jbrake from a logging truck a fair distance off. If nothing is heard, go gingerly into the corner, hugging the right hand side of the corner. On a straighter section, if you see a truck coming towards you , quickly seek out one of the usually numerous pullouts and use it and stop. If you get caught between pullouts and cannot get to one, Pull over as far as you can, Put your blinker on and Stop and let the truck navigate around you. The drivers much prefer you as a "stationary object" to be driven around as opposed to "oncoming traffic", competing for space on a narrow road. You being stopped is a variable they appreciate not having to deal with. Also, if you are on a long road with multiple trucks coming down, they will warn each other by radio of your presence and location on the road so you have that in your favor as you progress.

Just a few thoughts, all pretty common sense stuff. Thx for posting this BillyBob. The video is worth a watch, as a refresher if nothing else.
 

craig333

Expedition Leader
The terminology is a bit different but I couldn't argue with that video. It does appear they're using vhf radios not CB's.
 

ratkin

Adventurer
Resource road radio communications
 
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rgallant

Adventurer
I listen and the loggers are never an issue, they always call. Dump trucks on the other hand should be flat out banned or require a pilot vehicle they never call, drive in the middle of the road and will run you off the road. It has happened twice so far on straights, luckily both times with room to move off the road and I watched one run a tow truck into a a ditch and did not even stop. It may be an ugly generalization but they suck as drivers in the lower part of BC, drive too fast, try to pass other semi's on hills going barely 1 or 2 kPH faster and change lanes pretty badly.
 

craig333

Expedition Leader
I listen and the loggers are never an issue, they always call. Dump trucks on the other hand should be flat out banned or require a pilot vehicle they never call, drive in the middle of the road and will run you off the road. It has happened twice so far on straights, luckily both times with room to move off the road and I watched one run a tow truck into a a ditch and did not even stop. It may be an ugly generalization but they suck as drivers in the lower part of BC, drive too fast, try to pass other semi's on hills going barely 1 or 2 kPH faster and change lanes pretty badly.
Paid by the load?
 

rgallant

Adventurer
@craig333 As far as I know yes paid by the load, could be wrong but hat was my understanding. And I get your point on that they rush from job to job - still they hit my Discovery or worse a jeep/quad we are not likely to walk away.
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
This video is a good reminder of the reality of the off road pecking order on the FSRoads in British Columbia but I am sure it applies directly to similar industrial resource extraction in the mountains anywhere in the world. It doesn't matter how great our off road rig is, these guys are the rulers of the road. The size and weight differences are such that, we should never ever assume we have or take, the right of way. They cannot stop if they meet you in a blind corner while you are "apex trimming" and they will not go off the road for you as their lives are just as much at stake as yours. Also, if they have a wreck, it is their livelihood. When we are travelling on a road which is posted as active haul status, we should consider it a work place in which we are absolutely guests. We are out there just having fun on the road and the truckers are there making a living.
I agree with you in principle about being courteous and respecting the real world physics (you may certainly be in the right but still dead) but would argue that if they're extracting resources from public lands they are using everyone's shared property. No one gets a total blanket pass to operate just because they have a lease or a different use.

The argument would extend to over the road commercial trucks in that case, which it doesn't. Everyone shares responsibility for safety on public conveyance. Also there's commercial recreational outfits with leases. Would they also command a higher authority requiring non-clients to yield a road or trail?

If they cut the road privately (which some are I know) or are using private inholdings and leave them open to the public with the requirement to be careful, then I'd basically be in total agreement with you that the recreational users must handle themselves as guests. If that's the case here then I completely respect your point.

As an example to support your point, though, there are actually cases (in the U.S. anyway) where a public land special event permit holder does get special consideration, for example mountain bike races held on public trails will give a warning that on race day non-racers must be aware. You can still use the trail but the permitted event has right of way. So it's not a one size fits all question.
 
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NOPEC

Member
Dave

I agree with your point around user access as virtually all of our logging roads are on public lands. My point was perhaps a bit over stated but my main interest and message was about the safety of everyone using these roads, especially inexperienced newcomers. As most folks know, these roads are inherently dangerous due to their topography, before adding the human element. It is easier and safer for smaller, lighter and agile vehicles to be on their best behavior when faced with meeting 40 tons oncoming, downhill ("real world physics"). If the drivers of smaller vehicles are attuned to their surroundings, the reality of the traffic, the road, and the consequences of an incident, It is much easier and safer for the everyone when meeting oncoming vehicles.

Interesting also is the public's usage of these roads. Part of our Forest Service's mandate is outdoor recreation. They are responsible for creating and maintaining facilities like vehicle accessed recreation campsites. So, not only is our FS charged with many aspects around the actual forestry roads, not the least of which is safety, they are also responsible in part for encouraging the recreational and vehicle use of these same roads. They have a compliance enforcement section that deals with issues specifically around things like licensing of ATVS and snowmobiles, helmets, etc. as well as, the use of camping areas and general issues around usage of the roads themselves. It might seem a bit like a contradiction but it all seems to work out. By the way, I am generally pretty impressed with most of the recreational users that we come across in our area.
 

rgallant

Adventurer
In BC at least it is a bit of a mess, technically non deactivated FSR's are part of the provincial highway & road system. The problem is they are largely unpoliced and unmaintained, although the resource companies do maintain them when they are actively doing resource extraction, also the resource companies a largely create the roads.

Add to that some of the land is privately held but right away to public space must be provided, if there is no alternate.

Figuring out if you can use a road, and what frequencies are in use can be a little nuts. Then of course the commercial frequencies require a second radio and license ( it should be easy but the license page is just beyond stupid), which makes calling your markers difficult.
 
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