Molalla River Watch creates app enabling users to monitor corridor activity
Having more eyes on the prize, that is the Molalla River Corridor, is going to help keep things cleaner and safer moving forward.That's the hope of John Atkins, president of the Molalla River Alliance, as a growing group of volunteers are helping the Bureau of Land Management look after the assets the corridor offers people who love the outdoors. And they are using technology to do it.Atkins said that with the BLM short-handed due to a hiring freeze, the normal monitoring of the corridor's camping and recreation areas isn't available this year. So, with the help of a newly developed mobile phone app, he's hoping he and fellow volunteers can fill in the gap."We just wanted to put some more eyes out there to help the BLM out," Atkins said. The new app, created by First Incident Response of Quebec, Canada, lets observers pinpoint and report on activity such as vandalism, illegal acts or other things that can damage the corridor. Circumstances dictated that something needed to be done, and the new Molalla River Incident Report App could make a big difference."It came about because the BLM district office in Salem is short-handed; all of the federal agencies are short-handed right now. They are really lacking sufficient manpower to patrol their recreation assets, including Molalla River Recreation Corridor," said Atkins. "Because of that lack of supervision, last summer there was no one to host the campsites that have been developed in the corridor, no admission or fee for the campsites, and a lack of patrol supervision in the corridor as well. There has been vandalism, dumping, damage and so forth throughout the corridor, including camping in some of the spaces that were under restoration that were closed off for rehabilitation."This past spring, the BLM announced they would not open the campsites at all this summer. Fortunately, the Molalla River Alliance and Molalla River Watch, two local nonprofits, didn't sit idly by. They offered to patrol the corridor with volunteers – people would simply observe and report, not take enforcement action.