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trailangelmary
08-06-2006, 12:09
Because of interaction with the ATC this summer about their actions to stop trail magic, I am interested in learning about the AT Heirarchy. I am considering a plan and would like to first learn about how the ATC, the National Park Service, the AT Rangers and the local trail clubs fit together. I would like to learn who decides the policies concerning trail magic and how each of the above fit into that policy.
:-?

DawnTreader
08-06-2006, 12:19
Trail magic will never be stopped.. as long as someone picks up a hitchin' hiker, helps them find magic sacks, or talks kindly towards them.... There will never be regulation on human interaction on the trail.. All of which can be trail magic... take it or leave it.. its up to you, not the atc...

Frolicking Dinosaurs
08-06-2006, 12:32
:eek:There are policies concerning trail magic. I wasn't aware of this. Do I have to get approval from someone or some organization to pull up to a road crossing and give out cold soda, water and treats? Somehow that just seems wrong.

TrailAngelMary, when you find out who does what and who's in charge; please let the rest of us know.

I've noticed several mentions of the ATC being out of step with the wishes of hikers and it has lead to me putting my contributions to conservation and hiking trail maintenance elsewhere.

Phreak
08-06-2006, 12:52
I ran into a GA Ridgerunner back in the May and the conversation eventually turned to trail magic and here was his response. Now this is only what he said, this is not my opinion or is it written in stone. Trail magic is permitted but discouraged on the trail. He said the only time he's had to get involved with stopping trail magic is if the person will be in the same spot for several weeks. I don't know if this was a number he pulled out of his arse or if it's a policy of some sort. If you move up or down the trail a short distance every few days, then he said there was not much or anything they could do to stop it.

I would like to know the official policy on this tho. I'd like to do some trail magic in the spring on the GA section.

Thanks.

StarLyte
08-06-2006, 12:58
I suggest if you have any questions that you should contact Laurie Potteiger at the ATC. I went into the ATC office to ask her where she thought Trail magic would be beneficial during Memorial Day weekend. She offered some really good advice on this; some things I had not even thought of. She was very kind and thoughtful.

It's great receiving services of a trail angel, but I feel it is getting out of hand and becoming a total turn off. NOT everyone falls into that category of course ;) For this reason, I went to her office to ask her for some suggestions on Trail magic. I was in the mood to offer something...food, beverage, shuttle. I was making my rounds, drove down from Cleveland to PA then south into Harpers Ferry, then Blackburn--great Memorial Day weekend.

Trail magic should only be performed off and outside of the trail area so that the backpacker's wilderness experience is not affected. THINK about it.

But then Trail magic DOES come in many forms. Maybe one should not use this term, but to maybe list their services in the companion or at local merchants off the Trail, and advertise: free meals, or free snacks, or shuttle. Now that is trail magic.

Please contact her should you have questions or concerns about that. I'm so glad that I spoke to her about it, and I thought I knew it all.

304-535-6331 x 128
LPotteiger@AppalachianTrail.org

trailangelmary
08-06-2006, 13:21
Do I have to get approval from someone or some organization to pull up to a road crossing and give out cold soda, water and treats?

What I am referring to is putting a cooler out that is not attended. I have not told the whole story here on whiteblaze as I am not sure if I want to make it public yet. And I do not want to make the "officials" angry.
Lots of '06 hikers know the story and I am told their are entries in trail journals north of here.
I understand that there are White Blaze members who do not like to see coolers on the trail as they think it ruins their wilderness experience. I understand their view. However I would like to continue doing trail magic my way. My coolers have always been identified with my name, phone number, email, and prayer for hikers. It provides a contact not only for the hikers coming into Duncannon but also in turn from the hikers through me to the ATC rangers.
So, here goes, this is the story. I will tell you the story as briefly as I can. I do warn you that it is a lengthy story.

As I began this season of trail magic, I put out my beverage cooler about 100 feet into the trail on a flat where the hikers enter Duncannon. I have done this for 5 years. There has never been a problem with that spot. And the hikers tell me it is a perfect spot. No locals or anyone else has bothered that cooler.
Other years I have put snack coolers and water coolers out at different spots in the area. Some of them have been taken and some have not been bothered.
Last year my snack cooler and my water coolers, I placed just on the end of a farmer's field a stones throw from the road. That spot is an hour round trip from where I live in Duncannon. One cooler was removed by I don't know who but it appeared to be a local from the look of the tracks. I replaced that cooler and had no problem afterwards.
This year I decided to put my snack cooler further up the trail from my beverage cooler because of gas prices. I also moved it further up the trail each time I filled it with the hope I would make it to the top by the end of the hiker season.
My third tub was at the top of Peter's Mountain about 20 steps from the walking bridge. That tub had jugs of water.

The first tub that I put at the top of Peter's Mountain had disappeared one time when I went to take the empties away and replace with frozen jugs of water. At the time I was going there every three days. My timing was good. The water was not quite gone when I arrived. I did not know at the time that an ATC ridge runner removed it. So, I went and got a new tub and went back up and spiked the tub to a dead tree that had fallen beside the trail.

One afternoon about 3-4 weeks ago while I was out doing magic....i.e. resupplying my stash of cooler and tub supplies and filling and icing coolers and tubs, I got a phone call from the ATC Ranger based in Boiling Springs. We chatted for a bit as we have had contact before. Then he said he has been hearing a lot about me. I responded as usual when he has said that other years to me with "I hope it's all good?" He said no it isn't.
He proceeded to tell me that Trail Magic is against the law and that I need to remove my coolers. He said that he had complaints and that if I continued to place my coolers on the trail I would be risking a fine for littering. He also said that the trail runners are trained to remove any trail magic that is not attended. He said that any scent of food can attract bears and bears will then attack hikers.
At the area where my beverage cooler is, there is a picnic table and a fire ring close by. They were there long before I started trail magic. During the spring there was a tree that had fallen on the path there. I asked a friend of mine to cut the tree in lengths for me so that I could get to the fire ring area. I rolled those pieces over around the fire ring and stood them on end for seats. I did a feed there for hikers on one Sunday as they came down the mountain. I really liked having a feed that way instead of at my home. It was much more personal.
Anyway, during the conversation, he kept mentioning the picnic table. I told him I did not put it there but explained the logs. He said I couldn't do that.
During our conversation, he said that the phone call to me was the hardest thing he has had to do since becoming a park ranger. He suggested I put my coolers on the road coming into town, not on the trail.
My boyfriend cornered him at the Doyle the next day and asked who started this. He said the local trail club. He was in town with another woman from the ATC having a meeting with the Borough President. I found out that day from a friend who was invited to the meeting that Todd and the woman were trying to get the Borough President to police the area and, as he put it, become gestapos like him.
After crying for a day and a half I asked a fellow trail angel to move my water tub from the spot on the trail, remove my identification from it (I identify all my coolers/tubs with my name, email address and phone number and a prayer for the hikers) and move it to the parking lot and put it with the couch that someone had dumped in the parking lot. In two days both were removed.
I also went to the area where my beverage and snack coolers are. I removed the snack cooler and looked at the picnic table area. Some hikers had left a few of the beverage containers in a box I left there under the table. I had left it there for fire starter the next time I fed there to start a fire in case it was still chilly in the morning. I understand that that was wrong of me. I removed the box and the citronella candle I had left on the table. I did not remove my cooler.
In the meantime, some locals who had heard the story started a plan. They got donations of coolers and money and put 10 coolers along side mine that said, "Donated by ...., In support of Trailangelmary" One cooler had a paragraph saying why they were doing it. Basically it said, I was doing a kindness for people, a good thing, I keep my area clean and it should not be stopped. The hikers had a smorgasbord of snack and drinks to choose from.
After I discoveered this I went up there daily or the ring leader did and made sure any empty coolers were removed. On Sunday, the closing day of the Billville feed, my cooler, the two coolers left by locals, the picnic table, my tree seats were all removed from the trail by someone other than me.
On Monday, I put a storage tub down on the road with beverages. On Tuesday, a '06 thru-hiker offered to take my beverages and ice there to fill it as it only had one drink left. When he went back the tub lid was thrown to the side, the one unopened can was placed on the road and ran over by apparently a car.
He filled it. I went there that evening after work and moved the tub with beverages three steps into the trail. I filled it twice since then during the same week. When I went to fill it the following day, it was gone. So I got another tub and made new signs and put it on the road across from the trail.

As I told the ranger my areas are never trashed. I check them every day or at the least every other. He said, not everyone is as diligent as me.
Two hikers told me, that on the same day when they removed my cooler and all the stuff around the fire ring area, they passed styrofoam coolers south of there that were full of trash and looked like they had been there awhile!
I was also told by '06 hikers that the ATC is trying to stop feeds on the trail.
Apparently road crossings are ok as they don't have jurisdiction there.

I have had some suggestions on how to handle this from other Billville members, a good friend, former hikers and present hikers.
I have some ideas of my own, one being start a petition to ask the ATC to reconsider their policy to spend their time teaching the trail community how to do trail magic properly rather than trying to stop it. From my point of view, proper trail magic, if you do not have the time to stay with your cooler is:
to never use stryofoam, always identify whose cooler it is, put phone number so that if your cooler is empty or has become a problem with litter you can be called by the hiker that discovers it, and check your cooler regularly.

I plan on starting the petition though email to all the hikers I have met over the last 6 years. When anyone doesn't know who else to forward it to they would send it back to me for printing. I would then send it to the ATC, The NPS, and to local clubs in this area.

This is dependent right now on the answer to my heirarchy question and will it be worth the effort to "talk" to the "suits" through a petition.

:-?

trailangelmary
08-06-2006, 13:24
In my last entry, I copied and pasted this story from a private email to this post. Note, a correction I forgot to make -

One afternoon about 3-4 weeks ago while I was out doing magic....
should now read, "In July"

fishinfred
08-06-2006, 13:27
Trail Angel Mary,
It is a shame that some people(or person?) out there is messing with your doing Trail Magic .I would be suprised if ATC has anything to do with it .Last year we (Berry Terry Glidden,Gatoraid and myself) did Trail Magic for 32 days (29 for me I was thru hiking and stayed to help) straight up near Albert Mt.NC and when I hiked into the ATC in Harpers Ferry later that summer ,they had heard about it and (at least the folks I was talking to) thought it was AWSOME! We (Gatoraid & I with help from a few others) did it again this year too for 18 days without any problems from any ATC folks.We will probably do it again next year too!
My feelings on this is that is probably 1 person in the local Trail Club there who is just being "RANGER RICK" and trying to be KING OF THE MT. who is messing with your Magic and not the ATC people.
Do you know who it is doing this ?
Have you tried calling Brian King at the ATC ? He would be the one to ask about any Trail Magic policy (if there is any) and to report the problems you are having .
If you find out there is a policy ,please post for us what it is .
Best of luck with this issue you are having !!!!!
Oh Dino .... I have heard alot of negitivity here on the ATC lately, what are the folks at the ATC doing that is so "out of step"???
Perhaps I am missing something??? Without the ATC I think the trail would already be Condos from Ga. to Me. .............. and without the support from the people who care enough to support it .....it probably will .
Just my opinion and I'm no expert or authority .
Hopefully this thread will enlighten us all on these issues .
FF

One Leg
08-06-2006, 13:45
Compassion and kindness toward your fellow human beings isn't something that can be legislated, regulated, or controlled. It's in our human makeup to care about one another.(Well, most of us, that is.)

In '04, there was a group from North Carolina who came to Wayah Bald and have one heck of a cookout for hikers. Did it detract from my "wilderness experience"? Absolutely not! It was more of an oasis in the desert than a detraction.

I think that a few small incidences of trail magic providers failing to clean up after themselves has made it difficult for everyone overall. But to lump all apples into the same basket just because one or two are rotten is just wrong.

As long as there are hikers, there's gonna be trail magic, and that's something that'll never be controlled, thank God.

Crazy Larry #1
08-06-2006, 13:59
Mary, I almost bet your problems are coming from the Boiling Springs office of the ATC. There's been some controversies for years concernng that staff..........

TJ aka Teej
08-06-2006, 14:23
304-535-6331 x 128
LPotteiger@AppalachianTrail.org

Laurie's a super person, we're lucky to have her. She also posts on WB every once in while.

Because of bears an unattended cooler on the trail would be a safety issue up here.

FLHiker
08-06-2006, 14:33
One thought (and I have absolutely no direct knowledge of this) is that the ATC is trying to, or being advised to, limit some legal liability. If someone were to get ill from magic (by an intentional act (poison), or an unintentional act (bad food, unsanitary codnitions), and they have been allowing it to happen - they could find themselves in a bad legal position.

Now - you'll say -but everyone knows me and I'm safe and all that - but Non-profit organizations have a legal problem with regulations. The courts have said that they must not be enforced arbitrarily - that is selectively. They may not want to do this - just have to (either by an attorney or their insurance carrier.) They would at least have to make a 'token' effort to enforce the rule or risk exposing the organization to liability - which could end the organization (insurance could cover some liabilty but at some point they could become uninsurable, and would have to dissolve.)

Just a thought that there may be more to this then what is on the surface.

And no, I'm not a lawyer - but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.:D

rickb
08-06-2006, 14:40
Duplicate Post Deleted, See the next one !

rickb
08-06-2006, 14:42
If you click on this link and open the first PDF (2005 Strategic Plan) you will find a good overview of the relationship between (and responsibilities of) the NPS, ATC and local clubs:

http://www.nps.gov/appa/pphtml/documents.html

Nean
08-06-2006, 14:47
Power and control issues, I've seen it before and it ain't pretty.
Brain King doesn't work for the ATC anymore.
I'd ask the ranger to send you a copy of the laws and policies. If you have an experience like mine (w/ another hiking org.) you won't recieve a copy of the imaginary laws and policies, rather a demand for an apology for attacking them. Ask for an example of your attack or point out there is no truth to their claims and you'll get a "that's just human nature" response. In other words, it's just normal for people to lie and slander, and thus requires no apology. To me, cowardice, dishonesty and arrogance ARE part of the human condition, but make a poor excuse in justifing such behavior.

soulrebel
08-06-2006, 16:21
I want to thank you for putting out that water. It really really helped us out this year. You should tell them that the next time they find a cooler, they should "shove it up their azz and pack it out." If it's coming from the boiling springs office, tell them to clean up their office and stop wasting the time of thru-hikers and the people that help them out. If anyone of those wads had ever hiked more than a few days at a time, they would appreciate your efforts. Why not focus on the theft at 501 shelter parking lot and swingin jimmy "notantrailangel?"

Frolicking Dinosaurs
08-06-2006, 19:27
Oh Dino .... I have heard alot of negitivity here on the ATC lately, what are the folks at the ATC doing that is so "out of step"???
Perhaps I am missing something??? Without the ATC I think the trail would already be Condos from Ga. to Me. .............. and without the support from the people who care enough to support it .....it probably will .While the ATC does an excellent job with fund management and costs control (http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm/bay/search.summary/orgid/8239.htm), it keeps getting involved in things like trail magic that is provided by someone like TrailAngleMary - the sort that does not cause any problems for hikers and does not harm the trail or the environment. Several staff members were recently in Lebanon on a trip funded by USAID, but I'm betting they were on the ATC's payroll at the time. (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showpost.php?p=221508&postcount=4) And then there was the problem with an ATC official critizing the Billville hiker feeds (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?p=220838). The AMC, an organization that regularly draws criticism from hikers for its questionable management of the shelter system, apparently has a longterm lease on a portion of the AT and the ATC cannot get rid of them as a result - sad as that organization probably draws 90% of the complaints about the ATC. Finally, it appears there is (and has been for some time) an on-going problem in the Boiling Spring's office that is not being addressed.

W need an organization like the ATC in place for sure to prevent development along the trail, but there is room for discussion on whether that organization should be able to decide matters like what sorts of tent sites, shelters, huts, motels, or resorts will be provided along the trail and who can and cannot provide trail magic.

Almost There
08-06-2006, 19:55
Damn The Man!!!:datz

Lugnut
08-06-2006, 19:59
It's my understanding that the ATC has no police authority over anyplace on the trail. That authority would rest with the federal agencies, ie, National Park Service, National Forest, etc and state agencies such as state parks. The ATC cannot enact or enforce any law or direct any ranger to do their bidding. There are laws pertaining to the trail such as restricted camping, no fires allowed in some areas, no dogs and so forth but these are not ATC rules. Maybe someone on the ATC staff just got the big head.

MOWGLI
08-06-2006, 20:09
There are (at least) two sides to every story. Wise folks would avoid passing judgement until they learn what the ATC or NPS has to say.

Crazy Larry #1
08-06-2006, 20:11
I think we ought to start our own organization for maintaining the trail. First of all, we could just take a small section and begin maintaining it. And we should be privately funded instead of federally funded.

I know this sounds like a bunch of crazy thinking, but I think in time we would have a big voice.

Eventually we'll be able to buy out all the other maintainer clubs and become a force to be reckoned with..........

"I say we make Lone Wolf president, and Baltimore Jack vice president!"

"By golly, we'll kick some butt and do our trail angel work where ever we dern well please. And if ATC gives Trail Angel Mary another hard time, we'll unleash our own little military on them that our "Sergeant AT Arms," Sgt. Rock is in charge of."

They don't know who they're dealing with here.........we are a bunch of mis fits who just know how to organize such a thing.....

Frolicking Dinosaurs
08-06-2006, 20:13
I'll get on board for this, but Jack and I need to maintain different sections - otherwise we'll fight about politics the whole time and nothing will get done :D

Crazy Larry #1
08-06-2006, 20:16
I'll get on board for this, but Jack and I need to maintain different sections - otherwise we'll fight about politics the whole time and nothing will get done :Djust thinking here, right before we get into one of our confrontations with the dreaded ATC, we'll get you and Jack to talking about politics then we'll unleash you two onto them to get the war going.............sound like a plan?

Frolicking Dinosaurs
08-06-2006, 20:23
::: looking up Jack's number to see if he's up for a war :::

FLHiker
08-06-2006, 20:27
I think we ought to start our own organization for maintaining the trail. First of all, we could just take a small section and begin maintaining it. And we should be privately funded instead of federally funded.

I know this sounds like a bunch of crazy thinking, but I think in time we would have a big voice.

Eventually we'll be able to buy out all the other maintainer clubs and become a force to be reckoned with..........

"I say we make Lone Wolf president, and Baltimore Jack vice president!"

"By golly, we'll kick some butt and do our trail angel work where ever we dern well please. And if ATC gives Trail Angel Mary another hard time, we'll unleash our own little military on them that our "Sergeant AT Arms," Sgt. Rock is in charge of."

They don't know who they're dealing with here.........we are a bunch of mis fits who just know how to organize such a thing.....

Your either with us - or against us!!!

(The British will come along with us - they always do.)
:D

blindeye
08-06-2006, 20:28
although i have not done a thru hike yet and maybe i'm out of line BUT if someone is kind enough to take the time and effort to put out " TRAIL MAGIC" for free what the hell difference does it make to the ATC or anyone else? as long as there is no road obstruction NO ONE including the police should have a problem. IMHO

Blue Jay
08-06-2006, 20:40
Mary, I just put out the cooler and do not leave a name or address. Yes, sometimes idiots steal things, but that's the risk you take leaving anything unattended. The ATC cannot make you do or not do anything and they certainly cannot stop or even slow majic. It is kind of sad we live in a society that even wants to do so.

Crazy Larry #1
08-06-2006, 20:45
Your either with us - or against us!!!

(The British will come along with us - they always do.)
:DYou darn tootin! And we ain't taking no prisoners............

rickb
08-06-2006, 20:50
Whether or not one thinks leaving an unattended cooler on the Trail is a good idea, my guess is that those in the ATC who think it has no place care a whole lot about the AT.

Can you imagine the stewards of Yosemite, or Zion or SNP allowing unattended coolers to be left along trails in those Parks?

This is not to say this particular situation is not one where it might be best to look the other way, but that the position is certainly understandable. Whether or not its the best one.

The Old Fhart
08-06-2006, 20:55
Frolicking Dinosaurs-“The AMC, an organization that regularly draws criticism from hikers for its questionable management of the shelter system, apparently has a longterm lease on a portion of the AT and the ATC cannot get rid of them as a result - sad as that organization probably draws 90% of the complaints about the ATC.”
It is sad to see the continual misunderstanding and misinformation about the AMC and its role in the Whites by uninformed hikers. The AMC has been in existence since 1895, has over 90,000 members, built and maintains hundreds of miles in the Whites, plus built, runs, and maintains the hut system. Out of the over 27,000 visitors the huts have each summer there are a relatively small number of thru hikers who stay there.

While the AMC has problems, to talk about the idea of the small ATC getting rid of the AMC is laughable, that is like the tail wagging the dog. The AMC does not have, as you state, “a longterm lease on a portion of the AT”, that is completely false, just a 30 year lease of the land the huts are on (except for possibly one acre at Madison that they actually own), and you are free to just walk past the huts and their leased land without stopping if that bothers you. The AT thru the Presidentials is maintained by the White Mountain Nation Forest, USFS, not the AMC, so you can’t even complain about the AMC not maintaining or blazing the trail thru the Presidentials. Any hiker (who would takes the time) can read the signs in the Whites that tell you: 1)the name of the local trail the AT uses; 2)the maintaining organization.

Although it may come as a shock to some, thru hikers do not rule the world and deserve no special treatment at the expense of the huge majority of trail users.

weary
08-06-2006, 21:03
:eek:There are policies concerning trail magic. I wasn't aware of this. Do I have to get approval from someone or some organization to pull up to a road crossing and give out cold soda, water and treats? Somehow that just seems wrong. .....
You don't need permission to pull up at a road crossing and give things to whoever comes along.

MATC a few years ago reminded "angels" who were spending a week at a trail
campsite that they shouldn't leave garbage and uneaten food around and that campsites are for shortterm visits, not week visits.

Some of us do think trail magic is getting out of hand and is changing the nature of the trail experience, but our ability to do something about it rests on our powers of persuasion, not regulation.

Weary

Frolicking Dinosaurs
08-06-2006, 21:07
I stand corrected in re: the long-term lease situation. I had gotten that impression from a link provided in another thread on this subject. I also stand corrected on the relative size of the ATC (http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm/bay/search.summary/orgid/8239.htm) to the AMC (http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm/bay/search.summary/orgid/3304.htm).

Given the situation you describe, it would seem that the ATC could indeed jettison the affiliation with the AMC to become a better organization. The huts are exactly the sort of thing many of us would like to see the ATC preventing. As you note, hikers are not entitled to special treatment, but they have the same rights as other citizens to join organizations that promote what they want and not to give financial contributions or 'sweat equity' to organizations that don't.

The Old Fhart
08-06-2006, 21:30
Frolicking Dinosaurs-"Given the situation you describe, it would seem that the ATC could indeed jettison the affiliation with the AMC to become a better organization. The huts are exactly the sort of thing many of us would like to see the ATC preventing."The ATC could indeed sever its affiliation with the AMC, PATC, or any other maintaining organization but the question is-what would be the benefits? There would be absolutely none and a rift with any of the maintaining clubs would only make matters much worse.

As to "the huts are exactly the sort of thing many of us would like to see the ATC preventing," I don't think there is any argument that most do not want to see any huts like the AMC has on any other sections of the trail. But we live in the real world and there is nothing you can do about the existing AMC huts except complain about them like you do about the weather, with the same outcome.:sun

weary
08-06-2006, 21:35
.....Eventually we'll be able to buy out all the other maintainer clubs and become a force to be reckoned with......
Sorry. I don't care how much money you raise, I doubt if MATC will ever be for sale. Maybe not even AMC.

FWIW the maintaining clubs are all nonprofits. Even if they "sold." they would have to give all the money to another nonprofit.

BTW all the clubs can use money and additional maintainers -- Maine especially. We are facing a $75,000 deficit in our efforts to keep an industrial power complex off land a mile from the trail.

www.matc.org

If you donate enough and recruit enough new members, you can take over without paying a penny. Just make a motion and vote yourself into control. Just make sure you are up to the task. It's a lot of work, and possibly even more important work than offering charity to folks lucky enough to be able to take a six month vacation.

Weary

fiddlehead
08-06-2006, 21:56
Here's how i see the "trail angel" thing possibly becoming a problem:
On the dry portions of the PCT, some trail angels have been putting out water bottles for the hikers. They've been doing this for years now and quite substantially sometimes. So, what about the guy who gets there, counting on that water, and the hiker before him took the last one? Where is the nearest water? Possibly the guidebook doesn't have any on the map anywhere nearby because the water's been put out there by someobody for so long now. In other words: IT Ain't Natural. It cannot be relied upon. Perhaps the "powers that be" are simply trying to save lives?
I imagine i'll get blasted for this post. Whatever........I'm not scared.
I do like trail magic. but i think perhaps regularly scheduled drops are a recipe for problems later.

MOWGLI
08-06-2006, 22:25
I do like trail magic. but i think perhaps regularly scheduled drops are a recipe for problems later.

I tend to agree, and think that personally dispensed "magic" is best. There is some tension between the good folks who want to leave coolers, and the fact that backpacking is supposed to be about self sufficiency.

I'm not taking a shot at Mary or any of her contemporaries. I enjoyed trail magic as much as anyone during my thru-hike. I'm just expressing my opinion.

My hope is that this doesn't turn into an anti-ATC/NPS rant thread. These folks have been charged with looking after the trail for present and future generations. IMO they do a darn good job with the limited resources they have to work with.

StarLyte
08-06-2006, 22:30
Here's how i see the "trail angel" thing possibly becoming a problem:
On the dry portions of the PCT, some trail angels have been putting out water bottles for the hikers. They've been doing this for years now and quite substantially sometimes. So, what about the guy who gets there, counting on that water, and the hiker before him took the last one? Where is the nearest water? Possibly the guidebook doesn't have any on the map anywhere nearby because the water's been put out there by someobody for so long now. In other words: IT Ain't Natural. It cannot be relied upon. Perhaps the "powers that be" are simply trying to save lives?
I imagine i'll get blasted for this post. Whatever........I'm not scared.
I do like trail magic. but i think perhaps regularly scheduled drops are a recipe for problems later.

Took the words out of my mouth. I've been reading the same Fiddlehead.

saimyoji
08-06-2006, 22:57
....IT Ain't Natural. It cannot be relied upon. Perhaps the "powers that be" are simply trying to save lives?


Yes, very good point.

trailangelmary
08-06-2006, 23:36
I found this very inspiring!http://www.rutlandherald.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060806/NEWS/608060320/1031/FEATURES02

trailangelmary
08-07-2006, 00:16
I also do not want to make any enemies with this thread. I am looking to learn. I like to learn something new every day and I think I may learn enough this week to make up for the days in the last 2 weeks and the future two weeks that I did not learn something new!

I hope what comes of this thread will be a better trail community....where we all figure out a solution that fits all concerned. That doesn't happen much in the real world that I have seen but I think all the organizations involved in the Appalachian Trail can make it happen in the trail commmunity.

I have a faith in this community that is undescribable to the "normal" person. (Except for a few "townies" that love to give, too)
All of the people I have met over the last 6 years have shown me that. And I like to be a part of that community. I don't want to make enemies. I just want to be a part of making it work.

I understand that there is "politics" involved here. However, I am not so good at that conversation. I want to ignore the politics and go to the bottom line. To me, that is people with a goal that, while they are trying to accomplish that goal, are basically carless, homeless, and jobless. I want to make them feel like they are at home when they arrive in Duncannon, Pa. :sun
One example of what trail magic means to a thru-hiker:
http://www.charlotte.com/mld/observer/news/opinion/15185729.htm?template=contentModules/printstory.jsp
How do I adopt a piece of the trail? I can find trail friends to help me maintain one mile, I think!
http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_action=doc&p_docid=11352D98C0EFF1C8&p_docnum=1

A-Train
08-07-2006, 01:07
It'd be much more beneficial to the life of the AT and the thru-hiker lifestyle if we all re-focused our energy and spent more of our time, money and effort doing trail maintainence, rather than leaving provisions for mostly middle-class citizens who voluntairly taken on an adventure. This is not a judgement against anyone. I just think the trail would be a better place if we all did this.

BooBoo
08-07-2006, 01:44
If you put contact info on a Trail Magic cooler may I suggest putting the name and number of your lawyer on the cooler as well.

jimmy b
08-07-2006, 02:03
I heard that a thru hiker burns more calories than he can carry, I don't know if this is a fact. But if so than a little trail magic food really hits the spot.

Jaybird
08-07-2006, 07:35
Because of interaction with the ATC this summer about their actions to stop trail magic, I am interested in learning about the AT Heirarchy. ...................etc,etc,etc,............:-?



like others have said..."TRAIL MAGIC" will ALWAYS be around...in one way or the other.

whether it be Little Debbie Cakes & Sodas or rides into town, etc....it'll always be around...no matter what the ATC commands.

MOWGLI
08-07-2006, 07:50
How do I adopt a piece of the trail? I can find trail friends to help me maintain one mile, I think!

Mary, the local trail club usually requires that you become a member first. There are safety & liability issues, and training. That might help bridge the gap that you sense exists between you ATC and the local club.

Good luck!

Frolicking Dinosaurs
08-07-2006, 07:51
It'd be much more beneficial to the life of the AT and the thru-hiker lifestyle if we all re-focused our energy and spent more of our time, money and effort doing trail maintainence, rather than leaving provisions for mostly middle-class citizens who voluntairly taken on an adventure. This is not a judgement against anyone. I just think the trail would be a better place if we all did this.As you note, there is a real need for volunteers to do trail building and maintenance. Your suggestion that energies be focused exclusively on this, however, fails to take into account two factors:
1. Most volunteers are hikers who have had positive experiences and maintain the trail because of this. Trail angels are as much a part of the AT experience as trail towns and shelters. Read some trail journals for evidence that trail angels' offerings do indeed enhance the experience.
2. Not all of us can particpate in trail building and maintenance. I have some ortho issues that would seriously hamper me should I attempt some my previous trail maintenance activities. My support has been limited to providing rides, cold drinks and food to volunteers and money for equipment and supplies.

weary
08-07-2006, 08:37
....How do I adopt a piece of the trail? I can find trail friends to help me maintain one mile, I think!
http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_action=doc&p_docid=11352D98C0EFF1C8&p_docnum=1
Call ATC and find out which of the 33 maintaining clubs are responsible for the trail in your region. Then join and participate in their activities. Go on an occasional work trip or offer to help another maintainer on their section.

When you feel comfortable that you know how to maintain the trail in accordance with the ATC and club guidelines, apply for a section of your own.

Weary

Alligator
08-07-2006, 09:19
... Several staff members were recently in Lebanon on a trip funded by USAID, but I'm betting they were on the ATC's payroll at the time. (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showpost.php?p=221508&postcount=4) ...You should read the whole thread.

http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?p=221508#post221508

Two of the three people are volunteers. Now, I asked Jack to ease up on you but you're going to have to work a little harder on getting your facts straight or you will end up being his dead horse.

Laurie
08-07-2006, 09:24
I'd like to provide some clarifications:

1) ATC currently does not have formal policy on trail magic, and never has. The primitive ethics sub-committee of the Stewardship Council (led by Hawk Metheny, a former thru-hiker) is currently looking into this issue. It may take a while, but the hope is that they will be able to develop some constructive, friendly guidelines for trail angels. ATC cannot legislate trail magic.

2) No one I know of in ATC (staff, board, or other voluteer) is wholly opposed to trail magic in principle. Many of us have both given and received trail magic in some form, and regard "trail magic" as a wonderful thing when done in ways that is not harmful to plants, animals, soils, the physical trail, or the trail experience of others. There is probably a general consensus that spontaneous, small acts of trail magic are usually best, for a number of reasons.

3) ATC tends to look at trail magic through a number of lenses:

(a) Leave No Trace/environmental issues - Is trash being left behind? Is food being left behind that may lead to habituation of animals? Is an event in the backcountry creating a large enough gathering on a non-durable surface that plants are being trampled and soil is being compacted? How are the wide range of visitors who use the A.T. being affected?

(b) Primitive ethics. ATC and many other partners have worked very hard for decades to create a corridor of wild and scenic lands where people can hike, enjoy unspoiled nature, and enjoy some measure of solitude, peace and quiet. Yes, the Trail is for thru-hikers--ATC, more than any other organization has focused on creating a *connected* trail. Without the leadership of ATC, the A.T. would be unconneted segments here and there, or connected only by roads and highways. But, the A.T. is also for day-hikers: the locals as well as those who drive a few hours from the city to escape their urban worlds. Certain types of trail magic that may enhance one thru-hiker's experience may detract from another day-hiker's enjoyment of the trail.

(c) Volunteer morale. When a volunteer repeatedly has to clean up trash (soda cans, coolers, etc). left on his or her section, it can be very discouraging. Even worse, there have been areas where rehabilitation work was needed around shelters or campsites in the wake of a big feed.

(d) Local regulations. Most local regulations prohibit leaving any property unattended. Only the National Park Service, Forest Service, and other land-managing or law-enforcement agencies can enforce these regulations, not ATC. Ridgerunners, who may be employed by ATC, the local club, the local land manager, or some combination thereof, do not have direct law enforcement authority, but work in partnership with local law enforcement. Some land-managing agencies have regulations pertaining to food preparation. There are two NPS law enforcement rangers for the A.T.: one who works out of the ATC Boiling Springs office, and one who works in the Appalachian Trail Park Office in Harpers Ferry. ATC has to respect the laws of our land-managing partners. They provide a whole host of protections for the A.T. corridor. It's because of those laws and regulations that development isn't allowed on the A.T., that ATV and horses can't use the A.T., and that there are restrictions on logging, etc.


This is an off-the-cuff response and doesn't reflect all the issues that ATC is considering. I'll be continuing to read messages posted on WhiteBlaze.net; comments in 2,000-miler reports, in registers, and in letters to the editor; and will continue talking to members across the spectrum A.T. community as ATC discusses trail magic and decides what guidelines (not regulations) would be most helpful to the A.T. community, in light of our mission "the preservation and maangement of natural, scenic, historic, and cultural resources in the A.T. in order to provide primitive outdoor-recreation and educational opportunities for Trail visitors."

I hope this helps for now.

Laurie Potteiger
ATC Information Services Manager

Nean
08-07-2006, 09:26
I really don't like to stereotype us hikers. I believe there is room and a place for maintainers and angels. (I've even heard of of those who do both :eek: ;) ) Some are better suited to do one or the other. Of course there would be a lot less to maintain if more hikers who use the trail and are therefore standing on it-- do something! Imagine packing out a piece of trash :eek: kicking a rock, moving a limb, clearing a waterbar!?:eek:

weary
08-07-2006, 09:35
.....Not all of us can particpate in trail building and maintenance. I have some ortho issues that would seriously hamper me should I attempt some my previous trail maintenance activities. My support has been limited to providing rides, cold drinks and food to volunteers and money for equipment and supplies.
Some of the hardest working volunteers for the Maine Appalachian Trail Club, which maintains 273 miles of the trail in Maine, are those that raise the money to fill the gap between the $9,000 raised by dues and the $150,000 we spend annually.

These are the people that write and send the fund raising letters, make the phone calls, and paste on the labels.

Our chore is made more difficult this year by the extra $150,000 in expenses to fight the massive wind power development on the first ridgeline to the west of the trail in the Saddleback-Crocker Mountain section.

My personal priority is to contribute to these needs, rather than to provide goodies to thru hikers. I consider this "trail magic" for future hikers. Certainly protecting the trail from incursions will ensure that future generations can share in a wild trail, rather than a developed trail. Those who wish to help should open:

www.matc.org

Weary

Crazy Larry #1
08-07-2006, 10:09
Whether or not one thinks leaving an unattended cooler on the Trail is a good idea, my guess is that those in the ATC who think it has no place care a whole lot about the AT.

Can you imagine the stewards of Yosemite, or Zion or SNP allowing unattended coolers to be left along trails in those Parks?

This is not to say this particular situation is not one where it might be best to look the other way, but that the position is certainly understandable. Whether or not its the best one.That's a pretty good point Rick....

Crazy Larry #1
08-07-2006, 10:13
Sorry. I don't care how much money you raise, I doubt if MATC will ever be for sale. Maybe not even AMC.

FWIW the maintaining clubs are all nonprofits. Even if they "sold." they would have to give all the money to another nonprofit.

BTW all the clubs can use money and additional maintainers -- Maine especially. We are facing a $75,000 deficit in our efforts to keep an industrial power complex off land a mile from the trail.

www.matc.org (http://www.matc.org)

If you donate enough and recruit enough new members, you can take over without paying a penny. Just make a motion and vote yourself into control. Just make sure you are up to the task. It's a lot of work, and possibly even more important work than offering charity to folks lucky enough to be able to take a six month vacation.

Wearyokay.....................

Crazy Larry #1
08-07-2006, 10:22
It'd be much more beneficial to the life of the AT and the thru-hiker lifestyle if we all re-focused our energy and spent more of our time, money and effort doing trail maintainence, rather than leaving provisions for mostly middle-class citizens who voluntairly taken on an adventure. This is not a judgement against anyone. I just think the trail would be a better place if we all did this.oh yeah? well then, us lower class citizens don't have a chance in your books do we.....?

Frolicking Dinosaurs
08-07-2006, 11:00
.... the extra $150,000 in expenses to fight the massive wind power development on the first ridgeline to the west of the trail in the Saddleback-Crocker Mountain section.

My personal priority is to contribute to these needs, rather than to provide goodies to thru hikers. I consider this "trail magic" for future hikers. Certainly protecting the trail from incursions will ensure that future generations can share in a wild trail, rather than a developed trail. Those who wish to help should open: www.matc.org (http://www.matc.org)Excellent point.

mingo
08-07-2006, 11:34
There are (at least) two sides to every story. Wise folks would avoid passing judgement until they learn what the ATC or NPS has to say.

you always blindly defend THE MAN. you are like a stupid sheep bahbahbahbahbahbahbahbahbahbah!

QHShowoman
08-07-2006, 12:09
Mingo: Simply asking folks to consider both sides of a story before passing judgement doesn't constitute a defense of anything. In fact, it's a wise suggestion, as information often gets misinterpreted and rumor often gets purported as fact on large message boards such as this one.

The Old Fhart
08-07-2006, 13:41
Mingo (to MOWGLI16)-"you always blindly defend THE MAN. you are like a stupid sheep bahbahbahbahbahbahbahbahbahbah!I've often disagreed with MOWGLI16 but, to his credit, his post have thought and reason in them, even though I may dissagree completely with what he said. I hardly consider your "bahbahbahbahbahbahbahbahbahbah!" as a very conviencing arguement or an expression of any higher thought process.:D

weary
08-07-2006, 13:48
oh yeah? well then, us lower class citizens don't have a chance in your books do we.....?
Trail magic certainly provides pleasant interludes. We all appreciate the offer of a cold beer or a soda, a candy bar or two, even an occasional meal. But I doubt very much if such things do much to reduce the cost of a thru hike, significantly.

Weary

mingo
08-07-2006, 14:06
there are certainly two sides to this story:

1. a kindly supporter of the trail puts out much-needed jugs of water for thirsty thru-hikers

2. some ridgerunner who ought to find better ways to spend his time tells her to stop it, even though he has no authority to say such a thing to anyone

i imagine those nazi ridgerunners in the smokies got tired of badgering people down there and moved up to penntucky to make enemies. it's just one more example of the ridgerunner program run amok.

Crazy Larry #1
08-07-2006, 14:27
Trail magic certainly provides pleasant interludes. We all appreciate the offer of a cold beer or a soda, a candy bar or two, even an occasional meal. But I doubt very much if such things do much to reduce the cost of a thru hike, significantly.

Wearythat doesn't have anything to do with your statement i was referring to, it's just the way you worded it...................anyway, blah, blah, blah.....................

Crazy Larry #1
08-07-2006, 14:30
there are certainly two sides to this story:

1. a kindly supporter of the trail puts out much-needed jugs of water for thirsty thru-hikers

2. some ridgerunner who ought to find better ways to spend his time tells her to stop it, even though he has no authority to say such a thing to anyone

i imagine those nazi ridgerunners in the smokies got tired of badgering people down there and moved up to penntucky to make enemies. it's just one more example of the ridgerunner program run amok.you better watch out, they're right next door to you now................i can hear them calling you now................"Oh Mingo..........M-I-N-G-O, and Mingo was his name-o..........." they got their water guns with them, cocked and ready for ya buddy

QHShowoman
08-07-2006, 14:39
Mingo: I think if trail magic stopped at the "much needed jugs of water," there'd be no issue.

Don't get me wrong, I think the whole concept of trail magic is awesome. In fact, it's one of my key motivations for wanting to thru-hike (not for the free sodas, but to have some of my faith in people restored). However, I can certainly understand the point of those who feel that trail magic may have gotten "out of control" or that trail magic may disrupt the wilderness experience for some (like, I think I'd be pissed at carefully rationing my food supply and loading up my pack in preparation for the 100-mile wilderness, only to find impromptu BBQs and food caches along the way ... but that's just me).

Not everyone who offers up trail magic, does so responsibly. Now, I am sure TrailAngelMary isn't one of them, but there ARE well-meaning folks who will haul a disposable styrofoam cooler full of trail magic to a spot on the trail and just leave it and not return to remove the cooler, empty cans, etc. I know, because on more than one occasion, I've had to haul out a daypack full of empty soda/beer cans collected from trail magic caches during section hikes. In instances like this, "trail magic" becomes synonymous with "trail litter."

PROFILE
08-07-2006, 14:59
I find it funny that anyone would say that Jeffert (MOWGLI16) blindly supports the man.:D

That being said Laurie makes an excellent point that no one has adresses. Leave No Trace. Leaving stuff by the trail breaks that standard. It does not matter if it will be picked up later or not. I am not against trail magic just be there to give it out.

That being said, you asked about hierarchy. Enforcement belongs to whomevers property you are on. If it is private property then it is the owers decision. The same applies for the parks service, forrest service, and local and state parks. All of these have polices and they should be obey. If you do not like the polices tried to get them changes.

I will adress the Forrest service regs. You are only allowed to stay in any one spot for 14 day. When a road passes through the forrest service, who ever owns the road and its right of way has jursidiction.
In discussions with our local district ranger, I was told that they read the rules to be that any service provided in the forrest service, reguardless of payment or not, required a special use permit. And if no permit then they would start writing tickets. I was also informed this"understanding" of the rules is coming from above them.
If you really want to provide trail magic it might be worth taking the extra step fo getting a special use permit. They are a little bit of a pain but should cover those who are established "magic providers". Also the expense is very little.

A little secrect. If you apply you will beat them at there own game. It is awfully time consuming for the ranger to track and maintain the permits. My guess is they will tell you not to worry about it and leave you alone. I know this has happen in the past (several times)

mingo
08-07-2006, 15:13
you can't spoil somebody's wilderness experience in penntucky. there isn't any wilderness to experience there. it's just a scruffy patch of woods and a bunch of rocks and rattlesnakes.

Jack Tarlin
08-07-2006, 15:25
Been away for a little while......interesting thread.

I just want to thank Mary for initiating this discussion; Mowgli for having the wisdom to suggest we hear from all parties involved and try to keep an open mind about this subject; and also Laurie for having the courtesy to send along such thoughtful comments from the ATC's perspective.

I look forward to seeeing where this dialogue goes.

The Old Fhart
08-07-2006, 15:32
mingo-"i imagine those nazi ridgerunners in the smokies got tired of badgering people down there..........."your post is a perfect example of Godwin's law! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin's_law):D I actually had a nice talk with one of those "nazis" as I was going into the Smokies and remembered meeting him at Tom Leonard shelter when he was doing a SOBO in 1998 and I was NOBO. Of course then he didn't have his uniform with him and wasn't practicing his goose-step.;)

What you find on the trail is what you expect to find. If you expect to have a great trip and meet lots of interesting people, you will. The trail is the mirror of your soul, sorry you only saw a "nazi".

mingo
08-07-2006, 15:38
The trail is the mirror of your soul, sorry you only saw a "nazi".

the trail is the mirror of my soul????

The Old Fhart
08-07-2006, 15:54
Originally Posted by The Old Fhart
The trail is the mirror of your soul, sorry you only saw a "nazi".

the trail is the mirror of my soul????Is there an echo in here or didn't you understand the simple english sentense?:sun

mingo
08-07-2006, 16:01
Is there an echo in here or didn't you understand the simple english sentense?:sun

i dismiss and reject you on the grounds that i generally consider you to be evil.

The Old Fhart
08-07-2006, 16:30
mingo-"i dismiss and reject you on the grounds that i generally consider you to be evil."Your debating skills and grasp of logic are too much for me. Don't forget to faites le signe de croix to protect yourself.:D

mingo
08-07-2006, 17:58
Your debating skills and grasp of logic are too much for me. Don't forget to faites le signe de croix to protect yourself.:D

indeed, old fart, you'd best leave the debating to the more agile of mind among us. didn't know you speak french. embrasser mon âne rouge!

Crazy Larry #1
08-07-2006, 19:11
"M-I-N-G-O AND MINGO WAS HIS NAME-O"..............i can hear them "nazis" singing for ya mingo............"You better watch out, you better not cry, because I'm telling you why, those nazi ridgerunners are coming to your town!".............can you feel it mingo, are you getting the drift...........?

YeeHaw!

Cookerhiker
08-07-2006, 20:10
I really don't like to stereotype us hikers. I believe there is room and a place for maintainers and angels. (I've even heard of of those who do both :eek: ;) ) Some are better suited to do one or the other. Of course there would be a lot less to maintain if more hikers who use the trail and are therefore standing on it-- do something! Imagine packing out a piece of trash :eek: kicking a rock, moving a limb, clearing a waterbar!?:eek:

I've done both but I limit my trail magic to once a year and I'm there for it, i.e. I don't leave coolers or bags of stuff unattended. And I must say that when I'm out weedwacking my section during thru-hiking season, 98% of the thrus I meet proactively express their gratification for my trail maintenance.

The other point is that Trail Magic as others have pointed out will always exist and comes in so many different forms including spontaneous and unintended acts. I've said this in other forums -a thru-hiker finding my pole tip which I lost on the first day of my section hike in Maine last year was the best Trail Magic I received on that 4-week hike.

Disney
08-07-2006, 21:43
In response to the brief mentions of legal liability.

I find it highly unlikely that the ATC or TrailAngelMary would ever be subject to tort action on the basis of trail magic for several reasons.

1. Hiking is an inherently risky activity. When you voluntarily step on to the AT you accept the risks involved. The relevant one here would be bears. If it could be shown that bear activity increased as a result of trail magic (highly unlikely to be proven), it would still be necessary to prove that trail magic constituted a negligent activity. This would also be very difficult to prove considering that the risk of giving water or food is extremely low. The issue here would be did the trail magic contribute to such increased bear activity as to constitute a danger beyond what exists on the trail already.

2. Food poisoning would be impossible to prove. The inherent health risks from not showering and drinking water along the way is much much more likely to produce food poisoning than a trail angel's gifts.

3. Tripping over the coolers or some other form of physical injury falls under the same category of inherent risks. The ATC can't successfully be sued under tort law because of the inherent risks involved in hiking, including triping.

4. Negligent infliction of emotional distress resulting from an impaired "wilderness experience" is ludicrous, wouldn't hold water.

Given the extent of the gift giving, it could be argued that it is a part of the AT (as many here have said, including the ATC). Therefore risks from increased bear activity, tainted food, tripping over the cooler etc... would be taken into account when judging the inherent risks in hiking our beloved trail.

This is all just idle speculation though. Not quite a lawyer yet. I would welcome criticism including pointing out risks that I have missed.

The Old Fhart
08-07-2006, 21:52
Old Fhart-"Your debating skills and grasp of logic are too much for me."
dingo-"indeed, old fart, you'd best leave the debating to the more agile of mind among us."Sorry (and sad) that I also have to explain sarcasm to you as well.:D

Skidsteer
08-07-2006, 22:00
This is all just idle speculation though. Not quite a lawyer yet. I would welcome criticism including pointing out risks that I have missed.

Freeze brain from all that ice water. :D

A-Train
08-07-2006, 23:47
oh yeah? well then, us lower class citizens don't have a chance in your books do we.....?

Please, don't jump to conclusions. Whether you want to believe it or not, the majority of thru-hikers today ARE middle class people who can afford (a) to take a half a yr off without working and (b) several hundreds if not thousands of dollars of high-tech equiptment, as well as lodging in hostels, motels and lodges. You'll often notice, if you've spent any amount of time on the trail, that hikers also like to indulge in food, alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, and other delicacies. I'm not claiming every hiker out there has a disposable income, but the bulk has money to spend.

A-Train
08-07-2006, 23:51
As you note, there is a real need for volunteers to do trail building and maintenance. Your suggestion that energies be focused exclusively on this, however, fails to take into account two factors:
1. Most volunteers are hikers who have had positive experiences and maintain the trail because of this. Trail angels are as much a part of the AT experience as trail towns and shelters. Read some trail journals for evidence that trail angels' offerings do indeed enhance the experience.
2. Not all of us can particpate in trail building and maintenance. I have some ortho issues that would seriously hamper me should I attempt some my previous trail maintenance activities. My support has been limited to providing rides, cold drinks and food to volunteers and money for equipment and supplies.

You need to go back and re-read my post, rather than putting words into my mouth. I never said our energies most be exclusively spent on trail maintainence. I said we need to spend MORE time supporting the trail with work, money and time, rather than spending it on leaving coolers of drinks for folks who voluntarily set out into the backcountry, and supposedly have the knowhow and income to fend for themselves. As I've said all along, I fall into this category too. Weary makes an excellent point. If you are physically unable to do work, there are certainly other ways to participate.

Nean
08-08-2006, 00:49
I believe there is much , much, muchmuchmuch more time, work and money spent on the trail itself than sodas (etc.).:-? What if the hiker who drinks the soda packs out the can.:eek: Try to guess how many styrofoam coolers I've packed out. :confused: I'm lucky that they are ultra light- I know -and the road is usually a stones throw away, .....otherwise I'd have to leave it for a stronger hiker.:o
What burns me w/ the unattended cooler are the hikers who drink 2,3,4 and/or then empty their trash in the cooler, and think, That's what it's there for. I don't see magic (kindness) as the problem, no matter your income.

Shutterbug
08-08-2006, 01:25
Not quite a lawyer yet. I would welcome criticism including pointing out risks that I have missed.

I take it from your comment that you are a law student. I am a lawyer and former insurance executive. My criticism of your reasoning is that you assume that because they would ultimately win a law suit, they have nothing to fear. Who wants to win a law suit after they have spent years and thousands of dollars defending themselves? A good risk management program isn't one that wins the law suits. It is one that prevents harm in the first place.

It is common for people to express their concern for safety issues as "legal issues." Personally I make a distinction. When a concern is directed toward preventing others from being harmed, it is a "safety concern." When a concern is directed toward escaping liability for harm without reducing the risk of harm, that is a "legal concern."

From what I have read, the concerns expressed are directed toward reducing the risk that someone may be harmed -- a safety concern.

When they start asking hikers to sign a "Hold Harmless" against trail magic, then I will accuse them of "legal concerns."

trailangelmary
08-08-2006, 09:02
Not everyone who offers up trail magic, does so responsibly. Now, I am sure TrailAngelMary isn't one of them, but there ARE well-meaning folks who will haul a disposable styrofoam cooler full of trail magic to a spot on the trail and just leave it and not return to remove the cooler, empty cans, etc.

On the same day that my cooler was removed from the trail on July 9, two hikers told me that they passed (in the same day's hike somewhere south of Cove Mountain) 2 stryofoam coolers that looked like they had been there quite a while and were full of trash. I guess because my cooler was identified made it more improtant to remove!!!!:eek:

QHShowoman
08-08-2006, 09:09
On the same day that my cooler was removed from the trail on July 9, two hikers told me that they passed (in the same day's hike somewhere south of Cove Mountain) 2 stryofoam coolers that looked like they had been there quite a while and were full of trash. I guess because my cooler was identified made it more improtant to remove!!!!:eek:

Well, I don't think it was "more important" to remove, but clearly, it was the only cooler that they could effectively trace back to its owner.

frieden
08-08-2006, 09:11
I'll be continuing to read messages posted on WhiteBlaze.net; comments in 2,000-miler reports, in registers, and in letters to the editor; and will continue talking to members across the spectrum A.T. community as ATC discusses trail magic and decides what guidelines (not regulations) would be most helpful to the A.T. community, in light of our mission "the preservation and maangement of natural, scenic, historic, and cultural resources in the A.T. in order to provide primitive outdoor-recreation and educational opportunities for Trail visitors."

Laurie Potteiger
ATC Information Services Manager

Thanks, Laurie. We all love the trail, and want to see both trail magic and hikers preserved (what, BHT to preserve a hiker? :eek: j/k). A few bad apples always put a damper on the good stuff. I like the idea that all coolers need to have identification, non-styrofoam, and locking lid. There were a lot of posts that stated unattended coolers might attract wildlife, but no posts of how wildlife is being affected by TrailAngelMary's coolers. Solar-powered motion-controlled cameras? Hopefully, a workable solution can be found soon. Just ask us; we're really good at opinions here! Hehehe.

trailangelmary
08-08-2006, 09:19
Well, I don't think it was "more important" to remove, but clearly, it was the only cooler that they could effectively trace back to its owner.

Exactly my sarcastic point!:rolleyes:

weary
08-08-2006, 09:31
Carry in. Carry out. Leave no trace -- not even for a few hours. Certainly not overnight. or several days.

A maintainer that leaves stuff found along the trail or in shelters is failing in his responsibilities -- at least that is the rule in Maine, and I expect up and down the trail.

Lone Wolf
08-08-2006, 09:36
Carry in. Carry out. Leave no trace -- not even for a few hours. Certainly not overnight. or several days.

A maintainer that leaves stuff found along the trail or in shelters is failing in his responsibilities -- at least that is the rule in Maine, and I expect up and down the trail.
I agree. No coolers should be left anywhere unattended.

Lone Wolf
08-08-2006, 09:50
And these hiker feeds should never be done right on or within eyesight/hearing of the trail. I used to be involved in a lot of them. No more. They're a friggin circus.

SGT Rock
08-08-2006, 09:58
FWIW anything left unattended on the trail that wasn't put there by God or put in as a part of the trail will usually get picked up because too often those things get left there until I pick them up myself. Too many people leave stuff in the back country that looks like they may be coming back to pick it up later - I have seen some wierd stuff and I am sure some other maintainers have as well.

And also FWIW trash breeds trash, so leaving things like that in the back-country seems to feed people's desire to find an easy spot to dump the stuff they don't want to carry. Add to that, if I already was carrying one cooler someone left and found two more, well I would only have the ability to carry one at a time most likely, so the other two would get left until I had time for another trip and be cussing about it the whole time. And wildlife has a way of scattering these things all over the place and eating the bad with the good. A Ranger down in GA told me about a dead deer they found once, and when they checked it's stomach contents it was full of aluminum foil - guess it ate wrappings with the food it was scrounging.

Something else to consider. A maintainer is usually considered an unpaid worker for the forest or park service. There are rules set by each district they must follow even though they may be a hiker and enjoy trail magic themselves. So they may be required to clean up your stuff and still like trail magic.

My recommendation is do not leave a cooler unattended ever. If you were at my trail head doing trail magic I would probably stop and help, but if you were leaving things on the trail I would probably have to call you.

Dances with Mice
08-08-2006, 10:03
Carry in. Carry out. Leave no trace -- not even for a few hours. Certainly not overnight. or several days.

A maintainer that leaves stuff found along the trail or in shelters is failing in his responsibilities -- at least that is the rule in Maine, and I expect up and down the trail.This is kind of the same discussion that once went on (...and on and on...) about bibles in shelters - the person who leaves an item on the Trail thinks they're doing a Good Deed that no one could complain about. But to the maintainer who hauls it out it's just more trash. The bottom line is that it's the maintainer who gets to decide. All other opinions are ... I don't know - as useful as trying to run away from the cops in a donut truck? (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2003181328_webdoughnut07.html)

frieden
08-08-2006, 10:13
A Ranger down in GA told me about a dead deer they found once, and when they checked it's stomach contents it was full of aluminum foil - guess it ate wrappings with the food it was scrounging.

:( That's not any kind of magic at all.

SGT Rock
08-08-2006, 10:18
True, too many hikers love animals but carelessly do things that would endanger them without thinking about it. They may hate hunting but will do things that end up killing animals just a dead.

weary
08-08-2006, 11:03
Carry in. Carry out. Leave no trace -- not even for a few hours. Certainly not overnight. or several days.

A maintainer that leaves stuff found along the trail or in shelters is failing in his responsibilities -- at least that is the rule in Maine, and I expect up and down the trail.
After having written this, I recalled the time in 1993 heading into Hot Springs, I think, when Tux who was a half hour ahead of me on a very warm day, rushed into town and then back to the trail to leave a cold beer with my name on it.

Now that was really trail magic.

a sometimes inconsistent Weary

mingo
08-08-2006, 15:05
damn. i left a six-pack of bud in the spring at the pinefield hut saturday. i thought i was doing a good deed but now i find out i'm a litterbug

Jack Tarlin
08-08-2006, 15:12
Re. Lone Wolf's comment about trail magic/feeds within eyesight or hearing of the Trail:

In most cases, I'd be inclined to agree with him, especially f were talking about the middle of the woods or on a mountaintop, but there are all sorts of places where this admonition is absurd.

For example, there's a picnic table at Stecoah Gap about fifteen feet from the Trail. One frequntly encounters Trail magic there, cuz guess what? That's what a picnic table is for, no? It's for people to have picnics.

Another example: When going around Hessian Lake in Bear Mountain park, one goes by dozens of picnic tables, barbecue grills, etc. This is a very popular spot for Trail magic and of course, it's within sight/hearing of the Trail. But once again, this is a picnic area. Feeding people here is a perfectly natural thing to do.

There are all sorts of other places very close to the Trail where people offer Trail magic large and small. Frequently, this is in parking lots.

And you know what? Handing out sodas or hot dogs in a parking lot isn't damaging my "Trail experience" or my "wilderness" experience in the slightest. I'm traversing a parking lot for heaven's sake.

And for those truly troubled by Trail angels offering them stuff, there is, of course, a very simple remedy. It's called common courtesy. When offered something you don't desire or need, one simply looks at the person doing the offering, you smile, say "No thanks!," and keep going.

How tough is that?

Alligator
08-08-2006, 15:52
...

How tough is that?
[Is that a hiker feed up there? Gawddamnit!]


[These folks ain't right...Aw man, they're BBQing...]


[Probably those same folks who left the coolers...kinda strange...I can't believe they have ice cream...uummmm ice cream...]


[Must politely say no...ooh the soda are so cold they're perspiring...]


[Must not make eye contact...no, no, no]

NO. Coke instead please, and where can I get a cone thank you!;)

StarLyte
08-08-2006, 16:13
damn. i left a six-pack of bud in the spring at the pinefield hut saturday. i thought i was doing a good deed but now i find out i'm a litterbug


SMART BUTT
:D :D

StarLyte
08-08-2006, 16:20
And these hiker feeds should never be done right on or within eyesight/hearing of the trail. I used to be involved in a lot of them. No more. They're a friggin circus.

Yes they are a circus--last one I went to even had a pig in it. ;)

I agree - hiker feeds should never be within eyesight of the Trail.

I must say, the last hiker feed I attended, Billville Hiker Feed, was VERY organized and everyone had so much fun. I couldn't BELIEVE the devotion involved with it all. The food, the AT Obstacle Course, the entertainment, the volunteers. Wow. I'm still blown away.

Oh yeah, the lobster samich......thanx Walkin' Home.

Cookerhiker
08-08-2006, 16:28
Re. Lone Wolf's comment about trail magic/feeds within eyesight or hearing of the Trail:

In most cases, I'd be inclined to agree with him, especially f were talking about the middle of the woods or on a mountaintop, but there are all sorts of places where this admonition is absurd.

For example, there's a picnic table at Stecoah Gap about fifteen feet from the Trail. One frequntly encounters Trail magic there, cuz guess what? That's what a picnic table is for, no? It's for people to have picnics.

Another example: When going around Hessian Lake in Bear Mountain park, one goes by dozens of picnic tables, barbecue grills, etc. This is a very popular spot for Trail magic and of course, it's within sight/hearing of the Trail. But once again, this is a picnic area. Feeding people here is a perfectly natural thing to do.

There are all sorts of other places very close to the Trail where people offer Trail magic large and small. Frequently, this is in parking lots.

And you know what? Handing out sodas or hot dogs in a parking lot isn't damaging my "Trail experience" or my "wilderness" experience in the slightest. I'm traversing a parking lot for heaven's sake.

And for those truly troubled by Trail angels offering them stuff, there is, of course, a very simple remedy. It's called common courtesy. When offered something you don't desire or need, one simply looks at the person doing the offering, you smile, say "No thanks!," and keep going.

How tough is that?

Another such locale is Gathland State Park in MD where the Trail passes through a field with a picnic pavilion 20 feet off the path. That's where I set up my hiker feed. 17 fed, 1 politely declined. Don't think anyone's trail experience was ruined.

trailangelmary
08-08-2006, 16:48
L. Wolf I agree. No coolers should be left anywhere unattended.

So, Lone Wolf, why did you enjoy a beverage from my cooler at the exact spot I am talking about, i.e. 100 feet from the road on the trail as you entered Duncannon in 2003, and leave me a note saying thanks so much?847

Lone Wolf
08-08-2006, 16:52
Nope wasn't me. Different Lone Wolf. If it was I probably wouldn't have taken anything since I was close to cold beer in town.:)

Lone Wolf
08-08-2006, 16:59
And I'm not saying I've never taken a drink out of an unattended cooler in the past, I won't do it in the future though and won't be involved in trailside mass feedings anymore either.

the goat
08-08-2006, 18:38
So, Lone Wolf, why did you enjoy a beverage from my cooler at the exact spot I am talking about, i.e. 100 feet from the road on the trail as you entered Duncannon in 2003, and leave me a note saying thanks so much?847

"rick the lone wolf" from '03 couldn't possibly be our "l. wolf", if he were, his posts would be much, much longer and make far less sense than they do. anyone who's read rick's register entries knows what i'm talking a/b.:D

trailangelmary
08-08-2006, 18:48
I apologize for my mistake. Sorry Lone Wolf.
:o

Lone Wolf
08-08-2006, 19:00
No biggie Mary. Regardless of coolers, you're a great lady and I'm an opinionated SOB.:)

sourwood
08-08-2006, 19:09
So that party I walked into at Hog Pen Gap this summer was a no no? I had a great hike that day. Great foot soak in a beautiful creek. Interesting historical walk along the trail through an old settlement. Some really nice big old trees along the trail. A beautiful bald where I lay down and soaked in the sun. And then I walked down the mountain and into a field where there was a kick ass trail party going on. Any kind of beer one could want, homemade wine, good music. When offerred a wide variety of meat (which I declined as I am a veggie) a variety of fresh veggies were immediately put on to cook. Good music, great people, good food, great setting. It took me back 30 years or so to my college days. It was that good of a party. It was an unexpected treat. While I see the concerns some people have with some of the trail magic going on, I have got to say, that Hog Pen Gap party was something else. I enjoyed the heck out of it.

Julie

StarLyte
08-08-2006, 19:44
Lone Wolf and Trail Angel Mary-
You're both beautiful people.
I know this.

ed bell
08-08-2006, 21:23
So that party I walked into at Hog Pen Gap this summer was a no no?... It was an unexpected treat. While I see the concerns some people have with some of the trail magic going on, I have got to say, that Hog Pen Gap party was something else. I enjoyed the heck out of it.

Julie
I think "unexpected" is at the root of what "trail magic" is all about. I really can't judge anyone's attempt at providing "trail magic". Once unexpected becomes anticipated, you have a different situation. I can see where the lines become blurred. Nice to know that kindness is the root.:sun

Almost There
08-08-2006, 21:46
I have to admit I remember heading up a mountain towards Wind Rock, which is like a 4 mile uphill hike, anyways, we hit a forest service road on the way up. Just before the road were two big coolers, they looked like they had been there for at least a couple of weeks...and tah dah they were filled with hikers' trash. It was obvious people had been leaving their trash in the coolers, figuring whoever left them would eventually come back and pack it all out. Personally, I don't have a problem with responsible trail magic, but for every responsible angel, there are some who are not.

It's sorta like the responsible dog hiker vs. the irresponsible one.

That being said...being handed a cold soda, beer, fresh fruit after already having been out for 6 hours in 80some degree heat...IS AWESOME!!!:D

Most trail magic I have encountered while hiking has also been handed out near roads.

Except for the whiskey at Old Orchard shelter given by some campers!:banana

That brings up an interesting question...
Is it magic if the item is yogied?:jump

Crazy Larry #1
08-09-2006, 08:57
No biggie Mary. Regardless of coolers, you're a great lady and I'm an opinionated SOB.:)that ain't no lie.............although i doubt highly your a SOB..........

weary
08-09-2006, 09:41
that ain't no lie.............although i doubt highly your a SOB..........
Of course, he is, Wanderer. Tell the guy the truth again, Lone Wolf.

Nightwalker
08-09-2006, 12:13
that ain't no lie.............although i doubt highly your a SOB..........
Well, let's just say we love him like he is and leave it at that.

I'd be afraid to ask how he'd describe me, after the "cuckoo's nest" incident. :-?

ronjaffe
08-18-2006, 13:18
There isn't a hobby or activity that has gone on for a number of years which hasn't been ruined by purists. The ridgerunner I ran across in Georgia scoffed when I said the words "Trail Magic" as if to say that trail magic was evil and against the original idea of the A.T. His only valid point, in my mind, was that many people leave coolers in the wilderness which are 'broken into' by creatures or lay filled with empty jugs and garbage for days or weeks without being attended to. This is both, a valid point, and an argument to dissuade people from just leaving things out in the wild.

On the other hand, the A.T. was not originally designed to be a path that someone would travel in one season, and frankly I loved having a green tunnel broken up by someone offering a ride somewhere or a burger or a cold drink or a candy bar. And those people who want an undisturbed natural trek through the wilderness, how fast did you zoom through Virginia because of how utterly and stupidly boring, similar and 'green-tunneled' it was? I can't imagine anyone who has traversed the A.T. in Virginia who hasn't said at one time or another, "enough already...give me something different to look at."

The ATC, like most organizations, was populated by enthusiasts, much like those who began the personal computer craze in the 70s. Then, after things started to pick up and there were more and more financial considerations and politics involved, then it started to become filled with more politicians, purists and those who lost sight of the day to day things that hikers and computer users experience on a daily basis.

And if you doubt this, then ask yourself why more ATC staff members didn't attend Trail Days this year and why Bob Peoples is the one who signs the 2000 mile certificates and not the President or board members of the ATC.

MuddyShoes
Slow as hell, so my thru-hike is taking 2 years :)

mingo
08-18-2006, 13:51
And if you doubt this, then ask yourself why more ATC staff members didn't attend Trail Days this year and why Bob Peoples is the one who signs the 2000 mile certificates and not the President or board members of the ATC.:)

good post, muddy. why does bob peoples sign the certificates?

Jack Tarlin
08-18-2006, 14:02
The ATC has sent a staff representative (and usually more than one) to Trail Days for many, many years, Muddy, usually Laurie Potteiger, who is a forwer thru-hiker herself.

I can think of no better person to recognize the ATC at Trail Days or anywhere else.

It is also NOT the ATC that is taking the initiative against Trail Magic, Muddy. This is being done by individuals and individual Trail clubs, who've always been given a great deal of autonomy in how things are managed on their own particular parts of the Trail.

Blaming the ATC for this kerfluffle over Trail angels and magic is not really fair.

Gray Blazer
08-18-2006, 14:20
I'm no angel and I don't do Trail 'magic' 'cuz I ain't no fairy. The Rocky Bald Hiker Feed was at least a hundred yards off the AT on a Blue Blaze. The sign for it was made out of dead twigs that were placed in the snow. Noone had to come but all the thru-hikers that did had a good time as did I. (Pics in my gallery). I carried everything up from Tellico Gap and everything was carried out LNT (Thanks, Sopranos). I had THE time of my life and I'm planning the 2nd annual Black Bald Hiker Feed for probably the 1st week of April next year. Hopefully, it won't be so fricken cold as this year and the musicians can jam. Speaking of jam, Lone wolf, I still have a piece of bread to sell you. Fishin' Fred, all the thrubees told me the best thing about the trail was your hiker feed!

trailangelmary
08-18-2006, 14:24
It is also NOT the ATC that is taking the initiative against Trail Magic, Muddy. This is being done by individuals and individual Trail clubs, who've always been given a great deal of autonomy in how things are managed on their own particular parts of the Trail.

Read the whole thread to all who enter here. As Jack states it appears to be the local trail clubs and the NPS who are trying to stop trail magic.:sun

Jack Tarlin
08-18-2006, 14:33
Mistake in my above post: I meant to say that Laurie P. was an excellent person to REPRESENT the ATC, and not RECOGNIZE it.

And once again, to say that the ATC doesn't speak for hikers, or to imply that it doesn't associate with them socially, or somehow "snubs" them, is nonsense.

ATC personnel can be found at all manner of hking events, whether it's large ones, such as Trail Days or the annual ALDHA hiker Gathering; or small ones, such as Trail maintenance projects, off-season hiker get-togethers, and so on. Sometimes these folks attend these events in an official capacity as
ATC representatives; sometimes they attend simply for the fun of it; sometimes they attend for both reasons.

But to imply that the ATC snubs or shuns interaction with "real" hikers is nonsense. The organization is filled top to bottom with "real" hikers, and anyone who thinks otherwise hasn't spent enough time getting to know the organization itself, or the extremely dedicated people who make it up.

WalkinHome
08-19-2006, 22:09
What Jack said

trailangelmary
08-22-2006, 06:16
http://www.njherald.com/357878586834890.php