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River Runner
02-05-2008, 01:45
'Videophilia' is killing outdoors life, study says

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22998037/

JAK
02-05-2008, 02:00
Yeah I gotta get out more, with my daughter. I love you guys, but I need a little more self control. What I should be doing is working all day, then maybe just log on at the end of the day for a little inspiration before a hike in the woods or something like that. I don't know the answer. There's gotta be a better balance. The internet can definitely help people share ideas to spread the word and find that better balance, but we can't let it take over either. I'll have to think about this some.

I'm thinking I need to give you guys up for Lent. I'm not exactly Catholic, but I think it would be a good thing to do. Maybe I'll bring back some pics. Look forward to reading the Rock's trail journal and catching up on all the politics and thru-planning when I return. Cheers.

Ramble~On
02-05-2008, 02:06
Yeah, I can't imagine why so many people are overweight in this country.
I guess that this means fewer people in the shelters, on the trails, in the parks. I didn't read the whole thing but is this anything like "burger and fries" syndrome, "Playstationious lardassus" , "Game Cube laziassness" or "Backpackingsiteoverbrowsetosis Bellygrowium" :eek:

River Runner
02-05-2008, 03:17
Yeah, I can't imagine why so many people are overweight in this country.
I guess that this means fewer people in the shelters, on the trails, in the parks. I didn't read the whole thing but is this anything like "burger and fries" syndrome, "Playstationious lardassus" , "Game Cube laziassness" or "Backpackingsiteoverbrowsetosis Bellygrowium" :eek:

Sort of, but more along the lines of if people aren't interested in the outdoors they don't value it enough to try to protect it.

Bob S
02-05-2008, 03:18
My son use to love getting out to play & run around. Now he plays video games every day. My X-Wife has bought 2 different game systems and about every game made for the kids to play. So they sit and play for hours & hours. :(

River Runner
02-05-2008, 03:19
Yeah I gotta get out more, with my daughter. I love you guys, but I need a little more self control.

I'm thinking I need to give you guys up for Lent.

I hear 'ya. I think I need to give up WhiteBlaze to get more work done. :eek:

highway
02-05-2008, 10:36
Most significant is the decline of hunters, shooters, fishermen and the corresponding decline of the income derived from the tax imposed upon them for their sport's purchases through the Pittman-Robertson Act of 1937. So, as their numbers decline, so does the moneys the act has generated over the years, moneys which has paid to support so much of the wilderness we all enjoy, yet seldom giving credit to who was actually paying for it. Instead of trying to coax more hikers and backpackers back into the outdoors, a group that gives back so little, we should try and coax the first group back. At least they pay their way.

dessertrat
02-05-2008, 10:37
Most significant is the decline of hunters, shooters, fishermen and the corresponding decline of the income derived from the tax imposed upon them for their sport's purchases through the Pittman-Robertson Act of 1937. So, as their numbers decline, so does the moneys the act has generated over the years, moneys which has paid to support so much of the wilderness we all enjoy, yet seldom giving credit to who was actually paying for it. Instead of trying to coax more hikers and backpackers back into the outdoors, a group that gives back so little, we should try and coax the first group back. At least they pay their way.

Is there a similar tax on backpacks and trekking poles?

woodsy
02-05-2008, 10:46
Most significant is the decline of hunters, shooters, fishermen and the corresponding decline of the income derived from the tax imposed upon them for their sport's purchases through the Pittman-Robertson Act of 1937. So, as their numbers decline, so does the moneys the act has generated over the years, moneys which has paid to support so much of the wilderness we all enjoy, yet seldom giving credit to who was actually paying for it. Instead of trying to coax more hikers and backpackers back into the outdoors, a group that gives back so little, we should try and coax the first group back. At least they pay their way.

Here is an article (http://blog.mlive.com/kalamazoo_gazette_extra/2007/09/hunting_2007_decline_in_hunter.html)to back up highways post.

Flush2wice
02-05-2008, 10:56
Parents don't let their kids wander anymore. When I was 8, I roamed for miles. I would be gone all day. Kids don't even walk to school anymore.

Smile
02-05-2008, 10:57
There is actually a PLUG that exists on all TV's and video game boxes. Pull it :)

WalkinHome
02-05-2008, 10:59
Here in Maine I work with a small organization called Teens to Trails or T3. Part of it's mission is to try to overcome "Nature Deficit Disorder" LOL. We will be having our 2nd Annual Convention here in Maine in April. A great cause. The ultimate goal is to incorporate outdoor activities into the curriculum. A few Maine schools have but they are an extreme minority. FMI go to Teenstotrails.org

wrongway_08
02-05-2008, 11:19
Parents don't let their kids wander anymore. When I was 8, I roamed for miles. I would be gone all day. Kids don't even walk to school anymore.

I remeber jumping off the school bus, grabbing our fishing poles we kept in the play house and then heading to the stream to fish and swim untill dark.

Did this all summer long, in the winter time we would sled down the road (too steep to drive when snow covered - they closed it down).


I also remember my friends and I layn down hay for the new houses being built, we got around 2 or 3 dollars an hour (cash under the table, we were millionaires in our eyes - age 7!!!) - enough to buy some drinks and bait to go fishing through the week.

snowhoe
02-05-2008, 12:29
Kids are the future. Start them now so the will enjoy the outdoors for the rest of their lives.

Ramble~On
02-05-2008, 12:38
Kids are the future. Start them now so the will enjoy the outdoors for the rest of their lives.

Bingo!
When I pick my daughter up from school today we're going to walk around the lake, feed the ducks and will likely climb one of our favorite trees.
:sun

Critterman
02-05-2008, 12:40
[quote=Smile;524274]There is actually a PLUG that exists on all TV's and video game boxes. Pull it :)[/quote

Amen brother

bfitz
02-05-2008, 12:52
Well, the benefit will be less people outside trashing the hiking trails. But it seems to me hiking and stuff is more popular than ever. But man, I guess I am a videophile, cuz tv is maybe my best friend. The one in my house is NEVER turned off. I even sleep with it on. I get lonely without the friendly drone of a news report or incredible hulk episode in the background.

Bob S
02-05-2008, 13:14
I find the TV has little I like any more. But I love radio. The TV requires me to sit in front of it; it gets almost my full attention. Radio allows me to go do other things and still get my dose of news or entertainment. I'm not tied to it like a TV.



Well, the benefit will be less people outside trashing the hiking trails. But it seems to me hiking and stuff is more popular than ever. But man, I guess I am a videophile, cuz tv is maybe my best friend. The one in my house is NEVER turned off. I even sleep with it on. I get lonely without the friendly drone of a news report or incredible hulk episode in the background.


Buy a radio and go hiking and listen to the radio while hiking for your news fix.
No it doesnít have pictures, but most things donít need pictures to have the story told. We have been conditioned to want video. But donít need it to keep informed.

bfitz
02-05-2008, 13:29
I find the TV has little I like any more. But I love radio. The TV requires me to sit in front of it; it gets almost my full attention. Radio allows me to go do other things and still get my dose of news or entertainment. I'm not tied to it like a TV.





Buy a radio and go hiking and listen to the radio while hiking for your news fix.
No it doesnít have pictures, but most things donít need pictures to have the story told. We have been conditioned to want video. But donít need it to keep informed.

Actually, I can't abide listening to that stuff while I'm hiking.. Also, I think headphones kinda make me feel claustrophobic or something. When I'm hiking there's plenty going on that's entertaining, so I don't need anything extra. When I get back from a long hike all that media like stale cd's in my car sound fresh and new again.

take-a-knee
02-05-2008, 14:13
My son use to love getting out to play & run around. Now he plays video games every day. My X-Wife has bought 2 different game systems and about every game made for the kids to play. So they sit and play for hours & hours. :(

I was going to say family breakups were a leading factor, and the resulting decline of positive male role models. I'm sure Oprah and (Hussein) Obama know the answer.

bfitz
02-05-2008, 14:18
Anyone checked out the book "Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder" by Richard Louv?

taildragger
02-05-2008, 14:25
This is why I plan on cutting off the cable when I get kids. I don't want any little tubsters waddling around the house complaining that wii bowling counts as exercise.

I was fortunate enough to start going hunting and fishing with my dad as soon as I could. At 5 I had a .22 and was actually hunting and camping with them, that was great, if it wasn't for that then I'd probably be your average american dumping oil down the storm drain.

Oh, and hug a hunter today, we do a whole lot to try and protect the outdoors (most of us do at least)

bfitz
02-05-2008, 14:39
This is why I plan on cutting off the cable when I get kids. I don't want any little tubsters waddling around the house complaining that wii bowling counts as exercise.

I was fortunate enough to start going hunting and fishing with my dad as soon as I could. At 5 I had a .22 and was actually hunting and camping with them, that was great, if it wasn't for that then I'd probably be your average american dumping oil down the storm drain.

Oh, and hug a hunter today, we do a whole lot to try and protect the outdoors (most of us do at least)See, I will still let my kids watch tv and play video games....I think video games, at least some of them, in some ways are learning tools as well as enhancing problem solving skills. I think kids get fat and hooked on video games and tv because they have so much time without routine work or play or interaction with others, especially parents. That's why it's called the electronic babysitter. If you don't take your kids hiking, they aren't going hiking. Everything is fun to a kid if you sell it right. You know, if you just send them to school they aren't getting anything. Fill your kids lives with everything you can, and do as much with them as possible, they have bopundless energy and appetite for such things. Sports, martial arts, hiking, biking, climbing, music and art classes, whatever you are passionate about, share with them. You know your kids want to come with you no matter where you're going so TAKE THEM.

rafe
02-05-2008, 14:42
This is why I plan on cutting off the cable when I get kids.

Once you've got the kids, the cable's done its job. :D A good anesthetist might make it less painful.

taildragger
02-05-2008, 14:57
See, I will still let my kids watch tv and play video games....I think video games, at least some of them, in some ways are learning tools as well as enhancing problem solving skills. I think kids get fat and hooked on video games and tv because they have so much time without routine work or play or interaction with others, especially parents. That's why it's called the electronic babysitter. If you don't take your kids hiking, they aren't going hiking. Everything is fun to a kid if you sell it right. You know, if you just send them to school they aren't getting anything. Fill your kids lives with everything you can, and do as much with them as possible, they have bopundless energy and appetite for such things. Sports, martial arts, hiking, biking, climbing, music and art classes, whatever you are passionate about, share with them. You know your kids want to come with you no matter where you're going so TAKE THEM.

I do agree that some parts of TV and some computer games are good learning tools. I vaguely remember playing a spelling game on our first computer as a kid, but that was pretty much it (unless you count starcraft and other strategy games as learning). And channels like TLC, OETA (shows nova shows), and discovery will be missed.

But the way that I think about it is like this. My dad barely grew up on TV, he's still active and in decent shape, and has stayed frugal for the most part. He was able to get into med-school after three years of college (never earned a BS).

Then I look at my siblings. My sister did horrible school wise in high school. That was about the time that we got cable. When she moved out and started living on her own, sans TV and other luxuries, she started doing a hell of a lot better. Same thing happened with my brother, and similar results have happened with me (if I live without a TV I do much better in classes, and have done so my whole life).

Grumpy Ol' Pops
02-05-2008, 15:24
Bingo!
When I pick my daughter up from school today we're going to walk around the lake, feed the ducks and will likely climb one of our favorite trees.
:sun

How far is the school from your home? You can benefit both your daughter and yourself by walking to and from school, if the distance isn't too great or the path isn't too bad.
Whenever I pick up my grandchildren from school, I park at my daughter's house, then walk almost a mile to the school by myself. I often wish the distance was a little farther than it is, though.
We all then walk the same distance back to the house, taking as many different ways as we can to wind up in the same location. We always take the time to look at the various trees, flowers and other plants, birds, small animals, and the two brooks we cross over to see if anything interesting is going on.
Since they spend several hours a day on their computers and video game consoles (even though they are 4 and 6 years old, respectively, they each have PC's and Xbox 360's), I started them walking whenever I have the opportunity to spend the time with them. They always seem to enjoy the time, and they have never complained about not having a ride to school!
They also get a bit more tired at the end of their day and are less troublesome going to sleep at night!!!

Mags
02-05-2008, 15:32
Oh, and hug a hunter today, we do a whole lot to try and protect the outdoors (most of us do at least)


Hey..they totally hooked me up when I did the CDT. Food, *COFFEE*,Gatorade and good company.

I don't hunt (and have no desire to), but we all enjoy a friendly hello, a smile and the outdoors.


The more people out there, the more advocates for the wilderness, and the more protection it will receive.

wagona
02-05-2008, 15:45
Pretty soon the only folk in the woods will be the hunters and seriel killers.

GGS2
02-05-2008, 15:56
Oh, and hug a hunter today, we do a whole lot to try and protect the outdoors (most of us do at least)

Do I have to? Don't smell, and have beards, and drink and stuff?

highway
02-05-2008, 17:32
Is there a similar tax on backpacks and trekking poles?

I do not think so. The act was signed in 1937 and backpacking had many years to go before 'coming of age' and Trekking poles likely were not even invented yet. This was an effective 'user' tax, one that backpackers today don't have to pay while they reap the benefits of those sportsmen (hunters, et al.) who have paid and continue to do so. I find it somewhat depressing when I see hunters discussed in a disparaging way because we actually owe them a great deal.

Passionphish
02-05-2008, 18:03
How's this one on for size:

My beautiful wife came from a family with TV in every room of the house. YES this includes the BATHROOMS! The slept, ate, and lived with it on. There was one adult (mom) and four children in that house, including my wife. They never spoke to each other that they weren't shouting (AT each other, not too each other).

I came from a house that couldn't afford cable and therefor had no functioning TV. When I mentioned only having one TV in the house (after we got married). I damn near lost her. But once she came around, and we've been married now almost a decade, she is even talking about cutting cable entirely once I am back after the hike. She thinks it will be good for our child, who has ADHD by the way.

I LOVE my wife! I know, your all jealous! ;)

Rcarver
02-05-2008, 18:17
The less people in the woods means more quiet time for me.

kayak karl
02-05-2008, 18:37
My dad told me how times have changed, i told my son how times have changed. i am sure he will tell his son. will a the time come when they are saying, great grandpop told us there was once a trail that went 2000 mi in the woods?? woods were large groups of trees?? trees were big plants. :D
i never complain to pay to camp, park, boat ramp fee and i buy a fishing licence every year and i dont fish (but the little ones do and i bait the hooks) i know they use the money for upkeep. NJ has some of the nicest state parks ive seen. and they work hard to keep them that way, even with cut backs.:(

gsingjane
02-06-2008, 08:32
I was somewhat bemused by the front-page article in the NY Times yesterday... the news that, with current economic conditons what they are, many Americans are starting to experience the joys of frugality. Here's the link: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/05/business/05spend.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=americans+live+within+means&st=nyt&oref=slogin

Passing the fact that it's somewhat funny to have it be news that people are starting to shift away from suicidally irresponsible spending, I wondered what impact this trend, if it is one, might have on sports such as hiking or backpacking. Certainly, day-hiking is a much lower cost activity than many others, even less than many or most sports. And although backpacking can require a bit of an upfront investment, the cost of one ski weekend would probably outfit a backpacker for 10 years. It will be more expensive to travel to trailheads, but, again, it can't really be a whole more than your average trip to the mall.

I think it would be terrific if, as part of a simpler and less greedy and consumptive lifestyle, more people turned to enjoying nature and the outdoors. Yes, there would be more folks on the trail and less solitude for hikers, but the upside, in terms of increased support for conservation, would be more than worth it IMO.

Jane in CT

Cookerhiker
02-06-2008, 08:50
I heard this report (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=18698731) on NPR this morning. Visitation in all outdoor public facilities - federal as well as state - is down. I don't think this bodes well for conservation or environmental awareness in the future.

Way back when I was in 6th grade in NJ, we had a week of outdoor classroom at a camp during the school year. My daughters also experienced a week of outdoor education as part of the Montgomery County MD schools in the early 90s. But does this still occur? How many school districts include outdoor education? Or is it a casuality of budget wars?

generoll
02-06-2008, 08:58
Perhaps we should be encouraging Scouts to get on the AT more often.

minnesotasmith
02-06-2008, 08:59
That have been mentioned previously in this thread:

-Video games

-TV, especially cable

-Broken homes resulting in little opportunity for fathers to take their children on outdoor outings

-General increase in indolence

=============================
I will add these possibilities:

-The huge Baby Boomer generation getting older, which commonly correlates with less outdoor sport activity

-Poorer average nutrition

-Increased obesity

-Less book reading that inspires taking up outdoors interests

-And, most controversial, fewer Caucasians being born, both absolutely and proportionately, important since all other ethnic groups in America consistently demonstrate substantially lower overall interest in outdoor sports not playable on an urban/suburban environment (e.g., LD hiking)

Anyone doubting this last, compare the ethnic makeup of the hikers you see on the Trail (ideally over a day's hike from a road crossing) with what you see in any city, shopping mall, or on TV...

Cookerhiker
02-06-2008, 09:21
That have been mentioned previously in this thread:

-Video games

-TV, especially cable

-Broken homes resulting in little opportunity for fathers to take their children on outdoor outings

-General increase in indolence

=============================
I will add these possibilities:

-The huge Baby Boomer generation getting older, which commonly correlates with less outdoor sport activity

-Poorer average nutrition

-Increased obesity

-Less book reading that inspires taking up outdoors interests

-And, most controversial, fewer Caucasians being born, both absolutely and proportionately, important since all other ethnic groups in America consistently demonstrate substantially lower overall interest in outdoor sports not playable on an urban/suburban environment (e.g., LD hiking)

Anyone doubting this last, compare the ethnic makeup of the hikers you see on the Trail (ideally over a day's hike from a road crossing) with what you see in any city, shopping mall, or on TV...

You've made some good points. I don't think aging baby boomers is one of them. As we BBs retire, we have more time to spend and do spend it outdoors. I've been on Sierra club trips where 95% of the participants are BBs. I don't think BBs are the problem; it's their young adult children who increasingly eschew outdoor activities.

Re. ethnicity, one can't deny the stats on AT long distance hikers but there's much more to outdoor recreation. African Americans may not hike but my impression is that in rural areas of the South they hunt and fish. And numerous Latinos visit Bear Mountain & Harriman Park in NY on day trips. I think the jury is still out - the longer Latinos and other ethnic minorities establish themselves in the USA, the more likely they'll take up outdoor activities.

Smile
02-06-2008, 10:10
It would be best if more young people got out and enjoyed hiking and camping. Something to keep in mind is that one day this younger "videophelia" generation will be running the country - if it's not appreciated, more green spaces could lose their status and be swallowed by development, or for areas to go "wheeling" ( i'm thinking all kinds of motorized vehicles.)

Scary thought - the Appalachian Trail SUV TOUR! Happening this summer! Make your reservations now and travel the 2000 plus miles in air conditioned comfort of your own 4 wheel drive vehicle, use your HD/DVD screen for the kids to be distracted, catered meals and plenty of places to gas up along the way! See the historical shelters, but please do not step past the ropes, or take any pieces of them with you - they are protected as part of the Historical Preservation Act - years ago, people actually slept here, many of them were members of an ancient ritual using the antiquated "internet" who spoke to each other and would meet in the woods to actually live here and suffer terribly day after day of walking on their own two feet - and breathing untreated air.........:eek:

Thoughtful Owl
02-06-2008, 10:10
Perhaps we should be encouraging Scouts to get on the AT more often.

I will agree! When our scout troop is out on an activity the scouts know they are not allowed to bring electronic devices of any kind. If they do and they are caught with them, the devices are confiscated (Yeah I know the leaders are a over zealous idoits.) and returned only to the parents upon our return.

TO

Almost There
02-06-2008, 10:28
I was going to say family breakups were a leading factor, and the resulting decline of positive male role models. I'm sure Oprah and (Hussein) Obama know the answer.

Had to bring politics into it, very lame! It has more to do with parents that over worry that their kids will break, etc. Moderation in all things is the key. I love to play video games, but there are certain things that come first, especially as I get ready for a big hike. Working out is a must, spending time with the wife, work, etc. Kids don't always prioritize the best, that's what parents are for. You can eat pizza and chocolate cake....just not for "every" meal.

Parents encourage kids to stay indoors because it is easier for them! People need to remember what our moms/dads and grandmoms/granddads knew, when you have kids it's not about you anymore, it's about them!!!

taildragger
02-06-2008, 10:29
I will agree! When our scout troop is out on an activity the scouts know they are not allowed to bring electronic devices of any kind. If they do and they are caught with them, the devices are confiscated (Yeah I know the leaders are a over zealous idoits.) and returned only to the parents upon our return.

TO

They did that back in the 90's when I was a scout, if it wasn't camping related (or regulation related) it was confiscated. No biggie, we'd just tell stories instead.

turtle fast
02-06-2008, 10:40
Kids now days don't go outside and play anymore.... don't see the same amount of baseball games or kids running around playing outside as they used to. Yes I agree x boxes, videos, tv, and other electronic distractions are available to kids....why play baseball outside when you can play it on an xbox. It used to be where inside the house was boaring and you went outside to play. I am sure the media reports of creepy people who abduct kids outside have something to do with the decline as well....but to what extent? This dosen't negate supervised playing outside. I remember making things up playing with sticks as guns or swords, even a conductors baton.....are we killing children's immaginations and letting our kids be overweight mindless goons...it kinda looks so.

rafe
02-06-2008, 10:43
I watched a bit of Michael Moore's "Bowling For Columbine" last night on HBO. (I'd seen it years ago in a theater.) He talks a lot about Americans living in fear. And for some reason that fear doesn't seem to exist in Canada.

Almost There
02-06-2008, 10:59
Kids now days don't go outside and play anymore.... don't see the same amount of baseball games or kids running around playing outside as they used to. Yes I agree x boxes, videos, tv, and other electronic distractions are available to kids....why play baseball outside when you can play it on an xbox. It used to be where inside the house was boaring and you went outside to play. I am sure the media reports of creepy people who abduct kids outside have something to do with the decline as well....but to what extent? This dosen't negate supervised playing outside. I remember making things up playing with sticks as guns or swords, even a conductors baton.....are we killing children's immaginations and letting our kids be overweight mindless goons...it kinda looks so.


Yeah, but when we were kids we had games too, Atari, Coleco, Intellivision, Nintendo...the difference was that to us there was a difference between playing video games and playing real games. On top of this, our moms' wouldn't let us sit inside during the summer, it was, "get out of my house and go do something!!!" Parents need to be "parents"!

Almost There
02-06-2008, 11:02
I watched a bit of Michael Moore's "Bowling For Columbine" last night on HBO. (I'd seen it years ago in a theater.) He talks a lot about Americans living in fear. And for some reason that fear doesn't seem to exist in Canada.


Geography lesson:

Canada is the 2nd largest country in the world by land area...The U.S. has a population of over 300 million souls...Canada is at around 35 million...They have nowhere near the urban sprawl that the US suffers from and they have not succumbed to the fear that there is a molester around every corner ready to take their children.

iesman69
02-06-2008, 11:08
Terrapin, I too saw Bowling for Columbine last night, and was thinking of it as I have been reading all of the comments. I was recalling the portion of the movie where he randomly chose houses to enter because of the lack of fear in Canada -- and found them wide open!

Maybe people don't get outside as much b/c of a sort of fear factor?? I'm an avid flyfisherman, and only recently have enjoyed hiking and backpacking -- but I feel much safer in the "woods" than I do in town, even with doors locked, my carry permit in my wallet, and house alarm armed!

iesman69
02-06-2008, 11:09
moderator, please delete post #48 -- sorry for the "double" reply

dessertrat
02-06-2008, 11:12
Terrapin, I too saw Bowling for Columbine last night, and was thinking of it as I have been reading all of the comments. I was recalling the portion of the movie where he randomly chose houses to enter because of the lack of fear in Canada -- and found them wide open!

Maybe people don't get outside as much b/c of a sort of fear factor?? I'm an avid flyfisherman, and only recently have enjoyed hiking and backpacking -- but I feel much safer in the "woods" than I do in town, even with doors locked, my carry permit in my wallet, and house alarm armed!

That part of Bowling for Columbine was interesting, but I think Moore was way out of line. Nobody locked their doors when I was growing up, but you did NOT just walk into someone's house. We didn't lock our doors because we trusted people to respect the fact that the door is closed. Barging in on people might inspire them to start locking doors.

People are often just more comfortable in familiar surroundings, no matter what the statistics say about risk.

DavidNH
02-06-2008, 11:36
Thank you to the poster. I think this is one of the more important and relative threads I have read on whiteblaze in a long time.

I see the decline in outdoor activities by people everywhere. Among my brothers and nephews and nieces for example. Rarely do people go out and walk in the woods anymore. It is work, TV, video games, texting on their damn cell phones, walking the malls. When folks do get out, it is often for competative sports (play soccer, baseball) rather than simply walking through or sitting in the woods. Even picnics at the shore or lakeside.. my family used to do it a lot when I was young, now that is rarely done.


Even on the AT. So many had to rush to get to the next town. How many could just enjoy being alone in the woods? no idea, but I bet it was under 10 percent.

Yes it is nice to have the trails less crowded because many are home watching video games or tv or texting or on computer, but in the long run I think these are bad trends. How do we keep are conservation laws strong if we don't have the support and how can we have the support if fewer and fewer are out in the mountains or in the woods?

If folks haven't read it yet, I highly reccomend Richard Louv's book Last Child in the Woods. It really gets into this issue.

DavidNH

taildragger
02-06-2008, 11:50
Heres one thing that I've thought that I noticed (and I know that its in a thread somewhere on this site), but has anyone else noticed a decrease in longer term outdoor activities and what appears to be an increase in single day outdoor activities.

It seems like when I was in NY parks were jam packed on Saturdays till about 3:00, then everyone started to go home, and I think back to when I was a little kid in OK and we went camping, seems like everyone back then was there for at least 3 days, usually longer.

Maybe part of the problem isn't so much the kids, but the work environment that people in my generation are becoming involved in. Both major corporations that I have worked for would openly talk about how they love to see their employees take vacation, but it seems like they were always pissed if an employee took 2 weeks of vacation off at any given time. Just something to think about, and yet another reason to hate corporate America.

dessertrat
02-06-2008, 13:10
Work environments are part of it. With cell phones, blackberries, computers, etc., everyone is either taking calls or emails or making them all the time.

Think back to the simple times: before the cell phone, when you were not at home, and not at work, nobody could call you. Before the PC, you didn't have daily emails to check. Your time was your time, and if you went fishing or camping for the weekend, you went. Today we are tethered together by electronic chains.

turtle fast
02-06-2008, 13:21
Almost There.....I agree parents NEED to be more proactive...limit tv, computer, video games, etc and encourage an outdoor ethic. If we are to enjoy our sport in the future, we need younger people to be active in our sport...to grow or at least maintain a constant level of hikers....if not the trail will suffer, a conservation ethic will suffer, and that joy/feeling of the trail will be lost. Then kids will play Hike the AT on computer rather than going out and doing it!

Dogwood
02-06-2008, 13:31
I recently read somewhere, I think it was Reader's Digest, that 10 yrs. ago the avg. American walked about 10 miles per week(that included time both at work and at home). Today, the avg. American walks less than 2 miles per week (that includes both time at work and at home). Maybe, religion is an opiate of the people but can't that also be said of TV, automobiles, government, shopping(the new Anerican pasttime), food, and computers?

rafe
02-06-2008, 13:51
Even on the AT. So many had to rush to get to the next town. How many could just enjoy being alone in the woods? no idea, but I bet it was under 10 percent.

Being "alone in the woods" isn't compatible with thru-hiking. You can be "alone in the woods" without thru-hiking. In fact, I'd say if your goal was to be "alone in the woods," thru-hiking is about the worst way to go about it.

Dogwood
02-06-2008, 13:57
In a Capitalist consumer oriented country such as ours it has been decided that more money can be made by having someone walk through the mall rather than when someone takes a walk in the woods so that's where many would rather see us place our focus. It seems the value of a great many things is determined more for its monetary value than anything else.

gsingjane
02-06-2008, 14:14
I think we have to be a tiny bit careful about generalizing about "kids today" or "parents today." There are many different pressures and challenges facing families today and, while I would love to see more folks out there enjoying the outdoors, blaming them or calling them names (fat, lazy, stupid... don't I see this said all the time on threads here?) isn't really the way to go about it.

Times have just changed. Those halcyon days that existed in the 1960's or '70's, when there was a lot of undeveloped space even in the suburbs, when kids roamed free and adults jsut rang the dinner bell... are over. Today there are legal consequences to permitting children to go about unsupervised, even if the open space still existed and even if parents were inclined to ignore the constant media drumbeat about dangers facing children (abduction, molestation and the like). Again, see how strongly influenced even the posters on this site have been by the recent reports of violence on the trail... do you really think a parent is going to be less inclined to heed news articles and stories about outdoor dangers?

When I plan outdoor activities (whether for the day or the weekend) for kids, the number one reason, maybe 99 out of 100 times, that a child can't attend, it's because of sports commitments. I work around these and contort myself every which way to accommodate them... but am not always successful. Families have chosen to have their children participate in these activities because they see a value in them. They feel that the kids will be supervised, in a safe environment, taught teamwork and direction-following, and may even acquire skills that will result in college money or professional careers. I do not think that kids always do get the value from sports that parents think they do (and especially tend to disagree about the future benefits) but, at least right now in our culture, kids' sports is where it's at. I do not see kids doing such things as weekend campouts with the parents, or fishing trips with dad, or fort-building in the woods with friends, because the unstructured time necessary to do these things simply isn't there anymore.

This is just my feedback, from someone who is absolutely on a crusade to encourage families and kids to get out there more. We have to deal with the reality of how families are choosing to spend their time, and figure out ways to demonstrate the value in our "unorganized" fun!

Jane in CT

weary
02-06-2008, 14:37
I hear 'ya. I think I need to give up WhiteBlaze to get more work done. :eek:
I've heard your boss agrees.

Dogwood
02-06-2008, 14:49
Terrapin, I too saw Bowling for Columbine last night, and was thinking of it as I have been reading all of the comments. I was recalling the portion of the movie where he randomly chose houses to enter because of the lack of fear in Canada -- and found them wide open!

Maybe people don't get outside as much b/c of a sort of fear factor?? I'm an avid flyfisherman, and only recently have enjoyed hiking and backpacking -- but I feel much safer in the "woods" than I do in town, even with doors locked, my carry permit in my wallet, and house alarm armed!

Hey, fear and pride can be powerful motivators. Big business, religion, and government are well aquainted with their uses. Pride and fear, wrapped in patriotism and the need to ensure freedom, gets people to think, believe, and act in ways they would otherwise would not. They can get people to put a bullet in another person's head when they normally would not, or get people to associate freedom with their product in order to increase the likely hood that one will buy their product. Fear and pride have sometimes been at the heart of why many people have seen their demise when a difference of religious beliefs arose.

weary
02-06-2008, 14:51
Being "alone in the woods" isn't compatible with thru-hiking. You can be "alone in the woods" without thru-hiking. In fact, I'd say if your goal was to be "alone in the woods," thru-hiking is about the worst way to go about it.
Is this really true? In my experience, the shelters and surrounding tent areas were crowded most nights. But on the trail it self, I typically see some one or a small group only about every hour, if that.

Weary

Dogwood
02-06-2008, 14:57
Work environments are part of it. With cell phones, blackberries, computers, etc., everyone is either taking calls or emails or making them all the time.

Think back to the simple times: before the cell phone, when you were not at home, and not at work, nobody could call you. Before the PC, you didn't have daily emails to check. Your time was your time, and if you went fishing or camping for the weekend, you went. Today we are tethered together by electronic chains.

Tethered together by electronic chains - I like that! Very poetic.

rafe
02-06-2008, 15:02
Is this really true? In my experience, the shelters and surrounding tent areas were crowded most nights. But on the trail it self, I typically see some one or a small group only about every hour, if that.

Yes, that's true, in my experience.

My point is that if you're after solitude (say, days without human contact) the AT, due to its fame, isn't the best place to find it. Why not head for some unknown blue-blaze, where nobody's likely to find you? Or better yet, bushwhack. I've had far more solitude in the Whites off the AT than on it. It's like night and day, really.

Or, if you want solitude on the AT, go off-season. But all (or most) these alternatives are at odds with an orderly, ordinary hike from GA to ME.

taildragger
02-06-2008, 15:05
Yes, that's true, in my experience.

My point is that if you're after solitude (say, days without human contact) the AT, due to its fame, isn't the best place to find it. Why not head for some unknown blue-blaze, where nobody's likely to find you? Or better yet, bushwhack. I've had far more solitude in the Whites off the AT than on it. It's like night and day, really.

Or, if you want solitude on the AT, go off-season. But all (or most) these alternatives are at odds with an orderly, ordinary hike from GA to ME.

For solitude, go on a hard hike out west during the week. I've been on or near the CDT for days in NM w/o seeing a sole (didn't see anyone on the 40 mile drive to the trailhead either)

rafe
02-06-2008, 15:08
I've gone nearly 48 hours w/o human contact on the AT. That's kinda rare, but it happened once on my '06 section and once in '07. It gets a bit weird.

Bob S
02-06-2008, 15:16
I was going to say family breakups were a leading factor, and the resulting decline of positive male role models. I'm sure Oprah and (Hussein) Obama know the answer.


You may be right, I get out and enjoy the outdoors a lot, even in the winter. But I only see my son about 2-days a month. So my influence is not that much. Not that My X-wife is a bad person, but she has 5 kids to take care of (only 1 is mine) and the TV and video games make a good pacifier. And she never was a person to spend a lot of time doing outdoor things.

The sad part is that most families are this way today.

Dogwood
02-06-2008, 15:28
It would be best if more young people got out and enjoyed hiking and camping. Something to keep in mind is that one day this younger "videophelia" generation will be running the country - if it's not appreciated, more green spaces could lose their status and be swallowed by development, or for areas to go "wheeling" ( i'm thinking all kinds of motorized vehicles.)

Scary thought - the Appalachian Trail SUV TOUR! Happening this summer! Make your reservations now and travel the 2000 plus miles in air conditioned comfort of your own 4 wheel drive vehicle, use your HD/DVD screen for the kids to be distracted, catered meals and plenty of places to gas up along the way! See the historical shelters, but please do not step past the ropes, or take any pieces of them with you - they are protected as part of the Historical Preservation Act - years ago, people actually slept here, many of them were members of an ancient ritual using the antiquated "internet" who spoke to each other and would meet in the woods to actually live here and suffer terribly day after day of walking on their own two feet - and breathing untreated air.........:eek:

Coming soon to a National Park near U! Why walk when U can take a helicopter, plane, car, train or motorized Wedway people mover to the top of that mountain, the bottom of that canyon, or that waterfall?

Dogwood
02-06-2008, 15:39
I wonder if in the future human beings will evolve to the pt. of losing their arms and legs due to lack of using them. Human beings will resemble giant amoebas or Jabba the Hut while the mudskipper(the fish that walks across land with its fins and tail) will be walking erect and taking over American jobs.

rafe
02-06-2008, 15:40
Conversation overheard at the lodge atop Mt. Washington:

Tourist to hiker: "You walked up here? Didn't you know there was road?"
Hiker to tourist: "You drove up here? Didn't you know there was a video?"

GGS2
02-06-2008, 17:04
I watched a bit of Michael Moore's "Bowling For Columbine" last night on HBO. (I'd seen it years ago in a theater.) He talks a lot about Americans living in fear. And for some reason that fear doesn't seem to exist in Canada.

Terrapin, I'd like to confirm that. I'd like to, but I can't. Unfortunately, Canada has had its share of multiple shootings, of false accusations and hysteria. Not very sensible or salutary, but that's the way it is.

taildragger
02-06-2008, 17:17
Terrapin, I'd like to confirm that. I'd like to, but I can't. Unfortunately, Canada has had its share of multiple shootings, of false accusations and hysteria. Not very sensible or salutary, but that's the way it is.

All the people I've met in Canada seemed fairly fearless. Then again these were communities like Armstrong, were it seemed everyone was either a hunting guide, fishing guide, bush pilot, or logger. All of whom probably wouldn't hesitate to drop a body off in the woods if need be (same reason I don't feel much fear in small towns (at least the meth free ones))

GGS2
02-06-2008, 17:30
... I was recalling the portion of the movie where he randomly chose houses to enter because of the lack of fear in Canada -- and found them wide open!

We mostly don't do that in the cities. There are several "world class" metropolitan centres in Canada which suffer from much the same sort of urban malaise as in the states. Just not so acute, I think. Part of it is that the US cities are older, and more crumbly, and partly our racial tension is not so overt and dominant.

However, when I was growing up, it was not uncommon for houses to be unlocked, even in the cities like Montreal. You will still see this in smaller cities during the daytime, and in the country.

One of the things Canadians are sensitive about is the way US trends tend to infiltrate our country, so when some hysteria flood the US, we look for it in a couple of years up here. The pervading influence is, or was, TV, and we get all the same shows you do, now. Can't say I'm thrilled about that.

With regard to gun control. Just at the moment, the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) is experiencing a spate of street violence with guns apparently being smuggled in from the US. This fuels calls for gun control, although ost of the proposals would have little effect on this flow of already illegal weapons. For the most part, these guns would not be effectively countered by legal weapons in the hands of licensed citizens, because the mayhem tend to concentrate on bystanders, gang members and youths in troubled neighborhoods. Few middle class people are being attacked with guns. Consequently there is little call here for personal weapons for defence. There is just no perceived need, and much vehement opposition on the grounds of increased danger from accidental use. The most cogent and effective opposition to gun registry laws is from traditional long gun users, mostly farmers and hunters. Their argument is reasonable, since they view their guns as tools and a birthright, and their use in violent crime is slight.

So the Canadian debate on gun crime and gun control revolves on an urban-country axis, and the only real debate is over stiffer measures on long guns. The hand gun or special category guns are largely banned except for authorized agents now, and there is little likelihood of any change there, as there is no general perception of any need for wider distribution. Anyway, in Canadian law, a householder who would defend property with deadly force would be in jeopardy of at least manslaughter charges. The self defense argument is strictly limited to sufficient force to counter the threat and no more.

I won't go on. The Canadian context is very different from the American in the mindset of the individual regarding defense and retaliation, but not in regard to anxiety and hysterical over-reaction to mass media generated perceptions of threat and violence. We are just as susceptible to that, but perhaps not quite so adamant on the rights and duties of individuals to take matters into their own hands.

Basta.

highway
02-06-2008, 17:43
I watched a bit of Michael Moore's "Bowling For Columbine" last night on HBO. (I'd seen it years ago in a theater.) He talks a lot about Americans living in fear. And for some reason that fear doesn't seem to exist in Canada.

Michael Moore is an opinionated idiot. I don't live in fear. And, I know of nobody who does, either.

Lone Wolf
02-06-2008, 17:44
Michael Moore is an opinionated idiot. I don't live in fear. And, I know of nobody who does, either.

moore lives in fear of buffets closing across America. that fat libby pig

rafe
02-06-2008, 18:14
Michael Moore doesn't need buffets. He could gorge himself to death on filet mignon if he wanted to. ;)

StarLyte
02-11-2008, 09:09
My son use to love getting out to play & run around. Now he plays video games every day. My X-Wife has bought 2 different game systems and about every game made for the kids to play. So they sit and play for hours & hours. :(

Bob I think this is common in the Midwest ;) Try not to worry about it too much unless his grades fail or his health changes.

weary
02-11-2008, 12:07
....However, when I was growing up, it was not uncommon for houses to be unlocked, even in the cities like Montreal. You will still see this in smaller cities during the daytime, and in the country.
......
I know I shouldn't say this in a public place, but it's been decades since I've locked my doors. Twenty years ago someone walked in and took part of my stereo system. My insurance company insisted that I find the keys. I used them for a day or two, but then it seemed more of a hassle than it's worth.

Anyone who really wanted in, would have no trouble anyway. Both doors have windows in them. One also has side lights.

Weary

River Runner
02-11-2008, 23:30
Anyone checked out the book "Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder" by Richard Louv?

I've been meaning to get around to reading that. A friend of mine did and it really influenced her thinking.

River Runner
02-11-2008, 23:40
Heres one thing that I've thought that I noticed (and I know that its in a thread somewhere on this site), but has anyone else noticed a decrease in longer term outdoor activities and what appears to be an increase in single day outdoor activities.

Maybe part of the problem isn't so much the kids, but the work environment that people in my generation are becoming involved in. Both major corporations that I have worked for would openly talk about how they love to see their employees take vacation, but it seems like they were always pissed if an employee took 2 weeks of vacation off at any given time.

Good point. Many organizations have noted a trend toward 'done in a day' activities. Work, and the general hectic pace of living these days undoubtedly are contributing. Gsingjane also has a good point about problems faced by youth organizations or even families trying to plan getaways. Organized sports have taken over children's lives. I hear a lot of parents saying if their child misses only one practice (out of several a week) they can't play in that week's game. And this is youth league sports, not even school teams. I often wonder about the influence on children when attending a practice is more important than attending a family reunion or other function.

River Runner
02-11-2008, 23:45
I've heard your boss agrees.

Me too. It's really hard to hide goofing off from the boss when you are self employed. :D

Sissygirl
02-11-2008, 23:55
Pretty soon the only folk in the woods will be the hunters and seriel killers.
Please don't say that. I would prefer that the majority of people in the woods are people more like me than not. I go to find peace and to gain a new perspective on things. I think that we all need reminding where we stand in all of these.

Sissygirl
02-11-2008, 23:56
Please don't say that. I would prefer that the majority of people in the woods are people more like me than not. I go to find peace and to gain a new perspective on things. I think that we all need reminding where we stand in all of these.
How about prefer to believe... jeesh...

taildragger
02-12-2008, 00:43
Please don't say that. I would prefer that the majority of people in the woods are people more like me than not. I go to find peace and to gain a new perspective on things. I think that we all need reminding where we stand in all of these.

I reckon' that mist people in the woods are hunters, be it with a gun, a trap, a bow, or a fishin' rod. We too love the woods and enjoy its bounty

weary
02-12-2008, 11:32
Please don't say that. I ... prefer that the majority of people in the woods are people more like me than not. I go to find peace and to gain a new perspective on things. I think that we all need reminding where we stand in all of these.
The vast majority of people in my experience go to the woods mostly to enjoy the woods -- even most hunters and fisher folk -- even ATVers. The latter tend to destroy what they love. Sadly, not a rare human trait.

But the woods remain the safest place a human can go; safer even than that couch in front of the television. As Henry Thoreau said, "I went to the woods to live deliberately, to front life's essentials, so that when it came time to die I wouldn't discover I had never really lived."

I know that is not exactly what he said, but it is what I took away from his message.

Weary

ki0eh
02-15-2008, 17:08
Weary - What is the MATC proposing to do to encourage young people to use the trail? (Saw your mention in another thread but didn't want to get into THAT thread.)

weary
02-15-2008, 17:29
Weary - What is the MATC proposing to do to encourage young people to use the trail? (Saw your mention in another thread but didn't want to get into THAT thread.)
It was AMC, not MATC. We hired an intern from Colby College during January to access schools in Maine for interest in forming young people groups. The intern was just reporting to the chapter's executive committee. It strengthened what we already knew -- that most young people aren't terribly interested.

It's a severe problem with ominous implications for the future of trails and protected land. There was a stupid column in this week's Newsweek making light of the issue and, incidentally, misquoting Henry Thoreau's famous remark, "In wildness is the preservation of the world."

Weary

Marta
02-15-2008, 19:40
I wonder if in the future human beings will evolve to the pt. of losing their arms and legs due to lack of using them. Human beings will resemble giant amoebas or Jabba the Hut...

A friend of ours who was at Disney World recently (working) said he was told that they're having to re-engineer the Small World exhibit. I haven't been there (but I saw the Small World exhibit a few years ago at the NY World's Fair!) but I think you ride along in a teacup, or some such thing. Anyway, the ride keeps getting stuck because the people in the teacups are too heavy, and the cup bottoms out.

Mags
02-15-2008, 19:43
A friend of ours who was at Disney World recently (working) said he was told that they're having to re-engineer the Small World exhibit. I ha.


http://blog.wired.com/cars/2007/11/its-a-fat-world.html

highway
02-16-2008, 07:29
It was AMC, not MATC. We hired an intern from Colby College during January to access schools in Maine for interest in forming young people groups. The intern was just reporting to the chapter's executive committee. It strengthened what we already knew -- that most young people aren't terribly interested.

It's a severe problem with ominous implications for the future of trails and protected land. There was a stupid column in this week's Newsweek making light of the issue and, incidentally, misquoting Henry Thoreau's famous remark, "In wildness is the preservation of the world."

Weary

Now thats ominous. What happens to the wilderness if there is nobody left to want it?

minnesotasmith
02-16-2008, 08:17
It was AMC, not MATC. We hired an intern from Colby College during January to access schools in Maine for interest in forming young people groups. The intern was just reporting to the chapter's executive committee. It strengthened what we already knew -- that most young people aren't terribly interested.

It's a severe problem with ominous implications for the future of trails and protected land. There was a stupid column in this week's Newsweek making light of the issue and, incidentally, misquoting Henry Thoreau's famous remark, "In wildness is the preservation of the world."

Weary

I'd say the longtimers in those organizations need to start sharing power. Newer people have to be allowed real decision-making influence, or they'll figure it's a rigged game and will go elsewhere. No one wants to just be a stooge in a volunteer group, where they pay, labor, and serve totally at the whim of others whom they feel have no more on the ball, but call all the shots.

I'd like to hear of ONE major policy decision that newbies could overturn the graybeards on, from trail magic, to new shelter additions (Cumberland Valley and White Mtns. being good places to start), to dog and group policies, fixing obvious trail disaster sections (over the local club's apathy/denial/unwillingness to actually do much work, if need be), etc., etc.

FWIW, I've recently joined the ATC (so that the good they do gets some funding from me), so don't say "What have YOU ever done to help them?".

rafe
02-16-2008, 08:27
FWIW, I've recently joined the ATC (so that the good they do gets some funding from me), so don't say "What have YOU ever done to help them?".

You just joined ATC... two years after your thru.. and you think that's a big deal?

When you talk about power-sharing, I somehow get the idea you are speaking hypothetically, and haven't actually tried. Have you ever actually attempted to exert power within a trail organization, or expressed your views or desires officially? A letter-to-the editor? A phone call? Attended an official meeting?

weary
02-16-2008, 10:57
I'd say the longtimers in those organizations need to start sharing power. Newer people have to be allowed real decision-making influence, or they'll figure it's a rigged game and will go elsewhere. No one wants to just be a stooge in a volunteer group, where they pay, labor, and serve totally at the whim of others whom they feel have no more on the ball, but call all the shots.

I'd like to hear of ONE major policy decision that newbies could overturn the graybeards on, from trail magic, to new shelter additions (Cumberland Valley and White Mtns. being good places to start), to dog and group policies, fixing obvious trail disaster sections (over the local club's apathy/denial/unwillingness to actually do much work, if need be), etc., etc.

FWIW, I've recently joined the ATC (so that the good they do gets some funding from me), so don't say "What have YOU ever done to help them?".
Well, it's hard to start at the top in most organizations. But it is easier in hiking groups than virtually any place else. The Maine chapter, AMC, chair was recruited to be a member and immediately tapped to be vice chair. and a year later moved to the top.

The campsite committee of the Maine Appalachian Trail Club was created 15 years ago. A month ago it finally found someone willing to chair the committee.

Our tiny local land trust which has 25 miles of trail and $450,000 in the bank, spent six months seeking someone to be president after I decided it was time for me to step down. I was looking for younger people. My replacement is older than I am.

Get involved and people will beg you to become a leader.

Weary

Tipi Walter
02-16-2008, 11:29
On one of my recent winter backpacking trips, I wrote this in my trail journal(and I also put it in another thread here at WhiteBlaze):

A CASE FOR TELEVISION

Probably the best thing ever to happen to backpackers and backpacking is the invention of the TV and the later increase of channels thru cable and dish. It created a whole generation of couch potatoes addicted to the flat screen thereby leaving more of the outdoors to me. Add the computer to the mix and we've pulled an even larger portion of once-active backpackers into the Rabbit's Hole.

I owe my backpacking career and my years of stealth camping and solitary recent trips to the TV and computer. And what of the Wheeled Tourists, that misguided bunch who won't explore a place unless rolling? They are the final insult, the last flagrant example of the couch potato at his highest evolutionary level. "Let's see the wilderness forest but don't-make-us-get-out-and-walk."

Sitting on constantly warmed and squashed buns, breathing heavily just to shift gears and when applying the brakes, this group, with total disregard for their own safety, showing a courageous recklessness by leaving their TVs and computers, actually manage to walk to their cars and plop down on another couch, this time rolling, but thereby never disturbing MY wilderness experience and solitude.

If it wasn't for these various iron lungs called "couches", 300 million Americans would be, out of sheer boredom verging on suicidal, invading my natural sanctuary and peaceful solitude."

On my last backpacking trip I had to cross the Cherohala Skyway on the BMT and right in the middle of the lot was a big human turd. So I wrote:

"There's a big turdpile in the center of the parking lot so it seems a desperate Wheeled Tourist had to stop here and birth an angry and angular turtlehead before God and man. It really typlifies what the Wheeled Tourist is all about.

THE WHEELED TOURIST PRAYER
"God grant us access to every last bit of land, forbid us to step a single foot into green grasses, and Lo, though we must drive into dark valleys, help our engines to keep running and our ties to stay full. For thou art the God of all couch potatoes and the beneficent land navigator to guide us to calm waters, all seen thru glass from the inside of steel boxes.

Help us to worship your pristine creaton but only when rolling, and smite thine enemies who someday may command us to walk. Make high places low, Hallejuia, and pave over fertile fields with thine asphalt, for thine is the Interstate, the Gridlock and the Jet Runways, forever, Amen."

dessertrat
02-16-2008, 12:39
I'd say the longtimers in those organizations need to start sharing power. Newer people have to be allowed real decision-making influence, or they'll figure it's a rigged game and will go elsewhere. No one wants to just be a stooge in a volunteer group, where they pay, labor, and serve totally at the whim of others whom they feel have no more on the ball, but call all the shots.

I'd like to hear of ONE major policy decision that newbies could overturn the graybeards on, from trail magic, to new shelter additions (Cumberland Valley and White Mtns. being good places to start), to dog and group policies, fixing obvious trail disaster sections (over the local club's apathy/denial/unwillingness to actually do much work, if need be), etc., etc.

FWIW, I've recently joined the ATC (so that the good they do gets some funding from me), so don't say "What have YOU ever done to help them?".

Yes, but we know what you think of the trail maintenance in Maine-- I don't think the newcomers are going to change the trail in the way in which you advocate.:p

WalkinHome
02-16-2008, 15:57
I'd say the longtimers in those organizations need to start sharing power. Newer people have to be allowed real decision-making influence, or they'll figure it's a rigged game and will go elsewhere. No one wants to just be a stooge in a volunteer group, where they pay, labor, and serve totally at the whim of others whom they feel have no more on the ball, but call all the shots.

I'd like to hear of ONE major policy decision that newbies could overturn the graybeards on, from trail magic, to new shelter additions (Cumberland Valley and White Mtns. being good places to start), to dog and group policies, fixing obvious trail disaster sections (over the local club's apathy/denial/unwillingness to actually do much work, if need be), etc., etc.

FWIW, I've recently joined the ATC (so that the good they do gets some funding from me), so don't say "What have YOU ever done to help them?".

I must say that as far as the MATC goes you are very much off the mark. As Weary has stated, people have voluntarily not run again to allow new blood in and guess what? Didn't happen-no one came forward. The major policy decisions you decry are, for the most part, guidelines and far from edicts. The MATC has very little to do with anything other than maintaining the AT in Maine. We do not have "whims" or "stooges", just folks that are passionate about the trail and not just when it suits them but when the trail needs them even though it may involve expense or hard earned relaxation time. You have alot to learn about the workings of a trail maintaining club-right now you are shooting blanks.

minnesotasmith
02-16-2008, 16:06
I You have alot to learn about the workings of a trail maintaining club-right now you are shooting blanks.

You're the one who is a longtime participant (presumably contributing your ideas as well as time and effort) in a type of organization that can't attract new people, not me. I'm not the one who's been failing at something fundamental WRT keeping a group I'm part of going...

River Runner
02-16-2008, 16:20
Yeah, what's up? I just don't understand why more successful groups don't turn over all the decisions to newbies who just join. :rolleyes:

rafe
02-16-2008, 16:25
You're the one who is a longtime participant (presumably contributing your ideas as well as time and effort) in a type of organization that can't attract new people, not me. I'm not the one who's been failing at something fundamental WRT keeping a group I'm part of going...

Unbelievable hubris there, MS, but somehow I'm not surprised. Can't bother to get involved, yet unashamed to cast aspersions on those who built the trail that you walked. F'ing amazing, you are.

dessertrat
02-16-2008, 16:40
Unbelievable hubris there, MS, but somehow I'm not surprised. Can't bother to get involved, yet unashamed to cast aspersions on those who built the trail that you walked. F'ing amazing, you are.

Don't forget that he also thinks the trail maintenance in Maine is awful because there aren't enough switchbacks or blazes, and that there should be maximum slope rules for making a trail. I never got lost in Maine for more than two or three minutes for want of seeing a blaze, and the idea that somebody owes us a switchback is a bit absurd. Search out MS's long post on what the trail "should be", and it will all make sense to you.

minnesotasmith
02-16-2008, 17:48
Unbelievable hubris there, MS, but somehow I'm not surprised. Can't bother to get involved, yet unashamed to cast aspersions on those who built the trail that you walked.

Thruhiking IS being involved. Being active on WhiteBlaze IS being involved. Writing a book on hiking that makes particular reference to the AT IS being involved. Telling all my friends, relatives, and closer work acquaintances about the AT IS being involved. Doing the major trail magic I just did in Georgia IS being involved.

Not everyone associated with the AT uses tools along it, and reasonably so. I do NOT have to be a trail maintainer to belong on the AT, to have my eyes and brain function normally (perhaps even better than those of some trail maintainers who haven't seen all of the AT, and may lack needed perspective) when looking at various parts of the AT, nor to publicly voice my opinions.

Further, anyone who willingly makes a commitment to do something, whether they are being paid to do it or not, deserves to receive public criticism if they don't follow through on their word. From what I saw on my thuhike (that I completed less than 15 months ago, so probably hasn't changed that much), there ARE clubs composed of members who aren't following through, not walking the talk, so to speak. Miles of blazes visibly over 5 years old?? Come on, that's a trail club that's defunct in all but name.

rafe
02-16-2008, 18:42
Thruhiking IS being involved. Being active on WhiteBlaze IS being involved. Writing a book on hiking that makes particular reference to the AT IS being involved. Telling all my friends, relatives, and closer work acquaintances about the AT IS being involved. Doing the major trail magic I just did in Georgia IS being involved.

None of these activities do squat for the trail itself, or address the issues that you whine about. Get over yourself.

halibut15
02-16-2008, 19:21
Good. More woods to myself.

minnesotasmith
02-16-2008, 19:58
Welcome to the concept of effects being indirect. The lack of support many graybeards on this (and similiar) threads decry is fought against by raising public awareness of the Trail, getting other people interested in the AT and its fate, and getting time-tested-but-flunked policies and people in trail orgs out of the way politically so things can get fixed (such as chronically undone trail maintenance, inadequately-designed/built trail sections, trail magic haters, etc.) Thruhikers (especially if relatively public) go a long way towards fostering these good-for-the-AT's-future trends. So being a thruhiker, inspiring other people to consider thruhiking, and encouraging hikers already on the Trail, are all part and parcel of keeping our beloved AT going, just as much as snipper-carriers.
===============================

Halibut15, I understand where you're coming from very well, especially when I ponder the prospect of encountering yet another pickup load of trash on the AT at 19E in NC, a group of loud partiers littering and defacing a scenic point, or a group of adolescent hoodlums swarming a shelter for the night (300 yards from their cars in cruddy weather).

But, the public support for the AT is arguably waning, shown by the ever-declining # of thruhikers, members (especially under age 50) in trail maintenance groups, etc. That will surely lead to less public support for keeping the AT funded, ATV/horse free, regulatorily protected, to say fewer outfitters, hostels, and trail angels. I don't think that's a good trend for anyone who wants their future kids and grandkids to be able to hike the AT one day, too.

gsingjane
02-16-2008, 20:07
This is why, even though it's still not something I'd personally enjoy doing, over the years I have changed my feelings about hunting. We have the same goals in mind and I just don't think there are enough backpackers or hikers to ever contitute the groundswell of support for public lands necessary to do the job. I think it is short-sighted to say, well, fewer people interested in the woods means more woods for me... ultimately it's going to mean less woods for you, and me, and all of us. Everything costs money, everything involves setting priorities, and if there aren't enough people screaming in favor of something, it just isn't going to get the attention and funding. So, I am more than willing to make common cause with another group (and that also includes mountain bikers and horse people), even if their interests and goals aren't identical to mine... they're sure close enough.

Jane in CT

p.s. In my trails club, anyone is welcome and they are eager to share "power," such as it is. In fact a lot of the older maintainers would be more than happy to train up the new guys and send them off, except that the new guys are busy working and raising families at the moment. But pretty soon the new guys will turn into the old guys, and the wheel will continue to turn....

weary
02-16-2008, 20:11
Good. More woods to myself.
Providing, of course, you can, all by yourself, keep them from being turned into condominiums.

As interest in the outdoors declines, so does contributions to groups seeking to keep the woods, woods.

Weary www.matlt.org

weary
02-16-2008, 20:21
Welcome to the concept of effects being indirect. The lack of support many graybeards on this (and similiar) threads decry is fought against by raising public awareness of the Trail, getting other people interested in the AT and its fate, and getting time-tested-but-flunked policies and people in trail orgs out of the way politically so things can get fixed (such as chronically undone trail maintenance, inadequately-designed/built trail sections, trail magic haters, etc.) Thruhikers (especially if relatively public) go a long way towards fostering these good-for-the-AT's-future trends. So being a thruhiker, inspiring other people to consider thruhiking, and encouraging hikers already on the Trail, are all part and parcel of keeping our beloved AT going, just as much as snipper-carriers.
===============================

Halibut15, I understand where you're coming from very well, especially when I ponder the prospect of encountering yet another pickup load of trash on the AT at 19E in NC, a group of loud partiers littering and defacing a scenic point, or a group of adolescent hoodlums swarming a shelter for the night (300 yards from their cars in cruddy weather).

But, the public support for the AT is arguably waning, shown by the ever-declining # of thruhikers, members (especially under age 50) in trail maintenance groups, etc. That will surely lead to less public support for keeping the AT funded, ATV/horse free, regulatorily protected, to say fewer outfitters, hostels, and trail angels. I don't think that's a good trend for anyone who wants their future kids and grandkids to be able to hike the AT one day, too.
So, what do you suggest, MS: Shall those of us who have done our best to keep the trail reasonably free of brush and trash, albeit, being less diligent about about fading paint, just fade away, and see who, if anyone, takes our place?

Or shall we keep doing our best until someone comes along that wants to do more than talk about the trail's deficiencies?

Weary

minnesotasmith
02-16-2008, 20:48
So, what do you suggest, MS: Shall those of us who have done our best to keep the trail reasonably free of brush and trash, albeit, being less diligent about about fading paint, just fade away, and see who, if anyone, takes our place?

Or shall we keep doing our best until someone comes along that wants to do more than talk about the trail's deficiencies?

Weary

"Welcome to the concept of effects being indirect. The lack of support many graybeards on this (and similiar) threads decry is fought against by raising public awareness of the Trail, getting other people interested in the AT and its fate, and getting time-tested-but-flunked policies and people in trail orgs out of the way politically so things can get fixed (such as chronically undone trail maintenance, inadequately-designed/built trail sections, trail magic haters, etc.) Thruhikers (especially if relatively public) go a long way towards fostering these good-for-the-AT's-future trends. So being a thruhiker, inspiring other people to consider thruhiking, and encouraging hikers already on the Trail, are all part and parcel of keeping our beloved AT going, just as much as snipper-carriers."

Also, please feel free to enlighten me on how you would propose to share power with currently-uninterested-as-forever-theres-are-running-the-trail-orgs-now types. Several good examples might be in the future biting your lip on reforms you oppose, such as the ATC assembling expected schedules of trail maintenance to be given out to all the Trail clubs, construction of some normal shelters in the Whites below treeline but near the Trail, rerouting the AT in the Mid-Atlantic states to higher/cooler/less water-deficient routes, large elevated vandalism-resistant signs at shelter sites listing rules against group and dog occupancy, etc.

I'd genuinely like to see if you can do this, Weary. Can you sincerely advocate people far newer to the AT community than yourself having the power to make some decisions, even if the results are ones you don't like very much, so that your org (and the AT) doesn't die from old age as its members are doing?

rickb
02-16-2008, 20:54
There are a lot of threats to the AT.

Poor maintenance is not one of them.

The idea that the Trail is all about the comfort, convenience and fun for those who walk it is just plain wrong.

River Runner
02-16-2008, 21:14
I'd genuinely like to see if you can do this, Weary. Can you sincerely advocate people far newer to the AT community than yourself having the power to make some decisions, even if the results are ones you don't like very much, so that your org (and the AT) doesn't die from old age as its members are doing?

Sounds to me like he did.

By Weary:

"The Maine chapter, AMC, chair was recruited to be a member and immediately tapped to be vice chair. and a year later moved to the top.

The campsite committee of the Maine Appalachian Trail Club was created 15 years ago. A month ago it finally found someone willing to chair the committee.

Our tiny local land trust which has 25 miles of trail and $450,000 in the bank, spent six months seeking someone to be president after I decided it was time for me to step down. I was looking for younger people. My replacement is older than I am.

Get involved and people will beg you to become a leader. "

rafe
02-16-2008, 21:26
Welcome to the concept of effects being indirect. The lack of support many graybeards on this (and similiar) threads decry is fought against by raising public awareness of the Trail, getting other people interested in the AT and its fate, and getting time-tested-but-flunked policies and people in trail orgs out of the way politically so things can get fixed (such as chronically undone trail maintenance, inadequately-designed/built trail sections, trail magic haters, etc.) Thruhikers (especially if relatively public) go a long way towards fostering these good-for-the-AT's-future trends. So being a thruhiker, inspiring other people to consider thruhiking, and encouraging hikers already on the Trail, are all part and parcel of keeping our beloved AT going, just as much as snipper-carriers.

Dude, if being enthusiastic about the AT, or jabbering endlessly about it is "supporting" it, then I'm David Startzell. :rolleyes: :D Hell, I wrote and delivered a sermon about hiking and the AT a year or two back. I have the map pinned to the wall of my cubicle at work. Been an ATC member since 1989. When ATC asks for money, I write a check. Big whoop. That's not being a supporter -- that's being an enthusiast.

It's not thru-hikers that make the trail famous or infamous; it's the sheer magnitude of the thing, the way it grabs the imagination and won't let go. Read the threads here on WB where people describe how they got "started" on the AT. It starts as a day hike or a short walk... and then discovering that the leaf-strewn path they're on leads from Georgia to Maine.

ed bell
02-16-2008, 23:35
There are a lot of threats to the AT.

Poor maintenance is not one of them.

The idea that the Trail is all about the comfort, convenience and fun for those who walk it is just plain wrong.You said it, and I was so agitated I couldn't have said it better myself.:mad:

ed bell
02-16-2008, 23:50
"Welcome to the concept of effects being indirect. The lack of support many graybeards on this (and similiar) threads decry is fought against by raising public awareness of the Trail, getting other people interested in the AT and its fate, and getting time-tested-but-flunked policies and people in trail orgs out of the way politically so things can get fixed (such as chronically undone trail maintenance, inadequately-designed/built trail sections, trail magic haters, etc.) Thruhikers (especially if relatively public) go a long way towards fostering these good-for-the-AT's-future trends. So being a thruhiker, inspiring other people to consider thruhiking, and encouraging hikers already on the Trail, are all part and parcel of keeping our beloved AT going, just as much as snipper-carriers."

So your main problems are "undone trail maintenance", "poorly designed Trail" and "trail magic haters"? And you think thru-hikers will be the key to fostering the future well being of the AT? In addition inspiring future thru-hikers will keep the AT going? I'm at a loss for words. You have no clue. Did you miss the countless backpackers and day hikers that make up the VAST MAJORITY of all AT use? Are you that pompous as a former thru-hiker? The trail is not fading away. Get a grip.

woodsy
02-17-2008, 10:21
I see MS has been trolling again, just ignore(DON'T READ) anything posted by MS, you can't reason with the unreasonable:rolleyes:.
And as for a decline in outdoor activities, you bet. The northeast is currently entombed in deep snow with a 1" thick top layer of icy crust, nuff to keep most people out of the woods till new snow or melting occurs.

mudhead
02-17-2008, 11:02
I watched part of Tatersalad's show last night. Might apply here.

oldfivetango
02-17-2008, 12:11
My son use to love getting out to play & run around. Now he plays video games every day. My X-Wife has bought 2 different game systems and about every game made for the kids to play. So they sit and play for hours & hours. :(

She probably brings home fast food several times a week as
well;not to mention they probably drink Cola as if it were water.
No wonder today's kids are so big and fat.We will talk about the
hormones in the beef patties at a later date.
Oldfivetango

dessertrat
02-17-2008, 15:27
You're the one who is a longtime participant (presumably contributing your ideas as well as time and effort) in a type of organization that can't attract new people, not me. I'm not the one who's been failing at something fundamental WRT keeping a group I'm part of going...

MS, if you don't have a solution, why are you criticizing? The day the clubs get a budget to hire people to do the work of grooming and maintaining the trail is the day you might as well have RV hookups for water and electricity, and a gravel road up to the top of Chairback mountain (IMO, by the way, the most beautiful place I've been on the trail).

These are volunteer organizations! In my trip in Maine last year, I saw dozens if not hundreds of trees that had been cleared from the trail by hard volunteer labor. Although I don't sleep in shelters, the shelters that I saw were in good repair, as were the privies. The blazes were spotty on occasion, but never all that bad as to get anyone lost for more than a minute or two. The trail was obstructed by trees in only three places I can remember, and that is because these were recently fallen trees that nobody in the clubs had had time to cut up yet. So quit crybabying and crawl over them, or go around them. . . OR BRING A SAW WITH YOU AND CUT THEM UP!:eek:

dessertrat
02-17-2008, 15:46
I remeber jumping off the school bus, grabbing our fishing poles we kept in the play house and then heading to the stream to fish and swim untill dark.

Did this all summer long, in the winter time we would sled down the road (too steep to drive when snow covered - they closed it down).


I also remember my friends and I layn down hay for the new houses being built, we got around 2 or 3 dollars an hour (cash under the table, we were millionaires in our eyes - age 7!!!) - enough to buy some drinks and bait to go fishing through the week.

I remember days like that too. It was great to be a kid growing up in the middle of nowhere, where we weren't scared of every stranger who came around the corner. I suppose it was dangerous, in a way, but we were all lucky and had a great time going camping and fishing all alone at such a young age that today, the parents would be in handcuffs for letting the kids get that far away!

Dogwood
02-17-2008, 21:51
There are a lot of threats to the AT.

Poor maintenance is not one of them.

The idea that the Trail is all about the comfort, convenience and fun for those who walk it is just plain wrong.

Do U sincerly think poor maintenance or lack of maintenance on the AT does not adversely affect or threaten the health of the AT and its corridor? Have U ever experienced a poorly maintained or badly designed section of trail that is highly eroded and negatively impacting adjacent areas to the AT tread? If there weren't groups of people maintaining the AT the trail would cease to exist in some areas in a few yrs. Let us not so easily dismiss or disregard the importance of those that have volunteered their time and energy to maintain the AT!!! Let us appreciate what we have and seek to give back to that which has given so much to us!!!

ed bell
02-17-2008, 22:16
Do U sincerly think poor maintenance or lack of maintenance on the AT does not adversely affect or threaten the health of the AT and its corridor? Have U ever experienced a poorly maintained or badly designed section of trail that is highly eroded and negatively impacting adjacent areas to the AT tread? If there weren't groups of people maintaining the AT the trail would cease to exist in some areas in a few yrs. Let us not so easily dismiss or disregard the importance of those that have volunteered their time and energy to maintain the AT!!! Let us appreciate what we have and seek to give back to that which has given so much to us!!!You might have misread some posts in this thread. I'm sure everyone who cares about the AT appreciates those who volunteer to keep up the treadway.

The Old Fhart
02-17-2008, 22:31
Minnesotasmith -"You're the one who is a longtime participant (presumably contributing your ideas as well as time and effort) in a type of organization that can't attract new people, not me. I'm not the one who's been failing at something fundamental WRT keeping a group I'm part of going..."The problem MS is having is that he doesn't understand the difference between his 'virtually' claiming to support the trail, which is akin to vaporware, and getting out there and investing time, money, and effort in ACTUALLY making the A.T. a better trail. Weary and WalkinHome are great examples of two people who have worked tirelessly for the A.T. and everyone on WB (except MS) knows that.

When MS says: "I'm not the one who's been failing at something fundamental...", he is correct, you can't fail if you never get off your arse and try, but he fails to see that, and that is fundamental.:rolleyes:

River Runner
02-18-2008, 01:32
Do U sincerly think poor maintenance or lack of maintenance on the AT does not adversely affect or threaten the health of the AT and its corridor? Have U ever experienced a poorly maintained or badly designed section of trail that is highly eroded and negatively impacting adjacent areas to the AT tread? If there weren't groups of people maintaining the AT the trail would cease to exist in some areas in a few yrs. Let us not so easily dismiss or disregard the importance of those that have volunteered their time and energy to maintain the AT!!! Let us appreciate what we have and seek to give back to that which has given so much to us!!!

Dogwood, you misunderstood Rick B's post. He was saying poor maintenance is not a threat to the trail, because it is well maintained by the volunteer organizations that get out there and take care of it.

ed bell
02-18-2008, 01:39
Dogwood, you misunderstood Rick B's post. He was saying poor maintenance is not a threat to the trail, because it is well maintained by the volunteer organizations that get out there and take care of it.Amen, you said what I tried to.:sun

Dogwood
02-18-2008, 03:24
I thank U for your correction. I am big enough to admit when I've gone astray. In my attempt to avoid some of the blah, blah, blah I lost sight of Rick B's intent. Didn't mean to step on anyone's toes! However, my comments about trail maintenance and trail maintainers still stands.

taildragger
02-18-2008, 04:07
here's another reason for lack of outdoor activity.

Beautiful day outside, and I've been stuck in front of a computer all day doing calculations for a physical chemistry lab. College has killed my ability to get outside w/o sacrificing next week's sleep.

A note to the kiddies on the board, don't double major in engineering. 3 majors and a minor has been the death of me.

rant off

WalkinHome
02-18-2008, 10:27
here's another reason for lack of outdoor activity.

Beautiful day outside, and I've been stuck in front of a computer all day doing calculations for a physical chemistry lab. College has killed my ability to get outside w/o sacrificing next week's sleep.

A note to the kiddies on the board, don't double major in engineering. 3 majors and a minor has been the death of me.

rant off

So it would appear that your name here is a fitting one LOL. Get some sleep!

woodsy
02-20-2008, 07:37
A fairly new campaign (http://pressherald.mainetoday.com/story.php?id=149989&ac=Outdoors) is underway promoting "Outside" recreation.
Maine State Parks and Public Reserve Lands are open year round!
Programs like this help bring awareness to the public about outside recreational opportunities and where to go, what to do.
Usage of Maine parks is said to be up on average about 10% last year.

WalkinHome
02-20-2008, 10:29
I will be going to the South Portland library to hear Carey talk about his hiking the toughest trail in Europe tonight put on by the Maine AMC. Don't remember the name of the trail but should be good. Pol luck supper 6-7 and talk 7-?

bfitz
02-20-2008, 17:46
On topic....

AmonStone
05-07-2010, 06:38
It's always been my opinion that less and less folks are hitting the outdoors for one simple reason- Most people aren't willing to be uncomfortable, even for a short time.
I've asked quite a few people over the years if they camp, and almost without fail, they mention something about it that would make them uncomfortable. The heat, the bugs, having to get all sweaty setting up camp etc etc etc.
I don't think that most folks chose videogames or the internet over being in the outdoors, I think in alot of cases they just never considered it. Either you are an outdoorsy type or you aren't.
I do however think that trying to get someone involved in the outdoors after years of entertainment-on-demand can be tough.