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  1. #61
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    Fees and policing may be the only answer that will work. If it is, it is a sad commentary on those that proclaim to love the outdoors. Make it harder and less will go. ATC! Tear down that shelter! Sorry. Channeling Reagan. I abhorred the police state of the Whites. If I heard one more Ranger Rick talking about why they needed more money, I was going to puke. The problem with money being the answer is there will never be enough money to satisfy the needs because new needs are constantly being invented. It makes me cringe to think that is an acceptable solution in hikers minds when it would be so much easier to do things that would discourage the fair weather hikers.
    In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. - Abraham Lincoln

  2. #62
    Registered User FatMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BirdBrain View Post
    ...It makes me cringe to think that is an acceptable solution in hikers minds when it would be so much easier to do things that would discourage the fair weather hikers.
    Please define "fair weather hikers". I am uncertain as to the point you are trying to make.

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by FatMan View Post
    Please define "fair weather hikers". I am uncertain as to the point you are trying to make.
    Those that need a shelter or a privy or a hut or a ranger to tuck them in at night. Those that either don't know how to employ LNT or don't care to employ LNT.
    In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. - Abraham Lincoln

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by BirdBrain View Post
    Fees and policing may be the only answer that will work. If it is, it is a sad commentary on those that proclaim to love the outdoors. Make it harder and less will go. ATC! Tear down that shelter! Sorry. Channeling Reagan. I abhorred the police state of the Whites. If I heard one more Ranger Rick talking about why they needed more money, I was going to puke. The problem with money being the answer is there will never be enough money to satisfy the needs because new needs are constantly being invented. It makes me cringe to think that is an acceptable solution in hikers minds when it would be so much easier to do things that would discourage the fair weather hikers.
    That there is funny. Police state, indeed. I've been fortunate enough to have traveled a bit in this life, sometimes to places where one's choice in life was to do as they were told or sew gloves in a prison camp, and am always amazed at how easily those words come off the lips of my fellow Americans. You, and many others, have no clue what a police state is. What you have is, comparatively, an incredible degree of freedom to do as you please, and access to a park system and trails that are the envy of most of the world. But God forbid you should have to actually pay a small pittance for your use of, impact upon, and maintenance of those parks and trails that you enjoy. As to "discouraging fair weather hikers", several million people hike trails every year in this country. You (and I) are just one more of those millions. All those "fair weather hikers" have as much right to the use of our trails as anyone else. Should many be more skilled at LNT? Yes. But all the LNT in the world isn't going to solve the problems of inadequate trail infrastucture and maintenance. /rant
    Last edited by 4eyedbuzzard; 03-31-2015 at 18:29.

  5. #65
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    Yes. The bold print you quoted was out of line. I accept your rebuke. And as far as my willingness to contribute, I do. And I am not talking about taxes. I give a large percentage of my income to causes I hold dear. But such discussions turn into pissing contests.
    Last edited by BirdBrain; 03-31-2015 at 18:36.
    In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. - Abraham Lincoln

  6. #66
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    With all the Fed and state program cuts, it becomes more of our responsability to provide the funds to maintain/protect the areas we are interested in. Send the ATC some money so they can take care of you, and our trail. I suggest $100. Same to the trail feeders who want to throw a party rather than help than trail.

  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by BirdBrain View Post
    Yes. The bold print you quoted was out of line. I accept your rebuke. And as far as my willingness to contribute, I do. And I am not talking about taxes. I give a large percentage of my income to causes I hold dear. But such discussions turn into pissing contests.
    Okay. Sorry, as well. Just venting a bit. We all want the same thing - cleaner trails, cleaner camp areas, and less crowding (when possible). The crowding is simply not going to go away though, and I think infrastructure (such as better thought out camp areas, shelters, privies, etc) has lagged way behind the usage/impact. LNT will be an ongoing battle. And unfortunately, some will just never get it. Cleaning up after the slobs is a price we will pay, just as we do in so many aspects of "civilized life", where there are people who can't get that right either.

  8. #68
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    What Birdbrain may not realize is that most of the Whites do not have fees or caretakers even at shelters. in fact, except for the well maintained trails you would see little evidence of the AMC in most of the WMNF.

    Where you do see caretakers is along the most heavily traveled trail among many trails- the AT. The $8 you pay covers about half the cost of paying them to shovel human waste and keeep the areas arouend the shelters in relatively decent shape.

    The rest of the cost is subsidized by the members of the club, and those staying at the huts.

  9. #69
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    I will leave this discussion by paraprashing Roosevelt as he stood on the south rim of the Grand Canyon. Leave it as it is. It cannot be improved upon. Our efforts are just marring the trail. I would be glad to see no sign of us being on the trail other than the trail itself being there. Privies, and shelters, and huts, and rangers and programs and money are not the answer. We are marring the trail. I would like us to go the other direction. But that is just my opinion.
    In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. - Abraham Lincoln

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by BirdBrain View Post
    I will leave this discussion by paraprashing Roosevelt as he stood on the south rim of the Grand Canyon. Leave it as it is. It cannot be improved upon. Our efforts are just marring the trail. I would be glad to see no sign of us being on the trail other than the trail itself being there. Privies, and shelters, and huts, and rangers and programs and money are not the answer. We are marring the trail. I would like us to go the other direction. But that is just my opinion.
    I think the practice of hiking the AT (thru or section) has become so ingrained in our culture, that if you level all the shelters, tore down the privies, etc, they would still come. And it would then be even a bigger mess. The AT was never a pristine wilderness. Nor was it supposed to be. It's a recreational hiking trail that provides an illusion of wilderness that was intentionally built to be accessible by millions of people. And if millions are going to use it, millions are going to poop on it. Privies are better than all the alternatives.

  11. #71

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    This is a great discussion, and clearly illustrates some key issues in managing the Trail. I'm a local volunteer and a volunteer on ATC's Stewardship Council. Finding the balance between the traditional "freedom of the trail" and sustainable management practices is difficult. From your posts, many of you are clearly aware of the issues involved. Actually regulating the behavior of trail visitors on a trail like the AT with it's practically unlimited access points, extremely large number of short and long-term visitors, and hundreds of overnight sites would be very difficult, if not impossible, regardless of available funds. The kind of trail that would result would not be the AT. It would not be a trail that I (and probably many others) would want to hike on.

    What we do do (if you'll pardon the pun), is respond to areas that are experiencing problems, be they overuse, poor campsite management, or corridor boundary incursions in as measured a way as possible. The 'iron fist in the velvet glove" approach will not work with hikers, volunteers or the local community. None of the AT land-owning partners (NPS, USFS, and a variety of individual State agencies) who are legally responsible for the Trail on lands under their control, would want to heavily regulate the A--regardless of the available resources. The partnership between these Agencies, ATC and local volunteers is the best way to ensure the Trail IS well managed, while retaining the necessary flexibility to adjust to local physical, social and governmental conditions. Unlike areas of the western US, the AT is an extremely local entity. It is in someone's backyard for many, many of the miles between Maine and Georgia. Best working at as local a level as possible, rather than dictating from on high.

    As a local volunteer, I (and in Mass, almost 100 others like me), address all aspects of the Trail--except for purchasing land, law enforcement and emergency response. That means we maintain and monitor corridor boundary, monitor rare plants and invasives, meet with local and state boards, train ridgerunners, design, build and maintain privies, shelters, kiosks, signs, (and a really sweet cabin), cut back brush, mow the fields, and paint white blazes. We want to do this work. We want to see as little involvement from the government as possible--and that's not a political statement, it's a matter of pride in meeting the requirements of taking care of something as special, unique and precious as the AT. When we are doing OUR jobs correctly, we don't require intervention by official entities (but DO regularly seek their advice, expertise and support). When we are not doing our job correctly (in the case of the original thread topic--not maintaining privies), we can expect that intervention to increase. If we can't handle the responsibility, then partner agencies and ATC will need to step in. This can take the form of increased staff oversight, assistance in reaching out to more volunteers, or--in very extreme cases--re-assignment of a Club's trail responsibilities.

    It is true, the Trail IS experiencing a steady increase in use, and we are responding to that increase--in the most subtle, measured and compassionate manner whenever possible. A small subset of trail visitors DO come with a sense of entitlement that seems to eclipse their sense of respect for what they are being given. When that is through ignorance, we do our best to educate. When it's willful, we rely on the social structure of the hiking community to provide the balance. What can't be accomplished is forcing respect for the Trail through heavy-handed enforcement. In addition to degrading the trail experience for most hikers, it will stimulate a greater response from those who feel their freedom should be unfettered regardless of the collateral damage.

    Cosmo

  12. #72
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    Cosmo,
    Thank you for your service. My comments yesterday left me with a hole in my stomach. They marginalize the efforts of people like you. I woke today wondering how I could fix that failing. Your post is timely. I have learned a lot from people like you. People like you have changed my view of conservation. Thank you for all that you do. God bless you.
    In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. - Abraham Lincoln

  13. #73
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    Caretakers at each shelter? I don't need a babysitter and I'll work to convert everyone who does so the AT remains unregimented and unrestricted as intended.[/QUOTE]

    I think it is inevitable. Register for a start date and permit. Caretakers at every shelter and campsite on the whole trail. With fees. Saves the trail and keeps the riff raff out.
    Everything is in Walking Distance

  14. #74
    Can you dig it?
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    Quote Originally Posted by bamboo bob View Post
    Caretakers at each shelter? I don't need a babysitter and I'll work to convert everyone who does so the AT remains unregimented and unrestricted as intended.
    I think it is inevitable. Register for a start date and permit. Caretakers at every shelter and campsite on the whole trail. With fees. Saves the trail and keeps the riff raff out.[/QUOTE]


    Maybe you are right, but i was riff raff once, maybe again. Fees mean that we would need enforcement out there correct? Which means that even a leeeeeetle bit of riff raffedness might be under the man's thumb.. That said, cleaning overflowing privies is no fun.

  15. #75
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    Perhaps you could plant a special garden that miscreants could be shipped to and thrown in? Id fill it with plants such as ongaonga, gympie gympie, gorse, blackberry, bush lawyer, hookgrass etc. I can guarantee they would learn a good lesson from it! Of course, Im fairly sure some of that lot wouldnt be allowed to be imported to the US, and for good reason!

  16. #76
    Registered User FatMan's Avatar
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    The throngs of hikers has come to a close here in GA. The near solitude has been joyous while hiking this past week. I am heading out now and anticipate only seeing less than a handful of hikers on this beautiful Sunday.

  17. #77
    Registered User FatMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FatMan View Post
    The throngs of hikers has come to a close here in GA. The near solitude has been joyous while hiking this past week. I am heading out now and anticipate only seeing less than a handful of hikers on this beautiful Sunday.
    Well, I was wrong. Apparently quite a few started in the past three days as we saw at least 17 folks heading north. Still quiet compared to the past two months. A glorious day to be out on the trail though. Spring has sprung.

  18. #78

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    great time of year, especially if nights get to about 50 or so.

    I like to hike in predawn, but I dont like it to be real cold.

  19. #79
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    Any update on the crap situation since the herd has passed?

    I'm starting a month-long section hike this Friday at Gooch, and after following this thread since it began, I'm seriously considering skipping from Fontana to Newfound to avoid the non-privy shelters. They must look like a toxic waste dump by now. Any advice from someone who's been through the GSMNP in the last week or so?

  20. #80

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harrison Bergeron View Post
    Any update on the crap situation since the herd has passed?

    I'm starting a month-long section hike this Friday at Gooch, and after following this thread since it began, I'm seriously considering skipping from Fontana to Newfound to avoid the non-privy shelters. They must look like a toxic waste dump by now. Any advice from someone who's been through the GSMNP in the last week or so?
    I don't know, but with all the rain and traffic the GSMNP has gotten in the last month or so, I hate to imagine what the privy areas look like!
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