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  1. #1
    Registered User DavidNH's Avatar
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    Default the down side of Scott Jurek's record AT hike-- Baxter state park condemnation

    Before you all get too impressed about Scott Jurek, you should read the view from Baxter State Park officials.

    https://www.facebook.com/baxterstate...82502611969384



    BSP officials mention that Scott actually got 3 summons from BSP (drinking alcohol near summit, hiking with oversized group, and littering).



    If thru hikers keep it up (and I see no reason why they won't) it's a matter of time, and not all that long in my view, till Baxter State Park officials block the AT from the park all together. The trail could well end at Abol Bridge or maybe at one of the peaks south of there. The thru hiker experience would never again be the same.



    DavidNH

  2. #2

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    I am disappointed also. Since it was a carefully orchestrated media event, there is no excuse in breaking established rules. Every car entering the park is handed the rules.I expect some low level member of the media team will apologize and insist that the runner was not aware of the infractions and that this shouldn't in any way be held against the record.

    So I wonder if the FKT announcement gets the dreaded asterisk?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    So I wonder if the FKT announcement gets the dreaded asterisk?
    An asterisk???? What for again?

    WhatEVer.

    Was Scott himself actually to blame? Does anyone know if HE encouraged such a circus other than because he was doing something spectacular? Did he haul that EVIL bottle of bubbly that so many tea-tottlers on here are so worked up about? What would you do on the summit... refuse the bottle handed to you? Go right over to a park official and report such a dastardly deed?

    Or are WE here on WB more to blame with our never-ending banter about his speed attempt, fanning the media/circus flames even more than they were.

    A whole lot to do about essentially nothing. Point noted, BSP; future NOBO speed attempts will simply have to be more careful with their entourage. the likely hood of BSP closing to the AT is essentially zero. Get real.

  4. #4

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    peakbagger, that asterisk would be well deserved.

    An additional discouraging observation. The Appalachian Trail provided the challenge and backdrop for this event and consequently, provided the conduit for this event to land in Baxter Park. The profile of the AT is large enough to attract the corporate sponsorship necessary to support and carry such an event. The AT is apparently comfortable with the fit of this type of event in its mission. The formal federal designation and authority of the Appalachian Trial does not extend into Baxter State Park. The AT within the Park is hosted at the consideration of the Baxter State Park Authority. The Authority is currently considering the increasing pressures, impacts and conflicts that the Appalachian Trail brings to the Park and if a continued relationship is in the best interests of Baxter State Park.
    I'm all for the AT ending outside the Park. Close the Birches. Let ATers make reservations if they want to visit, just like everyone else.
    Last edited by TJ aka Teej; 07-16-2015 at 11:15.
    Teej

    "[ATers] represent three percent of our use and about twenty percent of our effort," retired Baxter Park Director Jensen Bissell.

  5. #5

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    On the surface, these are legitimate complaints. I do have some questions about each, however.
    1) The alcohol. Is it possible that this was a misunderstanding? Not having been up there, I really don't know. Is it clearly posted that alcohol is prohibited up there?
    2) The media permits. To my knowlege, the only 'media' was from other parties, e.g. Runners World, etc. Scott had his own pacer there with him (Luis Escobar) who does take a lot of photographs. It sounds like BSP gave the citation to Scott Jurek when they really needed to be dealing with other groups.

    No idea on the littering. All I can say to that is related to my two experiences with seeing him come through this area. In both cases, they were fastidious about LNT. If any trash hit the ground, it would have been picked up. Sorry to hear that something went differently at the end.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by CalebJ View Post
    On the surface, these are legitimate complaints. I do have some questions about each, however.
    1) The alcohol. Is it possible that this was a misunderstanding? Not having been up there, I really don't know. Is it clearly posted that alcohol is prohibited up there?
    2) The media permits. To my knowlege, the only 'media' was from other parties, e.g. Runners World, etc. Scott had his own pacer there with him (Luis Escobar) who does take a lot of photographs. It sounds like BSP gave the citation to Scott Jurek when they really needed to be dealing with other groups.

    No idea on the littering. All I can say to that is related to my two experiences with seeing him come through this area. In both cases, they were fastidious about LNT. If any trash hit the ground, it would have been picked up. Sorry to hear that something went differently at the end.
    The media citations went to the groups, not Scott. I fully support FKT attempts but I have to say that I cringed when I saw the celebration at the summit including the alcohol. While I'm sure there are multitude of similiar celebrations by thru hikers and others, this story and the photos have gone worldwide setting a very bad example. I'm sure this was the last thing on Scott's mind at the time but his crew should have scoped this out a bit better. Overall, not a major travesty of justice but it was unfortunate.

  7. #7

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    Worse are all the disrespectful comments on the FB page dissing the parks rules. Yes, Scott was responsible for all the violations. It doesn't matter if it was direct or indirect. His presence there was the cause.

    Then you have thru-hikers posting summit pictures with their dog. I'm sure the park would be thrilled to see that too. If this behavior continues, you can bet the park will be closed to thru hikers before very long.
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  8. #8

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    If you read closely it seems that the commercial aspect seems to offend them just as much as disrespect for the other rules. With the meeting coming up soon this will definitely have a bearing on the outcome. If you read the comments on FB and those that will surely follow here you see a lot of resentment at BSP for having rules and expecting people to follow them. Ignorance might be an excuse for a day hiker, but anyone attempting a thru, let alone a record setting attempt, should be aware of the rules they will be subject to along the way. Love him or hate him, Scott's legacy may well be that he was the straw that broke the camel's back.

    People seem to have a hard time understanding that BSP puts the wilderness ahead of people. The need some folks have to feel special by breaking the rules is the problem. A hundred people a day could summit respectfully, but a handful of idiots are enough to get the whole thing shut down.
    “The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait until that other is ready...”~Henry David Thoreau

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  9. #9
    Registered User Walkintom's Avatar
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    I think that Scott didn't do anything particularly wrong.

    Of course, I can't see as well because I'm not up on as high of a horse as the BSP officials seem to be.

  10. #10
    CDT - 2013, PCT - 2009, AT - 1300 miles done burger's Avatar
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    Thanks to Scott, we're a few steps closer to having BSP boot the AT out of the park. Thanks, Scott!

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    An asterisk???? What for again?

    WhatEVer.

    Was Scott himself actually to blame? Does anyone know if HE encouraged such a circus other than because he was doing something spectacular? Did he haul that EVIL bottle of bubbly that so many tea-tottlers on here are so worked up about? What would you do on the summit... refuse the bottle handed to you? Go right over to a park official and report such a dastardly deed?

    Or are WE here on WB more to blame with our never-ending banter about his speed attempt, fanning the media/circus flames even more than they were.

    A whole lot to do about essentially nothing. Point noted, BSP; future NOBO speed attempts will simply have to be more careful with their entourage. the likely hood of BSP closing to the AT is essentially zero. Get real.
    We are getting real, BSP issued a rather pointed letter calling out long term issues to the ATC last fall and basically said to ATC, "its your mess clean it up" The founder of the IAT attempted to circumvent park regs when it was initially laid out and ended up being not allowed in the park, if you check out their maps, the trail starts at the easterly park boundary line. It really wouldn't be that hard to close the one connecting trail from Abol Bridge and invite anyone wanting to go climb the mountain to have reservations in hand.

    The parks comments pretty well established that Scott Jurek "INC" is not an individual but a sponsored campaign with a talented individual as a "brand". That individual has the responsibility to follow the well established rules or delegate someone that is responsible to do so. This apparently didn't happen.

    There have been other media events in the park in the past where the participants read the rules and followed them. The park isn't adverse to media events, they just want to manage them to minimize impact. There is a policy in place to deal with these events and the inevitable spin off issues that will occur. I expect that if the folks managing the run had talked to park staff in advance they would have gotten advice to minimize the impact and the park could have been proactive in dealing with the subsidiary issues. The actual staff in the park don't have internet or much access to media, I expect they didn't get a lot of notice and just ended up getting mobbed. They run very lean with staff during the summer and freeing up folks to deal with a media circus is not easy.

    Every drive in visitor to the park is handed a set of the official rules. There are (or were) rules posted at the Abol Bridge entrance to the park. A lot of folks get confused by the name of the area. It is actually a wilderness preserve managed primarily as forever wild where visitors are limited. The rules were set in place by the individual who bought the land and donated it to the state. He structured the donation so that it is extremely difficult to expand use of the park and in general the parks management over the years is to limit abuse of the Baxter Peak as it the major attraction of the park. The interesting thing about the park is there are large number of individuals and some groups that are not afraid to litigate when they perceive the park is operating outside of the deeds of trust and subsequent interpretations, even if the park wanted to allow a more zoo like atmosphere, they would be hauled into court. It has happened in the past. Many people object to the rules in place and vilify the park authority and the rangers who enforce the rules. For the folks who do follow the rules we don't mind as it makes more room for us.

    A general observation is that true Mainers (not the relocated mass folks in the three southern counties) can be contrary by nature, try to push something on them and they can push back.


    If the asterisk is not wanted I guess we can all look forward to the repeat event.

  12. #12
    Registered User Just Bill's Avatar
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    This is a hair bit different than the wild speculation on the other threads.
    This is an official statement by park authorities. Hopefully Scott will have a meaningful response.

    I have no issue with Scott (and any media member) being issued citations directly.

    I can empathize, sympathize, and even understand Scott's position.
    For all the "credit" that folks gave his team it was pretty clear that they were overall not too familiar with the trail and had their hands full getting the runner to the summit, let alone handling all the peripheral issues. I think the corporate sponsorship is likely overblown, I doubt this was a "profitable" trip overall. At best it was an investment in future talks or books. And I still got no issues with somebody making a living doing what they love.

    Overall for a masterpiece, it seems even a good weekend of sitting with his buddy Karl might have informed him of some of his past issues with media coverage and some of the trail culture overall. Yar, Scott is a sincere, nice enough fella with a good heart. But overall, this sniffs out as more of a whim than a carefully planned dream.

    But as the ol' saying goes, ignorance of the law is no excuse. And I could care less about any of the press.
    I hope the corporate sponsors pay his fines and then some.
    I appreciate Supported trips, but do generally agree that a lower profile FKT like JPD should be the standard. I would not go so far as to demand that FKT's stop. HYOH. But perhaps it is time to demand that runners adopt the unsupported guidelines and style. Ban live updates and on-trail interviews or celebrations.

    There are some issues and misinformation with the BSP concerns in general-
    But in re-reading the past thread I note too much "blame the victim" language there.
    If anything some of the vague statements or unclear meaning in BSP's letter give some hope that their position is somewhat regretful and the statements reluctantly made. If there is ambiguity, perhaps see it as that.

    This statement is a bit more firm.
    And while I still feel it's a straw's weight worth of an issue... if it's the one that breaks the camels back it doesn't matter how seriously you want to take it at face value.

    Can we have a real discussion-
    Instead of continuing to blame the victim.
    Defending the extent or seriousness of each offense or honor of each offender.
    Suggesting that BSP simply write tickets and post signs when they have clearly done so.
    Debating the legalities or rights BSP has to accomplish these actions or even the ultimate choice to expel the trail.
    Discussing the ages, mentalities, or good ol days of hiking.
    Foolishly wishing that this will all go away.

    How many warnings need to be issued?
    Is BSP some crotchety old Mainer causing a fuss, or is this not a widespread issue on the AT at large?
    If they do have an axe to grind, why do we keep giving them a stone?
    I don't get it. Is it just some abstract concern providing good fodder for cyberhiking and exciting threads to pull out the popcorn for?

    Two folks who know better than I have strongly hinted there are dates on a calendar, and the countdown has begun.
    Will people who have some facts and figures actually weigh in and end some of the speculation?
    Is the thought to just amputate the troublesome terminus and move on if they won't bow to the overall TRAIL. Is the ATC arrogant in this regard?
    Seems more like a cancer to me we are trying to treat by hacking out chunks with an axe rather than actually addressing the issues.

    There is a new generation and type of trail user, yet the trail will not last without them.
    They have different values, upbringing, and ethics of the previous generation.
    This is nothing new, it happens every generation. If you'd care to assign blame, blame yourselves.
    A new generation can only learn from the one before it.

    Or don't blame anyone, and simply deal with it.
    Sometimes it is what it is. Quit cursing the rain, and crying about the mud.
    Pull out the map and figure where we are going and what we can do.
    We insist on an open door policy yet cry when folks walk through the door?
    It will be hard, but so what. The trail is where the impossible is possible.

    What is the alternative?

    No rain, no pain; NO MAINE?

  13. #13

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    Best Facebook comment on this today:
    "Don't Jurek it up for the next guy!"
    Teej

    "[ATers] represent three percent of our use and about twenty percent of our effort," retired Baxter Park Director Jensen Bissell.

  14. #14

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    BSP knew he was coming, knew media was coming, and allowed it all. Looks like they are using this event to simply push forward their own agenda which is to get the AT out of the park because of PAST hiker behavior. In reality, prior hikers should have been receiving fines for alcohol, littering, animals, etc. Plus, unfortunately, the ATC waited a little long to start emphasizing LNT principles, etc. For so long, it was a HYOH attitude. When folks had an attitude of personal responsibility HYOH worked ok. The new me attitude is our reality.

  15. #15

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    Thank you, TJ, Slo-go-en, and LoneStranger. Well put.
    Last edited by kf1wv; 07-16-2015 at 12:21.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malto View Post
    The media citations went to the groups, not Scott. I fully support FKT attempts but I have to say that I cringed when I saw the celebration at the summit including the alcohol. While I'm sure there are multitude of similiar celebrations by thru hikers and others, this story and the photos have gone worldwide setting a very bad example. I'm sure this was the last thing on Scott's mind at the time but his crew should have scoped this out a bit better. Overall, not a major travesty of justice but it was unfortunate.
    I agree 100% with Malto. I'm a fan of Jurek's, but it's beyond me how he and his support team had failed to properly research and prepare for hiking and filming in Baxter SP. Honestly I had assumed that they had worked it out with the park officials ahead of time and it wasn't until I saw the champagne photo it dawned on me that they didn't know or care to follow the regulations. It really is sad that this oversight is clouding his otherwise awesome achievement.
    Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by TJ aka Teej View Post
    peakbagger, that asterisk would be well deserved.



    I'm all for the AT ending outside the Park. Close the Birches. Let ATers make reservations if they want to visit, just like everyone else.
    agree. end it at abol bridge. from there on blue-blaze the trail to katahdin

  18. #18

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    "As far as impact for FKT, I don't see it as problem.... they have no money earnings involved that it won't be turned into a Boston Marathon type event. Even the first place prizes at ultras usually just have a trophy of some sort and a new pair of shoes or a cool duffel bag."

    I don't see it that way and I'm sure some of the folks involved in these activities don't recognize it that way.

    The money that can be obtained through Ultras, marathons, and FKTs through prize money, if any at all, is insubstantial compared to enterprising creative
    endorsements/advertising/promoting of products and services, sponsorships, speaking engagements, books, How To vids, gear and food perks, consulting fees, appearance perks, and many other possible perks, most of which we will know little about. BSP obviously is not blind to these opportunities as well. The marketing that surrounds these events and prestige that comes to contestants who market themselves well is only going to grow, at least to some degree, as these events get more press and interest particularly on the most recognized or dramatic trails/routes such as the AT. As the well written and cordially but forthrightly expressed BSP Facebook page states obvious commercial advertising and marketing interests are taking hold. *To say one absolutely can not or does not benefit financially from these types of activities is IMO inaccurate.

    At the current level of these types of FKTs the activity surrounding them hasn't YET reached epic negative proportions but I foresee, should these events/activities continue to gain momentum, National Parks and Wilderness Areas also taking steps similar to BSP and this is not just pertaining to NPs and WAs associated with the AT. I could certainly see the National Park and Wilderness Area Authorities taking steps on the JMT. It's interesting to know that three summons were issued to SJ and his team yet it was NEVER mentioned in any of the media coverage. BSP is taking careful note of what is occurring and WILL take steps to adhere to their mandate.

    I for one have grown long tired of all the opining here on WB about what BSP MUST DO in order to accommodate AT users. BSP has REPEATEDLY CLEARLY CORDIALLY and FORTHRIGHTLY made known what they want and what they will do after carefully considering the situation(s) posed by ATers and, dare I say, some of the attitudes of AT governing bodies. From all that I can see and what I know, BSP has been extremely patient seeking solutions to accommodate ATers yet the circus continues to roll on until..............

  19. #19

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    Remove the AT from BSP, I agree, because clearly they don't like the negative effects of thru-hikers breaking their rules. It really has nothing to do with SJ's hike, but people will mindlessly blame him, but they do this for other reasons, but they are too blinded by their hatred to see this.

    The fact is, I've seen more people up there partying that I saw on that interview video. And there are far more egregious acts thru the years by thru-hikers. What Scott did was nothing.

    Go ahead and close down the park to the AT.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pedaling Fool View Post
    Remove the AT from BSP, I agree, because clearly they don't like the negative effects of thru-hikers breaking their rules. It really has nothing to do with SJ's hike, but people will mindlessly blame him, but they do this for other reasons, but they are too blinded by their hatred to see this.

    The fact is, I've seen more people up there partying that I saw on that interview video. And there are far more egregious acts thru the years by thru-hikers. What Scott did was nothing.

    Go ahead and close down the park to the AT.
    Agree. Let K b a blaze. Enough already.

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