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  1. #81

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    I suspect for many, finding so called "Trail Magic" comes as something of a surprise. It's also hit or miss. You have to be at the right place at the right time. Depending on many factors, you might hit a lot of hiker feed trail magic, or you might miss them all. It's a nice treat when you do bump into someone handing out hot dogs or donuts. I doubt the presence or lack of "trail magic" has any significant baring on someone's decision to thru hike or not.

    The same goes with shelters. They have limited occupancy so being able to use them is hit or miss. You can't count on using them, but they serve to concentrate usage to a specific area and are really handy for people hiking in the "off" season.
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  2. #82
    •Completed A.T. Section Hike GA to ME 1996 thru 2003 •Donating Member Skyline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gambit McCrae View Post
    Caretakers at shelters/ Eliminating GA shelters

    A "thru Hiker permit" with a price tag steep enough to make people think about it. Say $100? I don't think that everyone that starts would still start if they had to pay $100 bucks. (REQUIRE registration)

    Encourage a ban of trail magic south of the Smokies- (Rant warning shall follow) IMO besides completing Georgia as a state, getting thru the Smokies is the first big accolade for a hiker. I don't understand why people give a reward for something that doesn't deserve a reward? The result of less trail magic early on would take some hot air out of a lot of folks, over time dissolve the hopes of fresh hotdogs and cold beer "at the next road" and sweeten the pot for those that put the effort in. -Instead of Trail Magic ie giving out hotdogs, give out EDUCATION. Educate the hiker community on the dos and don'ts. Preach LNT and give out zip locks for trash, and have trash cans available.

    Not sure how that fee thing would work in GA or any trail with so many access points, but it's worth considering. Perhaps NPS could give ridgerunners the legal authority to do something regarding LD hikers found in the zone who don't have a permit. Kinda like Park Rangers can do now in SNP.

    I also think hikers themselves could be more vocal, and band together when appropriate, to confront that 5% or less who are ruining the AT experience for the other 95%+. Too often they (we?) just say HYOH, which doesn't apply to the behaviors we've been talking about. If the bad guys feel shunned--and aren't having a good time because of it--some may reform, others may leave the Trail. We might be talking about less than 1% left then, which could be more manageable with a solid effort by ridgerunners combining with law enforcement. It's a shame it has come to this--ordinarily I'd be against this sort of thing--but the situation, especially up to Fontana in the Spring, kinda needs a little shock treatment for a few years.

  3. #83
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    I've worked trail for over ten years. Mostly in mountain biking groups but typically multi-use trail. There's always a percentage of yahoo's and education is a constant when you maintain public use areas. You just have to keep at it with the understanding that you're not going to ever stop it. The best you can do is get it down to a manageable level but you're lucky if you do. I've sat at Hawk Mnt Shelter and have video, in fact, of the Leave No Trace sign contrasted with the garbage sitting in the fire pit. That said, all in all it wasn't terribly bad and could have been much, much worse. Still, you have to wonder about the mindset. At least that shelter is a short jaunt from the forest road (a blessing and a curse) and cleanup is far more convenient than say Gooch or say Woods Hole.

  4. #84

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skyline View Post
    Not sure how that fee thing would work in GA or any trail with so many access points, but it's worth considering. Perhaps NPS could give ridgerunners the legal authority to do something regarding LD hikers found in the zone who don't have a permit. Kinda like Park Rangers can do now in SNP.

    I also think hikers themselves could be more vocal, and band together when appropriate, to confront that 5% or less who are ruining the AT experience for the other 95%+. Too often they (we?) just say HYOH, which doesn't apply to the behaviors we've been talking about. If the bad guys feel shunned--and aren't having a good time because of it--some may reform, others may leave the Trail. We might be talking about less than 1% left then, which could be more manageable with a solid effort by ridgerunners combining with law enforcement. It's a shame it has come to this--ordinarily I'd be against this sort of thing--but the situation, especially up to Fontana in the Spring, kinda needs a little shock treatment for a few years.
    I don't see this happening. One group will complain about people staying up late, the other group will complain about people getting up early. People are convinced that their trash is burnable, yet someone else's trash isn't burnable. They just have no idea that their actions might negatively impact others. Confront them, and you'll have a screaming match on your hands. Some jerk on his high horse told poor innocent little me, that I was ruining their experience! That made me sad, and ruined my trip! They'll never even consider that they were in the wrong, only that they were wronged. I hate people sometimes. I read this stuff all the time in hiking blogs.

  5. #85

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    According to the scoping letter, the privy will be decommissioned after the new, larger one is built down the hill near the campsites. The shelter itself "May" be relocated at a future time down the hill near the campsites.

    I've heard that if hikers don't stop camping on the knoll behind the shelter, that "decommissioning" would be recommended.

    The shelter is supposed to get it's own caretaker this thru-hiker season.

  6. #86
    •Completed A.T. Section Hike GA to ME 1996 thru 2003 •Donating Member Skyline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Puddlefish View Post
    I don't see this happening. One group will complain about people staying up late, the other group will complain about people getting up early. People are convinced that their trash is burnable, yet someone else's trash isn't burnable. They just have no idea that their actions might negatively impact others. Confront them, and you'll have a screaming match on your hands. Some jerk on his high horse told poor innocent little me, that I was ruining their experience! That made me sad, and ruined my trip! They'll never even consider that they were in the wrong, only that they were wronged. I hate people sometimes. I read this stuff all the time in hiking blogs.

    There really should be no controversy about things like what is burnable, not doing your laundry/dishwashing/defecating at or near a water source, littering, graffiti, or the more extreme examples of bad behavior in trail towns. These deserve the condemnation of the rest of us who give a damn--in real time as well as online. No, it might not be wise to confront an individual or group on your own, but if we can get more hikers to step up as a group to "educate" those few who do this stuff it would probably help.

    Example: You're at a shelter or camping area and witness some of this going on. You discreetly talk to a few others about it (you may already know them, or feel like they might be on your page). Together, you make a decision to calmly say something to the offender(s). It doesn't NEED to get violent; you're only letting a person know this isn't what most hikers expect from him/her. If enough AT users get in the habit of doing this, especially in small groups, it could be effective. Imagine if the same person has such a conversation from a group of hikers three times in his/her first week on the Trail. It is unlikely they will want to keep having those conversations for six months. They will likely change their ways, or go back to "society" where their BS is better tolerated. The few who stay on the Trail but don't mend their ways should be small enough in numbers that ridgerunners (and maybe law enforcement in the most extreme instances) can be expected to deal with them. Writing about it online may help a little. Dealing with it in the woods could be one of the more productive solutions.

    This is a cultural change that needs to happen, and it will possibly take at least a decade to reap significant results. But ya gotta start somewhere.

    In short, IMHO if we could change the mindset and culture of most in the hiking community to let them know it's OK (and preferable) to get involved when they see real examples of someone causing damage to the Trail and its reputation in towns, preferably with safety in numbers, it could help.

    Or am I being naive? Hope not...
    Last edited by Skyline; 01-28-2016 at 17:49.

  7. #87

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skyline View Post
    There really should be no controversy about things like what is burnable, not doing your laundry/dishwashing/defecating at or near a water source, littering, graffiti, or the more extreme examples of bad behavior in trail towns. These deserve the condemnation of the rest of us who give a damn--in real time as well as online. No, it might not be wise to confront an individual or group on your own, but if we can get more hikers to step up as a group to "educate" those few who do this stuff it would probably help.

    Example: You're at a shelter or camping area and witness some of this going on. You discreetly talk to a few others about it (you may already know them, or feel like they might be on your page). Together, you make a decision to calmly say something to the offender(s). It doesn't NEED to get violent; you're only letting a person know this isn't what most hikers expect from him/her. If enough AT users get in the habit of doing this, especially in small groups, it could be effective. Imagine if the same person has such a conversation from a group of hikers three times in his/her first week on the Trail. It is unlikely they will want to keep having those conversations for six months. They will likely change their ways, or go back to "society" where their BS is better tolerated. The few who stay on the Trail but don't mend their ways should be small enough in numbers that ridgerunners (and maybe law enforcement in the most extreme instances) can be expected to deal with them. Writing about it online may help a little. Dealing with it in the woods could be one of the more productive solutions.

    This is a cultural change that needs to happen, and it will possibly take at least a decade to reap significant results. But ya gotta start somewhere.

    In short, IMHO if we could change the mindset and culture of most in the hiking community to let them know it's OK (and preferable) to get involved when they see real examples of someone causing damage to the Trail and its reputation in towns, preferably with safety in numbers, it could help.

    Or am I being naive? Hope not...
    I'd love to agree with you. I very much wish that when we gently confront people about their poor behavior, that they'll just accept it gracefully and change their ways. You can give it a try, and I'm sure it will work with some people.

    Then again, what if you form your posse, and the punk just smirks at you? Then what are you going to do? Beat them up, continue to chastise them, call the police, walk away in embarrassment while they laugh at you? What if it's just a borderline rule? Do you let it go, if you otherwise like that person? Confront them if you don't? Going to be the judge and jury?

    By all means shun and avoid the idiots, or quietly talk to them on your own, but don't expect that people will thank you for adding drama to the trail.

  8. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by Puddlefish View Post
    I'd love to agree with you. I very much wish that when we gently confront people about their poor behavior, that they'll just accept it gracefully and change their ways. You can give it a try, and I'm sure it will work with some people.

    Then again, what if you form your posse, and the punk just smirks at you? Then what are you going to do? Beat them up, continue to chastise them, call the police, walk away in embarrassment while they laugh at you?
    What if it's just a borderline rule? Do you let it go, if you otherwise like that person? Confront them if you don't? Going to be the judge and jury?

    By all means shun and avoid the idiots, or quietly talk to them on your own, but don't expect that people will thank you for adding drama to the trail.
    AT the least Get their trail names and put the word out, especially with hostel owners and trail angels, word travels fast and they'll soon find themselves unwelcome at many places they expected stay.
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  9. #89

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarcasm the elf View Post
    AT the least Get their trail names and put the word out, especially with hostel owners and trail angels, word travels fast and they'll soon find themselves unwelcome at many places they expected stay.
    This sounds like a far more effective form of self policing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Puddlefish View Post
    This sounds like a far more effective form of self policing.
    because it is so difficult to change a trail nome

  11. #91

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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    because it is so difficult to change a trail nome
    If they've changed their trail name out of shame, maybe they've changed their behavior and are trying to make a fresh start? No doubt in a cloud of sunshine and happiness. ... or it may just be an alias to spread more chaos in their wake.

    Some people are awesome, some aren't.

  12. #92

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skyline View Post
    There really should be no controversy about things like what is burnable, not doing your laundry/dishwashing/defecating at or near a water source, littering, graffiti, or the more extreme examples of bad behavior in trail towns.
    Or am I being naive? Hope not...
    I called out some thru hikers for burning plastic in the camp fire just into Maine. That didn't go over well.
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  13. #93
    •Completed A.T. Section Hike GA to ME 1996 thru 2003 •Donating Member Skyline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Puddlefish View Post
    I'd love to agree with you. I very much wish that when we gently confront people about their poor behavior, that they'll just accept it gracefully and change their ways. You can give it a try, and I'm sure it will work with some people.

    Then again, what if you form your posse, and the punk just smirks at you? Then what are you going to do? Beat them up, continue to chastise them, call the police, walk away in embarrassment while they laugh at you? What if it's just a borderline rule? Do you let it go, if you otherwise like that person? Confront them if you don't? Going to be the judge and jury?

    By all means shun and avoid the idiots, or quietly talk to them on your own, but don't expect that people will thank you for adding drama to the trail.

    I'm definitely not forming posses, and I'm not advocating violence. Talk about drama! Sure, some smarta** kid might smirk. At least he'll know what he's doing is unpopular with a lot of the people he thought he'd find to be his trail buds. Which means he'll be unpopular. The next move would be up to him. Peer pressure sometimes does work to change behavior.

  14. #94

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skyline View Post
    I'm definitely not forming posses, and I'm not advocating violence. Talk about drama! Sure, some smarta** kid might smirk. At least he'll know what he's doing is unpopular with a lot of the people he thought he'd find to be his trail buds. Which means he'll be unpopular. The next move would be up to him. Peer pressure sometimes does work to change behavior.
    I try and pick up all the trash I can along the way, when its an overwhelming pile I hate to see it stay but it usually does.

    Last summer I was in the Scotts Gulf Wilderness area when I came upon a beautiful waterfall with some lovely limearita cans strewn at the bottom, I was so irate. I scrambled down cussing and impulsions. Picked them up, fell in the water, cracked my trekking pole...now I'm really pissed..

    Got up and continued trotting down the trail for the rest of my hike, I had high hopes of finding some limearita drinkers on down the trail but to no avail, they got away
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  15. #95

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gambit McCrae View Post
    I try and pick up all the trash I can along the way, when its an overwhelming pile I hate to see it stay but it usually does.

    Last summer I was in the Scotts Gulf Wilderness area when I came upon a beautiful waterfall with some lovely limearita cans strewn at the bottom, I was so irate. I scrambled down cussing and impulsions. Picked them up, fell in the water, cracked my trekking pole...now I'm really pissed..

    Got up and continued trotting down the trail for the rest of my hike, I had high hopes it finding some limearita drinkers on down the trail but to no avail, they got away
    its just litter dude, don't give your self an aneurism over it, just pick up what ya can...its all we can do.

  16. #96

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skyline View Post
    I'm definitely not forming posses, and I'm not advocating violence. Talk about drama! Sure, some smarta** kid might smirk. At least he'll know what he's doing is unpopular with a lot of the people he thought he'd find to be his trail buds. Which means he'll be unpopular. The next move would be up to him. Peer pressure sometimes does work to change behavior.
    I know you aren't intending to start drama and violence, however what you intend, and what actually happens may be two very different things. You can HYOH and try your method yourself. Good luck with it. Don't be surprised if people treat you like you're the "Left Lane Speed Limit Guy" and you find yourself on the wrong end of the peer pressure groups. Group popularity is a poor moral standard.

    Calling out people in public can make them react poorly. Don't assume that anyone is going to react in the same way you might react. You don't know what issues they have, you don't know what drugs they might be on, you don't know their history.

  17. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by Puddlefish View Post
    Calling out people in public can make them react poorly. Don't assume that anyone is going to react in the same way you might react. You don't know what issues they have, you don't know what drugs they might be on, you don't know their history.
    This wouldn't work as well, or maybe at all, as a solo act. It's when that 5% understands that most of his potential hiker buds take a dim view of the stuff he does that hurts the Trail, diminishes the Trail experience for others, and harms the reputation of the AT and its hikers in trail towns--that it has a chance for success. So it takes small groups to make that impression, and maybe provide safety in numbers.

    So, you don't like this suggestion. Fair enough. Do you have an alternative in mind that would stand a good chance at improving the growing problem of bad hiker behavior on the AT and in trail towns/hostels? That was my original question/challenge anyway before I started hiking down this side trail. Same question to all. Advocacy campaigns by ALDHA and ATC probably do some good, but the problem is still with us.

  18. #98

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skyline View Post
    This wouldn't work as well, or maybe at all, as a solo act. It's when that 5% understands that most of his potential hiker buds take a dim view of the stuff he does that hurts the Trail, diminishes the Trail experience for others, and harms the reputation of the AT and its hikers in trail towns--that it has a chance for success. So it takes small groups to make that impression, and maybe provide safety in numbers.

    So, you don't like this suggestion. Fair enough. Do you have an alternative in mind that would stand a good chance at improving the growing problem of bad hiker behavior on the AT and in trail towns/hostels? That was my original question/challenge anyway before I started hiking down this side trail. Same question to all. Advocacy campaigns by ALDHA and ATC probably do some good, but the problem is still with us.
    TLDR version: That 5% can be crazy and dangerous.

    My alternative is to do what we're doing right now. Spread awareness pre-hike. In the internet age, that vast majority of the population has the ability to get information, on backpacking, on hiking, on camping. Chances are they'll stumble across the LNT concept and read about it once or twice. The more often they read about it, the more often they'll memorize it, the more often they'll consider "Hey, these ideas not only limit my actions, but they provide me some real benefit as well."

    If someone chooses to act like the ass on the trail, chances are they somehow are clueless how the internet works, and about LNT principles, or that they've chosen that the rules don't apply to me, or I'm smarter than everyone else, or screw those treehuggers, or generally some combination of anti social, entitled, selfish, lazy, and self centered. The first group can be educated by a single person telling them about the LNT goals. The second group, aren't going to care what you have to say, mommy never told them no, and some group of preachy people ganging up on them might just make them throw a tantrum. People can get insanely protective of their ideas.

    Forming a group, escalates the situation. Humans in groups are dangerous things. You might not know that person you invited into your vigilante education group. That person might have different ideas from just polite education. When someone smirks at him, that person might throw a punch. Suddenly, you're the one breaking up a fight.

    Lead by example, speak one on one only if you feel it's safe to do so, control what you can control, move on down the trail and keep away from the people who are ruining your experience. Take a picture, report to authorities, warn other hikers of the situation.

    I retired from a non-armed, field, federal law enforcement position. I'm trained in conflict resolution. I've dealt with many thousands of people on the wrong side of the law. The vast majority you can help out through empathy, education and access to helpful tools. There remains a smaller percent who know exactly what they're doing, and don't care about social niceties. An even smaller minority were flat out dangerous. I also spent a few years in a miserable apartment complex. Confronting most of these people would result in screaming matches, get your property damaged, or get you beat up.

    Do what your going to do, just be aware of the consequences.
    Last edited by Puddlefish; 01-30-2016 at 12:12.

  19. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by Puddlefish View Post
    TLDR version: That 5% can be crazy and dangerous.

    My alternative is to do what we're doing right now. Spread awareness pre-hike. In the internet age, that vast majority of the population has the ability to get information, on backpacking, on hiking, on camping. Chances are they'll stumble across the LNT concept and read about it once or twice. The more often they read about it, the more often they'll memorize it, the more often they'll consider "Hey, these ideas not only limit my actions, but they provide me some real benefit as well."

    If someone chooses to act like the ass on the trail, chances are they somehow are clueless how the internet works, and about LNT principles, or that they've chosen that the rules don't apply to me, or I'm smarter than everyone else, or screw those treehuggers, or generally some combination of anti social, entitled, selfish, lazy, and self centered. The first group can be educated by a single person telling them about the LNT goals. The second group, aren't going to care what you have to say, mommy never told them no, and some group of preachy people ganging up on them might just make them throw a tantrum. People can get insanely protective of their ideas.

    Forming a group, escalates the situation. Humans in groups are dangerous things. You might not know that person you invited into your vigilante education group. That person might have different ideas from just polite education. When someone smirks at him, that person might throw a punch. Suddenly, you're the one breaking up a fight.

    Lead by example, speak one on one only if you feel it's safe to do so, control what you can control, move on down the trail and keep away from the people who are ruining your experience. Take a picture, report to authorities, warn other hikers of the situation.

    I retired from a non-armed, field, federal law enforcement position. I'm trained in conflict resolution. I've dealt with many thousands of people on the wrong side of the law. The vast majority you can help out through empathy, education and access to helpful tools. There remains a smaller percent who know exactly what they're doing, and don't care about social niceties. An even smaller minority were flat out dangerous. I also spent a few years in a miserable apartment complex. Confronting most of these people would result in screaming matches, get your property damaged, or get you beat up.

    Do what your going to do, just be aware of the consequences.

    You've given this a lot of thought, and your previous career experience gives you special credibility to speak to the issue. There are the rare circumstances where an AT confrontation would seem to mirror one in an inner city housing project. Drugs and all. I would not advocate confronting people in that situation either. Your alternatives make sense.

    I suppose my larger point, aside from a specific example I gave earlier, is to advocate the 95% get involved more in some way, and to feel empowered more, to try to change the AT experience back to what it once was. Or closer to what it was. A truly cultural change needs to happen on the AT, and it will take many years. Each person should do this in his or her own way. What we cannot (should not) do is continue to look the other way and blindly recite HYOH when we see the worst examples of bad outcomes being perpetuated by the behavior of the 5%.

    Some combination of what you've written, plus what I and a few others have written, will likely further that goal.

  20. #100

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skyline View Post
    You've given this a lot of thought, and your previous career experience gives you special credibility to speak to the issue. There are the rare circumstances where an AT confrontation would seem to mirror one in an inner city housing project. Drugs and all. I would not advocate confronting people in that situation either. Your alternatives make sense.

    I suppose my larger point, aside from a specific example I gave earlier, is to advocate the 95% get involved more in some way, and to feel empowered more, to try to change the AT experience back to what it once was. Or closer to what it was. A truly cultural change needs to happen on the AT, and it will take many years. Each person should do this in his or her own way. What we cannot (should not) do is continue to look the other way and blindly recite HYOH when we see the worst examples of bad outcomes being perpetuated by the behavior of the 5%.

    Some combination of what you've written, plus what I and a few others have written, will likely further that goal.
    By all means, try something. There's that famous quote by the dead guy "All that it requires for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing." Just think about how your message will be perceived, and how they might react. It's a bit like right of way between two boats. You can be right, and still get run over and killed.

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