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Thread: Am I the jerk?

  1. #1
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    Default Am I the jerk?

    So, a couple of weeks ago, I was at Dolly Sods Wilderness. As I was breaking camp on my first morning, I noticed a couple in their early twenties approaching my campsite. I'll admit, I wasn't paying much attention, but I'm pretty sure they told me that they were volunteering for the Forest Service and they were educating hikers about Leave No Trace, though they showed me no credentials. They asked if they could check out my campsite. I said that's fine, but I'm trying to get packed up before the rain hits. So they followed me back to my campsite and started snooping around. Then they started to ask me about packing out my trash and digging cat holes. Then she asked me if I carry a shovel to bury my poop. I told her no, that I used my hiking pole. By this time, I am thoroughly annoyed, so I asked her if she was the poop police. Failing to grasp my sarcasm, she then explains, again, that she is volunteering to spread the word about LNT. At this point I was pissed so I stopped packing and just stared at them. The guy then commented that he liked my tarp set up, dug around in my fire pit with a stick, told me that my campsite was exceptionally clean, and proclaimed that I appeared to know what I was doing. Apparently my demeanor caused them to move on and they then found a group of five or six hikers that they talked to for over twenty minutes.

    So, did they overstep their bounds, or am I the jerk for getting annoyed by this?

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pony View Post
    So, a couple of weeks ago, I was at Dolly Sods Wilderness. As I was breaking camp on my first morning, I noticed a couple in their early twenties approaching my campsite. I'll admit, I wasn't paying much attention, but I'm pretty sure they told me that they were volunteering for the Forest Service and they were educating hikers about Leave No Trace, though they showed me no credentials. They asked if they could check out my campsite. I said that's fine, but I'm trying to get packed up before the rain hits. So they followed me back to my campsite and started snooping around. Then they started to ask me about packing out my trash and digging cat holes. Then she asked me if I carry a shovel to bury my poop. I told her no, that I used my hiking pole. By this time, I am thoroughly annoyed, so I asked her if she was the poop police. Failing to grasp my sarcasm, she then explains, again, that she is volunteering to spread the word about LNT. At this point I was pissed so I stopped packing and just stared at them. The guy then commented that he liked my tarp set up, dug around in my fire pit with a stick, told me that my campsite was exceptionally clean, and proclaimed that I appeared to know what I was doing. Apparently my demeanor caused them to move on and they then found a group of five or six hikers that they talked to for over twenty minutes.

    So, did they overstep their bounds, or am I the jerk for getting annoyed by this?
    eager volunteers - they were a little over the top - meh hike on

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    What exactly was it that they did/said that got you that annoyed? Sounds like you could have been friendly and thanked them for their efforts. I'm leaning towards JERK.
    Last edited by DownYonder; 10-28-2018 at 14:47.
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  4. #4

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    Congrats to the kids for sticking to the msg and deflecting the negativity

  5. #5

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    I wouldn't appreciate them bothering me in camp either, but I would understand why they were doing so.

    Unfortunately, we do need people to educate others about LNT. The amount of trash I find is disturbing...

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    I don't appreciate anyone snooping thruogh my stuff. I was friendly at first, but felt like they got a little nosey.

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    Quote Originally Posted by soumodeler View Post
    I wouldn't appreciate them bothering me in camp either, but I would understand why they were doing so.
    I think this is it. I wouldn't have cared if I ran into them on the trail. It bothered me that they came into my camp and started looking around.

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    You were much kinder then I was. With me they just started with the 10 question pop quiz. At least the cops read you your rights before questioning. At the end of question 2, I said "who are you guys again"?...they said they were trail club ridge-runners...I told them to....... stay away from me.

  9. #9
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    Default Am I the jerk?

    I guess I am not a trusting person. I would have been worried about being robbed down the trail primarily. I also don't allow strangers to look thru my stuff. Maybe it is because I am old. Guess that makes me a jerk also. I don't think I would feel like apologizing for anyone without a badge doing what they did.

  10. #10

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    I wish we had the poop police in the places I hike. Way too much toliet paper laying around. Some of the rangers doing backcountry patrol have to carry gloves and ziplocks to pick it up (Sequoia NP and other areas) which is not what they signed on to do. Don't get me started on what I saw on the JMT last year.

    Well I don't have an issue with the questions they asked and many places I've done my business, a hiking pole or rock isn't going to dig into the rocky soil deep enough, but I will assume that isn' t the case where you are. But I wouldn't have invited them into my campsite as I would have be paranoid about them doing something illegal to me or my stuff and would have stated my uncomfort with the situation on that basis and not poop.

  11. #11

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    Once in the Rockies a group of 6 extremely enthusiastic opinionators lectured me on the importance of not walking on the tundra. This was on Mount Evans. It's fine for people to state their opinion and listen to yours. It crosses the line when they get mad at you because they failed on their mission to influence your thinking. I bury my poop and pack out my trash, but there is bound to be something I've done that someone else finds offensive. You have to avoid the urge to feel responsible for their emotional state in that moment.

  12. #12

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    It sounds like they were attempting to cordially LNT educate. They even asked if it was OK. They didn't seem like eco douches eco broing you. You didn't sound like a jerk either. Hey, they didn't carry a citation book like NP Rangers or a yard stick like teachers in the past. I did have chalky erasers and pieces of chalk thrown at me when I dozed off in college classes though.

    Think about it. Where's one of the best classrooms if there's a need to LNT educate? Perhaps, when people are camping or in Nature? As Miner stated there's a very real need to LNT educate in this increasingly person to person - impersonal and person to Nature disconnected world. Don't move any rocks atop nearly any summit these days. Correlated human behaviors are by far the most consistently dangerous aspect of going outdoors. 'Civilization' can be a very unhealthy.

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    My first question for nosy people butting into my business is "do you have a badge?"

    Their answer and attitude influence all future interactions. Remember, they intruded upon you so it is up to them to adjust their attitude and approach.

    The whole conversation could have went different but you weren't (too much of) a jerk.

  14. #14
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    Your story reminded me of the Jebus freaks who come up and say, "May I tell you about my Lord and savior?"

    I think you handled it well.

  15. #15

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    There in lies the problem. People assume what they do in Nature, at a CS, at a freshwater site, taking a poop, trampling anywhere, etc is just their business as it doesn't have consequences on others. This attitude contributes to TP lying around, negative bear/human encounters, contaminated drinking water, being disconnected/angrier/further self and tribal absorption....and a general I'll do as I darn well please desensitized outlook.

    We can live a life where we're constantly open to learning and applying what we have heard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    We can live a life where we're constantly open to learning and applying what we have heard.
    Teaching is a skill not everyone is trained or suited for.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kittyslayer View Post
    My first question for nosy people butting into my business is "do you have a badge?"

    Their answer and attitude influence all future interactions. Remember, they intruded upon you so it is up to them to adjust their attitude and approach.

    The whole conversation could have went different but you weren't (too much of) a jerk.
    Yep. Frankly, the whole conversation is pretty odd sounding.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    There in lies the problem. People assume what they do in Nature, at a CS, at a freshwater site, taking a poop, trampling anywhere, etc is just their business as it doesn't have consequences on others. This attitude contributes to TP lying around, negative bear/human encounters, contaminated drinking water, being disconnected/angrier/further self and tribal absorption....and a general I'll do as I darn well please desensitized outlook.

    We can live a life where we're constantly open to learning and applying what we have heard.
    If someone stopped you at a store with your child and asked if they could take a minute to educate you on child upbringing (maybe even check the diaper to make sure there's not a rash), what would you say?

    I see this situation no differently. If you see something wrong, say something. Otherwise, MYOB. Noise via useless lectures is pollution, too.

  19. #19

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    I would have asked them if they would like to see what's in my trash bag,like used TP and food wrappers,used freezer bags etc.That woulda got the job done I bet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pony View Post
    So, did they overstep their bounds, or am I the jerk for getting annoyed by this?
    On a good day, I would probably be inclined to cut a volunteer some slack, but I would be rather annoyed with the sponsoring organization.

    To start, I would expect that organization to provide some kind of uniform — even if nothing more than a printed T-shirt or windbreaker indicating the organization’s name and the specific program and a name tag.

    Further I would expect that organization to train their volunteers to engage in conversations more delicately and present themselves as a resource rather than going into inspector mode.

    My guess is that the ATC Ridgerunners do a MUCH better job.

    As far as asking permision, doing so is better than not, but as any police officer knows people are not really prepared on how to respond to someone with even a small amount of authority or standing. Some years ago a uniformed ranger “asked” my wife to produce her trash bag as she exited a WMNF trailhead. While otherwise sensible, she complied. Just crazy.

    Whoever sent that couple out there did not do a very good job.

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