View Poll Results: Should the Forest Service remove the Wild River shelters?

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  • Yes, incompatible with Wilderness

    13 10.83%
  • Maybe, when in need of major repair

    33 27.50%
  • No, historic and desirable for hikers

    62 51.67%
  • I really don't care

    10 8.33%
  • This is a silly question

    2 1.67%
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Thread: Should the shelters in Wild River be removed?

  1. #31
    Senior Member askus3's Avatar
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    I don't think a shelter or a backpackers CG would have much difference on the impact in an area. However, without either, you will have more spreadout usage which I personally feel would cause more negative impact in an area. I feel if you are removing a shelter then you should eliminate camping in the area for complete healing of the area from overusage. I don't feel that the Wild River is overused, so I think we should leave well enough alone. Back in the late 70s there was a shelter at Greeley Pond in the Whites. I am glad they removed it with all camping options as the area was getting too frequently visited and it was no longer the wilderness experience visiting it. The area could not take the heavy overnight usage. Being an easy couple of miles in from the highway the beauty was being detracted by the excessive overnight visitation. Now I compare that with Black Mountain Pond in the southern Whites. That shelter was also removed. I was against that as they still let you camp there, so why remove the shelter. It wasn't causing any harm and the shelter did not detract from the camping outdoor experience.

    Lastly, I remember when they had shelters over 3500 feet in the Catskills (there were two on the summit of Slide and one just below Giants Ledge). Here again the soil could not take heavy human overnight use and people hanging out at the higher elvation. So camping was eliminated. This was good. So my feeling is remove the shelters if you remove the camping option all together. And camping should be eliminated if it will effect the natural surroundings in a negative way. I don't feel the Wild River falls into this category.
    Last edited by askus3; 05-04-2006 at 09:44 PM.
    Aaron

  2. #32
    Senior Member jmegillon149's Avatar
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    leave it for now, breaking it down, throwing the logs in the woods, etc. would do more damage and take time and money then letting it just sit there would
    "In that cool mountain air on an Appalachian Trail, Life is better there"
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  3. #33
    Senior Member arghman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmegillon149
    leave it for now, breaking it down, throwing the logs in the woods, etc. would do more damage and take time and money then letting it just sit there would
    Yes, but if they remove it now, they can do it w/ motorized equipment before Wilderness rules take effect, vs. afterwards when they have to disassemble manually.

    IMHO the proposed Wilderness bdy near Blue Brook shelter (since it's right near the ridge) should be tweaked so that the shelter is outside Wilderness, losing a small amount of acreage & reducing conflict to recreational use.
    --Jason
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  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by arghman
    IMHO the proposed Wilderness bdy near Blue Brook shelter (since it's right near the ridge) should be tweaked so that the shelter is outside Wilderness, losing a small amount of acreage & reducing conflict to recreational use.
    I agree again. Blue brook is in a great central location, and it would be a pity to have it gone. Haven't been to the others yet; guess I aught to really soon.
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  5. #35
    Senior Member McRat's Avatar
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    From a budget perspective, this is quite a solution. If something is expensive to maintain, simply declare it wilderness.

    I wonder if they will declare a new class of 'super-wilderness' - No humans allowed. This would save a lot of funds on mainenance / patrols, help the environment and wildlife to be more natural, and reduce needless automotive traffic to these areas.

    I'm glad that there are a lot of hardcore wanderers on this site, and someday I may learn enough from them to do it myself. In the meantime, I cannot avoid feeling that rushing to pay extra to remove these shelters while they are still functional is a bit exclusionary.

    If they must go, fine. Wilderness will claim it in time, it always does.

    I would prefer seeing the limited funding available designated for the benefit of all hikers, not just the smaller percentage of the experienced and well-equipped.

  6. #36
    Senior Member sardog1's Avatar
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    This thread presents an opportunity to explore the meaning(s) of "wilderness" and the purpose and provisions of the Wilderness Act. Whether you favor the shelters' removal or not, knowing the history, purposes and provisions of the law under which the proposal is made could help this discussion.

    One place to start is at the Wilderness Watch site. Another place, for the truly interested, is the free online Wilderness Act Handbook from the Wilderness Society.
    sardog1

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    og Drykk og Tørste og det heile, som
    er Liv og Helse i ein Hovedsum."

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  7. #37
    Senior Member blacknblue's Avatar
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    I think Trailbiscuit summed it up nicely for me (post #28).

    First of all, are we debating the merits/demerits of a wilderness designation on a particular location, the merits/demerits of what a wilderness designation should entail, or merits/demerits of shelters in a wilderness (lower-case w) setting?

    It seems pretty clear to me that shelters provide a valuable service to a environment in that it consolidates the impact to an area that can be managed. Without them, all of that poop and trash would be spread out over a larger area, unmanagably, and probably disposed of poorly.

    Would fewer shelters mean fewer people? or just that the people would be more spread out? That's hard to answer. I suppose there are those that would rather dayhike than pitch a tent - at least at times.

    So while w/o shelters there may be fewer people, the per person impact would be greater. I would think that the removal of the shelters would do more harm than good to the overall health of the environment, as well as the aesthetics of the wilderness.
    Last edited by blacknblue; 05-05-2006 at 02:08 PM.
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  8. #38
    Senior Member blacknblue's Avatar
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    I guess I am just not sure what is meant by this or the rationale behind it...

    Quote Originally Posted by jjmcgo
    He will be banned from the area because physical disabilities.
    Yeah, just like I'm "banned" from the summit of El Capitan because I can't rock climb for crap. They removed the Cable Route from Longs Peak not too many years ago. That didn't "ban" people from attempting the route - it just necessitated a skill set that fewer people have. I'm not physically capable of running marathons anymore (thank you, compressed patella), but nobody has banned me from them.

    Quote Originally Posted by jjmcgo
    Others will be blocked because they don't have the money for tents and other equipment. There's an unattractive element of elitism in all of this.
    Backpacking isn't exactly the playground of the rich.
    Again, nobody is banning anybody for their disabilities - physical or financial - by removing shelters. True, it might be a (possibly unintended) byproduct of removing shelters that more people are disinclined to venture farther into the wilderness. This is hardly elitism, though. If the debate centers around environmental stewardship, it really has nothing to do with separating the classes of outdoorsmanship.
    "People hardly ever make use of the freedom which they have, for example, freedom of thought; instead they demand freedom of speech as a compensation."
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  9. #39
    Member chas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blacknblue
    So while w/o shelters there may be fewer people, the per person impact would be greater.

    I don't agree with your conclusion. I'm sure there are many here that feel, like I do, that the last place they want to stay is in a crowded (or even empty) shelter when they head out for a weekend. In other words, there are many that are already stealth camping for reasons of 'peace and quiet' even if there are shelters available. Those numbers, and their impact, is not going to change all that much. Former shelter users will probably look elsewhere or camp in a few really hardened areas.

    Chas.
    "One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words."
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  10. #40
    Member chas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blacknblue
    Backpacking isn't exactly the playground of the rich.
    Definitely agree here! It probably costs more to drive to the traihead these days than it does for a decent daypack, depending on where you are coming from. I backpacked for years on old or borrowed gear before I discovered REI, etc.

    Chas.
    "One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words."
    -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

  11. #41
    Senior Member blacknblue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chas
    I don't agree with your conclusion. I'm sure there are many here that feel, like I do, that the last place they want to stay is in a crowded (or even empty) shelter when they head out for a weekend. In other words, there are many that are already stealth camping for reasons of 'peace and quiet' even if there are shelters available. Those numbers, and their impact, is not going to change all that much. Former shelter users will probably look elsewhere or camp in a few really hardened areas.

    Chas.
    Sure, I agree with that. Those who forsake shelters anyway aren't going to be affected.
    But the removal of shelters effects those who do stay in shelters. By and large, I would venture to say that shelter-dwellers probably aren't as adept at Leave No Trace and whatnot. They (and I include myself) tend to be less experienced - and perhaps less willing - to build a proper campsite and dispose of their waste properly. Therefore, more per person impact without shelters.
    "People hardly ever make use of the freedom which they have, for example, freedom of thought; instead they demand freedom of speech as a compensation."
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  12. #42
    Senior Member McRat's Avatar
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    Sardog, thanks for the excellent links.

    As I admitted earlier, I have an extremely limited knowlege of the subject. I think I'll need to educate myself a bit more, but my gut reaction (above) is my gut reaction.

    I got some reading to do. It's a fairly complex subject I've waded into... again. Please bear with me on the learning curve.

  13. #43
    Senior Member cushetunk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blacknblue
    If the debate centers around environmental stewardship, it really has nothing to do with separating the classes of outdoorsmanship.
    I think that part of the reason hiker's debates about "wilderness" land management are so intense is that, unfortunately, they have very little to do with environmental stewardship.

    Really, compared to so many other ways people can be stewards of the environment, wilderness regulations are small change. I don't mean to minimize them, because if only for aethetics, LNT practices are a great idea. But it seems pretty clear we are not facing a big environmental crisis when deciding between a privy or a cathole; tent or shelter.

    It seems to me that the debate centers around the rules of our game. Hiking and backpacking are a contrived interaction with nature. And because it is contrived, we decide how much of the human world we are going to allow into the experience. It is like arguing over the designated hitter rule. You can invoke some larger principles on either side, but in the end it is going to be arbitrary.

  14. #44
    Senior Member arghman's Avatar
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    [gratuituous bump] which I don't usually do except the comment period ends next week, and I myself forgot to finish my letter until someone reminded me recently.
    --Jason
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  15. #45
    Senior Member arghman's Avatar
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    anyone know if there's any news on this? It's been 2 1/2 weeks, not sure when USFS makes their decision.

    [begin vent, ignore if you don't want to read venting]

    I got CC'd on an email message today from someone at AMC regarding AMC's position on the shelter removal. I am not aware of whether they have a public response / press release on this issue, so I will not post the email message here (and don't quote this as the absolute truth, until they do have a public statement on it), but AMC's position is apparently that they accept that the shelters should be removed because of their incompatibility with Wilderness standards.

    This upsets me very much, as the shelters have been there for several decades before any proposal for Wilderness. (This reminds me of people building lots of houses around a farm and then complaining about the farm's odors...) Until the Wilderness is designated by Congress, the shelters aren't incompatible with anything. AMC has had a major hand in promoting Wilderness to both the USFS and members of Congress, and has repeatedly promoted it to its members via the AMC Outdoors magazine, asking their membership to support Wilderness. Yet I don't ever remember AMC mentioning the fact that that the Wilderness it's asking its members to support would trigger a possible removal of shelters.

    This process around Wilderness designation has made me so damn cynical about the way these decisions work.

    [end vent]
    --Jason
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