View Poll Results: "How wild should the mountains be?" Do you have an opinion?

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  • Yes, I have an opinion about this, explained in a post below.

    17 54.84%
  • I have an opinion about this, but have chosen not to post it here.

    9 29.03%
  • I do not have an opinion; changes in "wildness" do not affect my hiking.

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Thread: How wild should the mountains be?

  1. #31
    Senior Member cushetunk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stinkyfeet View Post
    I have to chuckle, though, when I see the terms "wilderness" and "hiker amenities" in the same thread/conversation.
    Well, this is sort of what got me thinking this might be an interesting thread. I've posted before that I think wilderness is both a subjective human construct and a real thing, even if we can't draw a clear line that delineates when we have entered the real thing. But if very intelligent physicists can deal with inherent uncertainty, I think hikers can too!

    The aspects of wilderness that are real, I think, include what Tim Seaver pointed out: objective hazards like the weather, or rockslides, or avalanches or stream crossings in some places.

    But we also have a very subjective wilderness. We've (or mostly somebody else acting as our proxy) decided that we'll stop building roads, not construct cell phone towers, and generally let natural processes dominate in the wild areas -- whether or not they are legal Wilderness. Then we have smaller decisions, like no ATVs, or bicycles in places. What's important, I think, is that there is no automatic reason why any of these is prohibited -- I mean, Mount Washington is evidence that you could indeed put all sorts of things on a remote mountain summit. These are just human decisions we have made, sometimes sacrificing convenience or money in the name of the wild.

    And so, when there's the smaller questions -- blazes here? bridges there? trails anywhere? -- I don't see any fundamental difference in what's at work. These are just more choices, which we need to somehow decide. Likewise, to my way of looking at this, pointing out that the Pemi used to be ravaged by logging is not an argument to preserve the current little disturbances. It's an argument that we can and sometimes should look beyond the familiar, existing circumstances to imagine what's possible.

    In my own view, I lean towards the wild. But that's my own opinion. What's more important, I think, is that we view the wilderness as a series of choices, each of which impacts the overall place.

    Edit: Which is why I think it is so interesting to hear what others think about these choices.
    Last edited by cushetunk; 05-11-2009 at 04:49 PM. Reason: growing older and wiser every minute

  2. #32
    Senior Member adktyler's Avatar
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    How many hiker amenities do you think are appropriate? Why?
    How many hikers in the woods is too many? Why?
    How important is a "wilderness" experience to you? Why?
    How much non-recreational disturbance (i.e. logging) is too much in hiking areas? (And you guessed it...) Why?
    Do you feel that legal "Wilderness" designation is at odds with a wild landscape? Why?
    Do you believe that you often hike in a "wild" landscape? Where (generally)? What factors go into your answer?


    I think that hiker amenities should be as few as possible. Yes, I love the convenience of bridges, and the safety of huts, and the clarity of trail markings, but it is the wilderness, and I want it to stay that way. Non-conforming structures are anything not natural, in my opinion.

    I think that too many hikers in the woods depends on the carrying capacity of an area, the level of regulation, the amount of environmental impact, and the education of the hikers in that area. Personally I think that wilderness area should be available for anyone, so putting a limit on it is a little unfair. However, wilderness is best designed for NATURE'S sake, not for RECREATIONAL sake. Therefore, the environment is more important than the amenities for hikers (which has a direct relationship with the amount of hikers using the trail)

    A wilderness experience is very important to me. There are times when the weather becomes rough or I have injuries or am in trouble that I appreciate a small outdoor area with lots of room for easy exit. But in this world that is so populated, and with some of our most remote wilderness areas a mere 5 miles from a road, I find a true wilderness experience very satisfactory.

    Why is there ANY non-recreational disturbance in hiking areas? Save for proper land management, logging really has no place in an area designated for hiking. If commercial logging is being done for the express purpose of profit, that, in my opinion, is wrong.

    I am not a huge fan of terms and designations. I understand why they exist I think, but I would prefer to have one designation: wilderness.

    As far as all the other issues are concerned, I think that there really is no clear answer. As long as there are people who don't respect the outdoors, as long as recreational hiking is legal, as long as hiking is something people like to do, there will always be problems.

    Lets all respect nature, and remember that it was here first!

  3. #33
    Senior Member woodsxc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.Dub View Post
    Um...I'm not familiar with that designation. Care to elaborate?

    Are they different than the "LaSportiva hikers" or the "Montrail hikers" or "Vasque hikers"...?

    (I'm too lazy to do a search and look up what brand of trail runners you ended up getting...)
    "Reebok hikers" is a phrase I stole from Bill Bryson. It's the people who stop by the trail in between McDonald's stops. Those people have no knowledge of trail courtesy and no desire to learn it. I don't like having to clean up the trash that they leave behind. That's a price we pay for having easy access to the mountains.

    (I went with LaSportiva's and they're great.)
    For special purposes a hunting knife is superior, as are double-bitted axes, cavalry sabers, Gatling guns, and dynamite, but the modest mountaineer contents himself with a modest blade. -The Mountaineers (from second edition of FOTH)

    If you are flammable and have legs, you are never blocking a fire exit. -Mitch Hedberg (1968-2005)

  4. #34
    Senior Member woodsxc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Schaefer View Post
    I apologize if my comments appeared to be directed at your post. I had no problems with your usage, especially not with your further explanation. I believe those of us who hike the wilds understand the essence of these areas. I was trying to make a general point. It is the idealized use of pristine by arm chair types that bothers me most.
    No worries. You raised a good point and I'm not offended.
    For special purposes a hunting knife is superior, as are double-bitted axes, cavalry sabers, Gatling guns, and dynamite, but the modest mountaineer contents himself with a modest blade. -The Mountaineers (from second edition of FOTH)

    If you are flammable and have legs, you are never blocking a fire exit. -Mitch Hedberg (1968-2005)

  5. #35
    Senior Member J.Dub's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodsxc View Post
    "Reebok hikers" is a phrase I stole from Bill Bryson. It's the people who stop by the trail in between McDonald's stops. Those people have no knowledge of trail courtesy and no desire to learn it. I don't like having to clean up the trash that they leave behind. That's a price we pay for having easy access to the mountains.

    (I went with LaSportiva's and they're great.)
    Ah...thanks for the clarification.

    My not having read A Walk in the Woods is coming back to bite me again...
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  6. #36
    Moderator David Metsky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.Dub View Post
    My not having read A Walk in the Woods is coming back to bite me again...
    No, really, it's not. But that's a further hijack that will wait for another day...
    You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself, any direction you choose. -- Dr. Seuss

  7. #37
    Junior Member ryan207's Avatar
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    If you guys want some good reading, choose one of the many books written by Guy Waterman. Good examples would be "Wilderness Ethics" and "Backwoods Ethics". It's the most insightful discussions on this exact subject. I promise you won't be disappointed! Considering you have designated wilderness, state parks, national parks, national forest, etc. The degree of wildness could vary due to different sets of rules for all of these places. But regardless, most people I think want to head into the woods without hearing some jack-ass on his cell phone and without passing 100 boyscouts in one group. Then you have subjects such as man-made structures and trailwork. There obviously must be some balance though, because as much as I might not want to see some trailwork which sometimes looks like a major construction project and a reminder of the outside world, I certainly do not want to see major erosion which is a constant reminder that thousands and thousands of people have been here before me trampling away. My personal opinion is that even though you can't count on not seeing other people during your "wilderness experience", everyone can at least do their part in reducing their impact for those who come after you wanting the same wildness that you seek. Trash, bootleg campsites, fire rings, cell phones, radios, super bright colored clothing that you can see from miles away, all things that can take away from the "wildness". Though I do not fully agree with what I am about to say, it is an interesting topic that can relate to what people are discussing here. Some of you might have heard about the idea of hiking licenses or permits. The White Mountains in particular see more annual use that Yellowstone and Yosemite combined, which is rediculous if you think about it. NH Fish and Game have from time to time contemplated the idea of hikers requiring a hiking license, much like a fishing license. At first I was appalled at this idea, but the more I thought about it, the more it sort of made sense. Think about it, a lot of the money that NH F&G get from fishing licenses goes into SAR operations for missing hikers. Some fisherman find this to be really unfair, understandably. If there was a requirement for an annual hiking permit then: A.) there would be a lot less people on the trails, adding to that special wilderness experience and redcing impact and B.) Hikers would pay for their own SAR.

    Maybe I am way out there, but I thought this was a cool thing to bring up.

  8. #38
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    Interesting thought. The single-day use license would be severely abused, and the cost of administration/enforcement would suck up every penny and more of the fees collected. All it would really do is make casual / occasional hikers law breakers, or send them somewhere else. I think it would be quickly found illegal to license people to hike on national forest land which is owned by the public.

    On the subject of funding for F&G, I have said the following before - if there was a nominal parking fee at the state-owned parking areas (Franconia Notch) which was targeted for F&G and SAR, people would probably pay that without a hitch. Monadnock and Pack Monadnock charge parking fees, as do many other state parks (all are 100% user-fee supported), so why not those in the White Mountains?

    Tim
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  9. #39
    Senior Member funkyfreddy's Avatar
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    Question

    Quote Originally Posted by ryan207 View Post
    If you guys want some good reading, choose one of the many books written by Guy Waterman. Good examples would be "Wilderness Ethics" and "Backwoods Ethics". It's the most insightful discussions on this exact subject. I promise you won't be disappointed! Considering you have designated wilderness, state parks, national parks, national forest, etc. The degree of wildness could vary due to different sets of rules for all of these places. But regardless, most people I think want to head into the woods without hearing some jack-ass on his cell phone and without passing 100 boyscouts in one group. Then you have subjects such as man-made structures and trailwork. There obviously must be some balance though, because as much as I might not want to see some trailwork which sometimes looks like a major construction project and a reminder of the outside world, I certainly do not want to see major erosion which is a constant reminder that thousands and thousands of people have been here before me trampling away. My personal opinion is that even though you can't count on not seeing other people during your "wilderness experience", everyone can at least do their part in reducing their impact for those who come after you wanting the same wildness that you seek. Trash, bootleg campsites, fire rings, cell phones, radios, super bright colored clothing that you can see from miles away, all things that can take away from the "wildness". Though I do not fully agree with what I am about to say, it is an interesting topic that can relate to what people are discussing here. Some of you might have heard about the idea of hiking licenses or permits. The White Mountains in particular see more annual use that Yellowstone and Yosemite combined, which is rediculous if you think about it. NH Fish and Game have from time to time contemplated the idea of hikers requiring a hiking license, much like a fishing license. At first I was appalled at this idea, but the more I thought about it, the more it sort of made sense. Think about it, a lot of the money that NH F&G get from fishing licenses goes into SAR operations for missing hikers. Some fisherman find this to be really unfair, understandably. If there was a requirement for an annual hiking permit then: A.) there would be a lot less people on the trails, adding to that special wilderness experience and redcing impact and B.) Hikers would pay for their own SAR.

    Maybe I am way out there, but I thought this was a cool thing to bring up.
    I like the Guy Waterman books..... some would say they have an extreme viewpoint but I think they promote awareness.....

    As far as hiking licenses go...... yuck! I'm sick of restrictions, taxes, and yielding more control to "big brother" ......

    #1 the money will be wasted
    #2 whatever happened to the freedom of the hills?

    Seriously..... think about it..... take some time before reacting.......

    We live in an overpopulated and over-regulated world, where what isn't compulsory is soon to become forbidden! Think about how many new laws and restrictions are put into effect every year by the federal government, local and state governments, zoning boards, school boards, etc.

    1,000's of new laws every year....... Who do they serve and who do they protect?

    I would rather see heavy duty fines placed on those that litter or otherwise abuse wilderness areas.
    Last edited by funkyfreddy; 05-14-2009 at 10:11 AM.

  10. #40
    Senior Member Tim Horn's Avatar
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    Wild means Wild

    If it is a designated wilderness then cease and desist all blazing, bridge building, trail maintenance, tent sites. In places not designated wilderness any activity that passes forest service is fine with me. Including logging, trams and even the paved special needs trails. Everything has its place and we have plenty of space for everybody to have a slice of what they want.
    Happy Trails campers!

  11. #41
    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TJ aka Teej View Post
    More like Katahdin, less like Mt Washington.
    With all due respect are you kidding? that mountain is so overegulated I will never step foot in that park again. I have climbed it in the summer,quite a beautiful hill, but I was turned back from a solo attempt in the winter. ITs my life but no not on katadin. This was a few years back when soloist where not allowed in the winter, Im not even sure the regs now but forget it. I should have been able to sign a waiver and let on my way.

  12. #42
    Senior Member grouseking's Avatar
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    First definition of wilderness in the dictionary

    "a wild and uncultivated region, as of forest or desert, uninhabited or inhabited only by wild animals; a tract of wasteland."

    Another one

    "An unsettled, uncultivated region left in its natural condition, especially:
    A large wild tract of land covered with dense vegetation or forests.
    An extensive area, such as a desert or ocean, that is barren or empty; a waste.
    A piece of land set aside to grow wild."


    My thoughts:
    When you are in the wilderness, the only hiker amenity needed is the trail, if that....

    While I agree that there seems to be some overegulation going on, including hiker amenities like bridges only add to it. When I go into any wilderness zone, the last thing I want to be reminded that I am near civilization, and in a regulated area, and bridges would ruin that for me. Safety issues seem laughable, since a wilderness isn't supposed to be safe. If I go into any wilderness regions, I don't expect the atmosphere to resemble a state or a national park. What I'm trying to say is, when I go to a wilderness area, even if it is regulated by the govt, I don't want to be constantly reminded of that.

    When I hear the term wilderness, I think of the word...vulnerable. You're on your own!

    grouseking
    Last edited by grouseking; 05-15-2009 at 07:35 PM. Reason: clarity (hopefully)

  13. #43
    Senior Member Tuco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grouseking View Post
    When I go into any wilderness zone, the last thing I want to be reminded that I am near civilization, and in a regulated area, and bridges would ruin that for me.
    grouseking
    Not to pick on what you are saying, but I laugh when I hike the Great Gulf Trail- when you get to the Wilderness Boundary sign, I think you can still hear the trucks on Rt 16 going by. That'll ruin your wilderness experience....
    Eric

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  14. #44
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grouseking View Post
    First definition of wilderness in the dictionary

    "a wild and uncultivated region, as of forest or desert, uninhabited or inhabited only by wild animals; a tract of wasteland."
    Versus "Wilderness":

    A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.

    Thus the crux of the matter is the definition of "untrammeled". Arguably, "in contrast with ... dominate", means that as long as man's own works don't dominate qualifies untrammeled in favor of having select bridges and select maintenance. Without the qualifying statement, one could go to the other extreme ... fully unrestrained.

    Tim
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  15. #45
    Senior Member grouseking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tuco View Post
    Not to pick on what you are saying, but I laugh when I hike the Great Gulf Trail- when you get to the Wilderness Boundary sign, I think you can still hear the trucks on Rt 16 going by. That'll ruin your wilderness experience....

    Heh, I've never hiked the Great Gulf Trail, though it is on my list.

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