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Thread: Tourism pledges

  1. #1
    Senior Member B the Hiker's Avatar
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    Tourism pledges

    Various tourist areas are asking visitors to sign a pledge to uphold various ethical behaviors while they are in the location. Interesting idea! (a) It's a chance to plant a seed in people's minds, and (b) it requires visitor to make an active, affirmative statement.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/trave...best-behavior/

    Brian

    p.s. Not sure if this article is behind a firewall or not. If so, give it a few days.

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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    I couldn't read the article beyond the first paragraph without opting for a $1/month trial but I like the idea behind this even if they haven't thought through an enforcement mechanism yet. At the gate when they're collecting the entrance fee they can cover the basics and have a signed agreement. So if down the road the person is fined for violating an aspect of the agreement the "I didn't know that excuse" is not going to fly. They can simply pull the agreement and say "Isn't this your signature indicating you were made aware of blah, blah, blah". Seems like a pretty minimal investment with the possibility of a decent pay off for the effort. There's something about signing your name on an agreement that creates a compliance factor beyond just posting signs, etc.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 46/48; NY 46: 6/46

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    Senior Member B the Hiker's Avatar
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    Yes, I did fear the article would be behind a firewall.

    The nation of Palau now stamps a pledge into visitor's passports and has them sign them upon entering the country!

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    Senior Member TomK's Avatar
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    FWIW: I was able to see the whole article without obstruction.

    Guess I won't be visiting Palau.

    Do I now need to bring a lawyer with me to the trailhead? Ranger Rick, I believe you know Mr. Dewey of Dewey, Cheatham, and Howe?

    Will I be turned away if I refuse to sign? Looks like some places, I would be...

    TomK
    Never loved your plains, your gentle valleys/Your drowsy country lanes and pleached alleys.
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    How pure at vesper time, the far bells chiming/God, give me strength to climb, and hills for climbing. "Hills" - Arthur Guiterman

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    Senior Member B the Hiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomK View Post
    FWIW: I was able to see the whole article without obstruction.

    Guess I won't be visiting Palau.

    Do I now need to bring a lawyer with me to the trailhead? Ranger Rick, I believe you know Mr. Dewey of Dewey, Cheatham, and Howe?

    Will I be turned away if I refuse to sign? Looks like some places, I would be...

    TomK
    Not a big fan of environmental stewardship? Sorry to hear that! From the number of feet that widen the trail at muddy spots instead of walking straight down the middle, the number of orange and banana peels I see tossed on the ground, along with wrappers, you are not alone, alas.

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    Senior Member TomK's Avatar
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    Bad mind reading

    Quote Originally Posted by B the Hiker View Post
    Not a big fan of environmental stewardship? Sorry to hear that! From the number of feet that widen the trail at muddy spots instead of walking straight down the middle, the number of orange and banana peels I see tossed on the ground, along with wrappers, you are not alone, alas.
    Your mind reading of people you don't know is pretty poor today. Maybe it will be better another day.

    TomK
    Never loved your plains, your gentle valleys/Your drowsy country lanes and pleached alleys.
    I want my hills, the trail that scorns the hollow/Up, up the ragged shale where few will follow.

    High on my hills of dream, dear hills that know me/And then how fair will seem the lands below me
    How pure at vesper time, the far bells chiming/God, give me strength to climb, and hills for climbing. "Hills" - Arthur Guiterman

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    Senior Member griffin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    I couldn't read the article beyond the first paragraph without opting for a $1/month trial but I like the idea behind this even if they haven't thought through an enforcement mechanism yet. ...
    Palau so far seems to be one of the few with actual fines attached to violating the pledge - but another official quoted in the article pointed out that much of what's in the pledges (about littering, where you can drive/park/camp/etc.) is already covered by existing laws, so they do have an existing mechanism for enforcement. I think the idea is that it's better to prevent these things from happening in the first place.
    Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.

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    Senior Member Stan's Avatar
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    While I agree that our stewardship of all that is around us, including our own species, is our highest calling, I do not think that signing a pledge has much to do with that. I, too, would not likely sign such a pledge and I expect many that do would sign it blindly, sort of like the agreements we sign on-line which, if we really knew what they said, probably wouldn't sign as many. There are littering laws, environmental laws etc., not to mention good manners, aka ethics in some circumstances. I think those that are so quick to judge others, strangers no less, should be a bit more introspective.

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    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B the Hiker View Post
    Not a big fan of environmental stewardship? Sorry to hear that! From the number of feet that widen the trail at muddy spots instead of walking straight down the middle, the number of orange and banana peels I see tossed on the ground, along with wrappers, you are not alone, alas.
    Definitely some interesting concepts but enforcement would certainly be an issue. Let alone encompassing all users to sign there real name and present photo ID. Would be quite the pile up at The Falling Waters Trailhead on a Saturday morning.
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

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    Senior Member Scubahhh's Avatar
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    When I ran dive resorts and dive training centers we had similar "contracts" for our divers to sign, and while they were mostly redundant and unenforceable we felt they were very valuable if for nothing other then serving as a reminder at the beginning of each week/trip/class and a part of every dive site briefing. Do AMC and other trip leaders have scripted trailhead briefings about LNT etc.? If they do, it would be nice if they'd include picking up other people's used TP as part of the ethic ;-)
    Add life to your years!

  11. #11
    Senior Member B the Hiker's Avatar
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    I think the idea behind the pledge is that, for many people, they have never encountered back country ethics before. By giving someone a chance to read a few key ones, and then ask them actively to sign, it serves as a teachable moment. I know from Facebook photos that many people don't know not to feed the birds, for example. I'll send them a USFS link about the subject, and usually they respond positively.

    When I was leading trips out of Boston AMC, I would begin every hike with a quick few words about walking up the center of the trail and not widening it, and not dropping so much as a crumb on the ground. It took all of a minute.

    Brian

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    Senior Member hikerbrian's Avatar
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    The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

    I prefer to avoid to the greatest extent possible mixing the outdoors with lawyers, paperwork, and signatures. There are better ways. On that note, can someone please start circulating an appropriate photo with the meme, "Every time you leave your used TP on the side of the trail, God kills a kitten"? TIA!
    Sure. Why not.

  13. #13
    Senior Member TCD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hikerbrian View Post
    The road to hell is paved with good intentions. I prefer to avoid to the greatest extent possible mixing the outdoors with lawyers, paperwork, and signatures.
    ^^^This.^^^

    The value in this is a human person to meet people, and act as a trailhead educator. The lawyer written pledge documents are just lawyer BS that will drive good people away.

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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hikerbrian View Post
    There are better ways.
    Such as?? (Not a confrontational question but I see nothing in this thread suggesting alternatives). I get that simply talking to people about this stuff can have an impact to a degree but I feel like we're fooling ourselves if we think vast droves of people are just going out into the woods oblivious to any of these common sense practices, i.e. don't litter, cut tees down to make fires, etc. I think the main issue is people just don't care because it is inconvenient to follow the rules and in today's world there is just no respect for this. I mean do we really need to educate people that littering is wrong? I think pretty much wherever you come from you know that. Do we need to teach people that when it's dark you need a light? People know that. They just don't want to bother carrying a light if they don't think they need it because it's heavy or they don't want to buy one or whatever. Pretty much everybody and there brother is on Facebook forums now and these topics are discussed to death on there. Yet the issues remain and are getting worse in most cases.

    I think a more firm deterrent and enforcement "mechanism" is the only way to get these practices to have some sort of impact. What form that takes I don't know but it will certainly need to go beyond teachable moments. There is a huge difference between telling someone at the trail head they need a flashlight and fining someone $50 or denying them trail access at the trail head because they were asked to produce a flashlight from their backpack and they didn't have one. That moment hits home with much more impact. Baxter has rules and paperwork and most people on here seem to enjoy the hell out of going there. I don't consider it an inconvenience whatsoever. What's wrong with spreading that philosophy to other areas, at least areas that are really feeling the impact of these issues?
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 46/48; NY 46: 6/46

  15. #15
    Senior Member griffin's Avatar
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    Do people know that littering is wrong? Yes, but most people don't think about the impact of lots of people littering, or understand their contribution to it, until it's pointed out to them (I think this is particularly common in regards to "biodegradable" items like apple cores, etc.) Do people understand it gets dark and they won't be able to see if they don't have a light of some kind? Sure, but if you haven't been in the woods at night, you may not realize HOW dark it gets, how fast, and I'd bet most inexperienced hikers don't get how easily you might wind up needing a headlamp if you're just out for a "short hike." I know I didn't - and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one here who didn't pop out of the womb with a brain full of hiking wisdom. We all managed to learn along the way, and we've all made mistakes and/or have taken risks we might not have had we understood the possible consequences. Why assume no one else is capable of learning, or that it's no use to try to reach people?
    Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.

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