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Thread: Bootleg sign?

  1. #16
    Senior Member JustJoe's Avatar
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    To me, it was pretty obvious to start following the rocks here.

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  2. #17
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    There have been herd paths on the north side of the approach to the slide proper for years. Unfortunately, many herd paths and overall trail creep in the state have become much more prevalent since the huge increase in hikers with social media (and COVID).

    I hope the Forest Service continues to be lenient with WVAIA and WODC, as both have plenty of "non-confirming" trail markings in the wilderness. I appreciate all of the work WVAIA does and have no issue with that sign.

  3. #18
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocket21 View Post
    There have been herd paths on the north side of the approach to the slide proper for years. Unfortunately, many herd paths and overall trail creep in the state have become much more prevalent since the huge increase in hikers with social media (and COVID).

    I hope the Forest Service continues to be lenient with WVAIA and WODC, as both have plenty of "non-confirming" trail markings in the wilderness. I appreciate all of the work WVAIA does and have no issue with that sign.
    If I am understanding you correctly you are saying you appreciate a sign keeping people on a single herd path versus having tons of unmarked herd paths because there is no clear direction? I would agree with that as well but I find it really annoying that every minor obstacle on a trail now has a herd path around it - every little patch of mud, every rock that requires a 15 inch step up, etc. I still can't believe how wildly braided the trail is up to Mt Jackson. I can still remember specific rocks that were awkward to step over the first time I did the trail that have a worn path 3 feet wide on either side of them now. And the upper section after the split easily has a dozen viable options to follow up to the base of the cone.

    I find this especially annoying on trails like Flume Slide, North Slide and other challenging trails where people basically bypass their way up the whole trail and then brag online about "crushing" the trail. As far as I'm concerned if you did not do the officially blazed route you didn't do the trail but I guess that is some last little remnant of my "list mindset" that hasn't been fully eradicated yet. I like trails that are too rocky or overgrown to allow for bypassing so you are forced to follow the blazed route but I guess that is not friendly to the new age of social media hikers. Can only imagine what things will look like in another 10 years at this pace. Everything will just be a nice open woods walk.
    “Sometimes when you’ve lost something in your life that matters, the only thing left to do is go and find it.” Renan Ozturk

  4. #19
    Senior Member TCD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    ...every minor obstacle on a trail now has a herd path around it...
    This is a clear-eyed observation. Same thing over here in the Adirondacks. This change has been developing for decades. Today's hiker population is different from the hiker population of 40 years ago. Most hikers now are focused on convenience. "If something get's in the way, [they] go 'round it."

    Here's the deal: no one can change that. The hiker population is what it is. The problem is, hidebound "land managers" persistently refuse to see this change. And they insist on "managing" resources for the hiker population of 40 years ago. Of course this is living in an imaginary world, and the results are obvious.

    Today, in the Adirondacks, well-meaning but completely blind trail crews pile brush in the "go around" paths, imagining that they will "force" hikers to go through the "problem" area, whatever the problem is. Of course this is a complete waste of time, and the piled brush is promptly removed the next busy weekend, or an even farther afield "go around" path is created. The time would be better spent fixing the "problem." Turnpike boxes for mud; intermediate steps for high steps and scrambles; boardwalks for bogs.

    But you cannot sell that here, either. So called "land managers" are absolutely insistent on "managing" based on an imaginary world that may have existed 40 years ago. This is not management; it is delusion.

  5. #20
    Senior Member dug's Avatar
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    This isn't a new phenomena. Couldn't one say the Black Pond Bushwhacks or Brutus Bushwhacks fall into this category? The North Trail Trail stream bypasses?

    What starts out is a way to go around an impediment, becomes a herd path and eventually the known path. All depends on how big the impediment is, I suppose.

  6. #21
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    Guy and Laura Waterman were adopters of the Franconia Ridge Trail for many years and it was apparently far worse than it is today with respect to overuse. They would spend hours sitting off to the side of trail watching hikers hiking a section of trail. Guy would take copious notes and determine how and why hikers stepped where they did. Eventually they started redesigning sections of the trail to make hikers take a preferred route to minimize the damage to one corridor. Scree walls were the obvious result. Unfortunately the scree walls were too successful in some areas particularly between Lincoln and Haystack to the point where the areas outside the scree walls re-vegetated making a softer trail bed outside the wall. Hikers and runners have figured that out and there are distinct side paths outside the walls and a resultant decline in the re-vegetation. In order for scree walls to work the walking inside the wall has to be far easier than outside of it. This take a lot of work. The alternative is to have very visible and borderline offensive ridgerunners that seem to occupy the limited alpine zones in VT along with the strings delineating the trail. There are some short sections of string on the FRT but Mt Mansfield was covered with it the last time I visited. BSP also has used it on the Hunt Trail (the AT) up on the plateau near Thoreau Springs. The combination of somewhat flatter trail in between the scree walls and strings as reminders seems to be effective. MATC used the strings and screewalls on the Grafton Loop trail on Sunday River Whitecap early on but I am unsure if they have continued the strings. They designed in break areas off the main trail while making it very obvious what areas were to be avoided.

    With respect to ridgerunners and trail stewards, I dont think they mean to be offensive but on a trail like FRT, they no doubt are having to have hundreds of daily interactions with folks ignoring the trail corridor. Many folks think they are "special" and the trail corridor does not apply to them. My guess is eventually tempers get short and they may turn into cop rather than an educator. I have observed this a few times on FRT and it was obvious that the individual was a bit stressed out and needed to take a break.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 06-10-2021 at 07:51 PM.

  7. #22
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dug View Post
    This isn't a new phenomena. Couldn't one say the Black Pond Bushwhacks or Brutus Bushwhacks fall into this category? The North Trail Trail stream bypasses?

    What starts out is a way to go around an impediment, becomes a herd path and eventually the known path. All depends on how big the impediment is, I suppose.
    I can understand a bypass avoiding a substantial water crossing or major feature. But a "big" rock? That's kinda lazy and ridiculous. I mean you're hiking right?
    “Sometimes when you’ve lost something in your life that matters, the only thing left to do is go and find it.” Renan Ozturk

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    If I am understanding you correctly you are saying you appreciate a sign keeping people on a single herd path versus having tons of unmarked herd paths because there is no clear direction?
    I haven't been up the north slide since last year, but I did not interpret that sign to be directing me onto a herd path.

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by TCD View Post
    Today, in the Adirondacks, well-meaning but completely blind trail crews pile brush in the "go around" paths, imagining that they will "force" hikers to go through the "problem" area, whatever the problem is. Of course this is a complete waste of time, and the piled brush is promptly removed the next busy weekend, or an even farther afield "go around" path is created. The time would be better spent fixing the "problem." Turnpike boxes for mud; intermediate steps for high steps and scrambles; boardwalks for bogs.
    Brushing in a problem area takes a few minutes. Construction of stone steps/drainage/scree takes many days.

    Regardless, trail creep is a huge problem, dramatically exasperated by "social distancing." Once that fibrous/microrooty layer goes, the area is at risk to gullying, which then compromises the vegetation between the path and the trail, which then promotes further unmitigated trail creep. If unchecked, one can end up with a 20 foot wide, heavily eroded trail (WMNF spec is 4 feet) which will take exponentially more time to repair.

  10. #25
    Senior Member dug's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    I can understand a bypass avoiding a substantial water crossing or major feature. But a "big" rock? That's kinda lazy and ridiculous. I mean you're hiking right?
    Depends. Who defines "substantial"? Who defines what rocks are "big"? There is a ledge near the top of Whiteface. Maybe 6' high? I've seen people going around that, enough of them do it, and it becomes the route. Is that OK?

    Sorry, but I won't get worked up about braided trails or herd paths, because there are more out there than we realize. Many trails have changed over the last 50 years since I first was in there. Shortcuts become paths. They will continue to, as well. Not saying I agree with it, but I don't think we can get into a space where "someone" is allowing bypaths for "some" impediments and then worrying about others. That's a pretty slippery slope (pun intended).

  11. #26
    Senior Member psmart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoshandBaron View Post
    I'll have to check it out. Are they grandfathered in some sort of exception to Wilderness standards? According to USFS, signs in Wilderness are to be routed bare wood.
    Correct. The sign should not be made this way. Even the fasteners are problematic. Whoever put up the sign clearly did not coordinate with the USFS. The WODC went through this transition for Wilderness signage MANY years ago. (Don't mean to launch a debate about Wilderness signage. Just offering the opinion that this sign is definitely non-standard and would not have been approved by the USFS.)

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