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Graffiti and Government Bullcrap
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John Brochu
(JohnnyBgood4) - F

Locale: New Hampshire
re: "Graffiti and Government Bullcrap" on 06/10/2009 11:05:43 MDT Print View

Nick, imo you're right on man...!

David T
(DaveT) - F
. on 06/10/2009 11:07:58 MDT Print View


Edited by DaveT on 05/17/2015 22:27:58 MDT.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: re: "Graffiti and Government Bullcrap" on 06/10/2009 11:25:52 MDT Print View

I've done a good deal of bouldering up on San Jacinto.
I know Yosemite.
I've had so many beautiful days in both of them despite the madness inherent in popular places.
They have their quiet places, their nooks and crannies, their sweet spots.
The last time I was on the summit of Whitney I was actually, believe it or not, ALONE...dark was falling, a storm was moving in, I was getting pelted with hale/ice, and it was one of the best summit moments I've ever had.
The JMT can be crowded, no doubt.
But there is SO much beauty out there. I stealth camp so I've never had an issue with the crowds. I've camped on crazy ridges and in side canyons and have had some of the best moments of my life in those places.

Point being, I guess, I think it's sad to write these areas off. It's entirely your choice as to whether or not you're willing to make it a good trip, to see past the issues that lurk everywhere.

If I fixated on every bit of human impact and let the negativity and sadness continue to build inside me, I don't think I'd even bother getting outside anymore.

Brian UL

Locale: New England
Re: Re: re: "Graffiti and Government Bullcrap" on 06/10/2009 14:19:28 MDT Print View

I think its a matter of balance, of having a light touch.
A road or two that affords access and a life line seems reasonable to me. A few well placed trails that "guides" a tourist (hiker) through the varied landscape seems reasonable to me. A few low key signs to give warnings or mark trail intersections seems reasonable.
Its the heavy handed way parks sometimes are run that turns me off. The fact is the Wilderness is not democratic and we shouldn't try to force it to be by destroying it. Democracy is a useful tool in human governance but nature is unmoved and neutral.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Re: re: "Graffiti and Government Bullcrap" on 06/10/2009 15:20:46 MDT Print View

I'm off for my afternoon trail run- headed back to the waterfall that started this thread.
I've got 2 cans of primer and one can of matte clearcoat (spray and add sand/dirt while it's wet).
It would be nice to see that someone beat me to it....but I doubt it given the new stuff was mixed with stuff that's been there forever.
I'm tired of waiting.

99% of the rocks that were tagged already have primer on them to hide past graffiti-painting them is the only option (and the only thing the "authorities" have ever done). Unfortunately hauling a generator and pressure washer up there isn't possible.

Let's see if I can't get arrested for actually doing something about it.

Rick Cheehy
(kilgoretrout2317) - F

Locale: Virginia
Re: Re: Re: Re: re: "Graffiti and Government Bullcrap" on 06/10/2009 17:50:22 MDT Print View

Toast to Nick and Greg, glug, glug, glug.
Greg I thought I was cool for packing out other peoples litter.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Graffiti and Government Bullcrap on 06/10/2009 19:34:59 MDT Print View

"The national parks, after all, have a different mission that the wilderness areas. I think the national parks are MEANT to be accessable to all- even if only parts of them. Thus the crowds at Old Faithful and the mob standing under Half Dome."


You are right, of course, about accessability being part of the National Park Service's mission, but only half right. The other half is to preserve the parks for the enjoyment of future generations, which they are manifestly not doing.
Creeping commercialism backed by political clout, a general decline in any sense of personal responsibility, and a general sense that everyone is entitled to access everything and darn the impact have pretty well put paid to preservation. That is what I think has driven people like Nick, Dylan, myself and others(I speculate here) who have chosen to remain silent to take a rather exterme position. For sure, I didn't start out that way and I'll bet neither Nick nor Dylan did either. How would you go about resolving this mess?

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Re: Re: Graffiti and Government Bullcrap on 06/10/2009 20:49:24 MDT Print View

Well, I killed all the paint I carried in today and will go back tomorrow with a friend to try and finish the rest.

I talked to Parks and Recreation folk and volunteers at the visitor's center on the way out. None of them have even been up to the falls in over a week. Half didn't know there was new graffiti.

As for plans for the graffiti removal, those that know are all deadlocked in debating who's jurisdiction the actual waterfall is.
For f@#&$ sake, these are the people that are supposed to be "taking care" of these areas, the people that get paid to, the people that control the purse strings.

Sometimes it just seems that nobody wants to take responsibility for anything.
But everyone wants to enjoy the waterfall.
I guess my end of this graffiti rant is over.

People, please!
If it is not you that will help, then who? we all sit around waiting for the other person to fix it.

I know many people here do many good things, sorry, I'm not trying to preach.

Ok, now the graffiti rant is really over.

ben wood

Locale: flatlands of MO
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Graffiti and Government Bullcrap on 06/10/2009 22:15:15 MDT Print View

the decline of personal responsibility...

if either of the agencies gave a hoot, they would both be willing to go out there to clean it up because its the right thing to do. but, alas, in the professional world personal responsibilty is declining as well. i almost think the so called caretakers are as bad as the vandals as they are getting paid by us to care for the outdoors. the real heros out there are those like you, craig, and many volunteers who just get out there and help to clean the areas and keep them enjoyable for all. the sad part is that no one sees these people and their efforts are pretty much thankless. yet, countless people benefit from the great efforts of a few unsung and unpaid caring citizens.

so, thanks craig and all others who spend their time, energy and money to help out.


Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Re: Re: Re: Re: Graffiti and Government Bullcrap on 06/10/2009 23:34:16 MDT Print View

> How would you go about resolving this mess?

Classic debate technique. I'm not biting. It is obviously not an easy solution.

But I can tell you what is NOT a solution:

Removing all access from the parks.

Look, I feel all of your pain, and have at times been tempted to the Dark Side as expressed in Nick's rant. Crowds do, of course, damage the parks. Yellowstone was an awful crowded mess when I was there, but here's the rub- I accept that because I was just driving through on my way across the country and wanted to see some of it. I would not have been able to do that in a day if I had to hike in. I am at peace with the fact that I cannot do this at Maroon Bells.

I maintain that, as in most things, moderation is the key. I am VIOLENTLY anti-PC, so no, I dismiss your arguments that the philosophy of "access to all" will lead to tramways to the top of Half Dome. (Well, perhaps. It is in California, after all: Home of irrational PC.) I'm generally pretty middle-of-the-road when it comes to government regulation, but obviously this is one subject that by definition IS regulated. We as voters/citizens/politicians need to make responsible choices about what we include in the parks, and I would propose that having NO access is not a responsible choice.

I would not, for instance, resist a reservation system for access to high-use areas. Heck, there's a reservation system for back-country passes almost everywhere, right? We back-country types have to deal with that, so Joe Sixpack can deal, too. I think that there can be reasonable limits. As I said, I have no problems with a moratorium on new parks, and just sticking to designating new wildernesses. Heck, if I had my druthers every national forest would become a designated wilderness tomorrow!

If you say that the NPS is failing in half of it's mission then the solution is certainly NOT to abandon the other half! My God! Lord knows, I'd like to see the NPS better-funded and better-managed! No argument! I vote for it in every election! Then we could better manage trash, and have rangers every fifty meters in Yosemite Valley to keep the drones off the grass.

I maintain that parks and wilderness have different purposes. I adore wilderness! But I don't begrudge the old and infirm a ride in the family car to see Old Faithful, unlike Nick. Many (non-outdoor-fanatic) people can't seem to get out and see all these natural wonders until they retire, after all. And grandpa still won't be hiking the Continental Divide in Weminuche, so I can still have my solitude. And so can you. And, much of Yellowstone is still not paved, no matter how much it chaps Nick that the precise spot that HE wants to visit DOES have roads.

So, I maintain that this attitude is elitist and, perhaps, a little petulant. There are parks for all, and wilderness just for us, alone. I think we got a good deal, there.

Kudos to Craig, by the way. He obviously has a well-developed sense of civic duty.

Edited by acrosome on 06/11/2009 03:33:31 MDT.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
Graffiti and Government Bullcrap on 06/11/2009 06:11:11 MDT Print View

There is no doubt that the National Park system is seriously flawed. The system that was setup to govern these areas such as Yosemite is ill equipped to properly manage and preserve an area with that amount of human traffic. When you have an area so beautiful as Yosemite for example near a monstrosity of a Megatropolis as Los Angeles so bloated with consumerism, rabid excess and vanity, well of course there is going to be issues when you get out there, too many just pack up their lives and bring it with them. The result is sad and the scars left on these once "wild" and unaffected areas are irrevocable.

Guys like Craig are making the difference, thanks Craig.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Graffiti and Government Bullcrap on 06/11/2009 09:00:33 MDT Print View

Thank you.
I've been so pIssed about this I just had to rant here.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Graffiti and Government Bullcrap on 06/11/2009 12:27:42 MDT Print View

Thoughts and ramblings...

Some of our National Parks are a mess. We (as we are the government) need to reevaluate how they are used. They are special places and need special care.

Lets take Joshua Tree National Park for instance, as a park that is doing a pretty good job of management. There are no stores or restaurants in the park. It is accessible by car. Most campgrounds have no asphalt parking pads, water, sewer hook-ups for RVs, or electricity. There are no commercial businesses in the park. Basically it is not a "developed" park. This is what Yosemite, Yellowstone and Grand Canyon National Parks need to become; in my opinion. If they are too crowded, limit the number of visitors that the park can handle. If traffic is a problem, then I can buy into a transportation system, but not the polluting buses I have seen in the past.

This is not about ME wanting to enjoy Yosemite in solitude. Even if we were to make that park a wilderness, it probably would not be high on my places to visit, because there would be too many people for my taste. That is my decision. There are many other places I can visit in solitude. But my point is that we need to remove as much of the trappings of civilization as possible, to preserve it for future generations. And we need to preserve it in its natural state, as much as we can.

Dean, I disagree about turning our National Forests into all wilderness. These lands need to be multi-use. But we do need to limit commercial uses where possible. We need to get cattle out of these forests. I have mixed feelings about off highway vehicles. I do not like them. But if you travel much between Sherman Pass and Kennedy Meadows in the southern Sierras where there are 1,000s of acres allowing motorcycles on trails, management has done a fairly good job.

Over crowding is the major problem. Over crowding is often the result of making it very easy access and too much development. You build a campground with stores, showers, restrooms, wi-fi access, restaurants, etc. and it will be and is a mess. Lets limit the amenities and keep things as simple and natural as possible.

I suppose I use our public lands more than the average BPLer. My wife and I camp over 100 nights a year. We have a camper (gasp!). It is a tent trailer. My wife will not try backpacking, so we camp together. We hike almost every weekend and about 4 weeks of vacation a year. I backpack by myself. Since I have been going solo for over 40 years, it is probably best; I like the solitude. Since our camper is self-contained, we probably have less impact on the environment than one backpacker. We use solar power for lighting. We do not build campfires. Where required, we haul out our grey water. We have a toilet, so all waste is brought back home and put in the city sewer system.

In keeping with my philosophy that three's a crowd; we have many favorite camping spots that are remote and provide the solitude we seek. They are rather pristine because they do no have asphalt, stores, showers, electricity, RV hook-ups, etc. And we can go to these places even on holiday weekends with no crowds. We do sometimes go in the 'off season.' But it is off season somewhere, 365 days a year. The point is, if you limit the development, it will help mitigate our problem.

Here are some pictures and notes. These camping sites are all in California. Most are in southern California, which is over populated. Look at the pictures and you can see the remoteness. Most places are within 60 miles of my house, except for the southern Sierras. The reason I am sharing these is that the sites are easily accessible by car for a picnic or extending camping. All are trips taken on holiday weekends. They are not crowded because the areas are not over developed.

So Calif Labor Day Weekend 2005

JT 2005

So Calif Memorial Day Weekend 2006

May 06

So Calif 4th of July Weekend 2006
jul 4 06

So Calif Memorial Day Weekend 2008

Sierras 4th July Weekend 2008
Jul 2008

David T
(DaveT) - F
. on 06/11/2009 15:29:19 MDT Print View


Edited by DaveT on 05/17/2015 22:34:59 MDT.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Graffiti and Government Bullcrap on 06/11/2009 16:55:12 MDT Print View

"Classic debate technique. I'm not biting. It is obviously not an easy solution.

But I can tell you what is NOT a solution:"

First off, Dean, I'm not interested in a debate, which has winners and losers, nor am I trained in debate. I took a position at one end of the spectrum in part to provoke discussion and in part because I am closer to that end than the other. That said, after not biting you proceed to outline possible partial solutions to the problem, e.g. a reservation system(restricting access at a point in time), better funding, etc. Kudos to you! Maybe an additional restriction that would not deny access would be to exclude individual autos(sorry, Gramps) in favor of hybrid or pure electric shuttle buses? The discussion so far has centered on the most egregious examples of out of control access and commercialization with its accompanying degradation of the parks, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, and Yelowstone. There are a number of other well managed parks that I know of where that is not the case: North Cascades National Park, Olympic National Park, SEKI the last time I visited them from the west side in the mid 80's(even if they are in California). I am sure there are probably more that I am not familiar with. In all of them, motorized access is limited to the periphery, with the exception of the road to Cedar Grove in Kings Canyon(a very narrow strip of land). Similarly, commercialization is fairly limited, and non existant in North Cascades NP. I am talking here about hotels, Mcdonalds, etc. Commercial horse packing is another whole thread on a par with guns which I don't want to get into here. My point is that the national park system already has models of proper management that fulfill both aspects of its mandate. Why not apply them and other innovative solutions such as yours to the parks that are most abused and have the best of both worlds? In closing, I would ask you to forgo pejoratives such as "PC" and "petulant". It is demeaning to those it is applied to and beneath one of your level of attainment.

Joe Westing
(pedro87) - F
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Graffiti and Government Bullcrap on 06/11/2009 17:44:46 MDT Print View

I think idea of having hybrid/electric shuttle bus service inside the parks is a great one. Already, there is free shuttle service in Zion, Glacier, Acadia, and other parks and it has been hugely successful. Zion has completely prohibited private vehicles from entering the park. Though it is a hugely popular and heavily visited park, it felt calm, peaceful, and for the most part uncrowded. It is a pleasure to ride the shuttles instead of having to drive, and the shuttles open up numerous hiking opportunities where previously you would need multiple cars. From the top of Observation Point high above Zion Valley, it was great to not be looking down at a constant stream of cars and congestion and instead only have to see the occasional (and completely silent) shuttle bus. Though having shuttle service and prohibiting private vehicles would be impractical at some parks, I feel many (especially the more crowded and compact ones) would benefit greatly.

And btw, the lack of commercialization at North Cascades NP is AWESOME! It definitely is one of my favorite parks.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Graffiti and Government Bullcrap on 06/11/2009 19:38:22 MDT Print View

"Already, there is free shuttle service in Zion, Glacier, Acadia, and other parks and it has been hugely successful"

Thanks for pointing this out, Peter. You just made my day.
I don't see why it wouldn't work at Yosemite, Yellowstone, et. al. as well. We have the technology and the need is even greater in those parks.

"And btw, the lack of commercialization at North Cascades NP is AWESOME! It definitely is one of my favorite parks."

IME, it's the most truly wild park in the system. And the rangers zealously protect it. It's a national park as I've always imagined one should be and, somehow, I think it will remain that way for a long time to come.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Graffiti and Government Bullcrap on 06/12/2009 01:19:11 MDT Print View

Ok, I'll back off here a little...

Big kiss.

I love you all.

I'll try to better explain where I'm coming from:


I was responding in many ways to your first post, wherein you said:

"This is why I am an advocate to eliminating roads into all National Parks and similar national treasures...If you can't hike in, then you don't go."

I supposed I interpreted this as your advocating removing essentially ALL roads, and thus denying most Americans access. If so, I maintain that this is an extreme position, and I disagree. Since my last post you have better defined your position, and it now seems that we really don't disagree all that much. Correct me if I am wrong, but you seem to be advocating better regulation that nonetheless tolerates some road access or perhaps better public transportation a-la DisneyWorld. If under "similar national treasures" you include wilderness areas then, yes, of course I agree to banning roads and any development in designated wilderness. We can quibble about details for weeks, but at base we actually seem to agree.


The "debate technique" comment was meant as tongue-in-cheek, and to make the point that this is a difficult issue that wll resist easy solutions- as I tried to support in the rest of my rant. I should have included a smiley. I apologize.

OTOH I stand by my "PC" and "petulant" statements.

The PC comment was meant to be a comment about myself, i.e. I am anti-PC (we can debate what that means, if you like) and the effect that has upon my take on the access-to-all-leading-to-tragedy argument. The poke at California was, I admit, a bit of a cheap shot made for laughs. But Californians, I thought, were pretty used to such good-humored jesting. People make jokes about Californians; people make jokes about Southerners; Texans; Yankees; etc. If you are a Californian and were offended, again, I apologize, honestly. Again, I probably should have included a smiley. I'm trying to be lighthearted, not abrasive, and perhaps I should be more careful about that. On the other hand- and I hesitate to say this because it is the refrain of asinine trolls everywhere- but perhaps you shouldn't be so sensitive, either? I'll meet you halfway.

I also stand by "petulant", as I understood the discussion to that point. After all, I included several softening modifiers, i.e. "perhaps, a little." I don't think that this was out of line. Petulant basically means "easily annoyed" ( and I maintain that those complaining the loudest about the masses trampling about in the national parks did indeed sound a little grumpy. Am I really out of line with this statement?

My "kudos" comment about Criag was heartfelt, by the way. If you were trying to poke fun at me (I don't think so, but I have just proven how easy it is to be misunderstood via the internet) then you failed. :-)

As I said, we can quibble about details forever, but basically we seem to agree about allowing access for all with better regulation.

Am I misunderstanding?

Edited by acrosome on 06/12/2009 01:33:22 MDT.

David T
(DaveT) - F
. on 06/12/2009 01:29:38 MDT Print View


Edited by DaveT on 05/17/2015 22:33:50 MDT.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Re: ummm... on 06/12/2009 01:32:38 MDT Print View

Whoa, I was slow. I edited that to add the "desert not being as attractive to most people" thing, and then I just removed that paragraph all together.

(I wanted to keep people from getting confused about Dave's post.)

Editing and re-editing is a BAD habit of mine...

I just did it again. I can't help myself. This is usually because I re-read my posts over and over, worrying about EXACTLY that type of misundertanding that happened with Tom, and I try to edit in better and better phraseology. And, of course, I remove dangling participles and split infinitives... :-) This often leads to my being VERY verbose.

Ha! Dave just did it, too!

I do work in a field where aggressive "debate" is important, so perhaps that comes across in my posts. And, of course, I expect others to defend their positions, too. Dave, I'm not trying to "win" this discussion- and I'm certainly don't mean to approach it as I did the Flame War. (My apologies to anyone who followed the Flame War- that was painful on many levels. And I'm already thinking about how I'll spend my $1000, Rog.) This one is, after all, a discussion about opinions and values, and I was throwing in my $0.02. But when Tom criticized me I was worried that I might have communicated poorly and thus offended people. I really am easy to get along with, but I also guess I'm bad at expressing my "boys-club" humor style and whatnot.

A common refrain, I know. Perhaps in the future I'll just reference "Standard Disclaimer of 12June2009" or something.

Also, upon further thinking I suspect that the word "petulant" can imply immaturity as well as grumpiness, so if that is how Tom took it, well, that wasn't how I meant it. The tantrum aspect, yes, I was implying that, but not necessarily immaturity. I would interpret ill-advised and short-sighted legislation, prompted by a controllable annoyance, and removing all roads from the national parks as a tantrum of sorts on the part of the public...

So, in short, I'll concede to Tom that I should probably avoid that word from now on. Even if I meant it one way it also has an emotionally-charged aspect. I'll pick a better one in the future.

Edited by acrosome on 06/12/2009 02:18:59 MDT.