Regional Forums
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john griffith
(jgriffith)

Locale: Southeast U.S.
Regional Forums on 01/13/2010 10:00:55 MST Print View

I think a forum section for regional BPL members to communicate with each other would be beneficial. Sort of like a google or yahoo group, but have it reside here on the BPL website. It would make it easier for those of us that live within a particular geographical area to connect and potentially plan trips together. Those of us that like to hike with others know how challenging it can be to find people to hike with and get our schedules to mesh. Providing the means with which to to find others to get out there with seems like a logical extension.

Is there any potential for that?

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Opposed Re: Regional Forums on 01/13/2010 12:17:29 MST Print View

I used to agree that regional forums would be good, but I've been convinced otherwise. I do think "Trip Reports" and "Hiking Partners/Trip Announcements" could be moved up into the higher-profile "General" category. Also encouraging people to always use those forums instead of the "General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion" for location-specific discussion would help. Finally, including the state (or country) in the title for all posts related to specific locations would be very useful. Do you know how many "Rock Creeks" there are?

I've quoted an answer to a similar suggestion on a RV travel forum:

"Here are my feelings about separating this forum into regions:

Yes, I believe that the search function of the forum could be improved to make it easier to find information about certain regions.

That being said, I believe that dividing this forum up into separate regions would be a huge mistake. One needs to remember that Open Roads is a forum and not simply a search engine. The success of the forum depends on the give and take of its members.

Let’s say you go to the Great Lakes Region and post a question. The only members who are likely to see your question are those who are also seeking information in that area. You may get a few replies but not nearly as many as you will in an open format.

Most RVers travel through multiple regions and monitor the board both for our own benefit and to help others who are looking for advice. If you notice the replies given to any post, the answers are not necessarily from persons who live in that area but they are from members from across the nation who have visited there at one time. For the moment in time that you post your question, many contributing members would have no reason to be in that area unless they also happen to be planning a trip there.

If members are looking at only a certain region for their own purposes, they won’t be seeing and answering questions about places they’ve already been. Not many people are likely to go from region to region just looking for questions to answer.

Also, members looking for information in a particular region will be missing out on a wealth of information that does not necessarily apply to only one area."

john griffith
(jgriffith)

Locale: Southeast U.S.
Clarification to previous post on 01/13/2010 15:17:36 MST Print View

I want to clarify my suggestion. I am not suggesting the regionalization of the entire website or all of the forums, but simply creating a seperate forum section for the regional discussions relating to putting trips together and potentially providing info. to others about local conditions when they see a trip set up in an area they are familiar with.

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Re: Regional Forums on 01/13/2010 15:36:19 MST Print View

John,

I misunderstood and thought you were suggesting a separate forum for each region. The existing "Trip Reports" and "Hiking Partners/Trip Announcements" seems like they could serve the purpose.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Regional Forums on 01/13/2010 18:48:47 MST Print View

It's a valid request. I do wonder however if people would miss out on interesting trips because they didn't look at other regions.

Personally I read the forums via the "Recent Threads" link, but others may click only into certain sections and would definitely miss a lot.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Regional Forums on 01/15/2010 01:04:01 MST Print View

I like the simplicity of BPL Forums, and the fact I am not overwhelmed by the number of 'special interest' forums.

I say, lets keep the forums ultra light (pun intended), and not add additional structure and weight with regional forums.

Mark McLauchlin
(markmclauchlin) - MLife

Locale: Western Australia
Re: Re: Regional Forums on 01/15/2010 02:42:03 MST Print View

+1 with Nick

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Regional Forums on 01/15/2010 03:10:08 MST Print View

It's a valid request. I do wonder however if people would miss out on interesting trips because they didn't look at other regions.

Personally I read the forums via the "Recent Threads" link


I also read the threads through the "Recent Threads" link, but the problem lies not so much in reading the threads as in posting them. You have to choose which forum to post to and that, as it already stands, causes a division of threads for readers. So basically the forums, if readers don't go through the recent threads link, already make people miss things. So I don't see any new problem being caused by creating regional forums. You will miss things anyway, or, if you go through the Recent Thread link, you will keep up with it all.

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: Regional Forums on 01/15/2010 07:04:51 MST Print View

> including the state (or country) in the title for all posts related to specific locations would be very useful.

+1 Maybe not ALL posts since most will know PCT, AT, CDT, Yosemite, Smokies, etc, but this would be very helpful for a newbie or someone not familiar with your region.

john griffith
(jgriffith)

Locale: Southeast U.S.
Regional community forum on 01/19/2010 10:07:10 MST Print View

A trip announcement seems to be a different post than trying to create a section where many different BPL subscribers generate discussions with some give and take regarding a potential trip in a given area and they come to an agreement about a route and a date. Much as I would do with a couple of my hiking buddies as I were setting up a trip with them.

The whole dynamic seems different to me. Anyone can go on a solo trip anytime it suits them. However the process of potentially creating a group or community of fairly likeminded fellow lightweight backpackers from which to draw hiking partners is a need that has gone unmet by this website, so far. This may be something that most subscribers are not interested in, but is a resource I personally would love to have access to.

Examples:

Knowing that I-40 on the east side of GSMNP is blocked due to a rockslide.

The trail to hangover lead in Joyce-Kilmer is blocked due to a blow-down.

Wanting to get a trip together for March in the GSMNP.

I can't think of a current forum where these would have traction. Sure you could put the last one in trip announcements, but that isn't likely to have the same give and take. If I have 3 possible weekend in March then it really isn't a trip announcement.

As I said, maybe I'm the only one interested, but I would get some use out of it.

Eddy Walker
(Ewker) - M

Locale: southeast
Re: Regional community forum on 01/19/2010 10:39:34 MST Print View

there was a Facebook created for southeast backpackers by Brad who post on here. Not sure if you are a member of that or not. Here is a link to that tread

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=27199

Edited by Ewker on 01/19/2010 10:41:53 MST.

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: Re: Regional community forum on 01/20/2010 17:22:44 MST Print View

What I would really like is a trip planning area like this one

Trip Page

It would allow people to post trips from all over the country (and world for that matter) and everyone could view them by state. It allows people to sign up to a trip and forum space within each trip to plan and organize. To me it makes all other "trip postings" or "hiking partners" forums seem archaic.

for some reason, I cant get the link to embed:

http://www.thebackpacker.com/trips/

Edited by Mocs123 on 01/20/2010 17:24:24 MST.

obx hiker
(obxcola) - MLife

Locale: Outer Banks of North Carolina
trip planning on 01/20/2010 20:23:42 MST Print View

Interesting the number of members asking about a regional trip plan that list the southeast as their location. I suspect (strongly) that the hiking population of the southest is more widely dispersed which makes net-working more difficult.

Whats this: "The trail to hangover lead in Joyce-Kilmer is blocked due to a blow-down."

Are you saying that the forest road named the Slick Rock Road to the gap in the Hangover Lead leading to Big Fat Branch is blocked? Surely not hgw 129 to the river or highway 143. Of course who'd believe I-40 would be blocked since October.

john griffith
(jgriffith)

Locale: Southeast U.S.
Examples of trip planning resource on 01/21/2010 06:20:22 MST Print View

Whoa!
My example of "trail to hangover lead blocked in Joyce-Kilmer" was just an example. I wasn't making a report on trail conditions. I was simply putting some examples in there that I think would be very useful and would likely become part of a group trip planning area.

If someone is looking at upcoming trips and sees one being planned for an area they were in recently, they would be able to inform others of circumstances that may be unknown and could impact the planning of the trip.

obx hiker
(obxcola) - MLife

Locale: Outer Banks of North Carolina
Regional Forums on 01/21/2010 12:06:05 MST Print View

Whew!

Thanks John! I was just studying the possibility of a loop starting at Big Fat Gap so your example got my attention!

john griffith
(jgriffith)

Locale: Southeast U.S.
Wish I had that first hand info. on 01/21/2010 12:32:18 MST Print View

Cola, I can only wish I had some good first hand info on Joyce-Kilmer...maybe soon.

Eddy Walker
(Ewker) - M

Locale: southeast
Re: Re: Re: Regional community forum on 01/21/2010 13:50:04 MST Print View

http://www.thebackpacker.com/trips/

I think that is the only website that I know of that has a trip page. I used it many times to go on trips in the Sierras, Canadian Rockies and locally.

That IMO would be an awesome addition to any website

Edited by Ewker on 01/21/2010 13:50:35 MST.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Regional Forums on 01/21/2010 15:19:57 MST Print View

I think it would really be great if there was some form of "local conditions" section in a regional forum where people can go and either ask or provide information about how things are in local areas at any given time. One of the frustrating things here in Japan is being able to determine what the weather and ground conditions are like when heading to an area I've never been to and I don't know anyone in the area to whom I might call and ask about conditions. Is the snow deep or icy or is there no snow? How are the winds? The temperature? Will I have to bring my big down jacket, or can I leave it at home? Has it been raining for a week and therefore might not be a good idea to camp in certain areas? And so forth. Just an idea...

obx hiker
(obxcola) - MLife

Locale: Outer Banks of North Carolina
Joyce Kilmer on 01/21/2010 16:16:42 MST Print View

John I've only been up to Jenkins Meadow to the Haoe lead and over to Naked Ground then back down through the big trees along Santeetlah to the start.

The first leg up to Jenkins Meadow was brutal w/over 2400 feet in ups over @ 2.5 miles. I wouldn't go UP that way again!

The big trees are always great but I was also really saddened to see the big Hemlocks, probably the biggest conifers east of old growth Ponderosas at least.....maybe redwoods....it's close.... Dead or dying. I've tried to visit all the NC/TENN groves of big hemlocks before they passed away the past 3 years. It is so sad. I'm only 57 years old and the Smokies look nothing like they looked when I was a young man hiking in converse allstars with a boy scout canvas pack. ( then there's wondering what happens as they all start to fall over.....)

Let me tell you about walking down the boulevard trail on le Conte under a canopy of mature red spruce with a completely open forest below and the trail ahead flowing/disappearing through a carpet of ferns.

Edited by obxcola on 01/21/2010 16:18:37 MST.

john griffith
(jgriffith)

Locale: Southeast U.S.
This is why we need the regional section on 01/21/2010 18:30:40 MST Print View

Cola, I bet it was something to see. I only started backpacking in the Smokies about 4 years ago. I haven't been to Kilmer in about 8 years. I hate to think those trees are going the way of the ones on the GSMNP, but it stands to reason...I have really fallen in love with GSMNP over the last few years. Ever since my wife and I went out west to a few national parks, and then it occurred to me that we had one near us. Before that, I had always gone to the Wilderness areas and the A.T. to get my fix.

This weekend I'll be in the Big Frog Wilderness for a one nighter.

See, this is why we really need this local forum. We already have the community of passionate backpackers here at BPL. The fact that we are members here signifies some commonality that can be used to help have some good fun trips together.