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Following the Rules in U.S. Forests?
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Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: Following the Rules in U.S. Forests? on 12/27/2012 06:53:04 MST Print View

Max this thread is not all about you ... its all about me !
you see, you may think you have the right to bend the rules to your whim, but I know I do, and so do the thousands who have destroyed the beautiful mountain trail near my home with short cuts, short cuts thru a fragile desert environment to the point where the original trail is unrecognizable.
so stop breaking rules, leave that to me since I'm the one who actually has that right.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
Re: Mike on 12/27/2012 10:31:20 MST Print View

You don't need 40 years of lab time to know that plants underneath two feet of snow are dormant and unharmed. If the environment was that unstable, they'd close hiking up there.

And yes, there's that much snow. We're getting several feet today and more this weekend.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Max... on 12/28/2012 01:30:00 MST Print View

>> You don't need 40 years of lab time to know that plants underneath two feet of snow are dormant and unharmed. If the environment was that unstable, they'd close hiking up there. <<

Two feet of snow only delays the inevitable... whatever you leave behind with your "LNT" intentions will hit the plants when the snow thaws. But then you will be long gone so no harm done, right?

If you did have 40 years of experience (as many of us do on this forum), then you'd understand that saying something like "they'd close hiking up there" if the environment was unstable is very naive. Environmental concerns have always come second place to the economy and peoples desire to enjoy the environment... even if it means that we enjoy it to death. Those of us that have been wandering through the most beautiful places on earth for decades have watch them slowly degrade over time. Measures might be put in place to try and protect the environment but generally, they do not completely exclude people (but often they should) and the degradation continues.

I'm certainly not a saint and my "young footprints" have no doubt done their fair share of damage in years gone by. Now I just feel sorry for the well intentioned stewards of our forest lands. They are fighting an impossible battle against people that think they know better or even worse, know nothing. I now follow the guidelines as best I can and often wish they would enforce stronger measures.

Re-read Art's post above... he's trying to explain this to you.

I don't think you every really had any intention of listening to what we are telling you but hopefully some of the more open minded Newbs on this forum will take some of this in.

Enjoy your trip. I'm sure your conscience will be clear.

Edited by skopeo on 12/28/2012 01:32:30 MST.

Paul Wagner
(balzaccom) - F

Locale: Wine Country
Our two cents on 12/28/2012 07:57:15 MST Print View

There's a moral issue, a legal issue, and a technical issue.

The moral issue is in some ways simpler. If you believe that you are really doing a perfect job of leaving no trace, and you can assure us that nobody else sees you do this, then there is no moral issue. You're good. If other people see you, then you have contributed to the problem. No question. They see you do it, they think it's OK...and here we go down the slippery slope. Can you guarantee nobody sees you do this?

On the legal issue, if you are on the other side of the law, you're toast. No exceptions, and no excuses. Pay your fines and be quiet.

The scientific issue is that you believe that you are leaving no trace...and maybe you are. But I have run into so many people in the back country who explain that they don't actually follow the rules because they understand them....yadda yadda yadda...and yet, what they are doing is not only legally but morally wrong. The guy hiking with his son and two dogs in the backcountry of Yosemite---because his dogs are well-trained, and don't chase the wildlife. No comment when I mentioned that his dogs' feces might carry disease, or that fleas on his dog might infect the wildlife. The fact was that he didn't understand all the issues...and thought he was OK. And was showing his son how to break the law.

So I think it's not so much what we here in these boards think of your exceptions concerning the rules. I think you should contact the local naturalist community and ask them what issues they are fighting, and if they think it's OK for you to bend the rules. And you may find out that there are issues about which you are ignorant.

And then you're wrong on all three counts!

Edited by balzaccom on 12/28/2012 07:59:48 MST.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
Really? on 12/28/2012 16:49:06 MST Print View

Well, now this thread is just turning into a witch-hunt. I'm not Enemy #1, I'm not even on the list. If I say I practice LNT, there's nothing left behind. I don't leave wrappers, or burnt logs, or toothpaste puddles, or felled trees. I said we follow LNT; you can believe me or assume I'm a child that doesn't know what they're doing.

Secondly, the implication that because I'm not 65, I don't "get it" is insulting and a little childish. If you aren't giving me the benefit of the doubt when I say I understand about human impact and my role in preserving the environment, you're just looking for another college student to pin your concerns on. I really don't feel like being the poster boy for environmental degradation just because I was brave enough to ASK about it.

Thirdly, the conversation about being a role model for others ("Are you really sure nobody will see you?") seems a little extreme for my taste. I take advantage of my knowledge and spread it to others in conversations when I can. I also make sure I'm practicing responsibly around other people.

However, demanding perfection in every second of my life because if I don't, I'm "allowing" other, more reckless people to follow me is WAY beyond my responsibility, in the woods or walking down the street. If someone else takes my actions as a ticket to do serious harm, that's between them and the Forest Service.

If I run down the trail and someone sees me and decides to take his dirtbike on it, is that my fault? I'm all for being a good example, but I give no credence to it being my duty.


I think people who are implying I'm not listening or that I'm not taking no for an answer are not reading my posts. They're just making me into the enemy they want me to be for the purposes of reminding everyone how pissed off they are at the REAL problems. If any one of you hiked and camped with me, you'd have no problems, and I am confident in that.

Relax a little bit!

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
re: Really? on 12/28/2012 18:30:42 MST Print View

Come on, Max, you start a thread by saying, essentially, "Hey! I like to break the rules in the mountains that many of you care deeply about, and spend a great deal of time and money trying to protect - aren't I cool?"

And then you get miffed cuz folks don't think it's so cool after all?

Really?

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
Never allowed to ask questions on BPL? on 12/28/2012 18:35:12 MST Print View

Dissenting opinions are always going to make people upset, I guess...

Thank you, Stephen, for capitulating precisely the kind of blind ignorance I'm referencing here. It really is irrelevant how many times I agree with everyone, I'm still going to be condemned for my OP.



Here's the scenario: I ask for guidance, I receive guidance, and I thank everyone and say, very plainly, that my opinion is reformed and that I'm going to follow advice. So what exactly is your problem here?

If it's a laziness thing, I can go back and edit the OP for you...

Edited by mdilthey on 12/28/2012 18:36:53 MST.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
Thread Complete? on 12/28/2012 18:40:49 MST Print View

Now that I think about it, I guess this conversation is over. I already got all the help I needed. Thanks to everyone who responded in a way that was respectful, since I try to be respectful myself in return.

Everyone else, take a look at what you're doing: you're working your damned hardest to exile an outdoorsman from the community instead of helping them learn how to support it.

a b
(Ice-axe)
Re: Thread Complete? on 12/28/2012 18:57:21 MST Print View

Yea, i got in "trouble" the last time i entered a thread like this.

This is Back Packing Light.

If you are in the camp that feels the need to build a debris shelter or fire ring every where you go perhaps try the "bushcraft" forums.

Lately we seem to have an influx of these bushcraft folks.

The fact that they don't even follow the #1 rule of survival is hypocritical on their part.

Number one rule: Conserve all resources.

If you are cutting a branch to make a tent pole because you are in an emergency; fine.
If you are cutting a branch simply because you are too lazy to carry a tent pole; not fine.

Same with making fire.

If you are making a fire in a no fire zone because you are afraid of the dark; not cool.
If you are making a fire because you are dying; cool.

What really burns my ass is when folks come on here and pretend they don't know the difference and ask obvious troll questions.

You know the truth in your heart.

You know what is right and wrong.

I am not buying the coy attitude.
There is an agenda being played out here and i ain't buying it.

I will say no more.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Thread Complete? on 12/28/2012 19:04:07 MST Print View

Your understanding of LNT seems shortsighted. It is more than just trash and cat holes. Staying on trails. Camping in designated areas. Leaving an area the way it was before you arrived.

Saying in two threads that you ignore nat/state park rules is not exactly a way to garner support. Many on here have probably witnessed areas with access issues from people with that attitude.
I know ive been to at least one climbing area that is closed because people could not leash their dogs and refrain from being loud near the guest cabins. Owner gave warnings which were ignored so he closed his land.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Re: Re: Thread Complete? on 12/28/2012 19:04:20 MST Print View

Amen iceaxe!

Max, what reaction did you expect? Seriously, it seems you are just waiting for folks to tell you it was ok to do what you have already decided to do.

Edited by gg-man on 12/28/2012 19:04:52 MST.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
Jake D on 12/28/2012 19:06:12 MST Print View

Jake D, I was never looking for support.

I was looking for information as to whether I was making the right or wrong decision, and I got it.

Greg, the only thing I decided to do was to ask what was right, and then follow it.

Edited by mdilthey on 12/28/2012 19:07:02 MST.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
Ice Axe on 12/28/2012 19:10:35 MST Print View

Ice-axe, I have no agenda. I really am coy! The average BPL poster seems to be a mid or late-age mountaineer who has years of experience. My first trip was in February (and I've since made dozens and dozens).

I have to learn sometime. :P

Ian Clark
(chindits) - MLife

Locale: Cntrl ROMO
choices on 01/03/2013 08:52:40 MST Print View

Why recreate in areas with such regulations. There is so much unregulated country available out there. Nobody is forcing you to live back east, just don't move here I don't want to see you when I'm moving x-country in vast unregulated country.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Park Rules on 01/04/2013 11:28:36 MST Print View

Max et al,

I agree with the notion that some rules are an overly general attempt at accomplishing an outdoor recreation management objective - be it safety, environmental protection, wilderness experience enhancement etc. Often these rules need to be general in order to be successful, as alternatives such as education are often unfeasible. Banning fires is a lot simpler to communicate and enforce than training people to avoid using an endangered species of old man's beard to start their fires.

Out of this arises situations where someone has (or thinks they have) the knowledge or experience to accomplish the same objective without the inconvenience of the generalized rule. I think a lot of us here run into this. I personally would love to hike the West Coast Trail in the winter, as it would have additional challenges and solitude that is not present in the busy summer months. My understanding is that the WCT is closed in the winter only because the stormy weather (rain and high winds, there's rarely snow) poses a safety and rescue challenge for the park. If I am confident in my abilities to hike this in the winter and willing to accept the risk, should I hike it? Or refrain since its against the rules?

This is a tough issue and I don't think there's a simple answer to it. I will offer a few thoughts though:
1) Make sure ALL the reasons why a rule is in place are properly understood. In my case, am I sure the WCT closed in the winter only because of safety/rescue concerns? Or are there ecological considerations as well that I may be ignorant of? Without delving into details, as recently as a year ago I disregarded a rule thinking I understood why it was in place, when really I was missing half the reason and thus inflicted harm on the environment.

2) I think we do have a responsibility to consider how our actions can affect the actions of others. If I hike the WCT in the winter and then post an amazing trip report on BPL, am I encouraging other less experienced people to head out there next winter who may be more likely to need rescue? Even if the trip doesn't have direct consequences for the park, I could indirectly cause environmental or parks management problems for the area.

3) Ultimately it's still breaking the law, so ethics aside don't do it if you're not okay with the penalty for getting caught.

Edited by dandydan on 01/04/2013 11:41:29 MST.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Park Rules on 01/04/2013 17:39:43 MST Print View

"This is a tough issue and I don't think there's a simple answer to it. I will offer a few thoughts though:
1) Make sure ALL the reasons why a rule is in place are properly understood. In my case, am I sure the WCT closed in the winter only because of safety/rescue concerns? Or are there ecological considerations as well that I may be ignorant of? Without delving into details, as recently as a year ago I disregarded a rule thinking I understood why it was in place, when really I was missing half the reason and thus inflicted harm on the environment.

2) I think we do have a responsibility to consider how our actions can affect the actions of others. If I hike the WCT in the winter and then post an amazing trip report on BPL, am I encouraging other less experienced people to head out there next winter who may be more likely to need rescue? Even if the trip doesn't have direct consequences for the park, I could indirectly cause environmental or parks management problems for the area.

3) Ultimately it's still breaking the law, so ethics aside don't do it if you're not okay with the penalty for getting caught."

Great post, Dan. About says it all.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
Re: Dan on 01/06/2013 20:27:19 MST Print View

Thanks Dan, that's pretty much where my head is at, but as other people have said here, it's really difficult to know when you're really aware of all the potential consequences of breaking the rule. I'm going to try and err on the side of caution, but occasionally, I'm not afraid to use my brain. It's my favorite camping accessory...

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
The dead horse on 01/09/2013 16:31:27 MST Print View

Speaking from an enforcement perspective..... it depends.

High traffic area like the Wonderland Trail, if you are caught stealth camping you'll at least be given your eviction notice, possibly have your day in magistrate court to answer for your citation, and at worst be charged with a criminal offense (assuming you are hanging your hammock on the tree housing the last known golden cockaheaded woodpecker). Same offense in Elk Snort Washington off of a trail that sees fewer than 30 pairs of boots per month during the peak season, you'll probably receive a warning. Depends on the area, the officer/ranger, and your attitude.

Too many variables to give a blanket answer but you are putting yourself at a legal disadvatage either way and I would suggest camping elsewhere.

For what its worth it looks like you took your lumps on this thread like a man so you're aces in my book!

Edited by IDBLOOM on 01/09/2013 16:33:19 MST.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
Dead-er Horse on 01/09/2013 21:42:44 MST Print View

Thanks Ian! It's an important conversation to have in general, I think. Everyone benefits.