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Cesar Valdez
(PrimeZombie) - F

Locale: Scandinavia
Hooray for helping to get it :) on 03/14/2013 17:25:22 MDT Print View

"I like this thread I say what I don't get and why and you guys give me a different perspective. Good stuff."

This made me a bit happy, glad you get the get it thread ;)

Hard to keep up now with all the feedback, I'd just want to thank all for their contributions and playing nice.

Mary's point about windbreakers I thought was a good one.

I still don't get mitts, however. Maybe in the winter, but pretty low on my gear wish list.

I get getting very happy that my new Zpacks sleeping bag is in the mail! My final piece of my 1+season puzzle! Super excited!

The cotton debate has valid points on each side, I think. In the summer I wear often cotton t-shirts and will usually change into a my syth base layer at night/sleep. For late spring and early fall warm-ish type weather (around 15-20C) I often wear a 50% cotton 50% poly blend army t-shirt. Spring, fall, and winter is synth and wool all the way for me. The only exception, and this is only because I am both lazy and cheap, is underwear. I always wear a pair of cotton boxer briefs that also double as my swim trunks (and this is only when I can't or don't want to skinny dip). The plus side is that they soak up sweat down there and keep me, err, fresher and not as stinky. Down side is weight and takes a while to dry--never had issues with warmth, but then again, this is just underwear I am talking about, and I have syth or wool base layers with me most of the time anyhow. If I saw a nice pair of wool boxer briefs and the price was right, I would buy them.

But moving on, I don't get having to get permits to go backpacking/camping in certain trails in the USA. What's the point? Why not just have all major trails and national parks open to the public all the time? I know I have mentioned this many times before, but I find Sweden's laws to be much better. Not only are there no permits, you can backpack and camp on private land, so long as it is "wild" and not like someone's backyard. It's great buying a map of an area I want to explore here--pretty much all the woods are potential adventures.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Hooray for helping to get it :) on 03/14/2013 17:36:34 MDT Print View

"But moving on, I don't get having to get permits to go backpacking/camping in certain trails in the USA. What's the point? Why not just have all major trails and national parks open to the public all the time?"


Consider the fact the the population of the city of Los Angeles alone is 1/3 that of your entire country. Los Angeles County alone has a population as big as Sweden...and that is only a portion of Southern California. And all of these people are within 4 hours driving from many very popular national and state parks.

Not that I'm a big fan of having to get permits from the government to do things, but I have to question what sort of impact a population of this size would create if it were not for quota and permit systems in popular hiking and camping areas. Many of the more popular areas in the Sierra Nevada are a genuine crowding fiasco even with strict permit programs in place.

For those that know the area, dare to imagine what a place like Cottonwood Lakes would look like on the 4th of July weekend if there were not permit system in place....

Edited by xnomanx on 03/14/2013 17:42:56 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Hooray for helping to get it :) on 03/14/2013 17:47:03 MDT Print View

If we would quit maintaining trails and let them go back to their natural state the visitor count would go way down, maybe to the point we could get rid of the permit system.

I rarely go places that require a permit -- permits tell me the places are probably over-crowded. Can't see any enjoyment hanging out in a crowd. Might as well go to Wal Mart instead.

:)

Cesar Valdez
(PrimeZombie) - F

Locale: Scandinavia
Re: Re: Hooray for helping to get it :) on 03/14/2013 17:50:36 MDT Print View

Craig, if one location has too many people for your liking, why not go to another location?

Also, we would have to operate under the assumption that if they took the permits away that there would be a flood of people into national parks. I am willing to entertain the idea as plausible, but I also think it would be possible that after a certain amount of time if this flood of people happened, that it the novelty would be gone and things would go back to "normal" or maybe even less people afterwards because people moved on to other locations.

Tone is something that is difficult to get across via forum posts, so I assure you that I don't mean to come off as confrontational and just want to explore this issue in more detail :)

Cesar Valdez
(PrimeZombie) - F

Locale: Scandinavia
Re: Nick on 03/14/2013 17:56:07 MDT Print View

As I often find when reading your posts, I generally agree with your sentiments.

You raise and interesting point about letting things just go back to their natural state. I wish there was a real example to point to in order to confirm this theory of yours, but I am drawing blanks. It seems to follow, but don't want to jump the gun here. I like the idea, though.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Hooray for helping to get it :) on 03/14/2013 18:03:41 MDT Print View

"I rarely go places that require a permit -- permits tell me the places are probably over-crowded."

There are wilderness permits, and then there are wilderness quotas.

Wilderness permits, if unlimited in quantity, allow the authorities to keep track of how many total visitor days or nights have happened within their jurisdiction. That might help that agency receive better funding, or at least it allows the agency to show where the visitor use was highest. Having a permit requirement also allows the agency to restrict visitor use during special conditions, like during a forest fire upwind, or during floods. It also forces visitors to sign a form stating that they agree to abide by the wilderness regulations, campfire restrictions, and things like that.

Where the visitor use gets high, the agency sometimes has daily trail quotas. This has little to do with agency funding, but it simply allows the agency to spread out the visitor use away from the most popular trails. Some agencies know that their most popular trail would be terribly overused were it not for daily trail quotas. Then once they start "selling" wilderness permits, they get used to that revenue stream. Some of the money is spent on trail maintenance.

If one particular trail can handle 50 people per day without detracting from the wilderness experience, you wouldn't want to be vistor number 900 for that day, would you?

It seems like each agency operates a little differently. U.S. Forest Service is part of the Department of Agriculture since it originally had more to do with lumber harvesting. National Park Service is part of the Department of the Interior, and it is much more about pure preservation.

--B.G.--

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Nick on 03/14/2013 18:05:47 MDT Print View

There probably aren't any good examples where this has been done.

However, there are places in the desert I hike that used to have 4WD tracks, but no trails. They had a lot of use when 4WD vehicles were allowed. After they were designated wilderness areas, pretty much no one ever goes there... it is too difficult for most people since there are no trails. I like these places and hike them a lot. Solitude is guaranteed.

I think we should start by blowing up HWY 120 from Mono Lake to well past Yosemite. Eliminate all roads within 20 miles of a wilderness boundary. Turn most federal lands into designated wilderness areas. Eliminate all leases and franchises on federal land.

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Re: Hooray for helping to get it :) on 03/14/2013 18:13:59 MDT Print View

All of the outdoor activities seem to attract two different crowds. When I go fishing or kayaking, I'll pass a drift boat and zone out watching the graceful casts then I'll pass an island of six-pack-Charlie’s on their inner tubes who impose themselves on everyone else on the river. Nothing against beer or bikinis as they have a right to enjoy the river in their own way but I get tired of constantly grabbing beer cans as they float down the river.

I have too many memories of idiots feeding bears PBJs at Yellowstone and weekend warriors stomping past "Stay on Trail" signs into the meadows surrounding Mt. Rainier. I find it difficult to believe that we as a species are capable of policing ourselves in these popular areas and permits should be required.

FWIW I'm faxing off my permit for the Wonderland Trail tonight and I've never encountered so much red tape but such is life.

For the record, not being confrontational; just a difference of opinion.

Edited by IDBLOOM on 03/14/2013 18:25:32 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Nick on 03/14/2013 18:21:04 MDT Print View

"After they were designated wilderness areas, pretty much no one ever goes there... it is too difficult for most people since there are no trails. I like these places and hike them a lot. Solitude is guaranteed."

Nick, can I offer a quote by Yogi Berra?

"Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded."

--B.G.--

Cesar Valdez
(PrimeZombie) - F

Locale: Scandinavia
Re: Re: Re: Re: Hooray for helping to get it :) on 03/14/2013 18:36:51 MDT Print View

Ian - I commiserate with your stories, and I am sure most of us have had similar if not identical experiences.

What I think would be a more effective, long term solution would be:

1. Punish jerks who litter and feed bears harshly! As in stiff fines--like thousands of dollars, which could go back into national park funds--and community service.

2. Education, education, education. I can't recall being taught very much in public schools in the US about respecting nature, but that could just have been my bad luck with the schools I went to. Schools ought to teach kids more about nature in general, and respecting it.

3. Encourage people not to ignore abuses of nature. I have called the police in the US on people that were getting drunk, littering, and letting their pit bulls run around without a leash. One of the dogs even charged at me, but I kept my cool because my family always had dogs and I know how to be around them, and it just growled and sniffed me before the owner reluctantly came and got it. This was on the AT in PA. Imagine if a small child would have been there and the dog attacked it. Point is, make it easy to report jerks, encourage it, and see #1 about punishment.


And thanks for the disclaimer, things can get tricky with online communication. Yet the most interesting conversations are usually the most controversial ;)

Edit: typos

Edited by PrimeZombie on 03/14/2013 18:38:19 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: Nick on 03/14/2013 18:52:35 MDT Print View

"Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded."

I like the quote.

Josh Brock
(needsAbath)

Locale: Outside
Permits on 03/14/2013 19:01:42 MDT Print View

I dont like getting a permits but I see the point of it. Our wilderness in california basically the whole PCT would be packed and full of poop(insert corrisponding explitive) heads doing any thing they want. Pissing in rivers, causing forrest fires, building stuff they shouldnt, dumping bodies(totally serious). There would not be any park ranger monitoring parks.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Great Lakes Bay Region
Re: Permits on 03/14/2013 19:27:32 MDT Print View

Permits are an alien requirement to me coming from Europe, at home in Ireland one does see idiots in the mountains.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Permits on 03/14/2013 19:29:15 MDT Print View

>at home in Ireland one does see idiots in the mountains.

I just have to walk out my door to see idiots.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Great Lakes Bay Region
Re: Re: Re: Permits on 03/14/2013 19:33:16 MDT Print View

I hear you brother.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Permits on 03/14/2013 19:37:33 MDT Print View

Overall this is exactly why I, like my buddy Nick, am increasingly becoming a California desert rat.

But you probably shouldn't listen to Nick or I or anyone else that goes there. Desert folk are crazy.

The desert is awful.
There's nothing for you there.
Stay in the mountains.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Re: Permits on 03/14/2013 19:39:59 MDT Print View

"I just have to walk out my door to see idiots."

A mirror works well for me.....

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Permits on 03/14/2013 20:43:37 MDT Print View

Really, Craig...

You shouldn't romanticize deserts. They are awful places; not fit for human habitation.

One needs to be prepared for earthquakes, boulder avalanches, landslides, flash floods, freezing temperatures, triple-digit temperatures, rabid rodents and mammals, poisonous snakes, poisonous insects and spiders, predatory packs of coyotes, sand that gets into your food/water/teeth, man-eating tarantulas, nasty large biting lizards, no marked trails, probably no water, GPS and PBL failures from military activities, and a general lack of cell phone coverage. Other than that they are just okay.

BTW, did I mention poisonous snakes and triple digit temperatures?

snake

118f

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
the desert on 03/14/2013 20:47:23 MDT Print View

Nick, but it is a _dry_ heat.

--B.G.--

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Dry Heat on 03/14/2013 21:01:55 MDT Print View

A term I am sure was invented by the Palm Springs Convention and Visitor's Bureau.

Over 112 it feels like some opened a blast furnace.

Over 118 the top of your shoes get so hot that burn blisters form on your feet, so we wear flip flops instead.

Over 120 we fry eggs on the sidewalk.

Over 122 the dry heat sucks the moisture out of your body.

When it hits 125 we desert rats go indoors and watch Oprah -- the heat is worse than her show.

125 is the hottest I have been in -- I don't what people in hotter weather -- probably go to Iraq or Kuwait and do army stuff.

Edited by ngatel on 03/14/2013 21:03:05 MDT.