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GeoCaching or GeoTrashing?


Guest bunkerdave
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Guest bunkerdave

years. There are many people who are *extremely* bitter over what they perceive as the destruction of public lands by OHV (Off-highway vehicle) users. This bitterness has gained support, and is well-organized and very well funded. The goal of these groups is to see virtually every road that is not passable by tricycle closed to all vehicles, period. I don't have to illustrate what this would do to our sport.

 

I do not own any OHVs, or boats, or snowmobiles, or anything else. I am pretty convinced that the best recreational equipment ever made is right at the end of my legs. However, I have tried all these activities, and I can say that they all are a ton of fun, and if I had the $$$, I would probably buy one or two myself. Whether you approve or disapprove of the activity is irrelevant, because if you enjoy Geocaching enough to be reading this forum, then this issue - access - affects you.

 

The question to be answered is: "What do we need to do to be part of the solution, rather than a part of the problem." The answer is simple. We need to practice "leave no trace" principles whenever we are in the outdoors, whether Geocaching or not. We need to watch behind us to make sure that when we are leaving an area, no one will be able to tell we were there. Over the past months, I have developed a few ideas which have helped me. Most of these are not new, but some of them might be. I am not claiming to have all the answers, but in those cases where I have noticed a problem, a few simple precautions would have helped.

 

In placing caches:

 

- Place caches near a trail, or at least near a durable surface which can be frequently traveled without showing wear. This need not be a marked trail, but simply a path that can be discerned and traveled without too much damage.

-Avoid placing caches in heavy brush, where they can be difficult to locate and often frustrate the hunters, who might be prone to beating the hell out the !@#$% trees. (Experience speaks) icon_redface.gif

-Place caches in areas where they are relatively easy to locate when you reach the area. The goal of the sport is to use your GPS, not necessarily to overturn every stone and stump in the area looking for the container. *Qualifier* Obviously, we want to hide our caches well. I am not suggesting that we set them in the middle of the trail. If you do hide it well, it might be beneficial to give a helpful encrypted hint so that less savvy hunters who have not yet developed a "sense" for where the caches are likely to be can use the hint and find the cache without destroying the vegetation/landscape.

 

-Mention in the cache posting what the container is. It helps the hunters, without giving too much away.

 

When Hunting caches:

 

-Bring the cache listing. Print it out. IF you can't get a printout, write down some key clues.

-Take your time. Let your GPS settle down so you can get a good reading before you take off into the trees.

-Search each spot thoroughly before moving to the next spot. The fewer trips made through an area, the better for the area.

-Avoid following trails others have made.

-Walk on durable surfaces. Be careful not to trample grass and shrubs while searching.

-If you notice the area looking traveled-over, send the cache owner an e-mail. Hopefully, they are conscientious enough to remedy the situation and will appreciate having the information. In severe cases, particularly in remote areas, it may be warranted to relocate the cache to another site. Be sure to notify the cache owner as soon as you can get to a computer.

-When you get to the cache area, stop. Look around. Check the direction of the cache, although you probably won't see it. Look for unnaturally placed objects that could conceal the cache. Look for likely spots for the cache to be placed. This will not only preserve the landscape, but will make you a much more savvy hunter. After numerous hunts, I tend to locate most caches within 30 seconds of arriving at the cache site.

-Be sure you have fresh batteries in your GPS. This makes your GPS more accurate and reduces the search time, and thus, the damage done in searching.

 

I guess I won't be accused of over-simplifying the sport. I hope all of you can see this post for what it is: A well-intentioned attempt to suggest some things that might make us better users of the land. I don't mean to lecture; I just really love this sport. There is so much good to be had, in participation. Right now a lot of land users are under heavy scrutiny and criticism for what many perceive as selfish and reckless destruction of the land. If our sport is to avoid becoming lumped in with these other activities, with citations being handed out to every person who ventures off the trail to seek or place a cache, we have to start now to implement and follow the kind of procedures I have tried to outline here.

 

Sorry for the sermon. I would love to hear LOTS of feedback on this, from all sides. You can post it here, or e-mail me.

 

------------------

David Wallentine

dwallent34@yahoo.com

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Guest Hard Slate

What more can I say,sounds to me like you're right on target.These issues you are speaking of are facts not opinions and if they're not heeded,we will soon be looking for othe activities(excuses to get)outdoors.

 

[This message has been edited by Hard Slate (edited 24 July 2001).]

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Guest k2dave

I generally agree with what you state but have a problem with you taking upon yourself to decide that a site is unsuitable and move it. Perhaps the owner can state on the cache web page if he would approve such a move. I have one that I am considering moving (or turning into a multi) because it migh be too close to the trail. If I went the multi route I would reduce the size of the 1st cache to a film canister which would be less obvious and more suitable for the location.

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Guest mfratto

ort, is just not that important in the big picture.

 

IMHO,

 

Mauri, of Mauri and Mike

 

[This message has been edited by mfratto (edited 24 July 2001).]

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Guest c.mathis

quote:
Originally posted by bunkerdave:

I guess I won't be accused of over-simplifying the sport. I hope all of you can see this post for what it is: A well-intentioned attempt to suggest some things that might make us better users of the land. I don't mean to lecture; I just really love this sport.


 

A few thoughts...

 

You haven't over-simplifyed anything. In my mind, you have stated the obvious.

 

There are those who are not at home in the outdoors and because of that they tend to treat it with disrespect.

 

It's only right that we post our thoughts about the sport to help each other make it better. I would like to see your ideas incorporated into the Guidelines on geocaching.com.

 

If we don't take it upon ourselves to try and police the sport, it will get ruined.

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Guest bunkerdave

I am pleased that all of you seem to have taken my ideas largely in the spirit intended. I do have a couple things I wish to clarify:

 

Re: K2Dave

 

I agree that it is extreme to move another person's cache. This is one reason I have never done it. It would certainly be appropriate to state in the cache listing that you would be agreeable to such a move, if a future seeker deemed it necessary. Let's face it, most of us don't get back to our caches as often as we should or would like to. I, for one would not be too upset if one of my caches were moved for this purpose, as long as the intent of my original placement were preserved.

 

Re: mfratto

 

I started a reply to Mauri, but then after re-reading the post a couple times, I got a clearer understanding. I think you are actually agreeing with me. It sounded like a disagreement, at first.

 

Certainly there ARE places we have a very difficult place going without doing damage. If we happen to favor OHVs, then this is even more true. A recent inventory of public lands in Utah stated that it was possible to get within 1 mile of 85 percent of all the locations by travel on a road. If that is increased to 2 miles, you can get to 95 percent of the state. I think that is more than adequate. Of course, most people are far too lazy to leave their vehicles behind and walk that far, which is their choice. These same people will continue to clamor for more roads and more access, when what we need, if anything, is just to get more exercise. IMO, there is no less intrusive means of transportation than walking. If a trail goes where you want to go, then use it. If there is no trail, then we should feel free to leave the trail, on foot, but do so carefully, and be especially cautious to not leave a trail of our own. If this were possible on OHVs, I would have no problem with the same guidlines being applied. In some areas, it is possible. Sadly, however, these areas are few and far between. Even the slickrock of Moab, while seemingly un-markable and un-trackable at first glance, shows alarming wear and damage from millions of vehicle/miles traveled over it in recent years.

 

What it comes down to is that we have really done enough damage with mining and oil exploration and recreation in the years since we settled these areas. Part of this damage is in the form of roads. Roads are a necessary scar on the land to prevent the entire area from becoming criss-crossed with haphazard roads and trails. In the future, it falls to us to give the land a chance to heal; it has a remarkable ability to do this itself. All I am suggesting are ways that we can enjoy our sport, and others can enjoy theirs, without exacerbating existing problems.

 

The "green" among us will likewise continue their efforts to close roads and areas to OHV use. This is certainly warranted in some areas. The more desirable means is to have land users of all stripes, motorized and non-motorized, become educated in what they are actually doing to the land they claim to value so much, and make the decision to be one who helps the land heal.

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Guest Jebediah

into wilderness fortresses off-limits to all but special 'approved' groups that are 'monitoring' wildlife.

 

There are those who would open up all public lands to motorized use, and there are those who clearly intend to keep the vast majority of the public from getting anywhere near public lands, because they oppose wilderness use by the masses. I oppose both extremes.

 

 

[This message has been edited by Jebediah (edited 24 July 2001).]

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Guest k2dave

quote:
In fact, "leave no trace" is an ideal not even reachable on foot, though there are more and less intrusive ways of being in any environment.

 

I think a certain amount of human walking/hiking can be considered as natural. Humans were ment to take trails (herd paths) and stop for rests in clearings as well as venturing into the woods to releive one self. I know that some trails are overused and bikes and motorized ways of geocaching will detereate the trails and local plants - and some areas are more sensitive then others.

 

I think what we have to protect is our (geocachers') reputation. We don't want to be known as the ones who leave litter where we go and trample the ground.

 

As for stating in the discription if you would approve of moving the cache - I just edited one of mine that is pretty far away to state that I would approve of such a move and stated what the mover should tell me. The other 2 caches I've places I can get to pretty quick and would rather be told of the situation rather then having someone move it.

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Guest rusty

quote:
Originally posted by bunkerdave:

A recent inventory of public lands in Utah stated that it was possible to get within 1 mile of 85 percent of all the locations by travel on a road. If that is increased to 2 miles, you can get to 95 percent of the state.


 

I live in lower Michigan and I have looked all over with Street Atlas trying to find a place that was at least 2 miles from any road. We have plenty of wilderness areas but they are all cut thru with logging trails and such.

 

What is the life span of a cache? This is a new activity so nobody really knows. A lot of caches I have visited will be lucky to last thru the winter. Even popular ones around here are lucky to see 20 visitors. Will 20-30 visits over the entire life of a location have much impact beyond what would naturally occur. Especially when you take into account that the majority of those visitors will have an environmental conscience. If someone were to place a cache in an area that was too fragile I know someone would quickly bring it to the hiders attention in case they were unaware of the situation. That is just the way geocachers are.

 

Look at the people in these forums and you will see a myriad of different opinions and different approaches to things. Even with all those differences and politics, an appreciation of the outdoors and interest in preserving it is a common thread.

 

If you take that into account the major problem is with the perception of geocaching not the reality of it. We need to do everything we can to make public perception match reality. As the sport grows we need to make sure that the reality stays positive.

 

Did that make any sense or did my brain skip again icon_wink.gif

 

Rusty...

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Guest bunkerdave

Re: Rusty

 

I think you are on track. The main problem other users are having is that the perception of their sport(s) is/are that the general public perceives them as destructive. Every time you see an advertisement for ATVs, they talk about the go-anywhere abilities of the vehicles, which is true, mostly, and they show them plowing over logs and through rivers and what-not. I am not making a call on whether this is okay or not, what I AM saying is that it is definitely not a good perception for the public to have. IMHO, Honda, Polaris, Yamaha, and Suzuki are not helping themselves out with this campaign, but whatever sells product, I suppose.

 

Relate to Geocaching:

 

We are users of the same areas, more or less, as the ATV/OHV crowd. many of us, in fact, use ATVs/OHVs to play this game. We also leave evidence of our game on the public lands. This might create a perception that we are also littering/defacing the land as much as some think the OHVers are. I disagree, but that is not the point. The key is that as far as public sentiment/opinion goes, perception IS reality. We have the upper hand, in that we have already been portrayed on national TV, in the newspapers, and on the radio as hikers and rugged outdoorsmen (at least that's how I saw it) and it is just as well to let that stand. I would prefer that it also be true that we are regarded as conscientious outdoorsmen, practicing the "leave no trace" principles at least as much as anyone out there, if not more so. I wear a Geocaching t-shirt essentially all the time, even when I am not Geocaching, but especially when I am, for a lot of reasons. I like to think I am considerate of the land anyway, but with my cap and shirt, I think I have an opportunity to improve the perception. I think that my favorite is when I am coming down a trail in my cap and shirt with a bag full of trash I picked up along the trail, and I get the chance to talk to someone about Geocaching. The bag of trash in my hand speaks volumes about who we are and what we are about.

 

I admit, this all sounds "propaganda-ish" and contrived. You must also agree, however, that so, too, is usually NEGATIVE perception established. A few vocal people see a couple bad apples out doing something wrong, and the next thing anyone knows, that activity is being banned from all sorts of areas.

 

We have a great advantage. This sport is, by its nature, internet-based. We already have far better communication than any other segment of outdoor recreationists. Not everyone reads these forums, but it is impossible to participate in this sport on any meaningful level without using Geocaching.Com. Jeremy Irish does a marvelous job of not only maintaining this site, but of giving the nudges the sport needs in the proper directions to keep it moving along positively. I think that generally, there is enough positive peer pressure to keep things going along as they should.

 

Comments, anyone?

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Guest bunkerdave

>There are those who would open up all public lands to motorized use, and there are those who clearly intend to keep the vast majority of the public from getting anywhere near public lands, because they oppose wilderness use by the masses. I oppose both extremes. ]


 

This post is just one example of the strong feelings on both sides of this issue. There are few clear things in these issues, however, it is clear that ALL users - industrial, agricultural, and recreational - need to be wary of the way their actions are perceived by others. The best way to to this is to never do anything destructive.

 

I have spent plenty of time in the kind if desert spoken of here. The difference seems to be that in Utah, our deserts are well traveled and easily accessed. It is true that overall, the deserts are less sensitive to being driven on and ridden over by vehicles. I have not really noticed any damage of the type I am concerned about. I prefer to spend my time in the high mountains, and these areas tend to be much more sensitive to the damage recreation can inflict. All the caches I have seen which concerned me were in these areas. There are so many variables and factors in this equation that I could not hope to solve them with a single set of guidelines. I am not trying to. I sometimes wish I were the kind of person who could slap a bumper sticker on my car and feel I had said my peace. Alas, that is not the case. Everyone, save the most ignorant and intellectually bankrupt, knows what is destructive behavior. All I am suggesting is that we follow what I was told as a Boy Scout: "Leave it as you found it." At least, I think we can do that much, if not more.

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Guest mfratto

quote:
Originally posted by Jebediah:

but certain elitists who know little or nothing about the desert still want to turn them into wilderness fortresses off-limits to all but special 'approved' groups that are 'monitoring' wildlife.


 

Get off your elitist high-horse! Perhaps YOU are responsible with your little Jeep in the desert, but you are NOT the norm. I have spent alot of time in some rather remote areas only to find litter and worse left behind by motorized activity. I don't know nor do I care if they are urbanites or not. The fact remains they activity has left it's mark. Isolated incidents may or may not have harmful impact, but repeated incidents most certainly do.

 

There are plent of multi-use lands available in a variety of enviornments. The over-ridding desire to go *everywhere* is simply childish and short sighted.

 

Mike.

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Guest mfratto

Go Mike. icon_smile.gif

 

Not to mention it is pretty much the norm that "urbanites" use public transport -- it is commuters and recreational vehicle users that are rural problems. Cities are, in many ways, much more efficient than suburbs and sprawl areas, created for those who want to "get back to nature" -- but only in their vehicles.

 

More to my concern, we don't have to have access *everywhere* -- I'll repeat that point. Some protected areas should be just that, protected.

 

Okay, I had to make that point, but I am out.

 

Mauri

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Guest WayOutWest

t was raised in a line cabin and later had a small ranch in you proposed road-free zone? Should she(in this case, my next-door neighbor, Betty) be prevented from seeing the land she has loved more intimately than you, me or or anybody else? Land that she has lived on and visited for her 87 years? Is that the kind of "one-size fits all/ban the humans" that works for you?

 

The deserts are not dying. The animal populations appear to be stable. Mauri, Mike, I personally invite you out to visit the area. I will show you both around gratis. Perhaps, after you've seen for yourself the vastness of the land, the amazing scenery, the enormous tracts of pristine wilderness, and the very responsible manner locals and visitors alike treat the desert, you may have a broader understanding of the issues involved.

 

Sorry for the long-winded rant-

 

WayOutWest

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Guest bunkerdave

This is an issue that is never going to be solved. In the end, there will either be too much wilderness for some, or too little open area for others. Probably both. The unfortunate thing is that no matter how it plays out, no one is ever going to be happy. Don't count on Congress to ever figure it out. The problem does not lie in the land, or Congress, or the BLM. The problem is in people. Not all people, but enough people that it really screws things up for the rest of us because it makes all the decent users look bad and gets roads closed, and it ruins the scenery and the overall experience for everyone.

 

I am, of course, "crying in the wilderness" (no pun intended) because the same jerkoffs who trade inequitably in caches and leave their garbage in my caches and everyone else's, and tear up the roads, and leave trash all over the landscape, and blast stereos in campggrounds, will never read this post, or any other writing that attempts to educate people on how critical it is that everyone respect not only the land, but the other people who use it. The only way this issue will ever be solved is for those selfish creeps to catch a clue and start behaving like civilized people. That said, I'm not holding my breath.

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Guest mfratto

Wayoutwest -- you are making a few assumptions here, aren't you? In fact, my husband's (Mike's) family has lived in CA for a number of years, and while we are not experts like you on desert environments, Mike has, in fact, been "out there" and has enjoyed the desert environment, as recently as last year.

 

You sound like a responsible user of resources -- do you really think everyone is like you? I am a responsible user of resources, too -- I go in the water and I am extrememly careful about what is around me, and I can watch all the people around me who could care less what their flippers, etc are hitting or damaging -- the same is true of vehicles, etc. Once the door is open, you cannot control who goes through it.

 

I have not been to the desert, I am studying to be a marine geographer, so I know more about oceans, an ecosystem which, in fact, IS in serious trouble. Please do not assume complete ignorance on the part of other people just because they live in a different part of the country than you do. And quite honestly, I hate to see a bunch of people who all care about the environment arguing -- I am an advocate of certain uses of the environment, well-managed. I am also an advocate of certain levels of protection, including some completely protected zones. Please do not make me out to be some rabid, nazi environmentalist just because I do not agree with all of your views -- why do the few of you in the west think that everyone who doesn't live there is stupid about the earth, and take it all as a threat?

 

But I do think that 1) humans do not need to be everywhere -- especially "just for fun." I would like to see areas of coral reef completely protected (good luck) -- sort of the opposite has happened -- when you "protect" something, it seems like more people want to go there, and as a result we have very few healthy corals now. This is not a small loss -- the collapse of ocean ecosystems will have huge implications for everyone, including you out in the desert.

 

And I stand by my point that whether it is forest, lake, or coral reef, humans do not need access to everywhere --we just don't. Roads do no need to be everywhere. When you "love" someplance, maybe the best way to show it is to let it be. Scuba was a blessing and a curse for the ocean -- we learned a lot, and we opened the door to so much abuse. This is true of most "recreational" use.

 

And before you accuse me of shrillness, please read Jeb's fairly rude and strident (and even bitter?) post, which was the one that set this all off. I am not an expert in desert environments, but that doesn't mean I can't care about them! I wish more people did care about more than what is in their own backyards. Maybe then we would be better off.

 

Mauri

 

[This message has been edited by mfratto (edited 30 July 2001).]

 

[This message has been edited by mfratto (edited 30 July 2001).]

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Guest mfratto

quote:
Originally posted by bunkerdave:

[b}

I am, of course, "crying in the wilderness" (no pun intended) because the same jerkoffs who trade inequitably in caches and leave their garbage in my caches and everyone else's, and tear up the roads, and leave trash all over the landscape, and blast stereos in campggrounds, will never read this post, or any other writing that attempts to educate people on how critical it is that everyone respect not only the land, but the other people who use it. The only way this issue will ever be solved is for those selfish creeps to catch a clue and start behaving like civilized people. That said, I'm not holding my breath.[/b]


 

I think this is probably the best post yet -- true, none of us in this conversation probably need to be reading it -- we are arguing amonst each other, which is unfortunate, since we should be working together -- there will be some disagreements, but we should never be critical of someone for caring, even if your version of caring is not exactly like mine. This has probably been the bane of environmentalism forever -- that the people who care are arguing amongst themselves, but the people who are the real problems have no clue.

 

Mauri

 

 

[This message has been edited by mfratto (edited 30 July 2001).]

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Guest Jebediah

e use prefer it in some areas because they can remain on the trail and not engage in destructive 'go-arounds' or digging holes in areas of poor traction.

 

You now regret the fact we are arguing and wish that we could come to terms. Yet your 'terms' demand that I effectively cease visiting the land that I love and care about. You continue to use the examples of a few boorish people in order to justify banning all humans from areas of your choosing, and you think that reasonable. You necessarily believe then that that the general public is incapable of learning, that the public can't be trusted, and that the masses can't make the right decisions, which you'll turn over to a small governing elite with implicit faith in their superiority. You don't want compromise, you want surrender on dictated terms. NEVER!

 

You seem to be unable to grasp my point that even for long-distance backpackers like myself, removal of all vehicles from necessary trailheads in remote desert will necessarily remove all human contact from vast tracts of desert lands, unless you rely on high-impact animal transport using waterholes not designed to support such use. Or perhaps you do grasp it but have fallen in love with the 'no humans in the wilderness' agenda, irrefutably an idea being put forward, albeit subtly, by urban-based environmental groups who oppose wilderness use by the mass public. Since human habitation has been going on in the U.S. deserts for approximately 4,000 years the idea that all humans are better kept away for fear of potential environmental damage is absurd. It should be regulated, it certainly needn't be banned. Has it occurred to you what one responsible user with a two-way radio can do when he/she sees abuse in a sensitive area? Do you think that enough federal employees can be hired to constantly patrol millions of acres of unvisited lands? (For one clue, examine the U.S. border patrol's current efforts.) Have you thought about the consequences of banning legitimate use at all?

 

Should this idiotic idea succeed, entire categories of the U.S. public not fortunate enough to own large amounts of land (including of course the disabled among us) will be doing their geocaching and everything else inside city limits. While those who ignore the laws are free to do what they want!! What a horrible thought.

 

The fact that you failed to rebut my points and tried to distract from them with more conclusory admonitions about the supposed need to wall off the wilderness speaks more loudly than anything else.

 

 

 

[This message has been edited by Jebediah (edited 30 July 2001).]

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Guest bunkerdave

I have but three wishes when it comes to the outdoors:

 

1. Everyone would stay on the existing trails/roads. Hikers, as much as practicable, and vehicles, ALWAYS. Including bicycles.

2. Everyone would practice "pack in, pack out." I would never again have to see or pick up someone else's litter.

3. Everyone would be courteous of the others in the area. Campsites would be free of loud music, vehicles would be operated so as to be as non-disruptive as possible.

 

Now all I need is a genie.

 

[This message has been edited by bunkerdave (edited 30 July 2001).]

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Guest c.mathis

quote:
Originally posted by Jebediah:

The Sonoran or Mojave desert is not a riparian environment.


 

You're right. It's actually more sensitive to human encroachment. The desert is one of the most fragile ecosystems on the planet and in some areas is being destroyed at an alarming rate.

 

quote:

Sometimes you have to have trailheads reasonably close to areas to reach on foot with available water - if anyone's going to ever see it AT ALL.


 

Let's remember that the land does not exist simply for our entertainment. We do NOT have "see it". It's selfish to think it was put there for YOU!

 

quote:

Remember, the desert has gotten along just fine with about the same level of human interaction over thousands of years -


 

Having studied the Native American population and having visited the deserts of the southwest for most of my adult life, I can tell you that the human population visiting the deserts of North America today is FAR greater than it was a thousand or even 100 years ago.

 

quote:

I can tell you right now that where I live there are many desert areas that cannot be reached on foot if the lands were converted into Wilderness designation without advance caches of water.


 

I disagree with the notion that humans have some inalienable right to trample every square inch of the landscape no matter what the cost to the environment. The environment does NOT exist for our entertainment and enjoyment. We don't HAVE to see it all. It can exist without us just fine.

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Guest Jebediah

Thank you for proving my point. These people do exist and they are serious about keeping legitimate users from even seeing their heritage. They are elitists who think they know what's best for the masses. Of course, small approved groups with the right connections will always find a way to be there, as experience has shown.

 

Your premise supposes that even hiking existing trails in remote desert damages the environment significantly, which is absurd. The desert's being destroyed at an alarming rate by commercial and residential development, not by foot traffic or minor use of existing trails by vehicles up to a reasonable trailhead. Long after San Diego extends to Yuma people will still be trying to prove large-scale damage by human foot pressure on dust microbes.

 

 

[This message has been edited by Jebediah (edited 30 July 2001).]

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Guest c.mathis

ckpackers like myself, removal of all vehicles from necessary trailheads in remote desert will necessarily remove all human contact from vast tracts of desert lands...


 

Well, gee. Maybe you just won't get to see everything in your lifetime. You have my sympathies, but the overall health of the environment is FAR more important than your (and my) selfish human desire to "conquer" it.

 

quote:

Since human habitation has been going on in the U.S. deserts for approximately 4,000 years the idea that all humans are better kept away for fear of potential environmental damage is absurd.


 

The absurdity is yours. Talk about uninformed. You should read just a little about the historic population of the North American deserts. You'll learn that there were NOT millions of inhabitants with "vehicles" roaming the deserts. In fact, the wheel did not even exist on the continent until it was brought by Europeans. Your lack of knowledge is going to make it very difficult for you to prove your argument.

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Guest Jebediah

Please don't distract from my argument. I am not advocating unlimited vehicle roaming, I am advocating reasonable access to hiking use by strategic trailheads. A footpath is a footpath, whether used by the Hia C'ed or some guy from San Diego.

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Guest c.mathis

quote:
Originally posted by Jebediah:

Thank you for proving my point. These people do exist and they are serious about keeping legimate users from even seeing their heritage. Of course, small approved groups with the right connections will always find a way to be there, as experience has shown.


 

Your point seems to be that you fear some small groups of people that you have yet to define. Who are theses "groups"?

 

Also, no one is trying to keep you from your "heritage". Guess what? You don't own it! You and I are here for a very short time. The best thing we can do is to try and not screw it up before we leave.

 

The are plenty of places to hike and ride our vehicles. Yep, I have 4WD and use in the desert. The difference is, I know there are many places I will NEVER see in my lifetime. That's ok because they aren't there for me. They're just there!

 

People always try to gain sympathy for their cause by siting handicapped people or people who are not physically able to get somewhere without a vehicle. Sometimes life doesn't seem fair. But just because someone is unable to participate in something, for WHATEVER reason, that doesn't change anything. There are routes I can't climb today that I used to be able to when I was 20. Does that mean we should drill the rock and put in a cable system just so I can get to the top? Nope, it's just too bad for me.

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Guest mfratto

C mathis: Thanks! You said well in just a few words what I have been saying in about 5 posts. icon_smile.gif

 

Jeb: If I don't answer your posts, it is because you are more interested in telling me what I think than listening to what I am saying. I have no time for that, or for the rude tone you deliver your arguments in. And I am, admittedly, not an expert on desert environs, but I am not completely ignorant, either, a point which you are far too emotionally worked up to acknowledge, so I see no point in arguing with you -- regardless of who answers your arguments, me, c-mathis, etc -- you will never listen and you will always find fault no matter what anyone says -- if it is different from your view, you see it as wrong and stupid. I have discovered the way to deal with people who argue this way -- just don't argue with them. So there ya go.

 

Mauri

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Guest c.mathis

quote:
Originally posted by Jebediah:

A footpath is a footpath, whether used by the Hia C'ed or some guy from San Diego.


 

OK, I give up, what is "Hia C'ed"?

 

What "footpaths" are you talking about?

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Guest Jebediah

Who would keep me from seeing these lands? Those who would ban all human visitation under the guise of habitat protection, and those that blindly support them without making serious inquiry. It's not the habitat they're concerned about, since foot traffic and a few nearby pre-existing trailheads (in some cases themselves wagon trails or ancient foot roads) can't be proven harmful.

 

No, it's that alluring 'primeval wilderness' ideal that has captured the hearts and minds. But humans are not alien to the desert and there is no reason to keep them from seeing it.

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Guest mfratto

sometimes you can't walk, or carved into the fields along the road (apparently this is more fun in the mud, cos you can dig deeper in and make a spash) -- it would take 1000 people on foot to cause the same damage, so I am not against foot traffic -- but I would like to see some areas completely protected, no matter how much I would personally like to see them, but not all. I agree with your point that some people want to just hold on to pristine nature, as if there is such a thing, or as if humans are separate from it -- I am not one of them, but I also don't use that argument to say I should just get to go anywhere I d*** well please.

 

Mauri

 

[This message has been edited by mfratto (edited 30 July 2001).]

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Guest mfratto

oh god, one more and then i have to get back...

 

even though i also wish people were more involved and educated with the earth, i would take a yuppie-environmentalist who recylces and wants land protected over someone who couldn't care less -- at least the yuppie is erring in the right direction. OKay, c-mathis is doing a great job here so I am off to get some work done...

 

Mauri

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Guest c.mathis

Jebediah:

quote:

Who would keep me from seeing these lands? Those who would ban all human visitation under the guise of habitat protection, and those that blindly support them without making serious inquiry.


 

I see you are unfamiliar with the process. Actually, quite a bit of study takes place before an area is closed to vehicles. It's NOT a small group of people just deciding this on a "whim".

 

quote:

It's not the habitat they're concerned about, since foot traffic and a few nearby pre-existing trailheads (in some cases themselves wagon trails or ancient foot roads) can't be proven harmful.


 

If by "ancient foot roads" you mean ARCHEOLOGICAL EVIDENCE of human occupation, I really do have a problem with your attitude. And, foot traffic on them CAN be proven harmful.

 

Percentage wise, most of the public land in this country is open to the public in some form or another.

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Guest bunkerdave

While I know that many will disagree, I see a big difference between ACTUALLY "closing" an area to human activity and having it closed de facto, simply because there are no roads. I know of no area that is actually "off limits" to people. Sure, there are areas that are so hard to get to that only people with significant desire, time, and planning can go there. I think it is entirely appropriate for these places to exist and to continue to exist indefinitely. For the most part, there is a reason these areas are a pristine as they are, it is that they are hostile, dry, unpleasant places to go. As the saying goes: "Great place to visit, wouldn't want to live there."

 

If you are familiar with the Degree Confluence Project, I think a point can be made effectively here using that. I have had my eye on a confluence near Moab for about 6 months now. As near as I can tell, the closest road is 2-3 miles away, and the terrain is impassable except on foot. I don't imagine there is really any "good" reason for me to go out there, but I still would like to, just for fun. When I do go, I will drive as close as I can using the existing roads, and then start walking. I doubt I will find a trail that goes where I want to go, and for all I know, I may not even be able to get to my imaginary destination. The point is, that it is the inaccessibility of the location that makes it appealing. It is the same reason people climb mountains and sail around the world and engage in many other so-called "extreme sports." On one hand, I like to see SOME access to these area, so I can actually get within a day's hike of the spot I want to get to. On the other hand, I prefer that the access not be TOO easy, otherwise the adventure is gone. It is interesting to hear from so-called outdoorsmen that want roads all over the place, and if none exists, they take it upon themselves to create one. The appeal to them is that they are "exploring" the backcountry, but the very act of doing so in this manner (the wrong manner) eliminates the opportunity for others to have the same experience in "the right manner."

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Guest Jebediah

cles, despite the fact they are often forced to make ugly go-arounds to get down them in their large heavy trucks. When it comes to the government, it is 'Do what I say', not 'Do what I do'.

 

Finally many environmental groups have successfully written in elitist legal exemptions for their own enjoyment of desert wilderness areas by means of 'wildlife watering volunteer groups' or other guises, often little more than an excuse to travel at will throughout an area (including the use of those 'government authorized' roads that are believed so damaging) . What's their normal vehicle of choice? A four-wheel-drive.

 

 

[This message has been edited by Jebediah (edited 30 July 2001).]

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Guest c.mathis

quote:
Originally posted by Jebediah:

Also, and this is important, many trails/roads that are closed are NOT left to go back to natural desert, as wilderness extremists would have you believe, but are retained as 'government authorized' trails/roads, even in the most pristine desert areas. These are kept because they are more convenient for federal employees to visit in motor vehicles, despite the fact they are often forced to make ugly go-arounds to get down them in their large heavy trucks. When it comes to the government, it is 'Do what I say', not 'Do what I do'.


 

It's true that government employees get to do a lot of things that the average citizen doesn't, like carry fully-automatic weapons, drive beyond the posted speed limit, enter "restricted" areas, etc. That's life, get over it.

 

quote:

Finally many environmental groups have successfully written in elitist legal exemptions for their own enjoyment of desert wilderness areas by means of 'wildlife watering volunteer groups' or other guises, often little more than an excuse to travel at will throughout an area (including the use of those 'government authorized' roads that are believed so damaging) . What's their normal vehicle of choice? A four-wheel-drive.


 

What a conspiracy theory! Do you honestly think that environmental groups try to get laws passed so some of their volunteers get to enter an area to tend a waterhole? You really are bitter, aren't you?

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Guest Jebediah

I make no effort to try and divine why individuals, groups or government officials do what they do. But do know hypocrisy when I see it and facts are facts. It's hard to swallow holier-than-thou arguments about motorized vehicles when you know it's not the vehicle that bothers some people, it's who's going to get to use it.

 

It is the height of irony that those who once questioned authority are, now that they are beginning to enjoy some level of governmental approval and power, most likely to ridicule others who have a differing view of things.

 

I do not know why environmentalism must follow a rigid party line, with excommunication the penalty for those who question the accepted policy. But I will NEVER fall in line, shut up, deal with it, or 'get over it'. And I will always question the qualifications and logic of who take the view that only a small elite are fit to be the stewards of our public lands.

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