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Old 12-19-2007, 09:02 PM   #1
Neil
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This thread has been split off from this thread from post 27.

I know this isn't the main issue here but I want to point out that the belief that trails are destroying parts of the high peaks just isn't so. True, there are some poorly situated trails but they would be rerouted in an inkling using non-public funds if the DEC would let the 46ers and the ADK do the re-routing. The re-routes would solve the problem, just like that. Furthermore, I do the bulk of my hiking off-trail and have done a fair bit in the Highpeaks region and the neighboring Dix and Giant Wilderness Units. Trust me, the high peaks are anything but destroyed by trails.
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Old 12-19-2007, 11:02 PM   #2
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I know this isn't the main issue here but I want to point out that the belief that trails are destroying parts of the high peaks just isn't so. True, there are some poorly situated trails but they would be rerouted in an inkling using non-public funds if the DEC would let the 46ers and the ADK do the re-routing. The re-routes would solve the problem, just like that. Furthermore, I do the bulk of my hiking off-trail and have done a fair bit in the Highpeaks region and the neighboring Dix and Giant Wilderness Units. Trust me, the high peaks are anything but destroyed by trails.
I think you are deluding yourself if you think that the TRAFFIC on the trails in the High Peaks is not causing damage on an increasing basis.

So Please, that dog won't bark here.

it's easy to understand though, admitting and accepting it means that you would have to so something about it and that requires an act of selflessness, which most of us are unwilling to make.

One day, no one will have to choose the wiser course, because circumstances will dictate that measures will have to be taken. And of course, when that happens, the cry will go out about the DEC regulating the access (or non access) to the trails, and how the regulations are unnecessary because we all can regulate ourselves, which of course we won't.

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Old 12-19-2007, 11:47 PM   #3
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I think you are deluding yourself if you think that the TRAFFIC on the trails in the High Peaks is not causing damage on an increasing basis.

it's easy to understand though, admitting and accepting it means that you would have to so something about it and that requires an act of selflessness, which most of us are unwilling to make.


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Do you think that the hikers are wearing down the Anorthosite?

When are you coming with me on my next High Peaks bushwhack hike so that you can see for yourself. Perhaps we can begin at Newcomb and hike over Santanoni Mtn. en route to Emmons and Seymour. You can show me all the damage. Or if you'd rather we stick close to the hot spots we can take an off trail cruise from Phelps, across Tabletop to Marcy.

I'm an eyewitness (over and over again) to the lack of all this damage you love to hate.

As for doing something about it, it's easy. You just step off the trail and you are enfolded by an incredibly dense, self renewing and nearly impenetrable chaos. It looks like this:


And this:
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Old 12-20-2007, 12:56 AM   #4
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Do you think that the hikers are wearing down the Anorthosite?

When are you coming with me on my next High Peaks bushwhack hike so that you can see for yourself. Perhaps we can begin at Newcomb and hike over Santanoni Mtn. en route to Emmons and Seymour. You can show me all the damage. Or if you'd rather we stick close to the hot spots we can take an off trail cruise from Phelps, across Tabletop to Marcy.

I'm an eyewitness (over and over again) to the lack of all this damage you love to hate.

As for doing something about it, it's easy. You just step off the trail and you are enfolded by an incredibly dense, self renewing and nearly impenetrable chaos. It looks like this:
Better yet Neil, Go talk to Clarence Petty, or read some of the things he has to say now. he's lived here for over 100 years, and has walked and bushwhacked more of the high peaks and the Adirondacks then you can even ever hope to. In fact he puts all the peak-bagging 'legends" to shame.

he says that the ecology has been negative impacted in a terrible way and that something needs to be done. In fact he says that in one of the video presentations at the Wildlife Museum in Tupper Lake. He's also the man that is responsible for the classification of the various areas of the Adirondacks. Maybe in the spring, you should seek him out and ask him TO SHOW YOU exactly the locations and extent of the damage.

I haven't hiked the high peaks, too much traffic. And as you know i mostly bushwhack anyway. So i don't know enough about them (The High Peaks) to be able to show you the difference. Ask Marta, she might be able to.

But if you want, I can take you to sections of the 2700 miles i hiked in 1995 and show you the adverse changes in many of the spots. Or we can check out the Pacific Crest Trail and I'll show you the adverse changes since it was made a trail. same goes with the Continental Divide trail. I hiked those long before they were designated end to end trails, and the change is drastic.

So, making your case with me doesn't fly. I figure Petty, and some of the people who were in the peaks long before the peakbagging explosion know a lot more about it then those who haven't been around as long like you or I. So I'll take their word for it.

Much of what is now exposed rock on the trails, was once covered with a layer of soil. If there is no damage, why is there such a problem with erosion? Why is there a discussion of making cutbacks on the trails to prevent erosion? Why do we need monitors on top of some of the peaks to protect the alpine flora? Why do we need canisters to protect the food from bears? Why are the bears scavenging human food instead of foraging as they should?

Hawk
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Old 12-20-2007, 01:04 AM   #5
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I wish Bob Marshall was a member of this forum. I would like to see his take on much of the discourse here, in this thread and the forum as a whole! I've hiked and fished some of "The Bob" in MT. It's pretty amazing, but there is very little demand on the land...Glacier National Park is also awesome but incredibly restrictive and it gets more pressure than the ADKs.
Better then Marshall, go ask Clarence Petty's opinion through the Adirondack Explorer. He spent a lot more tim in the Adirondacks then Bob Marshall, in fact they spent some time together. He's 102 years old and has lived here all his life. he recommended the classifications of the areasof the Adirondacks that we have today.

Most people who recreate and live in the Adirondacks today don't like what he has to say, because he has lived long enough and seen all the impact and now feels that something needs to be done.

If i can use my own experiences of seeing places that i hiked since about 55 years ago to the present, and seeing the changes from traffic, I'm sure that Bob Marshall might be turning over in his grave, and that if and others had it to do all over again, they would not be quite so willing to see the wilderness opened up to many of the uses that it was.

So, check with Clarence, while you can. he's a living legend. But I don't think you'll like his opinions.

Hawk
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Old 12-20-2007, 11:10 AM   #6
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BTW, I forgot to mention that the erosion and heavy hiker traffic issue isn't just limited to moutains in the high peaks. I've seen heavily eroded sections on every regularly climbed mountain in every region of the park. As an example this demonstrates that the problem(s) are not limited to one area, it's systemic.
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Old 12-20-2007, 11:27 AM   #7
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Just to through in a little diffferent perspective.

How much rock is bared by slides vs rock bared from trail errosion?

I would think one slide would do more dammage than all the trails added together.

How long does it take a slide to grow in vs a closed trail growing in?

Just something to think about.
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Old 12-20-2007, 01:05 PM   #8
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Definitely good questions...

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How much rock is bared by slides vs rock bared from trail errosion?
I'm sure there's more slide loss of plant life than loss to erosion. The two main reasons this isn't the best counterpoint is because 1) plant life on those sections was tenious at best, and 2) they're not a direct result of human impact.

Worth noting is that the only casualties of a slide is at the bottom where some trees might be taken out that otherwise were fine where they were. In the case of trail erosion - the forest in those sections was doing fine until man set foot there.

Indirectly one could argue that increased slide creation due to changing climate patterns is a human cause. That argument will take more than speculation to support, but it can be made within reason with the number slides that have been created in the past 30 years on the increase well over the average (I believe I've seen this published somewhere?).

I guess using this question as a counter for a reason to see erosion as a problem would be like arguing that more people are violated by robbery than tax evasion, so we shouldn't be worried about people cheating on their taxes since there's bigger issues to deal with (?). Simply - minimalizing one issue because its effects aren't as wide spread still doesn't dismiss the impact that issue is having. Excuse me if I'm mis-interpretting the intent of the logic here.

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How long does it take a slide to grow in vs a closed trail growing in?
Most slides don't grow back in because the angle on that part of the mountain was too high to support plant life, which is why the slide formed (from the weight/stress on the thin soil from the existing plant life exceeding the capacity of the soil to support it at that angle).

Naturally occurring events can't be changed or controlled. I don't consider erosion caused by people hiking on trails a natural occurrence.


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Just something to think about.
The reason I used the trail erosion example is to demonstrate a type of impact. The greatest ecological impact we're having is/was on the summits of the tallest mountains. There's photos out there of how bad the tops had become eroded and how far they've come back since we started putting extra effort (including trail stewards) into preserving the arctic alpine zone. It's all part of the same problem and direct correlation exists between one and the other. Symptoms of a greater issue.

Unfortunately even with the recovery they're a very long way from being where they were prior to man visiting there for the first time.
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Old 12-20-2007, 01:17 PM   #9
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Better yet Neil, Go talk to Clarence Petty, or read some of the things he has to say now. he's lived here for over 100 years, and has walked and bushwhacked more of the high peaks and the Adirondacks then you can even ever hope to. In fact he puts all the peak-bagging 'legends" to shame.

he says that the ecology has been negative impacted in a terrible way and that something needs to be done. In fact he says that in one of the video presentations at the Wildlife Museum in Tupper Lake. He's also the man that is responsible for the classification of the various areas of the Adirondacks. Maybe in the spring, you should seek him out and ask him TO SHOW YOU exactly the locations and extent of the damage.

I haven't hiked the high peaks, too much traffic. And as you know i mostly bushwhack anyway. So i don't know enough about them (The High Peaks) to be able to show you the difference. Ask Marta, she might be able to.

But if you want, I can take you to sections of the 2700 miles i hiked in 1995 and show you the adverse changes in many of the spots. Or we can check out the Pacific Crest Trail and I'll show you the adverse changes since it was made a trail. same goes with the Continental Divide trail. I hiked those long before they were designated end to end trails, and the change is drastic.

So, making your case with me doesn't fly. I figure Petty, and some of the people who were in the peaks long before the peakbagging explosion know a lot more about it then those who haven't been around as long like you or I. So I'll take their word for it...



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So how old/experienced does one have to be to have an opinion?

And we should listen to those that have made the most boot prints about how evil our boot prints are?

Listen to him about erosion. He's caused more erosion then all you peakbaggers put together.

Oh yeah, the topic. I agree with Hawk's earlier post regarding access on public lands and with Kevin's earlier post about leases and owner's rights. Must be the holidays.
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Old 12-20-2007, 01:21 PM   #10
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Listen to him about erosion. He's caused more erosion then all you peakbaggers put together.
I guess that makes you a doctor in erosion then .

What Redhawk is doing is suggesting you ask an old timer what it was like so we can compare it to how it is now. Without a frame of reference we wouldn't know there's a problem. IE if we never took note of the arctic alpine vegetation vanishing we would think "Wow, the top of Marcy is so bare. I guess it's too harsh up here to support any plant life." Someone prior to us being on Marcy needed to know there used to be more vegetation in order to realize a problem existed and things were vanishing.
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Old 12-20-2007, 02:41 PM   #11
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I guess that makes you a doctor in erosion then .

What Redhawk is doing is suggesting you ask an old timer what it was like so we can compare it to how it is now. Without a frame of reference we wouldn't know there's a problem. IE if we never took note of the arctic alpine vegetation vanishing we would think "Wow, the top of Marcy is so bare. I guess it's too harsh up here to support any plant life." Someone prior to us being on Marcy needed to know there used to be more vegetation in order to realize a problem existed and things were vanishing.
I understand that part but what Hawk is also doing is attempting to discredit those that haven't been on the planet as long or hiking in the high peaks as long. These same people are witness to what is going on now and their imput is relevent as well.
I don't know Mr. Petty and would agree that his input is very important but he is just one (erosion causing) human. I would bet that there are other "old timers" out there that would say conditions have improved on the peaks.
Nothing scientific about one person's subjective experience.
Anyone know when the last time Mr. Petty was on Marcy?
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Old 12-20-2007, 03:07 PM   #12
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Definitely good questions...

.

That's all they are, questions. I'm not making any counterpoints. I don't have the answers. Like you said, change is the only thing we can be certain of.
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Old 12-20-2007, 03:41 PM   #13
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So how old/experienced does one have to be to have an opinion?
you make a habit of missing the point.

If someone has lived somewhere for a hundred years, and/or has hiked longer then someone else, they are better qualified to remark. It's called wisdom and it used to be that people sought out the elders for advice.

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And we should listen to those that have made the most boot prints about how evil our boot prints are?
Exactly, because it is through hindsight that we learn of our mistakes. That wisdom I referred to above is learned from our mistakes as well as our successes.

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Listen to him about erosion. He's caused more erosion then all you peakbaggers put together.
I don't know whom you're referring to, me, Kevin or Clarence Petty. In my case you would be wrong, I was taught as a child how to minimize impact, and in Kevin's case that's not true., As far as Clarence, you may be right which makes what he says much more important to listen to. It means he has learned something from his own experiences and has seen the folly through the passage of time. SoSo all the reasons you cite, serve as proof of why their message is most pertinent.


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lic lands and with Kevin's earlier post about leases and owner's rights. Must be the holidays.
Either that or you're gaining a smidgin of wisdom in spite of yourself.
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Old 12-20-2007, 03:54 PM   #14
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I understand that part but what Hawk is also doing is attempting to discredit those that haven't been on the planet as long or hiking in the high peaks as long. These same people are witness to what is going on now and their imput is relevent as well.
Not true. i am not discrediting anyone. Just saying that someone who has lived longer and done more is more knowledgeable. The results of many of our actions can only be seen through the long term, not the short term. That's why the input of someone who has seen the Then and Now is important.

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I don't know Mr. Petty and would agree that his input is very important but he is just one (erosion causing) human. I would bet that there are other "old timers" out there that would say conditions have improved on the peaks.
Nothing scientific about one person's subjective experience.
Anyone know when the last time Mr. Petty was on Marcy?
17 years ago. At 85 years old. And according to him, much of what existed 17 years ago had been negative changes from the time when he was a child.

Now let me ask you a question. Do you have any idea of what the peaks were like 100 years ago? 80? 60? 40?

No? Clarence does, as well as 15 years ago, so whom do you think is better qualified to judge if their has been negative impact? Clarence says that the problem is that there are too many people, and that something needs to be done about it. He admits he doesn't know what the solution is, other that soon at 102, there will be one less person.

So yes Rik, I do consider Clarence's opinion much more insightful then yours, and mine and most other people's. And just out of curiosity, what "old-timers" can you cite that can say conditions have improved in the peaks? I have never heard one, but I have heard Clarence.
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Old 12-20-2007, 03:57 PM   #15
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I would bet that there are other "old timers" out there that would say conditions have improved on the peaks.
"Improved" relative to 1980? Any of the early 46ers I've met express great sorrow at the current state of the tallest mountains. We're keeping our nose above water but I would hardly describe the current state of things in any section of the ADK park as "improved".

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Old 12-20-2007, 04:05 PM   #16
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Hawk, anyone who is 102 is bound to think there are too many people now. I hiked from Dix to Hough about 6 weeks ago and I noticed that the trail was wider than 3 scant years ago.

Wider and better.

Instead of getting my arms and face all scratched up I was able to walk like a normal person. There was very little erosion on that section of trail and by clearing the blowdown the crews had effectively put a stop to all the new paths that were springing up to detour it. I can't comment on the rest of the path because the rest of the hike was off-trail.

Ahem, it looks like we've caused this thread to erode....and have lost all the original posters (Maybe I can split the erosion posts off but they are tightly intertwined with the rest of the thread.)

So, what about the clubs, their threatened evictions, the fact that Joe Public cannot use the land, the nature Conservancy...?

One opinion I ran across is that the private clubs are better stewards of the land than the state. Maybe by posting the land and keeping my trail runner prints out they are preserving it, just like the restricted access Hawk always advocates. Not quite in the way envisioned by him I'm sure.

The article linked on the OP of this thread has the Nature Conservancy rep say at least twice that are going to get this right. I guess that means they are very worried about getting it wrong.
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Old 12-20-2007, 04:24 PM   #17
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I think the topic has transgressed mere self-interested preservation. People want to know why there's no camps? Same reason we're going to be getting permits to dayhike in the near-distant future. Same reason we have people guarding the tops of mountains during the busiest months. Same reason we have to use bear cans. Same reason there's no fires allowed. Same reason half the lean-tos have already been torn down and others are being allowed to decay (to discourage camping).

Over use.
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Old 12-20-2007, 04:29 PM   #18
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Why post those questions then with respect to what's already been posted? You didn't ask about steroids in baseball so it's not like they weren't directly pertinent to the prior posts. Maybe they're not very good countpoints which may explain why you don't want ownership of them (?) .
Come on kid you're baiting me.

I ask questions to understand and stimulate thought. It's obvious that trying to change a persons opinion is an uphill battle, if it's a battle that can won at all, but if I can get people to think a little differently then their opinions may change some as a result.

steroids?
counterpoints? I'm not arguing
ownership? my names on the post



Neil

Come on man post the big rack picture!
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Old 12-20-2007, 04:43 PM   #19
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Landslides, microbursts, hurricanes etc. wreak more havoc than hikers will ever do. But, one is man-made and the other isn't.
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Old 12-20-2007, 04:53 PM   #20
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Rik,

In regards to Clarence Petty. It goes beyond his age and the amount of time he spent outdoors in the Adirondacks. The man was also a forester, I believe worked as ranger for a while, he mapped out may of the peaks on the ground and in the air. he was one of the first pilots in the Adirondacks and he also ran some CCC camps in the Adirondacks. In fact, he supervised the crew that renovated the Duck Hole Dam. he took may classes and attended college to learn about the outdoors as part of his work. He has been on many of the councils and organizations that deal with the Adirondacks, by invitation. he has also contributed much to organizations that are concerned with the protection of the Adirondacks, in time and money.

So, his CAREER was the Adirondacks. I have his biography if you would like to read it. I will sent it to you. I think that once you know more about the man, you will understand why I put so much stock in his opinions and think that others should to.

I think i can say, without any exaggeration, that Clarence petty is the greatest resource of knowledge on the Adirondacks today.

So, it's not just "a 102 year old backpacker".

PM me if you want to read the book.

"The Extraordinary Adirondack Journey of Clarence Petty
Wilderness Guide, Pilot and Conservationist"

Hawk
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