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[at-l] Re: Mean-spirited Diatribe, WF and at-l

"The good he's done is both ephemeral and
questionable - the damage he's doing will last beyond his lifetime - and 
mine - and yours," says Jim.

>Somehow, folks in this forum, and on Trailplace, need to figure out how not 
>to let the messenger interfere with the message.

It isn't the messenger that bothers me - it's the message -- and the music.

Walk softly,

"The good he's done is both ephemeral and
questionable - the damage he's doing will last beyond his lifetime - and 
mine - and yours," says Jim.

Everything is questionable, but I think the evidence is overwhelming that the Saddleback debate that
was spurred by Trailplace helped focus interest on the trail. And I suspect Wingfoot may have been
instrumental in the preservation of the land near Max Patch, and maybe the mine issue

But more important is his focus on keeping the trail wild. He doesn't go about it as wisely as I
would wish, and some may disagree over the details. But the dialogue is important and it's a
dialogue that  based on my short tenure here
doesn't seem to be likely to ever appear on the AT List.

One possible harm may be the over reaction of those on this list which makes that discussion
impossible here.

But anyone who doesn't understand the array of forces aimed at civilizing this trail has no
useful understanding of the Appalachian Trail at all.

Aside from the fact that Wingfoot has pissed a lot of people off unnecessarily, I don't detect a lot
of damage that he's done, and I sense a lot of good.

A debate about whether this or that stance at Trailplace contributed to a positive outcome is
meaningless. That kind of thing eventually is unknowable. But being a champion of open discussion, I
believe that to the extent open discussion occurred it is positive. Ideas are always useful, whether
one agrees with them or not.

I don't buy the argument that he has split the trail community. The community has always been split
a dozen different ways. Wingfoot is certainly the leader among those who want to see a trail that is
as wild as possible, considering the crowded states through which the trail passes.

Sorry for a rather disjointed post, but I've got to finish planting my garden, set up an agenda for
the land trust I head, call 20 trail maintainers, rearrange three scheduled meetings, mow my lawn
... all before leaving Monday to close out my father-in-laws apartment in North Carolina and
attending a memorial service.

The only good thing happening in the next couple of weeks is that I'll be 20 miles or so from
Statesville, which means I'll be able to get a new supply of Thurlo socks from their factory store.
Sorry also for the whining. It may be contagious. Have I spent to much time with Wingfoot?