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

Weary wrote:

<< 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

    ***  I feel a need to add some of my own personal knowledge. Let's all 
agree that this is a general discussion of you know who and not a tribunal. I 
say this because it would only be fair that somebody be able to defend 

     I participated in the Gulf Tract campaign as a responder and also met 
Wingfoot in person during the period. Judging from the first hand material 
and general knowledge offered by Wingfoot from memory from my over 4 hour 
talk on his front porch I found his involvement to be genuine and well 
informed. I would say that his effort pushed the 12,000 acre Max Patch 
adjoining tract our way. That is a lot of acreage for a long time after we 
are gone. I also learned that WF was on the Putnam Mine and had a letter 
writing campaign going long before ATC even knew what was going on. That is 
fact and can be corroborated by ATC insiders and already has been on the net. 
The fact that commentaries prefer an alternate version does disservice to the 

    What I don't like here is the concerted effort to deny any credit to WF. 
Even if all the negatives said here are completely true, I feel there is a 
less than forthcoming respect for total truth involving this issue. You can't 
deny that he is pushing for Trail protection. Whether the community is 
divided or not, that is still a good thing. These efforts were laudable Trail 
involvements and should be credited as such. 

    I don't feel comfortable openly discussing the man's alleged personal 
flaws in public, so I will only add that whatever personality differences 
some AT*Ler's have with him, I found him to have a sharp mind and talent for 
political organizing and negotiating political processes. There is no doubt 
that an overlap of personal beliefs accompanies his presence and comes with 
the package. Whether that assists in his effectiveness or detracts I won't 
comment.  *He also publishes a Trail guide that many can argue serves a 
useful purpose. Again, I see many attempts to scoff that off due to this 
 <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. >>

    *** That's it exactly Weary. I wanted to add that perhaps both roads 
split where Wingfoot detected a lack of distinct goals in maintaining a Trail 
ethic. It deteriorated from there when both sides saw this as a means to 
discredit the other side's credibility to 'true' Trail dedication. WF 
bouncing off the apparent lack of clear direction in upholding Trail 
traditions, and AT*L doing its best to use this extreme angle as a means to 
portray him as not deserving serious attention. 

   Without casting aspersions at AT*List, I would suggest that WF could be 
better understood if viewed as a person who sees Trail "tradition" as being 
compromised by the lack of dedicated following and blurry perception of what 
the AT should be. In this case he views ATML as a strictly dedicated 
"traditional" advocacy site with organized drives for land conservation. It 
is obvious that he desires to be the leading force in that pursuit and hoped 
persons would respond egolessly to this "cause" and rally behind him. Perhaps 
some of the scuffles result from this not materializing and him reacting in 
frustration. Perhaps, seeing no hope for commitment from this community, WF 
chose to cut people loose and stick to his guns. All or none. I can't help 
but respect a certain bravery in that *no matter what intention it is 

     I'm not mentioning the other foibles because I feel they are being used 
as an excuse to not go any further into serious Trail issues. Aside from the 
described personal differences, I have not yet seen logical reasons why his 
traditional Trail positions should be overturned or why his attempts at 
conservation should be abandoned.

    Remember what the Trail is, the atmosphere of tolerance existing within 
it, and the characters it contains. But also don't forget what the original 
battle for the AT was all about in the first place. Clearly there is room for 
this, and no good reason to stop now.