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Re[2]: [at-l] aWFul Putnam Mine...

 DaRedhead writes:

<< Snip>
  has been called "bullshit" by someone who seems more 
 interested in telling us how much he does for the Trail than getting to know 
 anyone here.

    *** This was taken from a private post that was tricked out of that 
"someone" by an AT*L member and posted to the board. A more accurate quote 
would continue to say, "it would be great if we could do both, but the Trail 
is more important." I'm sure the List is full of the wonderful people I met 
on the Trail. One should try and separate personal slight and intellectual 
 I want to know why people feel like they have to put us down because we 
 actually talk on the list like we are friends (because we ARE friends?? Gee, 
 what a concept), we talk about things not trail related, we argue about 
 related things, we share advice and experiences, our triumphs AND failures 
 miscalculations, we offer support and help whenever needed.  Just because 
 we're happy here, and don't have a dictator for a list admin, people seem to 
 need to put us down.

    *** I'm not the only responder to notice a deliberate snuffing of serious 
Trail topics for witty replies. Yes, it is great to respect each other's 
views and be tolerant * but what if that comes at the cost of not reacting 
adequately to the Trail's wider needs? I remind that AT*L is not clear of 
"putting down" in its own way either...
 So what?  Since no one talks about all the time and money they invest in the 
 Trail, and because we have fun here and joke a lot, that means we're not 
 serious about the Trail? That means we're not doing anything? Because Ryan 
 doesn't dictate to us that we go thru his server to write a congressman or 
 two, we aren't doing anything??

    *** This is a good point. I see the best of both Lists as valid and the 
two each deserving credit in their own way. Please don't make the mistake 
turning specific criticisms into a broad attack on the List. As you say, the 
List cannot be validly condemned for airing lighter posts, nor can ATML be 
taken down just for having unorthodox management. Both do good things for the 
    I assume Wingfoot cut people off for simply not going along with the 
advocacy program. He probably assumed they were doing nothing to help 
Saddleback while attending his site. I presume he sees it as taking a hard 
stand and forcing participation. Can writing a letter using the excellent 
e*form he labored to create be that terrible an offense? Understand that many 
persons would not be sparked into action if not for this kind of easily 
accessed medium. How can ski area postcards get respect on AT*L and an 
electronic petition that tried to save Saddleback be ridiculed? I also did 
not see anything similar anywhere else.    

   When WF does ONE SINGLE THING for the Trail that doesn't get him 
 publicity, or money - ONE SINGLE THING for the Trail that he doesn't brag 
 about on his list, I'll start "appreciating" what he's done.  Someone 
 up how his Thruhikers Handbook has done a lot of good, even if we don't like 
 him.  But guess what!  The proceeds of his book go to - guess who? The 
 proceeds from ALDHA and the ATC's publications go to - guess where??

   *** I met Wingfoot twice while passing through Hot Springs in nostalgia of 
my 198six hike and spoke for over 9 hours total with him on his front porch. 
He claims meeting with hikers takes too much time from his day. He does still 
have a right to privacy, no? I felt well received and took pleasure in the 
fact that I actually got to hear his thoughts in person. I also tend to wax 
loquacious about the Trail, so we probably were trying to outdo each other in 
Trail opinions. If he is to be believed, he stated that he makes very little 
on the Guide and loses money on Trailplace. He says he does it for a love of 
the Trail. So that would be one instance. 
     His guide is of high quality and remarked on as very helpful by many 
hikers. My look at it would be that if the sparse profits he accrues from it 
help promote Trailplace and its conservation efforts then he has done well 
and justifies his existence. I also see a need for a source for his 
"traditional" views of which nobody else seems willing to take up. I suppose 
he is a little strict about it, but I assume he is trying to impress the 
seriousness he puts in it.  

  As such a THRUHIKER advocate, spending thousands of his *own* 
 money (or is that the "Center's" money? and hundreds of hours a week for the 
 sole purpose of helping the trail and thruhikers in particular, you think he 
 might have wanted to help.  His hatred of this list and the people on it won 
 out over the good we were doing.

    *** At the risk of breaking confidentiality, Wingfoot told me on my porch 
visit that he couldn't even afford to get his teeth fixed. (Yes, I actually 
saw some bad teeth) Hardly a conman rolling in luxuries at the Trail's 
expense that I see being suggested here. You can't say that he isn't working 
for the Trail. If you wish to cut off the Wingfoot debate at his personal 
faults, I can't stop you, I, however, take equal exception to seeing this 
used as a means to deny him what he has actually accomplished. 
    In a nutshell, I can see that WF started Trailplace to voice the vital 
topics he saw as critical to the AT. He probably became frustrated about not 
being able to focus on a clear definition of what should be done on the AT 
and have people back it. He probably felt people would fall back and be 
satisfied with sentimental appeals and group happiness rather than taking the 
tough stands. At that point he probably saw Trailplace as a bastion for 
protection and dissemination of what he felt was indispensable for Trail 
advocacy. It was a siege mentality and he saw himself as the guardian of 
neglected ideals taking no prisoners. In a way, I kind of respect him for 
that because most people cave at the threat of get in line or be ostracized 
intimidation. If you don't see his motive, I could understand being offended 
by his method.  

 The other was him kicking off people on his list for the unpardonable sin of 
 writing their OWN PERSONAL letters about Saddleback.  

    *** I suppose he took offense to taking the time to create such a drive 
and then having few of the site members bother to help him with it. It could 
make him look ineffective. Remember, he states up front that TP is an 
advocacy site requiring participation.
 Those two simple facts, not gossip, but facts - should be enough to wake 
 people up.  Has he done some good?  That's questionable.  Should THIS list 
 told it isn't doing anything serious, just chit-chatting, just because we 
 don't do it HIS way here?  I'd say that's a no.  But you know what?  The 
 nature of this list is that you CAN tell us that, and still be here tomorrow.

    *** Ah, the mysteries of life... Very true. I suppose he sees it as 
ruthless guarding of the forum to prevent it from falling into 
ineffectiveness or "chit chat". Traditionalism at all costs. I feel many 
posters here attempt to diminish the many proven thousands of acres he 
preserved in to a matter of "questionableness". Guarding the AT Grail in the 
tower * you know... An AT orthodox.

     Last thought: Not all that glisters is gold and not all that reeks is 
dross. If you think of the AT you can say that the many hands who built her 
were all good people and had a strong bond and friendly nature. But there is 
always that one man sitting on the hillside with a glint in his eye thinking 
grandiose thoughts like putting in a huge Trail for a giant to bond the 
Appalachian woodlands together as one breathing mass of wild nature. It is 
usually the spark of these oddballs that gets the humble tribe to go out and 
create something beautiful. The Trail was the result of a conflict of 
dissatisfaction, let's not lose sight of that or neglect the AT flame in the