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[at-l] ALDHA Companion/Endorsements

Rick wrote:
>So, if RSCG is excluded from the next Companion then we must infer that th=
>ALDHA has determined that this provider has proven to be "a real problem"
>for hikers, right?

Don't have an answer to this Rick - but how does one define the "real
problem" thing?  Personally, my experience at RSC was great.  And the
complaints I saw that year - and many of the ones since - were the result o=
an unrealistic expectation on the part of thruhikers that they were
"special" and should therefore be accorded "special treatment" - like cheap
(or even FREE) services.  Or that RSC should provide them with 5-star
service for the price.  And that's unmitigated nonsense.  Those who don't
want to pay for what they get should go someplace else - so they can pay
someone else for what they get.

>I have a couple questions on this.  They are general in nature and not
>specific to the RSCG.  Since none of the ALDHA Board members on this list
>have seen fit to comment on the e-mail in this public forum, I won't go
>there.  I would encourage them to clear things up directly with Jesnine if
>the e-mail did not represent the ALDHA position.
>The first question is whether or not the decision to exclude any long-time
>trail provider is a decision to is made by a single editor or by the ALDHA

To my knowledge, the Board has gotten involved in exactly "ONE" situation
like this - and it involved a situation that was patently illegal - IF the
allegation was true. I don't believe that's been resolved one way or the
other yet. I don't know of any other service provider that's been threatene=
with removal in the past - although it certainly *may* have happened withou=
my knowledge.

>My second question is whether or not the ALDHA offers all facilities facin=
>exclusion the chance to comment on specific complaints.  That would seem t=
>be the right thing, in my book.  After all, exclusion is tanamount to the
>ALDHA telling the entire AT Community that the facility was "proved" to be
>a "real problem for hikers".  In addition, such feedback could make them a
>better facility, whether they maintain thier listing or not.

I'll agree with you here - the process you suggest is pretty much what I'd
advocate - IF it became necessary to remove anyone.  But regarding what the
community would be told, reality is that most hikers wouldn't know the
difference.  If a service provider were to be removed, 90% of the hikers in
any given year  wouldn't even know that "ex-provider" had ever been there.
Unless they stumbled on the establishment on their own - or via the
"grapevine."  There are exceptions to that - Rusty's , for example.  I don'=
believe he's ever been listed in either book - at his own request, but he
didn't seem to lack for "business."  By the way, for those who are
interested, Rusty's is supposedly open for business again.

>My third question is what constititutes a "real problem".  In some cases
>this is probably very clear.  Establishments that don't cater to all races=
>and creeds would be "a real problem".

This would definitely be a "real problem" - in fact, it would be a "REAL

>Those which are unsafe or dishonest would be as well.

Two things - First, if you accuse a provider of being dishonest, are you
willing/able to prove it?  If not, are you willing/able to stand the heat o=
the legal consequences?  I've gotten objections to the implication that
legality should be a consideration on the Trail - but it IS reality whether
any of us like it or not.

Second - how do you define "unsafe"?  I've slept (and eaten) in places that=
by any "civilized" definition would be considered "unsafe."  And yet, I was
grateful for the shelter/food.  Whose standards do you use - mine or those
of the NPS?  Or those of my sister-in-law who's never spent a night on the
trail?  Each is valid - and even realistic in particular situations.  But
not necessarily on (or along) the Trail.

>I suspect that the ALDHA standard is less clear-cut.  My question is simpl=
>what the standard is.

To my knowledge there is no standard because the situation has arisen only
once before - and that situation was such that it was handed to the ATC for

>I know that the AMC constitutes a "real problem" in the minds of a small
>but significant minority of thru hikers.  I can't imagine the AMC facilite=
>being excluded fromt the Companion on the basis of those complaints,
>however.  If the ALDHA is going to tag a facility as being a "real problem=
>by removing it from the companion, it would be good to know what that

Yep - I think so too. Especially when the nearest alternative is 10 or 15
miles away. As for AMC - they've got their own problems - and thruhikers (o=
section hikers) are only a small part of what they have to deal with.  If
the thruhikers were to disappear, I'm not sure AMC would shed a lot of tear=
about it.  Some swords cut both ways <G>

>This way, hikers can make better informed decisions in places where there
>are no alternative places to stay.  Out of principal,I would NEVER stay in
>a place where there was a REAL problem (by my own definition) but very wel=
>might elect to stay a place where there was a "real problem" by someone
>else's definition (like when AAA delisted some motel's because the rooms
>didn't have peep holes).  So, to restate the question:  What constitutes a
>real problem establishement per the ALDHA?

If I ever figure it out, I'll let you know.  Personal opinion (NOT ALDHA
standard) is that the only reason for removal of a service provider would b=
provable illegality or dishonesty - or that they're definitely out of
business.  Keep in mind that the store at Greenpoint was kept in both the
Handbook and the Companion for years even though it was only open
occasionally - is it still there?  I haven't looked lately.  But I'm not th=
final arbiter on this stuff either.

Fact is that if a service provider doesn't deliver what they promise, the
hikers will stop going there and they'll become an ex-service-provider soon
enough.  That's one of the many values of the shelter registers and the
"grapevine."  It's one form of a free-market economy.

Walk softly,

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