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[CDT-L] [cdt] responses to various things

A bunch of responses to various things 

*I'm going to have to let Jim have the last word on water in New Mexico since 
I don't have time for prolonged, detailed, and probably unnecessary debate. I 
also don't want to bore the list to death with quibbles about  exact wording, 
etc.  I think, based on other people's response, that what I said was 

*But I can't resist the chance to answer on another issue that yes, I believe 
that there are enough CDT hikers now to create that sort of mob mentality 
that I described re: Kennedy Meadows. We're all human, and it doesn't take 
much to make us clump together, especially when we face the unknown. 

On a related topic, I think that AT veterans bring to western trails a hiking 
attitude and aesthetic they learned on the very social AT, which increases 
these kinds of groupthink decision making interactions. It's intersting to 
note the differences between thru-hikers on western trails. It seems to me 
(although this is only one person's opinion) that AT veterans are much more 
likely to fall together and clump than non-AT hikers. There's lots and lots 
of AT discussion and even vocabluary. I've talked to non-AT people who have 
felt very left out and annoyed by this. Here they were, poor folks, thinking 
they were going on a wilderness hike, and they've got to deal on Day 2 with 
discussions about blue-blazing and purists and whether someone who takes the 
Eagle Creek trail is "really" a thru-hiker. Not to mention trail names and 
remember whens. I even know one very experienced western thru-hiker who once 
thought about doing the AT just so she wouldn't have to deal with the 
condescension she felt. I admit, this is extreme, but I think it's 
interesting she had to be so aware of the AT on a PCT hike.      

*Whiteroot: Re fee "demo" program: I STRONGLY and COMPLETELY oppose it. I 
would not be opposed to a rescue insurance fee program (like they have in 
Europe, and now, in Colorado -- a yearly license for a whole state or 
country). I wouldn't even object if that were mandatory, because too often, 
the arrogant/ignornant types who most often need to be rescued refuse to 
participate in such programs, which cost money and risk lives (often of 
volunteers). But the types of fees that are now in place -- almost $100 for 
two people to do a weeklong hike in the Grand Canyon, and your experiences in 
Glacier that hikers pay more than RV people -- are, I fear, only the tip of 
the Iceberg. 

I've been shocked at the lack of response in the hiking community, and the 
fact that the petitions and such that have been signed have been ignored . I 
personally signed some, only to later hear managers from those very national 
forests quoted in the media as saying that there was no user opposition. 
Also, I raised the subject on a debate forum on GORP.com, and a lot of people 
were neutral and even in favor of the fees. 

* Re: Calling land managers politically motivated, etc.: Thanks, Mark, for 
reminding us not to stampede into that particular stereortype. Over the 
years, I have attended several CDT and national trails meetings as a 
volunteer, and I've been struck by the dedication, knowledge, and quality of 
many of the public lands managers. You're absolutely right -- it's easy to 
hop on the bandwagon and accuse public officials of being political, and we 
all nod our heads and agree (Group think, again?). (On the other hand, at the 
"greet the public" level of information staff and telephone answerers, I've 
seen some  unbelievable incompetence, including an information officer in 
Colorado at an information booth who had never heard of the CDT even though 
the info office was on the official trail, and two plate-sized CDT markers 
were right outside the front door and on the info kiosque!)

But even though I believe the majority of the land mangers to be good, 
competent people, I have seen some politically-based descision making, or 
decision making for expediency's sake. An example would be the process of 
routing the CDT in the Front Range area, where the initial proposal that the 
FS tried to implement was unnecessarily circuitous and missed much  of the 
high country out of deference to non-hiking users (especially mountain 
bikers). I've also talked to land managers (when Dan and I researched our 
books, which required weeks of traveling up and down the CD interviewing 
people) who admitted that there were plenty of political considerations in 
routing trail, including how local ranchers thought about federal projects 
because of the Mexican spotted owl debate. Because of the multiple use 
mandate, and because the CDT (unlike the AT and the PCT ) is being built in a 
much more fractious time where there are many special interest groups, land 
managers must, in fact, be political. They have to keep everyone happy from 
sheep-herders to hikers. At the same time, managers in places like New Mexico 
must be acutely aware of budgets as they construct a trail that very few 
people will ever use. So, of course they are political!! How could they not 
be? But I strongly disagree with previous statements that some of the trail 
routing decision are made by people who don't care and are simply furthering 
their careers by taking the easy way out. 

That's it for now.

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