In the 7 large counties of the San Luis Valley, where I live, there are a total of 45,000 people. The CDT borders, more or less, the western margin of these SLV counties in the southern San Juans. Almost everyone and everything here is politicized according to their inner lites and vested interests. NF, DOW, and BLM meetings are often raucous and impassioned. We are being overwhelmed and degraded by outside influences who are trying to transfer their "comfort zone" here. Through technology fixes ,largely in carburation, ATV's and Snowmobiles keep ripping up higher into the mountains, SUVs, fat tires, every pack animal known to man, dogs, and even trekker poles leave their mark. People are "doing trails" and "bagging peaks". Fine, but please be respectful of the land. I am an advocat of minimal impact, leave no trace large wilderness zones, and when everyone is making their emotional pitch this is mine. Last year I put in almost 280 hours on a variety of "eco" projects largely cutthroat rehabilitation projects on the Valle Vidal in the Carson NF. In reality, it kinda went like this; on a couple of weekends a slew of volunteers would show up. Some would help a lot but alot also would just kinda bs and feel good. During the week the NF seasonal paid help would leave Taos or Questa about 8:30 and arrive about 10:30 work some bs more and then cut out at about 1:30 so to "be sure" to be back to clock out at five. George Long the ranger/biologist and I stayed until dark for three weeks and sometimes we just stayed up there. The point is not me (but you may toss me a cookie :-) ), it is that inclined resources in this area are very thin. Funds are thin. Task loads required for trail, stream, forrest, and mountain are high. And all is tangenial to political issues, processes and candidates. This year I intend to "adopt" a small stretch of the CDT. In my area, I hope this means largely picking up trash, and restoring impact craters. If I see you hiking thru I'll wave.
25 miles from my po box in San Luis and 20 miles from the CDT via Elk Creek trailhead
In other words... Paradise (Lost?)