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Re: [CDT-L] List numbers

(Ryan Jordan wrote:)

> Hi Earl and other Listers:

> My frustrations with this list recently stem from the discussion of two
> issues: politics and pack animals.
> Regarding politics, while I am an avid backpacker and enjoy the outdoors,
> is not my religion and I don't cast my political votes based solely on a
> candidate's views towards environmental issues. There is so much more to
> life than environmentalism, and to me, many issues are more important-like
> the economic health of my community, family values, education, scientific
> research, and on and on. The point is, we can engage in political "wars"
> any forum but most of the time they are destructive and counterproductive
> the mission of the forum. It blows me away how "cause"-centric we have
> become. Spend your time building your personal relationships and making
> ones. It's your relationships-not your "causes"-that count in the long
> In regards to this list, spend your time helping others enjoy the trail,
> in selling your "causes."

I used to feel much the way you do, but reflection upon personal
relationships gone by and life experience has compelled me to take a much
more active position.  My grandfather came to western Colorado in 1887, my
father was born there in 1919, and my earliest memories of the rockies
extend back to the mid fifties.  In my opinion, the sprawling growth
occuring along the spine of the Colorado rockies is largely a blight without
exception, virtually indefensible, and has done much to damage community,
family values, and education (in terms of kids being trucked long distances
to district schools as opposed to the once more local schools).  Personally
speaking, I would recommend folks in Montana and Wyoming brace themselves;
get county wide comprehensive plans online now, set aside large greens
spaces, talk to ranchers and farmers about conservation easements so they
can save their land, and the like.  Colorado is a warning and forshawdows a
possible future for those still a bit more removed from the theme park
"onslaught".  This is the only political statement that comes to mind taken
from the Iroquois world view I'm told; " the interests of the seventh
generation should be considered equal to the present".

> Regarding pack animals, they have been on the trails as long as
> and have every right to share in the heritage of the CDT. I'm not a
> but I wholeheartedly accept them in the backcountry. I have 5,000 trail
> miles under my feet and have encountered countless numbers of pack trains
> the trail. My distaste for packers from time to time resulted more from my
> own misguided attitudes that were based on preconceived notions embedded
> into my brain from others than they were on my own experiences with them.

> They are part of the backcountry culture of Montana and Wyoming and offer
> clients and others the opportunity to reach places that they might never
> in their lives because of physical conditioning, lack of time to "train"
> a long backpacking trip, or whatever. For some, it's just the appeal of
> traveling like those of the "wild wild west", wearing a cowboy hat and
> and eating chili from a cast iron dutch oven 25 miles from the nearest
> Every one of us deserves an experience like this sometime. It's certainly
> different (but no better or worse) than eating ramen noodles out of a
> titanium pot heated over a
> Most outfitters and pack train guides are a pleasure to talk to, learn
> and 9 times out of 10, share a love and respect for the outdoors that is
> equal to ours as backpackers. I don't like getting into arguments about
> which one is better-especially when it comes to "no trace" camping. Yes,
> clearly, pack trains impact the trails more than a walker. But they bring
> rich heritage to the outdoors in a respectful way. I've joined, by
> invitation, a packing group around their campfire on a summer night more
> than a few times. The fellowship was terrific-some of my fondest memories
> were singing in chorus to a banjo around a blazing campfire with a cup of
> cocoa in hand. They are indeed people too and with open minds, we can
> from them as well. What has amazed me over the years is the true passion
> these people have for the wilderness and the respect they have for the
> backcountry.

I agree with a considerable amount of the spirit of what you have said
above.  Particularly in the fellowship and general respect area.  However,
my problem is the the sheer numbers of folks running ,both clients and
non-native concessionaires, around the S. San Juans.  Another thing that is
disturbing to me are the llamas, alpacas, goats, and other non "wild wild
west" critters accessing no horse trails (near and to CDT).  Some of these
trails are steep, narrow, and broken down easily particularly when wet as it
has been in recent seasons.  In my experience, these are generally "new
breed" hikers leading these animals , not the chili and bud guys.  Down here
we're just a long day trip from urban centers in Texas etc and that's a big
part of the "problem".  Everyone should have an opportunity for a wilderness
experience, but right now almost all catagories of outdoor people feel
grumpy and threatened.  The challenge is how to "provide" those
opportunities all the while safeguarding the land for the future

> My interest in the CDT is in the trail itself-the variety of routes that
> be followed, the places to see along the way, techniques and equipment for
> enjoying the backcountry experience on the CDT, and hearing about the
> experiences of others. My interest for this list is NOT in the subject
> of politics, trail "preservation", trail "designation", or who has rights
> use and not use "the trail".


I have found this list a "godsend" compared to some of the other hiking
lists (though Ryan your a Primo contributer of the Bpack lite list! :-) )
I've come across.  I am here to learn from the experience, impressions, and
view points of the truly assembled.  My personal intent is to learn not
talk.  However, I just believe the list should be without limits with
respect to what aspects of CDT talk is appropriate and what is not.  I just
feel this very strongly.  I also believe the list has been pretty tame
polical wise to date.


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