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[ft-l] How to fully benefit from this List

Here is my quick bio. I live in Okeechobee, work for the Highlands County
Health Dept. and am most well known to the hiking world as the section
leader for section 4 of the FT, Okeechobee to Bluff Hammock Road. I am 40,
my wife Pat is 35 and we have been active in the FTA for about 6 years. I
have taken a few trips on the AT, the longest being a week with Sue & Jed
Turner in Virginia. My wife and I recently appeared in the latest issue of
FLorida Hiker in an article on trail angels. We have opened our house to all
ECT and FT thruhikers, we had 8 last year and really look forward to seeing
more this year. If you have any questions on the trail From Lake Okeechobee
to Hwy 60 I generally have the answer. Look forward to seeing you on the
-----Original Message-----
From: TOKTAADN@aol.com <TOKTAADN@aol.com>
To: FT-L@mailman.backcountry.net <FT-L@mailman.backcountry.net>
Date: Tuesday, November 27, 2001 8:40 AM
Subject: [ft-l] How to fully benefit from this List

>It's great to see some trip reports from relatively new posters!  For a
>there I felt like I had a near monopoly on the traffic on this List.  Now
>that things are cookin' a bit and the weather is starting to cool down, I
>thought I'd take a moment to give a brief history of this list and how we
>could get more use and enjoyment out of it as we get out there and hike our
>wonderful trails.
>My buddy Jeff Walters is a website programming wizard.  He and I had
>to hiking lists like this for other trails.  He set up a wonderful website
>for backpacking called Florida Backpacking Trailplace about 4 years ago.
>talked about the idea for a mailing list for Florida Trail hikers.  Jeff
>the technical know how and created a List from within the confines of a
>noncommercial ISP account.  My part was to send emails to every hiker and
>Florida Trail member I knew asking them to join this new list.  I notified
>hundreds of hikers, had cards printed up, and talked it up at chapter
>meetings until we got a critical mass of subscribers.  Once we got about
>dozen Listers, the List began to function as we know it today.
>Unfortunately, Jeff's ISP noticed the heavy volume of emails generated from
>his account and shut the list down.
>Enter Ryan Brooks, who has several servers dedicated to the needs of hikers
>from all of America's great long distance trails.  He agreed to run the
>from his servers and from the www.backcountry.net website.  He also makes
>webspace available to any of us who want to post hiking pictures or
> And he does all of this at no cost to any of us.  It is a noncommercial
>generating no revenues at all for him.  It is a true labor of love for this
>patron whom we all owe such a debt of gratitude.
>My hat is off to Ryan and Jeff who made this all possible!
>As a veteran of several hiking lists I've seen the ebb and flow, the good
>times and bad.  When a list is functioning at its best, it can be described
>as an electronic campfire, where we gather 'round and share our thoughts
>after a hard day's hike.  Some posts are informative.  Some seek
>from more knowledgeable hikers, some share jokes and stories.  Strangers
>introduced and become quick friends as the campfire works its magic.  And
>some engage in good natured debate about that latest piece of gear.
>The true magic of any campfire is the making of new lifelong friends.  And
>the electronic variety is no different.  That is why we owe it to ourselves
>to get the word out to our hiking buddies about this list.
>This list can be whatever we make it.  Anything of a noncommercial nature
>that instructs, questions or entertains as it relates to Florida hiking
>either directly or tangentially can be posted right here for your hiking
>buddies to peruse.  The more posts to the lists, the more relevant the list
>becomes.  When a list has low volume, it lacks personality.  It is a very
>democratic platform.  No one has a privileged position.  Whether you joined
>in the beginning, or yesterday, you are a full and equal member of the
>Feel free to contribute -- or not -- as your level of comfort dictates.  I
>can't think of anyone (perhaps with the sole exception of myself!) who has
>Most lists develop a small core of active posters who generate the bulk of
>the postings with a silent majority known as lurkers who chime in only when
>they have a specific request, or a specific insight into a topic being
>discussed.  This is entirely normal and the ft-l is no different in that
>regard.  But when list volume gets low, each subscriber should consider
>starting a topic (known as a thread in the lingo) to jump start the list in
>new direction.  Sometimes a single post will generate a dozen replies and
>spawn new threads that go in different directions.
>Periodically, as subscribers come and go, it is appropriate for each
>subscriber to post a little biographical sketch which normally causes a
>of new list activity.  Since it is the start of the hiking season here in
>Florida maybe we could all take a moment to do that now.
>Another thing we could all do is to tell our hiking friends about this
>Generally, the more list members there are, the more enjoyable and
>informative the list is.  Take a moment at your chapter meetings to tell
>members about the list.  People who swore a couple years ago that they saw
>need for a computer are joining the information superhighway everyday.
>of us needs to get the word out.  How about a blurb giving the
>www.backcountry.net website address in your chapter newsletter?
>If we can get all the section leaders aboard, what a wonderful information
>exchange the list could be for maintainers and hikers!  We already get more
>timely trail development info here on the list courtesy of Kent Wimmer in
>Tallahassee.  In many ways this list is an instantaneous statewide
>newsletter.  Let's get our chapter leadership to plug in.
>That's not to say that this list is an organ of the FTA.  That won't
>Early on, there was some grumbling heard from some in the leadership simply
>because this is an unregulated communication tool outside their control,
>they feared it to some extent.  But I think as more of us understand just
>what this list is about, we find that any such fear is misplaced.  Have you
>told your chapter leadership about the list, and what you get from it?  And
>if you are in leadership at the state or chapter level, have you
>your experiences to your peers around the state?  Should the list be talked
>up at regional and state conferences?
>In summary, I hope I've given you some food for thought.  I guess you can
>tell that I'm an advocate for a broader ft-l membership with more active
>postings.  Cyberhiking can be a very positive force for good.  I wanted you
>all to see how this list works and how with a little effort on our parts we
>can make it even better.  I hope I succeeded in some measure.
>Happy trails,
>Solar Bear
>FT-L mailing list