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Re: [ft-l] Dan Smith

Agree on all counts, (except that Bryson should be required reading for
backpackers.  But let's not revist that!).

However, several hikers have been badly injured and even killed fording
streams in Maine.  Fortunately Maine has a series of laws, passed at the
urging of the paper companies, which severely curtails lawsuits against
private property owners who open their land to public access.  I don't
believe any other state has this protection.  Also, I would hate to see any
hiker severly injured on the FT, in spite of all we do to maintain the trail
and post notices to hikers.

In the south the problem is generally too much water, in the north the
problem is lack of water sources.  In many sections we have camping
restrictions imposed on hikers. In many places we have long road walks.  The
FT is still very much a work in progress and is just beginning to get the
federal and state agency backing it needs to be recognized as a
long-distance trail.

I really like the idea of each chapter setting aside a weekend or two of
concentrated effort each year to complete a link in the trail, or create a
new designated campsite or find a new water source for long-distance hikers.

When I mentioned adverse publicity I was refering to several articles in
Backpacker Magazine as well as Nimblewill Nomad's journal and some other
postings on the long-distance hiker's lists.  Also, the impressions of the
FT I found among the AT thru-hikers I met on the AT last year.  The vast
majority of them think the FT is continuously flat, swampy and featureless.

I would personally never want the FT to be a broad rails-to-trails swath
through the state.  Physical challenge and diversity of habitat (which the
FT has loads of) are important aspects of a long-distance hike.  But I
wouldn't care to see a hiker drown either.  Or have such a rough time on the
first 7 miles that they give up, go home, and spread all kinds of stories
about how bad the FT is.

> The FNST isn't the only trail with water problems.  Those of you that read
> Walk in the Woods" (recommended reading for all backpackers and those
> thinking of becoming backpackers) will recall the problems the author
> encountered with water on the AT in Maine.  Trying to walk across a pond
> whose bottom is covered with sunken logs is not my idea of fun.
> I do agree that we need to be aware of adverse publicity because of trail
> conditions and the lack of trail in many areas.  I can't see many through
> hikers getting excited at the prospect of miles and miles of road walking.
> We need to get on with the job of completing the FNST.  You are going to
> a lot more about that at the board meeting in January.  The Northern
> Conference was a great success and we managed to complete over 20 miles
> through Eglin, but I don't think making a habit of doing trail work at a
> Regional Conference is a good thing.  Perhaps each Region should designate
> one weekend a year as FNST Construction Weekend with each Chapter pitching
> to complete one section of the FNST.  What do you think?????
> George
> * From the Florida Trail Mailing List | http://www.backcountry.net *

* From the Florida Trail Mailing List | http://www.backcountry.net *

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