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[nct-l] First law of hiking

Since things are pretty slow so far, I thought I'd post a message that
started an interesting discussion on the NCTA web page.  The first law of
hiking is that a trail is only a trail if someone hikes on it.  The
section that prompted this discussion is the section just west of
Munising, Michigan, where the trail parallels a road.  This section has
received almost no use so far, and my post was a discussion of why this is
the case and how to solve the problem.
Here it is:

I was just reading the thread of a couple months ago about a trail being a
trail only as long as somebody hikes it. What was missing was a discussion
of how to get people to hike a trail. Here are the factors I think go into
getting people out on the trail, and the reasons why:
1. Scenic value- reason obvious
2. Location- a side trail of the AT in Shenandoah National Park is going
to get more use just because it is so close to a lot of population
3. "Section value"- many people hike less desirable sections of trail just
to say they hiked the entire trail, or to connect two scenic areas
4. Quality of maintenance- a reputation for good maintenance can take a
while to build up, but it can be destroyed very quickly
5. Vehicle access- a trail on roads will see less use even if it is very
scenic, but trailhead access is important
6. Propaganda- advertising is vital!

Can anybody add to this list?
As for the section west of Munising, discussed in the earlier thread, this
list can help focus efforts to get the trail used. I'll go one by one:
1. Scenic value- not an option
2. Location value- that area of the U.S. is not heavily populated, but
Pictured Rocks sees a lot of backpackers. If some of the crowds could be
drawn west on the NCT...
3. "Section value"- the section has section value being a part of the NCT.
I don't know about the trail further west, but I do know that getting from
the west end of Pictured Rocks to the beginning of this section is not a
pleasant hike
4. Quality of maintenance- maintenance was lacking, but a good reputation
can be earned quickly for this section
5. Vehicle access- the section just to the east is all on roads
6. Propaganda- desparately needed for the entire NCT!

I think the two most important things needed to get this section hiked
upon are:
More advertising!!!!
Eliminate the road walk through Munising.

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To:            rpbowles@midway.uchicago.edu, nct-l@backcountry.net