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[pct-l] Re: Arguing, was Congrats to Brian

Look, in terms of law (and specifically the Wilderness Act), the letter can only do so much to reflect its spirit. Wilderness is a precious commodity -- to us, to snowmobilers and dirt bike riders, and to Dick Cheney -- and the letter of the Wilderness Act clearly favors us, the LNT backpacking nerds. 

Does the Wilderness Act prohibit runners? Who cares? The spirit of it clearly casts doubt on whether any sort of group-activity -- say, camping in a group bigger than 2 or 3, or taking a Boy Scout troop on a 50-miler -- is permissable: "[Wilderness areas] shall be administered for the use and enjoyment of the American people in such manner as will leave them unimpaired for future use and enjoyment as wilderness."

As wilderness. 

The term "wilderness," of course, is too vague to hold any kind of legal water, so the act goes on to describe it as an area which "retains its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions."

Primeval character. Natural conditions.

So you get the point about the spirit of the law favoring backpackers. Small groups of backpackers, backpacking responsibly. As for trail races, I ran in many, and, while there are fewer aid stations, fewer disposables given out, and fewer participants than road races, the very nature of the race organization, and the sense of competition, significantly alters the "natural condition" for hikers. 

The argument that backpackers need runners as some kind of rich, powerful political ally is just too absurd to rebut. I mean, really, if we're going after political allies, why not trade drilling in ANWR for greater protection in wilderness areas that _people actually use_?

My original problem, which remains to be addressed, is not with Brian's hike, which was extremely impressive. It's with the media focus, and Brian's perpetuation of it, on the extreme-sports aspects of his hike. We've all done long hikes, and we all know how _little_ this kind of stuff matters, in the long run. So I'm disappointed that he didn't focus on the stuff that matters, because that stuff inspires people.

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