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[pct-l] Ice axes and horses

>As long as this subject has been referenced off-subject, I'll degenerate
>things further by asking: does the PCTA acknowledge that horses in fact
>cause any damage to the footpath, and, if so, what are their offerings for
>a solution?  It would seem to me that soil erosion is nothing to take
>lightly, in light of the fact that it doesn't just "grow right back."
>What can I expect to find in the way of damage when I do my hike next year?

I can't speak officially for the PCTA, I suggest you contact the exec dir,
Bob Ballou at 71204.1015@compuserve.com. I think that the PCTA is more
worried about the push to let OHVs and mountain bikes on the trail (a la
the CDT) than they are worked up over getting the horses off.

I can only tell you of my observations.

In a few areas in the Sierra, maybe about 200 miles of trails, horses are a
problem. IMHO the horse shit on the trail is more of a problem than the
erosion, but that is an asthetic thing. These horses are almost exclusivly
from commercial pack outfits which  are exempt from the normal wilderness
permit system (the exemption is called "packer override"). This is a forest
use issue, not just a "horses on the PCT" issue.

Most of the potential erosion problems I have seen, seem to have been fixed
by the pack outfits themselves. They are usually the ones to clear the
blowdowns in the areas where they use the trails. They make a living of
taking folks to see the "pretty mountians." They don't want the area ruined
anymore than you or I.

The horses will not cause you any problems or discomfort on a (northbound)
PCT through hike, since you will not see any horses. You will be through
the areas where the horses frequent before most of the commercial outfits
are open for business.

The recreational long distance rider is a rare bird and IMHO has negligeble
impact on the trial. In all honesty, most parts of the PCT could really use
more traffic, just to keep the grass from growing on the tread.

As far as the horse thing goes I am niether for nor against. My views have
been formed only from what I myself have seen, and I just don't think that
horses are anywhere near the top of the list of PCT threats. 

You should stop worring about the horses, and start worying about logging.
This is a MUCH bigger problem through much of No-Cal, OR and WA. I am
surprised that Jardine seems to ignore it.The fact he lives in an area
where logging is the biggest local employer might have something to do with

Miles and miles of the PCT have been destroyed, and are being destroyed
every year by the chainsaw. In many places you will have to walk on logging
roads because you can't find the trail. You will walk through dozens, if
not hundreds of miles of clearcut. You will get lost in the ruts caused by
the dozers and skidders. You will shudder at the way the land is being raped.

If you have taken offence that I have spoken harshly of Jardine, I can tell
you that I myself once wondered why others felt that way. Then I had
dealings with him. I once heard him described by an ALDHA-West member from
Oregon, who had dealt with him quite a bit as an  "anti social egocentric
jerk who is only interested in himself."

I agree with many of "his" methods, and actually was hiking "the Ray Way"
long before he published his book. 

I prefer to try and get folks to work together for the trial. To this end I
support the PCTA. Ray refused to support an organization that he didn't
agree with 100% so formed his own organization (ALDHA-West) which seemed to
spend as much time taking pot shots at the PCTA as it did supporting the
trail. FWIW, sicne Jardine left the helm of ALDHA-W at least one PCT
advocat has joined both boards of directors.

Brick Robbins
San Diego, CA          

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