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Re: [pct-l] Re: Horses on the trail

Dear Dane,

I didn't wish to get into a heated debate here over general and subjective
issues.  I hope you will take all of the following comments in a light
perspective given for the purpose of furthering discussion and encouraging
the preservation of those elements that both you and I clearly value.

At 01:00 PM 7/17/98 -0400, you wrote:

>Most of the lush meadows we see are
>man made.

Technically, I guess you are right since there is more area cleared than
forested area left from what was originally here.  However, in a area such
as the Sierra Nevada mountains, the majority of meadows that exist today,
in fact existed prior to Indians, cowboys, lumberjacks, sheep or
developers.  The scope of the comment was in regards to wilderness areas
and I would challenge the statement in "wilderness" areas.

>I am a Naturalist and the
>outdoors is my home. 

So living in the outdoors and calling yourself a Naturalist makes you an
expert?  How do you define the term "Naturalist", did you go to school,
study intently and/or collect knowledge of such things empirically?

>Just because you see an eroded meadow does not make you an expert. 

Oh, I don't think that I made any statement to that effect in my message.
However, I have studied erosional processes, overgrazing effects, fluid
mechanics of streams, rivers and oceans, soil profiles, soil generation
processes and de-generation processes, glaciation, depositional
environments, sedimentation processes, etc., etc.  You probably get the
message, I am a geologist with two degrees.  Does this make me an expert?
I guess it depends on your definition of expert.  I don't make a living
applying this knowledge, but I also spend a great deal of time in the
wilderness, have hiked the entire PCT and enjoy applying this knowledge to
better understanding the features I see.

I could go into a deep discussion of meadow formation in alpine forested
environments, but think that this is probably not the primary focus of this

>I just hate seeing beautiful meadows being retaken by the forest.

You call yourself a Naturalist and yet you express this hatred for a
natural process?  I can't imagine that you would suggest we cut down the
trees that are invading the meadow.

I also agree that individual horse riders do little harm compared to the
commercial outfitters, but isn't that like saying that individual mountain
bike riders would do little harm compared to a commercial outfit of
hundreds?  I don't mind compromising, I just think we need to understand
that we, in fact, are compromising and recognize the cumulative impact of
those compromises over many generations, not just our own.

IMHO, best regards,

Greg "Strider" Hummel
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