Here's the latest regurgitation of the line that fees to hike 14ers make such good sense...
What bugs me about this (and other) articles that support charging fees are the following:
Emotional appeals and images are used to discourage objective thinking about an issue.
This piece opens with the statement,
"Mount Massive was, quite literally, a pile of crap."
Hyperbole, anyone? Apparently there was so much poop on Massive that dodging turds was... "a skill that I would have to perfect over the coming summer." I last ascended Massive 28 June 2008. How much poop can accumulate in two years?
Speaking of hyperbole...
Throw in the reality that Massive is but one of Colorado's storied 54 peaks over 14,000 feet â€” which collectively receive an estimated 500,000 visitors annually â€” and the peak-bagger trend becomes a destructive tide rising over the state's mountains, an extractive industry in its own right.
This kind of fact-free manipulation belongs on Fox News, MSNBC, or in my spam box. I guess if I were completely out of the loop on this (see average non-hiker) or shared her (IMO) hysteria about hikers destroying the 14ers, fees would make good sense to me, too.
I applaud the author for walking the talk and volunteering with the CFI. That's the obvious solution to the ostensible/specious trend toward destruction she "details." However, I do not share her fears of environmental disaster because folks are hiking on the 14ers for free.
However, she makes no case that charging fees will improve the poop (or any) situation, so why bother? IMO, people will poop on trails whether there's a fee or not. My guess is that social trails, shortcuts, etc., will persist long after any fees are mandated, go to the right place, and nice trails are built.
Also not addressed:
1. Legal issues surrounding fees (e.g. Mt. Evans).
2. The USFS does not seem to place trail building very high on any priority list they may have. See the S. Colony debacle (improve road, increase use, close road d/t overuse, decide to charge fees to cut use). Why should anyone believe that fees would go to trail construction or to the CFI?
Trail construction by volunteers (what they're doing) seems the answer to environmental impact concerns--we see the results on any 14er CFI et al has worked on. Paying the USFS doesn't seem to offer the same benefits, so I'm left wondering what the writer's trying to do here?