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A dried up Goliath and a weasel named Fee

Colorado 14ers access and fee issues only, please
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A dried up Goliath and a weasel named Fee

Postby Matt » Sun Jun 13, 2010 11:12 am

I love rainy days...
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 — which collectively receive an estimated 500,000 visitors annually — 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. =D> Paying the USFS doesn't seem to offer the same benefits, so I'm left wondering what the writer's trying to do here?
We are all greater artists than we realize -FWN
A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. -HDT
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Re: A dried up Goliath and a weasel named Fee

Postby Jim Davies » Sun Jun 13, 2010 1:22 pm

I saw that article too, and had about the same reaction you did. The author basically took a potty break in the bushes at the trailhead, and found that her chosen site had already been used. Not quite the same thing as finding crap all over the trail. Also, there was a pit toilet across the road at the Elbert TH she could have used, if she'd really been concerned about the sanitary conditions. :roll:

Her fee argument also doesn't hold water in this case. Mt Massive (and most 14ers) aren't really so crowded that such measures are needed. South Colony, maybe. At Stevens Gulch and Guanella Pass, we probably will see fees in a few years. Halfmoon Creek, not for quite a while.

While I think educating the public on trail etiquette and volunteerism are a good thing, this article didn't help, IMO.
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Re: A dried up Goliath and a weasel named Fee

Postby cftbq » Sun Jun 13, 2010 6:53 pm

Yes, it certainly looks like the FS is going into full-court-press mode to get fees put in place in Colorado, just like California has long been subjected to. Of course, at first, it will just be "a few" peaks, but it will inevitably expand. The emotions of people like this writer is just one of the tools unleashed in this propaganda battle. Bottom line for the climbing community: The money collected most certainly will not go toward remedying any real problems, but, rather, toward funding the FS's ability to collect even more and larger fees. If we don't stop it definitively, and soon, it will be a bottomless pit that will ultimately block us off from most of our mountains.
I have been to the mountaintop, and I have seen the force
and the power that animates the universe. That may not
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Re: A dried up Goliath and a weasel named Fee

Postby mikedh1980 » Sun Jun 13, 2010 7:28 pm

Yeah... I don't see fees helping the problem. However, I do think a regulation requiring wag bags (like on Whitney and Rainier) would go a long way. Pack out your poo, people!
"No one is your friend but your legs... your legs are your friends." -- Geronimo

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Re: A dried up Goliath and a weasel named Fee

Postby PKelley » Sun Jun 13, 2010 7:52 pm

You try to live a life that's completely free. Your racing with the wind, your flirting with death, so have a cup of coffee and catch your breath.
The Dalai Lama when asked what surprised him most about humanity:
“Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

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Re: A dried up Goliath and a weasel named Fee

Postby Ken Gross » Sun Jun 13, 2010 8:30 pm

Just read the article and some of the comments... but I am not making the leap here that you all seem to be, that this is a FS propaganda piece. It is an opinion piece of course, and this writer is actually basing her opinion on real experiences that she claims to have had.

I think her experience on Massive could be quite revealing. When you spend many days on one mountain... you notice a lot more things than if say you are rolling through light and fast on your way to the summit. The impact that you would see over a period of 1+ weeks would clearly be more telling than a climbers perspective of spending just a few hours on a peak. So I don't doubt that she witnessed at least some of what she is asserting.

As to the fees, I don't like them and agree with you Del Sur that the government will likely squander the fee revenue and only use it to enlarge the bureaucracy. I think tax and spend policies at all levels of government only result in increasing the size of the bureaucracy, and rarely do they achieve the original goal behind the tax or fee.

So my question is,what is the best way for the FS to manage these highly impacted areas? Closing roads and making access more difficult could be effective in giving areas a "break"... but only if properly managed. Fees are clearly an option the FS likes. Or I suppose you could make and invest in improvements at THs and trails to deal with the numbers. Other options?

In general I am opposed to fees, I don't like road closures, and I want to see government cut in size and scope. But I also recognize that some areas, like South Colony lakes are in need of some solid management to protect them.
"Democracy is 2 wolves and a lamb discussing what's for dinner. Liberty is a well armed lamb willing to contest the majority decision." Benjamin Franklin 1755

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Re: A dried up Goliath and a weasel named Fee

Postby Matt » Mon Jun 14, 2010 10:01 am

PKelley, thanks for recognizing.

Overall, I think fees are a great idea...
triumph2.jpg
triumph2.jpg (25.38 KiB) Viewed 1492 times

...for me to poop on.
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A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. -HDT
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Re: A dried up Goliath and a weasel named Fee

Postby sstrauss » Mon Jun 14, 2010 4:50 pm

mikedh1980 wrote:I do think a regulation requiring wag bags (like on Whitney and Rainier) would go a long way. Pack out your poo, people!


Yes, let's throw more plastic in a trash can or landfill....and while we are at it....let's wag all the animal poop we see too, be it dog or rabbit or goat or mouse....

heaven forbid....

Sorry, this just pisses me off.

We pay taxes already. Talk to someone who is spending the money in a different way than you would like to see it spent. I am paying for the land already. And now I'm supposed to pay someone again so that I can use it. BS!!
"He discovered that boredom and fear and anger are the reasons that one's life is so short, and with these gone from his thought, he lived a long fine life indeed." R. Bach

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Re: A dried up Goliath and a weasel named Fee

Postby D8S » Tue Jun 15, 2010 3:04 pm

I too applaud the author for working on the 14ers. She's not alone.

But what gets me is the "they need the money" line.

We've been through this so many times on these forums that I'll try to keep it brief.

The Forest Service's recreation appropriation (that's funding from you and me) is up 72% in the last 10 years. That's more than double the rate of inflation. Add in the $650 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding, (almost $4.2 million per national forest) and the "need the money" line gets old quick. Meanwhile, visitation (in general, not necessarily on the 14ers) is down around 13%, meaning more funding per person.

So I ask the obvious questions. If the Forest Service has enough funding, does she still support fees? And if so, why?

The entire South Colony fee proposal is premised on inadequate funding, yet the Forest Service offers absolutely no supporting documentation for that position. For me, that is enough reason to say no, at least until the Forest Service documents its alleged poverty.

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Re: A dried up Goliath and a weasel named Fee

Postby sevenvii » Mon Jun 21, 2010 8:12 pm

Problem is solved by a quite simple method I started using a number of years ago....Just crap where you want and however often you want, but wipe your ass with 20 dollar bills that the FS can then collect to help remove my trace!

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