Gatherings and Wilderness Areas

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Re: Gatherings and Wilderness Areas

Postby Bean 2 » Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:59 pm

Bean wrote:Also funny to see CT referred to as a troll.

+1. That makes two.
I agree with Bean. Dos Frijoles estan de acuerdo!

Upstate Hiker, the only troll here is you.
It takes a lot of nerve or very little sense to attack someone like Chicago Transplant. The guy is a class act and his contributions to this community are legion.
Let's review some of your "contributions."

Attack Thread on Jed That went over well.

More friendly, well-informed goodness

Upstate Hiker wrote:
EatinHardtack wrote:Reading the title to this post I thought it was about New Belgiums seasonal beer 'Snow Day' and not about any snow. This storm was a joke.

Regardless... I will not turn down a free day off to play in snow.

Haters gonna hate.
gdthomas wrote:

Bean, you're an idiot 2.

Re: Gatherings and Wilderness Areas

Postby Bean » Wed Oct 03, 2012 5:01 pm

Chicago Transplant wrote:The US Forest Service even contacted Bill Middlebrook specifically about the gathering because of size concerns they had.

Was Bill organizing the group?
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Re: Gatherings and Wilderness Areas

Postby BillMiddlebrook » Wed Oct 03, 2012 5:12 pm

While I did not organize the Spring Gathering, I was contacted by the USFS. I passed on their concerns to those who planned on attending by providing maps indicating desired camp locations. I ended up attending that gathering and was happy to see how people dispersed campsites and hiking groups were small and spread out.

My discussions with the USFS included the key LEO in the area and the folks in the local ranger district who maintain the trails and trailhead.

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Re: Gatherings and Wilderness Areas

Postby bergsteigen » Wed Oct 03, 2012 5:17 pm

Chicago Transplant, your timing was probably a bit bad on this one. I understand your concerns, as I have them as well. Unfortunately due to the nature of weather and the like I am never quite sure how many ladies will show up on a given trip. Most this year, should have noted my excitement at the wilderness permit station that we did have only 15. Me plus 14 other ladies, clearly shown in the photos I posted at the start. In the 4 years we have done this, we have had 7, 16, 16 and 15. Except for the first year, eventually the big group splits up into 2-3 smaller groups, so I didn't feel too bad about the 2 years of 16.

If in the future, we should have a much larger group show up, we WILL split into 2 groups under 15. Meet on the summit, and then go down separately. I don't have plans to ever backpack with a large group, the very thought makes my head spin.
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Re: Gatherings and Wilderness Areas

Postby MonGoose » Wed Oct 03, 2012 5:40 pm

I view Chicago Transplant's comment as more of a head's up that the Forest Service is taking note of activities instead of specifically calling anyone out. I think he brings up a good topic for discussion. I was in attendance for Bill's finisher this weekend and at the time, I thought we were following all the rules. I was especially impressed with the observance of Leave No Trace principles in the group. Today, looking up the regulations for the Holy Cross Wilderness it appears there is one regulation that was put into question:

"Group size is limited to 15 people per group with a maximum combination of 25 people and pack or saddle animals in any one group."

During the hike, fragments of Bill's group became intermingled with fragments of the Gurlz Hike, who I didn't even know were planning a trip on the same day (what a pleasant surprise that was). Throughout the hike, people were spread out in groups of 8 or less. The first hikers reached the summit more than 2 1/2 hours before the final hikers reached the summit. On the descent, multiple groups took multiple routes and times varied significantly. The summit however, is the only place this rule was challenged. Which brings up a few questions: What constitutes a group and how close do two groups need to be to be considered one group? If Bill's group stays on one side of the summit and the Gurlz stay on the other side (like a middle school dance), are we two groups or one? If I'm hiking alone and I reach a summit that has 25 people on it, am I required to wait below the summit until someone leaves (one in one out)?

As the 14ers become more crowded, these issues are going to become more and more of an issue. We are blessed to have such amazing mountains in our backyard and we need to do everything we can to preserve them, which includes working with the Forest Service and respecting their regulations.
Last edited by MonGoose on Wed Oct 03, 2012 5:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Gatherings and Wilderness Areas

Postby Scott P » Wed Oct 03, 2012 5:45 pm

Good point Chicago Transplant. I have thought about this a lot lately too. I wanted to go, but went to something else instead of the recent gathering.

It's fun to get together, but it's also hard sometimes to keep group sizes low.

Other than dividing the group into a bunch of tiny ones, there doesn't seem to be a good solution.

I am leading a canyoneering gathering soon, but the idea is to all split up and do different canyons.

In winter these 14er gathering seem to be better since there is usually no one else around and since you are walking on snow (or frozen talus).
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Re: Gatherings and Wilderness Areas

Postby DArcyS » Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:05 pm

A little info on Wilderness Area management to give some light on how the USFS might view your argument about complying with the group limit by splitting a large group into smaller groups.

Under the Wilderness Act, film crews need to get a permit to film in Wilderness Areas. This makes sense for Hollywood productions, as a large film crew in a Wilderness Area could do substantial damage. When Chris Davenport attempted to show films of his ski trips in the Elk Range and Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Area, the FS said "no" even though the act of filming his small-group ski trip left no permanent impact to the Wilderness Area.

In terms of naming peaks, peaks in Wilderness Areas aren't suppose to be named, as there's a thought that if you name a peak, it will draw more people to climb it and create an impact.

Given this, the FS would likely reject the argument that splitting a large group into smaller groups complies with law. And in any event, if the group convenes at the summit but for a moment, the law is at that point broken. It would be like trying to argue your way out of a speeding ticket by saying that on 99% of your trip you were doing the speed limit.

Mike brings up a good point that should be addressed in this community. Some guy who use to run was adament that people not leave 14erWorld stickers on the canisters for peak registers because he didn't want his site to be associated with litter.

Likewise, if gains a reputation for being a catalyst for people to break Wilderness Act laws, you're hurting the reputation that Bill is trying to establish for himself and this site by working on the CFI board.

Bottom line -- if you want a large group, find an area where you can do this legally (or get a permit from the FS, if possible).

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Re: Gatherings and Wilderness Areas

Postby Floyd » Wed Oct 03, 2012 7:36 pm

Bean 2 wrote:Dos Frijoles estan de acuerdo!

Thank you for bringing a little levity to the thread. I think CT brings up a very valid point and as one of the organizers of last weekend's Cimarron Gathering, I'll admit it is not an issue that even crossed my mind. Luckily we were camped outside of the wilderness area if it did manage to get bigger. The rules are the rules, we can all decide individually whether or not to follow them - just like dogs on leashes, speed limits on the interstates, etc... But, I think CT is simply pointing one out that is often forgotten, not one that is knowingly broken. I applaud him for bringing it to our attention as something that should be considered. It's up to the individual to decide whether or not to respect it.

Off topic and as far as the "hater" label goes, I know CT well enough to realize he's not going to lose any sleep over it. But personally, I'd like to point out just because someone has different values than you does not make them a "hater". I don't "hate" on folks who can't stand dogs off leash, I respect their opinion. I only hate on those on this site that have threatened harm to me and/or my dog because of my opinion. CT is bringing up an issue for discussion or debate, not for folks to throw a hissy fit that would make my 5 year-old blush. CT a troll? That could be the most absurd thing I've seen on this site in my 6 years as a member here (and keep in mind the gems that list holds).
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Re: Gatherings and Wilderness Areas

Postby cheeseburglar » Wed Oct 03, 2012 8:07 pm

My understanding of the law is that for every law there is a way around it.
Breaking an oversize group into two seems reasonable. I don't know if it would stand up in a court of law if you tried to fight the ticket. Would the prosecution try to prove collusion? Would it matter? Will it happen?
Probably have the same or better chance of a guilty verdict as fighting my rationale for having my dogs off leash, which is that they are service dogs. Hearing ear dogs can't run off the mountain lions and bears as effectively while leashed.
Bam. Law circumvented!
And yes, I firmly believe every 14er thread should have at least one post that references off leash dogs.
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Re: Gatherings and Wilderness Areas

Postby d_baker » Wed Oct 03, 2012 8:12 pm

This thread has quality entertainment, me thinks.
Mike, a dude from Chicago, gets called out by a chick from New York. Not only called out, but called a troll! That's funny.
What's not funny though, is that uniform the FS makes him wear when he's out patrolling the local trails. Upstate Hiker, you should be truly thanking him for wearing that uniform and giving his time to help educate people.
And I don't even think Mike would know how to insult someone, directly or otherwise! I'll try to give him some pointers one day.

Then Upstate quits! (But only to post 6 minutes later. Promises, promises. I've seen that before from others. You just can't give up the .com of 14ers that easily. ;) )

Oh, then there's Bean talking with himself. wtf?
Bean 2 wrote:
Bean wrote:Also funny to see CT referred to as a troll.

+1. That makes two.
I agree with Bean. Dos Frijoles estan de acuerdo!

And when did Kiefer grow boobs??

Besides that, I don't think I have anything of true value to add to this topic.
Other than stay on the trail, and do it in small groups while in the wilderness.

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Re: Gatherings and Wilderness Areas

Postby DArcyS » Wed Oct 03, 2012 8:21 pm

d_baker wrote:
And when did Kiefer grow boobs??

That's a seriously disturbing photo. At first I thought it was funny, but now I'm having nightmares from it.

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Re: Gatherings and Wilderness Areas

Postby Tortoise1 » Wed Oct 03, 2012 8:24 pm

cheeseburglar wrote:Probably have the same or better chance of a guilty verdict as fighting my rationale for having my dogs off leash, which is that they are service dogs. Hearing ear dogs can't run off the mountain lions and bears as effectively while leashed.

You're going to need to hire an expensive (and perhaps unscrupulous) expert on that one.


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