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Gatherings and Wilderness Areas

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Re: Gatherings and Wilderness Areas

Postby semitrueskerm » Wed Oct 03, 2012 10:03 pm

Kiefer wrote:
If you perceive any ruler swatting the back of your hand, it's of your own creation.

BTW: I volunteer as well, up in RMNP. I don't agree with all their rules...some I downright hate, but I recognize why they're in place.

Speaking of creation...Kiefer, I can't tell if your new avatar is distracting me, annoying me, exciting me, making me ill...or all of the above. Either way, it is brilliant. I know when I scroll eyes are drawn to the lower half =D> ...only to be greatly disappointed when I look up at the top half... ](*,)

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Re: Gatherings and Wilderness Areas

Postby TallGrass » Thu Oct 04, 2012 12:20 am

bergsteigen wrote:If in the future, we should have a much larger group show up, we WILL split into 2 groups under 15. ... I don't have plans to ever backpack with a large group, the very thought makes my head spin.

Seldom seen color photo of the trend-setting 1897 Suffragettz (Pre-Wilderness Regulations) Hike. Quote from Emma Fitzwaller, "I don't care if it is high-contrast and the quickest color to warm in the sun, next year I'm wearing something more rosy, not too crimson, but not too ivory either." Also notable is Ellie 'Cathole' Brookmiddle (center right) of St. Francis, KS who would later gain fame for pioneering various LNT practices though later generations have reportedly tried various ways to distance themselves from the legacy.
Not sure if I'll do more 14ers. The trip reports are too tiring. :wink:

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Re: Gatherings and Wilderness Areas

Postby Chicago Transplant » Thu Oct 04, 2012 8:58 am

Putting the ranger hat back on and trying to answer some of the questions I have seen pop up during the course of the thread...

Generally it is acceptable to split up large groups, our local full-time ranger has told us that the proper way for us to handle large groups on the trail is to ask part of the group to hang out while the other goes ahead. Technically you should not be taking breaks in "full group", but I think on the summits that would be okay, there are always lots of people on summits anyway. Within reason though, I don't think a group of 100 would be appropriate. Its more that large groups should not reconvene to take a break at a meadow or stream crossing along the way. I appreciate that the groups this weekend split up and only convened on the summit, thanks!

Someone else asked about 15 vs 25, the rule as it was explained to me is "25 heartbeats, 15 of which can be human", it means if you had 15 people and 10 dogs you would be okay, but 16 people and 9 dogs would not.

Another asked about accidentally joining groups, and if there are already 15 people on the summit do they have to wait for someone to leave. No, the rule is more about people traveling together in large groups, its meant to help keep a quality of solitude on the trail for other users who are out looking for a primitive wilderness experience. I would say that if you saw a large group off the side of the trail and wanted to take a breather, its probably better to go up the trail a little more first, but on a summit I don't think anyone would mind.

I also saw a question specifically asking about tour groups and Maroon Lake. Maroon Lake itself is not in the Wilderness Area, the boundary is on the far shoreline so people around the lake are not in the Wilderness. That was probably intentional because its hard to have a Wilderness experience that close to a paved parking lot.

In general the point of the rule is to try and keep the usage spread out on the trails and to give a sense of solitude and maintain a primitive character with minimal human intrusion. I have been on trails that have had over 100 people, but those 100 people were all strangers and all spread out in groups of 2-4 people throughout the entire length of the trail. Some may argue that running into 2-4 people every couple of minutes is less "solitude" than passing a single group of 20 once and having the trail to yourself the rest of the day. I can see that point, but aside from setting quotas on trails there is no way to keep the usage down. The group size limits is an attempt to try and at least keep the groups people encounter on the trail smaller in size.

We all go out into these mountains to enjoy ourselves and to enjoy the "freedom on the hills", following the rules and regulations and the suggestions of Leave No Trace might sometimes seem like a burden, but we do so in order to maintain these places and allow others to enjoy them. If wanting to spread the word on that makes me preachy, then so be it. I volunteer to help educate people about these special areas. On the trail I can only do that one group at a time, here I can reach out to a broader audience. Again I apologize for my timing and I didn't mean to call out this past weekends groups, congrats to Dave and Bill on your finishers, and congrats to the Gurlz on another successful trip.
"We want the unpopular challenge. We want to test our intellect!" - Snapcase
"You are not what you own" - Fugazi
"Life's a mountain not a beach" - Fortune Cookie I got at lunch the other day

Re: Gatherings and Wilderness Areas

Postby MonGoose » Thu Oct 04, 2012 9:41 am

Thank you Chicago Transplant for answering our questions. I will be mindful of the situation in the future.

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Re: Gatherings and Wilderness Areas

Postby sdkeil » Thu Oct 04, 2012 9:47 am

I think the OP was very well stated and definitely not preachy nor meant to single any one event out. Thanks for the reminder as I sometimes forget about group size rules in wilderness too. Also thanks for putting the ranger hat back on and adding in some clarifications, they seem very reasonable to me.
Ass: (noun)
a long-eared, slow, patient, sure-footed domesticated mammal, Equus asinus, related to the horse, used chiefly as a beast of burden.

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Re: Gatherings and Wilderness Areas

Postby Lamb » Thu Oct 04, 2012 10:49 am

Thank you Chicago Transplant for posting this. I have seen a few situations where this rule is clearly posted and flat out ignored. It has been a concern of mine and I am glad someone said it.

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Re: Gatherings and Wilderness Areas

Postby KatieFinn » Thu Oct 04, 2012 12:24 pm

Chicago Transplant wrote:Someone else asked about 15 vs 25, the rule as it was explained to me is "25 heartbeats, 15 of which can be human", it means if you had 15 people and 10 dogs you would be okay, but 16 people and 9 dogs would not.

I have been known to be heartless …so, technically, I should not count towards this quota :lol:
Thanks CT for the educational topic and your service. Regardless of how we all feel about rules, I think most of us are interested in minimizing the impact on and preserving the beauty our playground. Cheers.

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Re: Gatherings and Wilderness Areas

Postby DArcyS » Thu Oct 04, 2012 2:21 pm

I'm glad the FS isn't as draconian with regard to group size as I would have imagined. I wish this degree of reasonableness would have been present for Davenport's film in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Area.

Nonetheless, if you are planning a large gathering, you might give some thought to the area you will visit or the last 14er you will finish on if you want a big party. (There are over 20 14ers not in wilderness areas, many more 13ers.) In a way, everybody here is a representative of and should try their best to portray a positive image for this site.

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Re: Gatherings and Wilderness Areas

Postby vonmackle » Thu Oct 04, 2012 2:29 pm

Group size doesn't appear to be an issue in the Lost Creek Wilderness...
LostCreek1.jpg (200.63 KiB) Viewed 455 times
"To play a wrong note is insignificant; to play without passion is inexcusable." -Ludwig van Beethoven

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Re: Gatherings and Wilderness Areas

Postby KeithK » Thu Oct 04, 2012 4:15 pm

vonmackle wrote:Group size doesn't appear to be an issue in the Lost Creek Wilderness...

That's the weekly "Derek forgot to invite anyone" gathering, isn't it?
Snow is dumb.™

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Re: Gatherings and Wilderness Areas

Postby Derek » Sat Oct 06, 2012 6:18 pm

vonmackle wrote:Group size doesn't appear to be an issue in the Lost Creek Wilderness...

HA! Nope...not many there!
"All dolled up in gabardine..."


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