Leave No Virtual Trace (Blog)

General discussions on hiking in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest
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retired jerry
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Re: Leave No Virtual Trace (Blog)

Post by retired jerry » April 21st, 2018, 2:18 pm

Maybe they should restrict access if plants are endangered

Like Cape Horn is closed some of the year. (Although maybe they restrict entry too much, but that's a different story)

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Guy
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Re: Leave No Virtual Trace (Blog)

Post by Guy » April 21st, 2018, 5:01 pm

chrisca wrote:
April 21st, 2018, 1:54 pm

There are two separate issues here though. With Oneonta Gorge, it's true that we can choose to go other places and as savvy hikers we know how to find other locations. But Oneonta has some rare plant species there that grow in few other places. Those plants can't move. It's important to remember that finding our own solitude may be under our control more or less, but protecting sensitive habitat can only be done by restricting access to the site and not promoting it as a destination.
But the question is were the crowds in any way threatening to these plant species? I don't know the answer to this but I have to believe that if the USFS had data that crowds were detrimental then it would have been restricted or closed down in a heartbeat. It's not an automatic given that crowds of people = bad results for plants and animals. I mean if the plants are growing on the canyon walls more that 8' up then the influence of crowds would be minimal at best.

Lets also remember that while Oneonta was a heaving mass of people on Sunny Summer days the percentage of time that it was like this over a whole year was still very small. I last walked up Oneonta in August last year 2 weeks before the fire at 7:00am in the morning. There was no one else in the canyon except our group. There were only 2 pieces of "garbage" that we removed, a tee shirt and a water bottle. The whole time there were little fish swimming around my feet.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is crowds of people can be detrimental but it's not a given and areas should not be restricted based on crowds alone. Just my 2 cents.

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Aimless
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Re: Leave No Virtual Trace (Blog)

Post by Aimless » April 21st, 2018, 7:13 pm

My own approach to the problem of publicizing backcountry locations on the internet is pretty simple. First, I am an old fogey and do not participate in Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or any other massive social networking sites.

Here on OH.org, I only post trip reports for underreported trails. I've never seen the point in my posting yet another trip report on Angel's Rest or Dog Mountain. One side effect of confining myself to underreported trails is that I am mostly publicizing places that do not see a lot of foot traffic already. I see no problem in boosting the use of underused trails or persuading other hikers to explore lesser-used trails. Those trails sometimes perish from want of use, and that's just a shame. They are often worth seeing.

What I NEVER do is give away my best secret spots on the internet. Friends and relatives, sure, but the whole darn world, no. ;)

chrisca
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Re: Leave No Virtual Trace (Blog)

Post by chrisca » April 24th, 2018, 11:55 am

Born2BBrad wrote:
April 20th, 2018, 9:58 am
The increase in the crowds to pristine areas, or anywhere in nature, has made me reluctant to write more trip reports. This thread is prompting me to delete some GPS tracks from GPS Fly.

It's sad because I used to love sharing my adventures with others on this website. :(
We don't have to go completely underground, but I'm opting more for using the Internet to find people I'd like to share that information with, but then do it privately rather than posting it with public access. The important thing is to find someone who I think is responsible from my interactions with them. Simply taking that one step adds a much-needed layer of protection to reduce the chances of a place being shared to death. I have nothing on Gaia GPS that's publicly viewable. I have emailed the tracks to good friends I can trust.

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justpeachy
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Re: Leave No Virtual Trace (Blog)

Post by justpeachy » April 27th, 2018, 7:58 am

Born2BBrad wrote:
April 20th, 2018, 9:58 am
The increase in the crowds to pristine areas, or anywhere in nature, has made me reluctant to write more trip reports. This thread is prompting me to delete some GPS tracks from GPS Fly.

It's sad because I used to love sharing my adventures with others on this website. :(

Not counting the over-shared hikes that everyone knows about (or the off-trail hikes), there's something to be said for sharing your experience to benefit others, especially for lesser-known trails that could use some boots to keep it open. One of the reasons I share my hikes online - whether that's here on the forums or on my own blog - is to help out other hikers. When I'm traveling somewhere I've never been before I do research online beforehand. I'm looking to see when flowers bloom, what kind of views I can expect, etc. I only get so much vacation time and the chances of me going back to a hike that is 8+ hours away from my home is slim to none, so I want to make it count while I'm there.

If I can't find enough info online about a hike and as a result I find that I'm visiting too early or too late, or I'm missing out on views I didn't know existed because I'm hiking it on a cloudy day, that's poor utilization of my limited hiking time. So if by sharing a trip report online I can help another hiker get their timing right, that's a good thing in my book. There's also an education component. If someone learns about ticks and poison oak from my trip report and is therefore careful to try and avoid them, I also consider that a good thing. I wouldn't wish a tick bite or poison oak rash on anyone!

That said, there have been some good points made in this thread, and I do think that social media is partially to blame for trail overuse in many areas. Also to blame: Oregon's huge population boom. Even without social media I think we'd be facing this overuse problem.
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ThePortlandeer
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Re: Leave No Virtual Trace (Blog)

Post by ThePortlandeer » April 27th, 2018, 10:32 am

I find myself on both sides of this debate, though not evenly, or at the same time. On the one hand you can ALWAYS find solitude, just not necessarily where you'd like to experience it (or when...you can normally find solitude on snow). I'm on the record (less lately, more so a few years ago) as saying to many people that I have no use for Facebook, but lots of use for Instagram because of its hashtag search function-so, case in point. Most great hikes I used to find were found going down hashtag and user profile rabbit holes. Then again I've always enjoyed taking someone's unlabeled picture with even one recognizable geographic or geological feature and using GoogleEarth to find the location. Lately, I simply despise how IG users with tons of followers, people with famous dogs and trail runners and what not, posting the location of each and every hike. There's surely a duty once your following approaches a certain level, and once you start plugging major outdoor brands and manufacturers, to be more discreet.

But,....I've rambled prior to getting to my main point. Don't you think Zinke, Pruitt, Trump and Co are just tickled to death to think that a hiking forum which could pool it's knowledge to at least write letters non-stop to legislators about infractions on a scale incomprehensible relative to trampled lichen, is instead discussing left behind water bottles at Oneonta Gorge?? I completely agree with the below comment:
My worry about the impact of boot paths on "nature" has changed a bit after the Gorge fire, and I'm less worried about that for its own sake (we should be much, much more worried about uranium mines, industrial water contamination, and mountaintop removal).
Yes, there is a real impact from overuse, and also it sucks to seek mind refreshing solitude and not find it, but environmental degradation on a larger scale is a far greater danger than increasing public enjoyment of our public lands.
I recently read this article and although the focus is a little different, it talks about our distraction as individuals when it comes to perceiving how to make an impact.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment ... =hootsuite

chrisca
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Re: Leave No Virtual Trace (Blog)

Post by chrisca » May 1st, 2018, 11:53 am

ThePortlandeer wrote:
April 27th, 2018, 10:32 am
...
Yes, there is a real impact from overuse, and also it sucks to seek mind refreshing solitude and not find it, but environmental degradation on a larger scale is a far greater danger than increasing public enjoyment of our public lands.
I recently read this article and although the focus is a little different, it talks about our distraction as individuals when it comes to perceiving how to make an impact.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment ... =hootsuite
Thanks for the article reference, it's great. What it says is that we are in need of an organization fighting for access to trails and building more of them. Talk on a forum is preaching to the choir and largely a waste of our time, money, and energy. Hikers need to wake up and realize decisions are made at the agencies. That's where we need to be, or we need to appoint others to represent our interests and speak for us.

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