Article: Crisis in our national parks

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#83
Edge of the World - maybe edge of the civilized world...and this is actually in Colorado City, the place where the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and the children all look like they have the same dad?
 

LarryBoy

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#84
Edge of the World - maybe edge of the civilized world...and this is actually in Colorado City, the place where the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and the children all look like they have the same dad?
Yep, like 1 street north of that little gas station/market thing in the middle of town.
 
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#86
Did you even read the articles you used as examples? The Horizon Coal Mine (right in my backyard) didn't have a bond, but they did put up collateral that DOGM says will be sufficient to clean up the mine site. How is that burden being placed on the taxpayers?
Did you read the original article? If you did you would see that the original owners of the mine, Hidden Splendor, declared Chapter 11 right after they were slapped with $190K in safety violation fines, and walked away. That was my point.

If mineral and oil extraction aren't sustainable, then how do all those tourists fly/drive to their destinations? Surely fossil fuels are involved somehow (unless I'm misunderstanding how internal combustion engines work).
1. Your sustainability comment makes no sense. There is not an infinite supply of fossil fuels. Just b/c we have oil today doesn't mean we'll continue to have it in the future given the expected demands.
2. The mineral/fossil fuel extraction comment was in reference to the monument downsizing.
3. UT is one of the best states for solar gain/power, yet they continue to push for fossil fuel extraction on public lands. Why? Partly UT is planning to export coal and natural gas overseas. Also, utility and gas prices are also far too cheap in UT; there is no incentive to conserve.
 
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#87

Kmatjhwy

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#88
Rockskipper, interesting article. Now I personally think this just might be the beginning of such as concerning photography. Here in Jackson Hole there has been so much craziness by wildlife photographers in the last few years. I have a friend who has documented much of this. Years past it may have been something else. But now do think this will be an issue that will become front and center ... what the Park Service will do as concerning photographers and wildlife photographers who will do anything for that one photo.
 

Kmatjhwy

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#90
Yes there is now so much unethical things going on with especially wildlife photography. I have a good good friend here in Jackson Hole who documented much of some of the unethical behavior that was going on by a certain group of local photographers. He even spoke to the Park Service about it. He became a subject of much much criticism by these certain photographers also. Do think as time goes on that this will become more and more of a big issue in the parks.

Personally as for myself, have a camera but anymore have walked away from photography to enjoy the moment. I am finding much freedom in not pursuing photography. Think of even selling my camera since don't use it much anymore. Just living in the now and enjoying life.

But back to this issue, since many locals are so much into wildlife photography, have heard just sooooo much on the abuses that they partake of when they pursue their photography in the nearby parks. How many photos of a subject must they have, when they already have how many. And all just for money it seems. Again do think this will become a much more bigger issue in the common days with so much increased visitation in the front country in many of the parks. Just my opinion for what it is worth.
 

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#91
If mineral and oil extraction aren't sustainable, then how do all those tourists fly/drive to their destinations? Surely fossil fuels are involved somehow (unless I'm misunderstanding how internal combustion engines work).

Did you even read the articles you used as examples? The Horizon Coal Mine (right in my backyard) didn't have a bond, but they did put up collateral that DOGM says will be sufficient to clean up the mine site. How is that burden being placed on the taxpayers?

I fail to see how paying workers more will solve any of the problems you mention. Reducing the population, however, sounds like a good idea to me.
I didn't read her statement the way you did regarding sustainability, but rather that mining and extractions have a finite life.

Did you read the articles? Immediately following the text stating that the condo being put up for collateral - that would have covered the costs to clean up the site, they state that it actually sold for less than expected, which is less than the cost to clean up the mine. (although not much - it still burdens tax payers) The White Mesa has a bond worth approximately 1/5 of what it would cost to clean up the site. As in most things regarding statistics, you can slant them one way or another, not include statistics here or there, etc. to hopefully make a point.
 
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Thread starter #92
These type of articles seem to be everywhere now. Here is a short one from the New Yorker https://www.newyorker.com/culture/rabbit-holes/people-are-stacking-too-many-stones

I'm not willing to blame instagram for this behavior, but I really hate finding a cool arch or rockhouse and seeing the whole area littered with piles of rocks. If stacking stones is "meditative" like the article says, then take apart the pile before you leave, take a pic for instagram if you want but, break down the pile when you are done.
 
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#93
Social media is a very mixed thing when it comes to our wild places, imo. On the one hand, it's a wonderful way to quickly and easily connect people with scenes of immense beauty that might just make them happy in that moment by looking at a photo, and I think that's never a bad thing. Or to make them really want to understand and explore a place, even if it's armchair exploration only, in a desire to help protect and preserve it. On the other hand, when photos tag places that are fragile or just need a respectful approach so as not to trash them horribly, that pretty much sucks when it draws the attention of those who visit with little regard to any sensitivity about the land. Or of the people living nearby. I'm terrible at keeping up with my social media accounts, which I suppose is good in some ways. And I'll sometimes have a double standard when it comes to having people visit the place where I live. I want them to come and explore--heck, I was a guide for years and I also wrote a hiking book--but I also don't want to run into scores of them when I'm out and about locally, because I'm feeling that local privilege. (And I'm not even local, not really.) And yes, my area has been having issues with people sometimes trashing certain local campsites that have sprung up in recent years because there just aren't enough campsites available in the park for the many people that visit during the season. I have to say, though--it's not visitors from out of town that are still dumping their crap on the local BLM, such as frigging couches and things like that. Mixed bag, for sure.

Those who pointed out that going just a little farther out on the trails, or off trail, are far less likely to see a ridiculous amount of people are spot on. I hike all over where I live and often can see not a single other human soul all day. But that's because I go where the majority of tourists don't. And this time of year, when it's cold and snowy and empty? This is when I love to visit the national park on my doorstep. It's beautiful and close to empty.

Anyway, even though I do sometimes decry too many people showing up and publicizing EVERYTHING on social media (and seriously, please please please think hard before you just "have to" share that almost unknown peak or overlook or route on your insta or facebook or youtube or whatever account with the entire world), I don't really think social media is the downfall of civilization. I think over-civilization is the possible downfall of civilization, as well as the wilderness.
 

Jackson

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#94
These type of articles seem to be everywhere now. Here is a short one from the New Yorker https://www.newyorker.com/culture/rabbit-holes/people-are-stacking-too-many-stones

I'm not willing to blame instagram for this behavior, but I really hate finding a cool arch or rockhouse and seeing the whole area littered with piles of rocks. If stacking stones is "meditative" like the article says, then take apart the pile before you leave, take a pic for instagram if you want but, break down the pile when you are done.
I'm a devoted cairn-kicker. Unless they seem to be necessary in marking a trail (which I acknowledge is based on my perspective and opinion), I kick them all down. I hiked out to Grand View Point in Canyonlands about 2 years ago, and there was a cairn at least every 20 feet (often multiple right next to each other), and they were all unnecessary because the NPS has put in giant cairns, held together with a piece of rebar running through them, to mark the entire path. My leg was very tired from kicking cairns after that walk.
 
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#96
And yes, my area has been having issues with people sometimes trashing certain local campsites that have sprung up in recent years because there just aren't enough campsites available in the park for the many people that visit during the season.
I know which campsite area you are talking about (just outside the western edge of a particular park) and it's an eyesore.
Only going to get worse now the main campground is reservation only.
 
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WasatchWill

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#97
Late to the party here...After catching up on the thread and reading some good arguments for and against social media exposure of our parks and other precious lands, here's a personal account of my own regarding this increased visitation:

One weekend in early October 2009, just one year before Instagram launched, my wife and I enjoyed a 2 night stay in Coyote Gulch. Prior to that year, I had never heard of the place but found out about it by scanning Google Earth for interesting looking places to explore around the Escalante area and noticed a high concentration of Panoramio images overlaying what I came to learn was Coyote Gulch, you know, finding places to explore the old fashioned way ;). Of course, I was enchanted with that I saw in the images there, particularly the natural bridge and the waterfalls. I then began doing my homework by google searching it and found more images and a few trail reports about it on some personal blogs, etc. I later found more information about it from a guidebook at a local bookstore. I then began laying out a plan with my wife to make the trip happen and that we did with perfect weather conditions.

We opted to enter down through Crack-In-The Wall. As we hiked upstream, I had high hopes of finding an alcove at the toe of Jacob Hamblin Arch (aka Lobo Arch) completely vacant. We were not lightweight packers at the time, however, so our travels were slow and at times made some navigational errors that led us up a bench too high then had to back track down a few times to get back to where we needed to be along the stream. As the day worn on, I felt the hopes I had for the alcove grow more vain. I started taking note of other possible places to camp along the way, in case that alcove turned out to be taken as I was now expecting it would be, when we arrived at it. We didn't arrive at it until right about dusk and to our pleasant surprise, it was in fact fully vacant. We had passed by another camp downstream from it around the next bend, but the coveted alcove I was hoping for indeed empty on a Friday night in early October! In hind-sight, however, we'd only passed by maybe a dozen people in total that day. Granted, even a dozen people a day down in Coyote gulch is probably considered a lot by the standards of a previous generation. Needless to say, we got camp set up in a hurry. We did not notice anyone else pass by that evening, nor did we notice anyone pass by the next morning and we lazed about there for quite some time that Saturday morning just enjoying the atmosphere of it all. We also wandered upstream around the next couple of bends before turning around where some other choice campsites were located, but again, nobody else around! Wow...must not be the busy season, I thought to myself, if there ever was one.

Well, fast-forward to today, and that same alcove we felt privileged to have all to ourselves that night and all the calm serenity that came with it, is now blanketed all over Instagram, several complete with a "Coyote Gulch" geo-tag and then hash-tagged like crazy for the sake of being exposed to many many others. (Note: I have nothing against relevant hash-tag use and often use them myself. It's geo-tagging specific locales for such places, in essence serving up precise GPS coordinates for the image on a silver platter for all the selfie-seeking vain world to see, not that all Instagram users or full of vanity, but a big subset of users certainly are, in my opinion.)

Now days, I don't think we'd ever have a chance of getting that alcove empty, certainly not on a weekend with prime weather conditions in early October. As far as I understand, and have seen pictures of, that spot now routinely becomes a tent city throughout much of the year, especially on weekends and holidays throughout Spring and Fall.
 

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