Houseboaters leave burned out mess in Labyrinth Canyon

Nick

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That is disgusting, but honestly not surprising. When we were in the area around the same time, there was a houseboat that launched water balloons from us one after another each time we went past. There was no avoiding it, the canyon was too narrow. Not even remotely as damaging as those asshats, but another good example of what complete and total *@$&wads many of the recreational boaters are on Lake Powell and total lack of law enforcement by the NPS. After my last trip, I started thinking I might not go back much in the peak season anymore, even though I sure do like that 80-some odd degree water.
 

Otis

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That is disgusting, but honestly not surprising. When we were in the area around the same time, there was a houseboat that launched water balloons from us one after another each time we went past. There was no avoiding it, the canyon was too narrow. Not even remotely as damaging as those asshats, but another good example of what complete and total *@$&wads many of the recreational boaters are on Lake Powell and total lack of law enforcement by the NPS. After my last trip, I started thinking I might not go back much in the peak season anymore, even though I sure do like that 80-some odd degree water.

All of that damage is very disturbing. Not trying to defend anyone, especially the government; but our federal land managers really do lack the resources to enforce the laws. I am 2000 miles away in Wisconsin and we have problems with ATVs on closed trails/ roads. Even if a violation is called in, it may not be investigated in a timely manner. Sorry for the distraction, but the feds are prob doing what they can with the time they have(job descriptions and priorities). Unless the NPS was there and ignored it ... then its a different story.
 

Nick

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I don't think it's accurate to assume they just don't have the resources in Glen Canyon. Almost anywhere else I would agree. Most national forest, wilderness areas, etc. are woefully underfunded, but GCNRA is a different story. There are millions upon millions of dollars being poured into that place each year. Hell, I think actual visitation is more than something like 2 million people per year. It costs upward of $10k to rent a reasonably nice houseboat for just one week in peak season. A junky motor boat is like $500 per day. And you can only rent them from the NPS approved concessionaire: Aramark. If the NPS doesn't get enough cash from entry fees and boat fees to keep the place in order, they should be taking a chunk of Aramark's exorbitant fees (If they aren't already) to cover it. I have now boated that reservoir from end to end and up almost every major side arm. Many hundreds of miles of water. Outside of the main marinas, I've seen an NPS law boat maybe one or two times.
 

Aldaron

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I think it's more complicated than that. The only Glen Canyon LE ranger I've ever seen was at Capitol Reef. She said they couldn't keep people at CR so they had temporarily moved her there. If Glen Canyon is sharing its resources with other parks then that certainly affects things. I mean, do you really think the Feds are just ignoring the problems even though they have the resources to address them? And remember, it's the whole NPS. Just because the money comes in there doesn't mean it gets spent there. I agree that HQ NPS should consider a higher priority of resource allocation for Glen Canyon, but we don't know the funding issues and other park concerns that need to be addressed throughout the country.
 

Nick

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Aldaron

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I disagree. I don't think the money is being flushed down the toilet so that tells me it's being used for something else. Maybe that something else isn't a legitimate priority over your concern, but maybe it is. But I think it's too simple to say: they get money here so they should spend money here. I'm sure someone who frequents a park on the other side of the country that doesn't get the same visitation rates is appreciative of the financial help that comes from other parks to help keep their park open.

Shoot, I could be wrong. Maybe they do waste the money. A letter to your congressmen might help address that problem.
 

Nick

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I never suggested anyone is wasting money. And I'm all about funding parks that don't bring In enough to support their needs. I'm even happy to pay higher taxes for such things. But when a place like Zion has a problem, say too much poop in the crapper at scouts landing, they deal with it and pay for a helicopter to fly the poop out. When Yellowstone has a problem, say people walking On thermal features, they deal with it and build a boardwalk or close the area. Glen Canyon has a big problem with people willfully destroying the place. It is not being dealt with in any meaningful way. I don't give a rats anus where the money comes from. If they can't afford it, charge more to let people and their million dollar houseboats in. If they can't keep enough money there to adequately operate the NRA, they should shut it down. I'm confused what exactly we're debating here. If Zion didn't enforce the rules and people were out painting walls, drilling holes and making toxic bonfires in slots, would they throw their hands up and say oh well, not enough money?

That congressman line is pretty funny. Snarky, but funny.
 

BJett

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If it were up to our current Congress, all public lands funding would disappear. I'm surprised they haven't brought up bringing in ex-Blackwater commando's to police our Parks. Privatization and all.
 

Aldaron

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What I'm debating is this comment:

I don't think it's accurate to assume they just don't have the resources in Glen Canyon. Almost anywhere else I would agree. Most national forest, wilderness areas, etc. are woefully underfunded, but GCNRA is a different story. There are millions upon millions of dollars being poured into that place each year.

I think the vast size of Glen Canyon, coupled with the unique accessibility of an extremely large portion of the park, make it an unfair comparison to parks such as Zion where the LE can more effectively patrol the areas that are easily accessible. If Joe Blow could hop on a motorized vehicle and be 40 miles away from the Zion visitor center in a 2,000 mile long area that compares to the Lake Powell shoreline, then it would be a fair comparison. But that's not the case.

I agree completely with you that Glen Canyon is gross and something needs to be done about it. But I don't think there's enough money to effectively patrol 2,000 miles of shoreline. I simply think it would be literally impossible to patrol that entire shoreline effectively without hundreds of rangers patrolling during three work shifts, 24 hours a day 7 days a week. With every drunk idiot on the planet with access to a motor boat able to get anywhere along that shoreline, then the crap they're doing can never be stopped. It's barely a matter of where the money comes from...my point is that there can not realistically even be enough money to address the problem in any meaningful way. And the Park Service is certainly not going to allocate an unlimited amount of money to a single park.

I also think you're right on another point: what are we debating? Because I do completely agree with you on what I think you are really arguing for: they're not doing enough to protect the resource. I totally agree with that. I agree that they could certainly do more than they are doing. But, for the reasons I stated, I don't think they could ever effectively protect 2,000 miles of accessible backcountry. They could lower the amount of abuse but they couldn't eliminate it...I'm not even sure they could lower it in any meaningful way.

So what's the solution? I guess you're right: shut it down.

Or give up on it. Eventually it will be destroyed to the point that no one will go, anyway.

And maybe that's what they're doing already and that explains why they aren't doing more.

Peace, my friend!
 

Nick

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Okay, then let's adjust that from
I don't think it's accurate to assume they just don't have the resources in Glen Canyon.
to
they damn well have enough money flowing through that place that they SHOULD have the resources
We clearly disagree on this, but I strongly feel that patrolling that place would not be anywhere near the task you make it out to be. Yeah, close to 2,000 miles of shoreline at full pool, but that's pretty misleading considering they are rarely more than a few hundred yards across. Wahweap to Good Hope is only 140-ish miles and you can see what's going on on both sides pretty much the whole time. I don't want, nor do I think they need to have a cop in every canyon, every day, but it really wouldn't take that much to send a patrol through the busy areas nearest the marinas a couple times per day and the more distant areas maybe once a day or every other day. In 2011 GCNRA had 2.2 million visitors that brought $238 MILLION in spending. Take $1 from each visitor and you have plenty of money to fund a decent patrol. And then just think of the money they'd recoup from the fines! Perhaps after a few years people would learn not to be such dicks and then they could scale it back a bit. Who knows. Or hell, they could start by just allocating a small amount to just educate people. Most of the people out there probably don't even realize they're doing anything wrong.

So I guess we'll just have to agree on the existence of a problem and agree to totally disagree on whether anything can or should be done about it.
 

Aldaron

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When a place gets too crowded or too trashed or too touristy, I have a simple solution: avoid it. As far as I'm concerned, that solves the problem. There's enough planet out there to keep me happy without worrying about things that I don't like and probably can't change. And I'd rather spend my time enjoying the good parts of the world than even bothering to fight to change the parts that might could be improved.

I know I'm selfish. But I'm cool with that.
 

Nick

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When a place gets too crowded or too trashed or too touristy, I have a simple solution: avoid it. As far as I'm concerned, that solves the problem.

I think that's great for you. I like to avoid busy, overcrowded places too. But if everyone took the same approach as to whether anything should be done to stop rampant abuse, a lot of amazing places would go to shit real fast. You're basically saying if it's being loved to death or otherwise mis-managed, let it die. On an individual basis, maybe that seems fine, but if everyone took that approach, too many places would die way too fast. Hell, from the sound of it, Arches is on the brink right now. Should we let it die?

Visitation is increasing everywhere, and it will continue to do so. Should we do what we can to preserve and protect what's left or just say f**k it and say it's in the hands of the masses now? It takes people caring to change the tide. Glen Canyon got screwed pretty hard when they built that dam. Clearly a lot of people such as yourself disagree with me on this, but that's no reason to give up on it altogether. I'm not suggesting anyone displeased with the current situation should start being regulars on Lake Powell, but seriously, how in the hell can anyone get on board with the idea of just throwing away such a vast and beautiful landscape because there are too many unruly people there for your taste? How can you feel good about knowing there are hundreds of millions of dollars spent exploiting it but next to nothing to keep it beautiful? If that's the criteria, just about everywhere you love will end up on the chopping block some day. Even without the internet, guidebooks and social media, but because of simple population growth alone. Moab is already on the edge. Coyote Gulch is on it's way. Where do you draw the line?
 

Nick

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I split this discussion from the Outdoors News Stories thread since it has developed so much of a debate, even though it is apparently just between me and @Aldaron.
 

Aldaron

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but seriously, how in the hell can anyone get on board with the idea of just throwing away such a vast and beautiful landscape because there are too many unruly people there for your taste? How can you feel good about knowing there are hundreds of millions of dollars spent exploiting it but next to nothing to keep it beautiful? If that's the criteria, just about everywhere you love will end up on the chopping block some day. Even without the internet, guidebooks and social media, but because of simple population growth alone. Moab is already on the edge. Coyote Gulch is on it's way. Where do you draw the line?

Simply:

I know I'm selfish. But I'm cool with that.

I'm not asking anyone to get on board.

I respect people who want to fight to fix problems like this.

As for me, I'm going to die someday, and I want to be sure that I "suck out all the marrow of life" before I do.

Here's where I draw the line: if I don't like it, I don't do it. If you want to save it, please do.

I have zero faith that this planet can be saved, though.

And I don't waste my time on hopeless battles.

While I respect people who do fight to fix problems, I feel that many people just like to complain about problems without taking the effort to do anything about them. I don't respect that. Please don't think I'm accusing you of that...I'm just pointing out the difference between people who feel strongly enough about it to do something and those who only feel strongly enough about it to complain.

As for me, I don't feel anything about it. I'm way too pessimistic about mankind and its ability to destroy everything it touches. The planet is going to die no matter what I do about it.

It's important to also note that I'm not trying to convert anyone to my thinking. Should we just let it die? I am not at all advocating that people shouldn't try to save the places. Save the places. Have faith in mankind. Fight. Change. But my personal philosophical difference makes that a hopeless battle for me.
 
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Nick

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It's important to also note that I'm not trying to convert anyone to my thinking. Should we just let it die? I am not at all advocating that people shouldn't try to save the places.

Going on the internet and getting highly argumentative about other people having a less apathetic approach to conservation runs contrary to this statement.
 
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