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Kim Brown
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PostMon Jul 01, 2019 11:37 am 
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Ski wrote:
It's always been an education issue.

I disagree in part. Sometimes people are jerks, wanting to stick it to the land manager. I’ve seen it, talked to it, cleaned up after it.
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And in general, I think that many partner organizations were a little late in understanding how social media would impact their initial well-intended messaging – get outdoors, get outdoors, hike, paddle, climb, run, bike, etc.  have fun have fun have fun – as a way to gain donors and advocates – but the messaging ended there. It was successful - great, everyone was outdoors.   Ooops - - - LNT was left out.

For instance, the PCTA’s heavy messaging on the book, “Wild.” The PCTA had to do a lot of post-Wild messaging when Trail Angels went broke, the trail was trashed, and their annual send-off party to thru-hikers put too many boots on the trail at the same time. Since then, they've done a great job of messaging.

Some of these organizations have just recently begun to include LNT messaging, workshops, and events.

Too, - are organizations cool anymore? I see a lot of activity on Washington Hikers & Climbers from people who don't know the existence of WTA, The Mountaineers, etc. With no messaging from ad hoc Facebook groups and events, Meetup, other clubs - there's a lot of people who aren't getting it.

And one other thing – totally not scientific – someone from Europe told me once that in other countries, littering is just what they do; because an employee of some sort is always there to clean up after them. So when they come here – it’s what they do. Has anyone heard that before? Or was this person full of baloney?

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" I'm really happy about this! … I have very strong good and horrible memories up there."  – oldgranola, NWH’s outdoors advocate.
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Slugman
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PostMon Jul 01, 2019 12:24 pm 
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True fact: Japanese people often leave stadiums clean after sporting events, the seating area and bathrooms. Tossing trash on the ground and then leaving it just isn't in their nature.

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"There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, There is a rapture on the lonely shore. There is society where none intrudes, By the deep sea, and music in its roar: I love not man the less, but nature more..."  Childe Harold
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Sky Hiker
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PostMon Jul 01, 2019 1:10 pm 
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So we need more Japanese people hiking?
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Kim Brown
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PostMon Jul 01, 2019 2:46 pm 
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He's responding to my question. But yes, sounds like we do  cool.gif

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kvpair
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PostMon Jul 01, 2019 5:01 pm 
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I think that the point being made here is that in some cultures, people would be ashamed to litter since the notion of social duty is strong. America is a country of proud individualists and sometimes individualism and social norms conflict. However, in the absence of enforcement of social norms, we land up in the tragedy of the commons.

I actually am in agreement with the use of social media to shame the more egregious violators - live by Instagram, die by Instagram.
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allie
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PostMon Jul 01, 2019 9:18 pm 
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There are PCT hikers and trail runners that are in a hurry and counting grams and can’t be bothered to carry out their own trash. So much toilet paper and poop even 15+ miles from any Trailhead.
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Sky Hiker
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PostTue Jul 02, 2019 3:52 am 
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I see there's another lost hiker, lots more people out there for sure
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rossb
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PostTue Jul 02, 2019 8:41 am 
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I think the big difference is how people find information about hiking. Fifty years ago, if you wanted to go hiking, you talked to someone who had done it before. Maybe you joined them. If you didn't know anyone, you picked up a book. In every book, the intro mentioned being safe and responsible. Stick to the trail, don't pick flowers, etc. Even if they didn't mention "Leave No Trace" specifically, the idea was in there. If you hiked with experienced hikers, they would mention the same thing.

Now people jump to the internet to find information. I don't blame them, I would probably do the same thing. Why spend extra money on books (or extra time at the library) when you can just find all the information online?

The problem is that people are oblivious. I see it all the time. I was up at Mount Townsend, a couple weeks ago, and there were people hiking off to the side, clearly stomping on the fragile plants. Somehow they though they were doing me a favor, even though I had found a small dry patch off to the side. (God forbid we actually come close to each other). While at Green Mountain, I saw a couple doing the same thing, but much worse. I have decided to be a little more brazen in my response. I said very clearly "you are off the trail", hoping they got the message. They probably didn't. Again, I think most people are oblivious.

It doesn't help that we have had a huge increase in people at the same time that the government has less money. There aren't enough of those little "don't walk here" signs. Officials put up a poster with Leave No Trace principles on it, but it gets thrashed within weeks.

I'm not sure if there is an easy answer, except I think the newspaper article helps. Hopefully people link to it, along with other links about being responsible in the wild. It is clear that websites (including social media sites) are how people find hikes these days. Maybe a concerted effort by the hiking websites could help. WTA does link to a "Leave No Trace" web page, but it is buried (and the link doesn't even work). It certainly isn't featured. You can look up hikes, browse hikes and be completely oblivious to the concept. The websites themselves could help, but so too could social media users. Linking to the article helps, as would linking to other articles. I'm sure there are lots of people who are unaware of the damage they are doing -- they don't know that small woody plants (heather, blueberries, etc.) are extremely fragile, and unfortunately, very easy to walk through. Just focusing on that (e. g. "All it takes is one bozo to damage a beautiful meadow", or "Did you know that it takes years for this little plant to grow inches?) would likely be a bit better than simple "Be Nice" messages. I'm sure there are lots of people who think they are leaving no trace (or at least leaving very little) but they are.
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rossb
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PostTue Jul 02, 2019 8:50 am 
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Kim Brown wrote:
And one other thing – totally not scientific – someone from Europe told me once that in other countries, littering is just what they do; because an employee of some sort is always there to clean up after them. So when they come here – it’s what they do. Has anyone heard that before? Or was this person full of baloney?

I don't know about that, but I did notice a difference in hiking in the Alps. There just doesn't seem to be any sort of wilderness ethic. People cut switchbacks all the time. The trails were basically thrashed. Maybe this is because it has been this way for a very long time (the Alps are the Alps in part because they've let sheep and cows graze all over the place). I found it surprising, nonetheless.
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Ski
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PostTue Jul 02, 2019 9:06 am 
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Ross - your observations about going from the Spring-Manning "100 hike" books to finding information online so easily gets to the crux of it: people are skipping over those "forewards" and introductions in which Manning espoused (what was then) a relatively new ethic.

And the "obvliousness" comment is spot on: a lot of people are simply clueless. (Ten minutes on Interstate 5 should be ample evidence of that.)

Again, it goes back to the education thing. There simply isn't money available to pay for the problem to be solved by enforcement:

Sky Hiker wrote:
The reply I got from the King County exec was that the funding set aside for litter patrol and enforcement was used elsewhere in the budget.

They'll give it lip service, but when push comes to shove, the money's going to go somewhere else - it's not going to pay for "litter patrols" out in the forest.

As to "enforcement": what sort of "enforcement" is actually happening? Did Casey Nocket get tossed in jail, or did she pay a paltry fine and get ordered to perform a few hours or community service? What happened to the brainless kid who set fire to the Columbia Gorge a couple years ago? Jail time, or just a fine and community service?
How much time, effort, and money was blown "enforcing" in those instances? What was gained? How many people were deterred from engaging in similar acts of idiocy?

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Cyclopath
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PostTue Jul 02, 2019 9:27 am 
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rossb wrote:
I think the big difference is how people find information about hiking. Fifty years ago, if you wanted to go hiking, you talked to someone who had done it before. Maybe you joined them. If you didn't know anyone, you picked up a book. In every book, the intro mentioned being safe and responsible. Stick to the trail, don't pick flowers, etc. Even if they didn't mention "Leave No Trace" specifically, the idea was in there. If you hiked with experienced hikers, they would mention the same thing.

When I was new here, I bought some 100 Hikes books, but never read any of the forwards.

When I was a kid, they taught us to use common sense and respect when we go out in nature.  At the time it was "leave nothing but foot steps, take nothing but pictures." We had a field trip to the woods and a meadow in elementary school.

To be honest, I don't understand how this isn't obvious to everybody.
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coldrain108
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PostTue Jul 02, 2019 9:29 am 
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rossb wrote:
a difference in hiking in the Alps. There just doesn't seem to be any sort of wilderness ethic.

What wilderness?  It is all domesticated, with a nice Bier Stube right around the next bend.   You want Euro wilderness you need to go to Sweden or Norway.

You should see the social ethic of trash in India.  You will get reprimanded for picking up garbage, almost against the law for the improper class of people to concern themselves with sanitation...and they wonder why they have so many sanitation related endemic diseases - no way man, we all know it's evil spirits  banghead.gif  crazy.gif  shakehead.gif .  I got accosted for putting a candy wrapper in my pocket instead of throwing it out the window of a train.

Cyclopath wrote:
To be honest, I don't understand how this isn't obvious to everybody.

 

Culture/tradition/religion is how people justify their knuckleheadedness w/o having to take any personal responsibility for it.

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"The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch and do nothing"  - Albert Einstein
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kvpair
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PostTue Jul 02, 2019 9:36 am 
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Cyclopath wrote:
When I was a kid, they taught us to use common sense and respect when we go out in nature.  At the time it was "leave nothing but foot steps, take nothing but pictures." We had a field trip to the woods and a meadow in elementary school.

To be honest, I don't understand how this isn't obvious to everybody.

I 100% agree. Last week, I was with my 8 year old and we did a short trip to Kamikaze Falls. On the way down, this woman decided that she wanted to cut switchbacks and seemed offended when I explained to her why this was a bad idea. So I decided to take 10 minutes and obliterate the cut with fallen branches and rocks. I hope that my son learns a lesson from this. Parenting and to a perhaps lesser extent, schooling should teach personal responsibility and accountability.
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Sky Hiker
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PostTue Jul 02, 2019 9:47 am 
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It's unfortunate that it happens but everyone is in a rush. I myself don't really care for the lack of hikers ethics. Mostly when you yield to other hikers weather it be them coming up hill or giving them room to pass. A thank you or some acknowledgement is nice. I usually give the sarcastic "your welcome" statement. Obviously we have seen a significant drop in trip reports but more lazy trip reports w/o pictures.
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Cyclopath
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PostTue Jul 02, 2019 11:02 am 
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You folks know the story of Julius Caesar.  Maybe we need a hiking senate.
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