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bkm303 RichardCunningham's article
Dec 15, 2017 at 12:13
Dec 15, 2017
Opinion: Great Rides Don't Always Have Happy Endings
@katmai: "I can't think of a spot in the lower 48 that I couldn't get to within a days walk" That's a bold statement.... I definitely believe that you can walk 15-20 miles per day in alpine terrain. That's not even remotely the same thing as covering 20 linear miles in the same time. Obviously you're an experienced hiker/navigator, but unless you're just straightlining up/down every single ridge that 20 miles turns into ~30 miles pretty quick when you're following the contours of the land, avoiding slow/dangerous terrain, etc. In heavily wooded terrain, I've taken half a day to make it just a few miles. Worse if there's snow. And even if you're a god-level hiker who CAN get anywhere in the lower 48 in a day.... is that bad? Is the land less wild because there's a road a day's walk away? Is it crowded? Is there not more terrain there than you could possibly explore in a lifetime?
bkm303 RichardCunningham's article
Dec 14, 2017 at 17:17
Dec 14, 2017
Opinion: Great Rides Don't Always Have Happy Endings
@George-k: yeah, I'm just saying if you live in/near a city and you have "easy access" to wilderness, it stops looking like wilderness pretty quick. Take away a lot of those access roads we're talking about and suddenly you get even more people crowded onto even less land. There are def parts of the US where truly wild country is easily accessed (30min), but they're nowhere near big cities.
bkm303 RichardCunningham's article
Dec 14, 2017 at 15:07
Dec 14, 2017
Opinion: Great Rides Don't Always Have Happy Endings
@gemma8788: "Driving a couple hours + hiking isn't easy access to me." Unless you're the self-reliant survivalist type, "easy access" is antithetical to wilderness. It's nonsensical to think that I/you could live anywhere near a major population center and NOT have to drive an hour or two to wilderness. Without that network of roads you see from the plane, we'd never even be able to see or experience most of the spectacular landscapes we have. If you're not willing to drive a couple hours and hike, you're damn sure not about to hoof it dozens of miles into wild country to find some peak/canyon/lake/butte/etc. You can keep it pristine or you can experience it, but almost never both. Conservation has always been this kind of balancing act. All you have to do to find wilderness and solitude is drive/hike a little farther than the next guy. If you live virtually anywhere in the west you live near enough good hiking/biking/fishing/hunting/etc to keep you busy your whole life, as long as you're motivated. I just moved back home to CO from the northeast, where it's actually crowded. In terms of wild country we don't have much to complain about.
bkm303 RichardCunningham's article
Dec 14, 2017 at 13:27
Dec 14, 2017
Opinion: Great Rides Don't Always Have Happy Endings
@katmai: yeah... 20 miles as the crow flies, over rugged mountain terrain, with thousands of square miles between roads. I don't consider 40 miles between the two nearest roads to be "a maze of roads". Not to mention, once you set foot of a well-defined trail (actual wilderness), 20 miles becomes WAY longer. I've been on bushwacks where we were working our asses off going maybe 1/2 mile per hour.
bkm303 RichardCunningham's article
Dec 14, 2017 at 13:05
Dec 14, 2017
Opinion: Great Rides Don't Always Have Happy Endings
@katmai: according to the NPS site Mesa Verde has about 1/10th the visitors of Grand Canyon (middle of the pack in terms of NPs), but it's also only 1/20th the size. Seemed pretty packed last time I was there, but you definitely have better perspective on it than I do. National Parks are usually kind of loved to death, IMO. I love that they exist and that they're protected, but they're often not the sort of places you want to go for solitude and wilderness (at least not in the summer). And yes, I understand that different places have different restrictions. My point is that 1.3M acres is a shitload of land. There's a very obvious reason for GCNP to be as large as it is - the Grand Canyon is a huge, distinct geographical feature. I understand that Bear's Ears had tons of cool/valuable landmarks and cultural sites dispersed throughout, but it's not as if it was about to be flooded/demolished before it was designated a Natl Monument, and Utah is full of mesas and canyons. Why not just protect the most significant archaeological sites?
bkm303 RichardCunningham's article
Dec 14, 2017 at 12:41
Dec 14, 2017
Opinion: Great Rides Don't Always Have Happy Endings
"hard-pressed in the west to find a view out the window that doesn't include at least a maze of roads and cell towers. It's damn hard to find peace of mind in this country as a result." What?? Have you flown over the Rockies? The Cascades? The vast expanses of empty desert in the southwest? Even in the metro Denver area it's not hard to find some solitude for a weekend - drive a couple hours, hike a little ways, and you can avoid seeing people/roads/etc for days at a time. I've never driven through Wyoming or Montana and thought "man, this place is packed".
bkm303 RichardCunningham's article
Dec 14, 2017 at 12:26
Dec 14, 2017
Opinion: Great Rides Don't Always Have Happy Endings
Yeah I was out in SLC for not long after Obama designated Bear's Ears a monument and it was interesting to hear locals' (sort of local) perspective on it. It's interesting that this article uses Mesa Verde as a similar example - Mesa Verde NP protects the archaeological sites, but it's literally 3% the size of the Bears Ears - 52k acres vs 1.35 million. If I was a local I think it'd be really hard to look at a 1.3 million acre designation and not think 'land grab', especially when the area already had some level of federal protection and was relatively unknown. Can't help but wonder if the designation had been less ambitious if it would've been less controversial. But I do agree with you, I'm not convinced Trump was just trying to stick it to Obama in undoing the NM designation, there was legitimate anger from Utah's representative/citizens from my limited time talking to ppl about it. And using Mesa Verde as an example again, look what that place has become... it's extremely touristy and gets a lot of traffic, just like most national parks. I'm glad it was protected (it was literally being looted) and that my kids can see it, but it's similar to the Wilderness issue we always talk about with mtb - NM designation is a pretty heavy hammer to be swinging around when a lot of these areas appear to be under no imminent threat. But in the same way we want to protect the really incredible places, maybe we also need to keep some secret. Those who are motivated will discover and love it, those who want a whirlwind tour of highlights won't even know it's there.... and that's okay. Idk, it's a tough one. Locals didn't want Yellowstone or the Tetons to be protected either at the time, and ultimately I think that's been a huge net positive for the nation (possibly the region too?). Maybe Bear's Ears could be that important too, not sure. But it's easy for Patagonia and others to show up and advocate for something when they don't have to live there. I've never been to Bear's Ears and I can't say what the right decision is, but I'm pretty confident it's not as black and white as Patagonia and others have made it.
bkm303 pinkbikeaudience's article
Dec 11, 2017 at 14:36
Dec 11, 2017
2017 Pinkbike Awards - Advocates of the Year Winners
@Bigernmcracken: Got to. This is America, man.
bkm303 vernonfelton's article
Dec 11, 2017 at 11:30
Dec 11, 2017
IMBA Opposes Bill to Allow Mountain Bikes in Wilderness
@MCMbiker: there's really no slippery slope argument to be made here, IMO. The original Wilderness Act explicitly forbids motorized transport of any kind, and STC's proposal does nothing to change that - it only proposes to change the interpretation of "mechanized" in the passage below: "there shall be no temporary road, no use of motor vehicles, motorized equipment or motorboats, no landing of aircraft, no other form of mechanical transport, and no structure or installation within any such area." What STC proposes is to go back to the original (pre-1980s) *interpretation* (not changing the text itself) of the term "mechanized" - which did not include bicycles, game carts, strollers, wheelchairs, etc until Sierra Club and other NIMBYs pushed mtbs out in the 80s. And again, STC's proposal doesn't immediately allow everything everywhere, it just lets local land managers decide what's allowed where. Even if the definition were to "slip" beyond mtbs (not sure what that would be, but just for the sake of argument let's assume it happens), local land managers would still be able to forbid those modes of transportation if they feel it's harmful/unsustainable, and those same land managers don't even have the ability to allow anything with a motor without getting the Wilderness Act rewritten. The conversation about whether a mtb should be in a certain place is definitely worth having, there are definitely places where bikes don't need to go (or horses, for that matter). The problem is that the conversation can't even happen with the way "mechanized" is interpreted currently. Personally I find some humor in the fact that something as simple as a unicycle could be considered "mechanized", but I can bring mechanically complicated AT ski bindings/boots, skins, climbing equipment, jumars/ascenders, etc, all of which allow me to do what I'd never be able to do "on foot" in the traditional sense.
bkm303 vernonfelton's article
Dec 8, 2017 at 0:09
Dec 8, 2017
IMBA Opposes Bill to Allow Mountain Bikes in Wilderness
@RXN059: STC's bill gives local land managers the OPTION to allow bikes, which they don't have currently. Much of the wilderness might remain closed to mtb if the bill passed, the point is to let people who actually know the land and local user politics decide. It doesn't suddenly open up the collegiate peaks the day the bill passes, but newly designated wilderness areas that were historically open to mtbs before the govt magically deemed them wilderness might have a chance of being rideable again.
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