Who's been naughty?

11:15 a.m. on December 18, 2012 (EST)
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Every year we make a list of people who really should know better.  May Santa bring them coal for their stockings and a plague of mosquitoes wherever they go.  Here's this year's list:

The bumbling and criminal idiots who butchered the historic petroglyphs near Bishop in order steal them.   They destroyed a priceless part of our national heritage.

The clown we met in the backcountry of Yosemite with his young son and two dogs…and who explained that he knew about the regulations, but they didn’t really apply to him.    After all, his dogs were well-trained, yadda yadda yadda. 

For that matter, all of those who know that the regulations don’t really apply to them:  from fishing in closed waters (or with illegal equipment) to camping in illegal places (too close to the trail or water.)  Yes, the rules do apply to you, too.   And even if the people you meet don’t say it, they think you are complete jerks. They are right.

Those who bypass road closures and trail closures because they know better.  Especially those idiots who then need help getting rescued.  Not only do they place themselves in danger, but they risk the lives and health of those who are then required to go search for them.

Anyone who leaves food unprotected in the mountains.  Especially those who do it because they hope it will attract wildlife.  Follow the regulations, and nobody gets hurt---not even the bears.

Those who cross high water streams because they think they can get across.  Then again, they aren’t with us anymore, so it doesn’t really matter.  You don’t have to cross.  There is always a Plan B, even if Plan B means going back the way you came.

Those who litter, even a tiny little bit, along the trail. We can’t remember the last trip we’ve taken that didn’t show us little bit of trash, and often bigger bits.  We try to pick it up—but sometimes it is just too much.  Pack out your trash.

Those who build fires (or fire rings) where they are illegal. Why do we find so many of these above the elevation limit in the Sierra? 

And a special note of disapproval for those who refuse to follow the rules about hygiene and toilet paper.  May you find some used TP under your tree, just as we have found it behind our campsites in the Sierra.

Curmudgeons who insist that their way is really the only way to backpack, whether that be ultra-light, take the kitchen sink, or just take a rifle and an axe and build everything you need.   Hike your own hike…and let others do the same, as long as it is within the regulations.

Large groups.  'nuff said.

Those who build needless cairns in the backcountry as a way of marking their territory off trail and leaving a string of ridiculous rock towers in an otherwise pristine environment.

And finally, those knuckleheads in Washington who couldn’t find El Capitan from Yosemite Valley if it required asking for directions or working together.  Let’s take them all out on a long hike and…oh, nevermind.  They’d never leave the trailhead.  Heck, they’d never make it TO the trailhead.

Hey---that gives us an idea!

11:34 a.m. on December 18, 2012 (EST)
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The world has always been full of knuckleheads.  That is why going into the "backcountry" holds so much appeal.

3:28 p.m. on December 18, 2012 (EST)
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I agree with most of these, like:

"Curmudgeons who insist that their way is really the only way to backpack, whether that be ultra-light, take the kitchen sink, or just take a rifle and an axe and build everything you need. Hike your own hike…and let others do the same, as long as it is within the regulations."

I hike my own hike. If you don't like it, that's your problem.

I'd add a few caveats, though: 

 

"Large groups.  'nuff said."

There are large groups of idiots, led by idiots, and those ones shouldn't be allowed out without a Parks Service keeper. Then there are groups with just a few idiots who can learn how to behave properly in the backcountry from the others in their group. I once picked up a banana peel that somebody in one of my groups had tossed aside into the bushes, and I made sure that everyone in the group saw me do it. Quite an amazing effect. And I've found that when you explain to the tourons why short-cutting on switchbacks is a bad idea, most of them change their habits - they just didn't know any better.

"Those who build needless cairns in the backcountry as a way of marking their territory off trail and leaving a string of ridiculous rock towers in an otherwise pristine environment."

True to a certain extent - it's just littering in most cases. But if they're being used it to mark a trail on an alpine ridge, a cairn can be a necessary way of getting back down if you get socked in; you could get someone into real trouble by knocking the cairns down. I've set up small ones to mark a safe route to stop people from walking off cliffs or getting lost on the tundra in dense cloud. If the cairns are still there after the clouds have cleared for a while, just kick them over.

 

Still a nice 'naughty' list. Good points, all.

4:47 p.m. on December 18, 2012 (EST)
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May I add, the folks who think a national park is a petting zoo? People who crowd around a tree that has bear cubs in it. People who come to a dead halt in the middle of a twisty mountain road to feed hotdogs to foxes. People who try to put their toddlers on the backs of moose to get cute pictures! I've personally witnessed all these and more. Sadly, these are probably not Trailspace readers, and they won't be here to find out what we think of them.

4:49 p.m. on December 18, 2012 (EST)
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I like the one about dirty tp. I have always packed out my tp, even before it became standard practice.

5:51 p.m. on December 18, 2012 (EST)
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peter1955 said:

I agree with most of these, like:

"Curmudgeons who insist that their way is really the only way to backpack, whether that be ultra-light, take the kitchen sink, or just take a rifle and an axe and build everything you need. Hike your own hike…and let others do the same, as long as it is within the regulations."

I hike my own hike. If you don't like it, that's your problem.

I'd add a few caveats, though: 

 

"Large groups.  'nuff said."

There are large groups of idiots, led by idiots, and those ones shouldn't be allowed out without a Parks Service keeper. Then there are groups with just a few idiots who can learn how to behave properly in the backcountry from the others in their group. I once picked up a banana peel that somebody in one of my groups had tossed aside into the bushes, and I made sure that everyone in the group saw me do it. Quite an amazing effect. And I've found that when you explain to the tourons why short-cutting on switchbacks is a bad idea, most of them change their habits - they just didn't know any better.

"Those who build needless cairns in the backcountry as a way of marking their territory off trail and leaving a string of ridiculous rock towers in an otherwise pristine environment."

True to a certain extent - it's just littering in most cases. But if they're being used it to mark a trail on an alpine ridge, a cairn can be a necessary way of getting back down if you get socked in; you could get someone into real trouble by knocking the cairns down. I've set up small ones to mark a safe route to stop people from walking off cliffs or getting lost on the tundra in dense cloud. If the cairns are still there after the clouds have cleared for a while, just kick them over.

 

Still a nice 'naughty' list. Good points, all.

 Good points, Peter.  And you are going to like my follow up post tomorrow...about who's been nice!

1:33 p.m. on December 19, 2012 (EST)
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Oh, oh! Who's been nice?

NOW I'm in trouble.

October 22, 2014
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