Trail use violation

1:25 p.m. on July 21, 2011 (EDT)
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It would seem that even when you follow the rules you can get in trouble.  I was issued a violation under the authority of the CFR shown below even though I did not have anything remotely resembling a Bicycle.  They wrote in plain English (Bicycle Possess in Wilderness Area)  36CFR 4.30 (d)(1).  I guess they didn’t think that I would look it up.

What I did have with me was a single wheel pack carrier called a PolePack.  I use it because of a shoulder injury. My friend hiking with me also using a PolePack because of back surgery was also issued the violation. But why we were using them does not matter.  Because the only thing the National Park Service prohibits is bicycles.  At the trail head is a sign showing a bike with a red circle and slash through it.  No Bikes!  The rules on back of the permit do not even mention bikes.

Rules for the National Park Service

When the National Park Service created rules banning bicycling in NPS Wilderness in the mid-1980s, they partially followed the pattern of the U.S. Forest Service. They issued a simple prohibition, displayed below. We cannot find any reference to "mechanical transport" for the National Park Service.

The prohibition:

 TITLE 36--PARKS, FORESTS, AND PUBLIC PROPERTY  CHAPTER I--NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR  PART 4_VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC SAFETY--Table of Contents  Sec.  4.30  Bicycles....   (d) The following are prohibited:   (1) Possessing a bicycle in a wilderness area established by Federal    statute.

(Editor's Note: the poster is the inventor and owner of PolePack)

1:36 p.m. on July 21, 2011 (EDT)
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I say fight that ticket.

It could be a great way to show support for a correction of the rule's wording.

1:41 p.m. on July 21, 2011 (EDT)
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It took me about ten minutes to find anything on the interweb about Pole Packs (a long time in Google-Time), but I finally found the guy's website with this fotog:


tn_480_P1010006.JPG.jpg

Here's his website:

http://www.polepackhiking.com/

It's a nifty idea, although it would never work for me and my Refrigerator-Sized Pack.  Govt gotcha-types are a peculiar bunch, especially the National Park honchos, who allow near-unlimited car access on the roads into the park (the Smokies comes to mind), and yet get flummoxed over a wheeled android? unicycle? spoked carry on luggage???  They see the Wheel and freak out.  You could cover the wheel with a dog-hide skirt (keep the head attached) and they might totally miss it. But then you'd get a ticket for bringing in a dog.  "But officier, it's dead!"  What was the ticket?

1:58 p.m. on July 21, 2011 (EDT)
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If you were in a wilderness area, they have mis-cited you; wilderness regulations unambiguously restrict wheeled devices of any kind from the backcountry. I have seen this restriction amung the details of permit documents issued for several designated wilderness areas in Ca.

Ed

3:23 p.m. on July 21, 2011 (EDT)
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In the Adirondacks, my wife and I once got cited (BOTH of us) for camping in area with a sign reading "No Camping June July August" -- in October. Part of a long (we decided to go to court) and sometimes funny story that I don't have time to go into now. But I've never really forgiven NYS DEC.

4:59 p.m. on July 21, 2011 (EDT)
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Common sense and critical thinking on the part of our regulators would be helpful, but I suppose not to be expected. I have no doubt that they would argue how many angels could SAFELY dance on the head of a pin given that opportunity. It almost makes you want to break out the old cliche " why don't you go after someone who is  breaking real  laws and let me get on with my healthy, non-threatening pursuit of happiness." Where's my soapbox?

5:07 p.m. on July 21, 2011 (EDT)
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I looked for any rules that I could find about this matter concerning  National Parks and what I included in my forum is correct and complete.  So please read it slowly again.

5:32 p.m. on July 21, 2011 (EDT)
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IF the officer used the incorrect violation code the cite will be voided @ court. Otherwise, I have also read the wilderness regs re use of wheeled vehicles and it does exist federally. However, you and your friend appear to have a built in exemption- Your injuries. You need to cite ADA when in court. If you were using the wheeled device due to a disability, you are exempt from the prohibition. The Ranger/Officer can ask you about the need for the wheeled device, however, cannot ask for any documentation, doctors note, your particular disability, etc.

7:51 p.m. on July 21, 2011 (EDT)
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Bicycle ... bi, meaning two.

File a formal objection  ... request a hearing ... bring the rule-book (or code-book) ... bring a dictionary.

Case dismissed.  

                                                   ~r2~

10:17 p.m. on July 21, 2011 (EDT)
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Didn't we already cover this in a previous thread? http://www.trailspace.com/forums/backcountry/topics/93279.html

It is interesting to note that the OP is sandbagging us. I'm sure nobody minds someone making mention of something they have for sale that will help others; however, opening two threads for marketing a product without providing full-disclosure is, IMO, abusive. YMMV

No, that man is not disabled, he has the ability to carry his pack without wheels, e.g., tumpline. It is obvious now that he simply wants the laws changed to allow him to sell his product more freely.

If you read the previous thread you would have noted that the Forest Service is provided with a toolkit for determining need for devices and possible rule conflicts. http://www.wilderness.net/toolboxes/documents/accessibility/wild_access_decision_tool.pdf The OP has no standing under those rules.

As for the definition of "bicycle", if the CFR provides no definition then the courts will interpret the term as they think appropriate. Should the courts take the OP's rigorous dictionary definition, then only "A vehicle consisting of a light frame mounted on two wire-spoked wheels one behind the other and having a seat, handlebars for steering, brakes, and two pedals or a small motor by which it is driven." might be banned. This would mean that all other wheeled vehicles would be approved, e.g., tricycles, quads, unicycles, tandem-bicycles, game carts (wheels not one behind another)...

11:23 p.m. on July 21, 2011 (EDT)
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BigRed said:

In the Adirondacks, my wife and I once got cited (BOTH of us) for camping in area with a sign reading "No Camping June July August" -- in October. Part of a long (we decided to go to court) and sometimes funny story that I don't have time to go into now. But I've never really forgiven NYS DEC.

But do tell when you have the time, this sounds like a sequel to Alice's Restaurant!

Ed

12:49 a.m. on July 22, 2011 (EDT)
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He's probably too young to know, Ed.

                                              ~r2~

10:48 a.m. on July 22, 2011 (EDT)
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Robert Rowe said:

He's probably too young to know, Ed.

                                              ~r2~

For better or worse, Richard is old enough to remember Arlow Guthrie.  The question is: does he still remember?  Songs to aging children come…

Ed

11:20 a.m. on July 22, 2011 (EDT)
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3:17 p.m. on July 22, 2011 (EDT)
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overmywaders said:

http://www.overmywaders.com/cblog/music/arlo/Arlo.mp3

 Its a song about Alice... and the restaurant... lol

11:45 p.m. on July 22, 2011 (EDT)
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Arlo was recently in my little town, doing a show at the Avalon Theatre.

Dude is looking a little "long in the tooth".   Haircut, anyone ?

~r2~

11:13 a.m. on July 23, 2011 (EDT)
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rainerdon

please pay your ticket and quit trying to market your product on this website. there are plenty of places that your product is legal that are much wilder than most of the wilderness areas in this country. you can access wilderness areas in a legal manner. if wilderness is really what you crave get out and do it. if marketing your product is your goal, and it would seem that it is, go pedal your goods someplace else

i am an avid cyclist. right now i do not even own a running automobile. the wheel can cause incredible damage under the right conditions. just look at the oregon trail. most people walked the oregon trail, the wagons were all pulled by animals. yet what is it that makes the old oregon trail unique is the ruts from the wheels. granted your rubber tired cart may not show much trail degradation when conditions are dry, but once you start using it in really wet weather it will makes ruts which will allow water to do trail damage at an accelerated rate.   

11:18 a.m. on July 23, 2011 (EDT)
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I'd love to load up that baby with 85 lbs and take it down the Nutbuster Trail on the Upper Slickrock.

1:10 p.m. on July 23, 2011 (EDT)
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When I first saw the original Segways, I thought, "Uh-oh ... gonna have to contend with people on these everywhere".

Pleased to know they will not be on our beloved trails ( I hope and pray ).   I just want to let them have to share space with those ATV and "4-wheelers", wherever they are allowed.

Ironically, the guy that owned the company ( in the UK ) died while zipping along some cliffs on one.   Off he went.

They recently developed a model for use on golf courses.   Boy, those golfing cats are real "athletes", aren't' they ?   Like John Daly.   Remember "Porky" Oliver?

                                                  ~r2~

1:19 p.m. on July 23, 2011 (EDT)
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Robert Rowe said:

When I first saw the original Segways, I thought, "Uh-oh ... gonna have to contend with people on these everywhere".

Pleased to know they will not be on our beloved trails ( I hope and pray ).   I just want to let them have to share space with those ATV and "4-wheelers", wherever they are allowed.

Ironically, the guy that owned the company ( in the UK ) died while zipping along some cliffs on one.   Off he went.

They recently developed a model for use on golf courses.   Boy, those golfing cats are real "athletes", aren't' they ?   Like John Daly.   Remember "Porky" Oliver?

                                                  ~r2~

 R2- did you say Segway in the backcountry? Read the full article in regards to "Yello-Stone." Uggghhhhhh.....

http://www.trailspace.com/blog/2011/06/10/competing-yello-stone-natural-park.html

I am scared to death to ride a Segway lol. It would be my luck that I would be cruising along at full speed and something would go wrong and cause it to go in reverse dumping me on my face. I am gonna need a back brace if my nose gets any bigger. This thing is heavy enough as it is lol.

12:52 a.m. on July 24, 2011 (EDT)
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Personally I have nothing against a wheeled pack sledge, there are some desert venues I do that require hauling water, and those ninety pound packs are a nut buster.  Alas the regulations on every wilderness permit I have been issued preclude using anything that sports a wheel.

Ed

12:45 p.m. on July 24, 2011 (EDT)
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Ed,

It doesn't need to sport a wheel to be denied. A travois, for example, would make your job a lot easier, but it too would be illegal. (And rightly so - the drag marks would be deep, destructive, and obvious in many different terrains.)

Good luck on the water-hauling, I don't know how you do it, but I honor you for your determination.

Regards,

Reed

9:03 a.m. on July 25, 2011 (EDT)
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This is a very interesting issue! First, the Wilderness Act of 1964 does issue a very broad prohibition in Section 4c "no use of motorized vehicles, motorized equipment or motor boats, no landing of aircraft, and no other form of mechanical transport" Courts have largely construed "mechanical transport" to apply to bicycles and a wide variety of other forms of mechanized transportation.  So - if you were in a wilderness area, this specific prohibition is the most relevant to your situation. Further, nearly all National Parks have specific regulations either prohibiting bicycles or providing only for the "means of transportation listed," i.e. it's easier for them to say that you may only hike, or only ride a bike, or only ride a horse rather than list the bizillion activities you can't do (No Crawling, Hopping, Segway-ing, Contra-Dancing, Skateboarding, etc..).

Second, as to the question of whether this specific means of conveyance is "mechanical transport," this is certainly a good topic of discussion for a forum, but probably not for a court.  Does "mechanical transport" apply to pogo sticks, or the wheels government employees use to measure trails, or roller skates, or hovercraft?  Each one of these examples tests what exactly what is meant the word mechanical.  I'd certainly open a beverage and discuss this, but I doubt a court would (discuss the meaning of mechanical, not drink a beverage with me.)

9:45 a.m. on July 25, 2011 (EDT)
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I wonder what those "Sno-Cat" things ( you know -- with the tracks, even though the tracks are on "trucks" with little wheels ) they use at ski-slopes ... might be designated ?

                                                    ~r2~

10:39 a.m. on July 25, 2011 (EDT)
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whomeworry said:

Robert Rowe said:

He's probably too young to know, Ed.

                                              ~r2~

For better or worse, Richard is old enough to remember Arlow Guthrie.  The question is: does he still remember?  Songs to aging children come…

Ed

 Oh, I remember, right down to the pictures with the circles and arrows on the back of each one... I could have used a few of those in our defense.

SO we went for an October paddle on Low's lake on the Adirondacks, a lake that has no public road access or boat ramp so you don't see motorboats there. You get there by paddling up a small river and dragging over a boggy stretch. So we both had frozen feet and were good and ready to make camp by the time we got to the lake proper, late in the day. We had been there before in the summer and knew that the usual routine is to take one of the numbered campsites around the lake. But we were good and cold and so pulled over at Gooseneck Island right by where the river meets the lake. At the landing we saw the sign: "No Camping" on the first line and "June July August" below it. Up the slope was a well-established campsite with a large area of compacted soil and a small fire ring.  Given that we were cold, it was getting late, and the sign didn't seem to prohibit camping in October, we decided to camp there. Didn't even build a fire. but had a pretty comfy night.

Next day we paddled to the other end of the lake and back, and shortly after we got back to the campsite, heard a motorboat out on the lake. Didn't even think they were supposed to be there, but there it was, headed straight for us, bearing, as it turns out, two NYS DEC rangers. They landed and curtly informed us that we weren't supposed to be camping there, but when we protested and pointed out the sign they would hear none of it and insisted on issuing each of us a citation, although they didn't insist that we move camp, which we could easily have done. We were, needless to say, taken aback, because in the one or two much more red-handed situations of similar nature that I had encountered in my younger days I had gotten off with a stern warning and a move to another site.

The next day we paddled out and drove home full of indignation -- the citations were like traffic tickets but allowed for fines of $25 to $250 at the discretion of the judge if we pled guilty by mail. The latter sum x2 was enough to put a serious dent in our monthly budget at the time. Nevertheless, I was all for taking the easy, but potentially costly, way out but my wife insisted that we plea not guilty and go to court to argue our case. I think she figured we would just have to explain about the misleading sign to the judge and he, being a wise and judgely sort of person, would understand and annul the citations. Heh-heh.

Time passed. We got a letter with a 9 AM appointment at the town court in South Colton NY, a good 4.5 hour drive, including a ferry crossing, from our home in VT. It was also on a day that was for some reason really bad for my wife, so she asked me to call to see if we could get it changed. I called the town clerk figuring she might be able to direct me to the right authority for such things. She allowed as how the judge was not in but actually gave me his home phone number, saying he might be home for lunch. I called and talked to his wife and she gave me another number where I might be able to get a hold of him. I called and asked for him by name. There seemed to be a lot of background noise on the other end of the phone. When I repeated the name, the guy on the other end said, "Oh, John? He's out back loading the truck." Wise and judgely indeed.

Turns out we couldn't change the time, so we left home at 4 AM and made the long drive, showing up just a little ahead of time. By now we understood the judge was a local Joe, but were surprised to see that DEC had sent up a well-dressed prosecutor from Albany to argue the state's case, and Officer Kennedy, one of the two rangers who issued the citations, had taken the day off from his other duties to testify. The prosecutor promptly put him up on the stand and asked a series of questions that allowed him to explain how he found us in a no camping area. We, representing ourselves, were invited to cross-examine, something for which we were totally unprepared. If I could get a second chance I would ask Officer Kennedy if he ever had occasion to go to Albany and if he would park during business hours in front of a sign that read "No parking 5PM-8AM". But hindsight is 20/20, alas. If I did have any questions, I don't remember what they were.

The prosecutor then put my wife on the stand to get our side of the story. On one of the finer points, she (the prosecutor) wanted to establish that we were camping less than 150 feet from the water's edge and, wanting to use the dimensions of a football field as a reference, she asked my wife if she had ever been to a football game. My wife answered, truthfully, that she had not, much to the consternation of all present. But the prosecutor rallied and managed to establish that we were too near the water. By then I had had a chance to collect my thoughts, and in my cross-examination had my wife describe the misleading nature of the sign.

No matter. When the judge's gavel came down we were fined $25 each. It turns out that we were supposed to have read the fine print on a brochure available at the canoe put-in, which was supposed to clarify the rules, but when we read it we found it ambiguous at best. It also turns out that the campsite was so well-used because the local Boy Scout had permission to use it in June, July, and August, and we think the DEC didn't like that for some reason and were taking it out on us. Turns out the real policy for that site, as far as the DEC was concerned, was "No camping", and the signs would have expressed that best if they had simply cut the last three words off of them. At any rate, given the minimal fines and the time already invested, we decided not to pursue the matter any further. But I still think that we were in the right in our interpretation of both the sign and the brochure, and can never quite forgive NYS DEC for what amounts to entrapment.

6:11 p.m. on July 25, 2011 (EDT)
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Richard:

Look at the bright side.  At least you'll be able to join Arlow and gang at Alice's, since the draft board is not interested in inducting known criminal elements;)

Ed

7:55 p.m. on July 25, 2011 (EDT)
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I've made it a practice to meet with DNR (Dept Nat'l Resources) personnel and grill them with questions before heading out on trails, canoeing, camping, etc.

I acquire all the nessa permits, and kinda schmooze them.   I want to cover ALL the bases.   I hate surprises.

At a few of our Maryland State Parks, I've come to know a few of these people.  They seem to like me.   They have even allowed me to ride my mountain bike on the exclusive equestrian trails; telling me when there are no mounted riders out ... and, telling me NOT to tell anyone. else.  They DID tell me to get a bell, and ring it loudly IF I encountered horses, so as not to come-up behind them and spook 'em.

Stuff like that.   Makes "LIFE" easier.

                                                    ~r2~

9:47 p.m. on July 25, 2011 (EDT)
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this reminds me of a hike in the presidentials in new hampshire years ago.  my college roommate and i took a hike up and over the peaks, camping wherever we could using sleeping bags and pads in shelters, or failing that, hammocks and tarps - no tent.  after a long day up and over mount washington, jefferson and adams, we dropped down to more protected terrain in madison gulf.  with the few shelters full, we started bushwhacking off trail for a suitable place to sleep, knowing we had to be 150 feet from trail and any running stream.

as it turns out, we wound our way through thick stands of trees and scrub to a good place, thick bed of pine needles...but unknown to us, we had gotten turned around and were only 100 feet from the trail.  the following morning, we were cleaning up breakfast when a ranger walked up and pointed out how close we were to the trail.  he was ready to issue us a citation.

our response? we pointed out that we were from out of state (though i'm a new hampshire native, i had a minnesota driver's license at the time); that we hadn't even pitched a tent; and that we had left absolutely no trace of our presence anywhere (the latrine hole was buried and well-concealed, and we showed that we were carrying everything else out).   we left with an oral warning.

as a former public defender and career criminal defense lawyer, i'm intimately familiar with adversarial relationships with law enforcement - it's an unavoidable part of my profession.  my takeaway? i agree with Robert.  in my personal life, i have zero desire to fight with law enforcement, particularly in the outdoors, the best refuge from an adversarial calling.  i don't willfully break the law, i respect the environment and the outdoors, and i try to make that clear to rangers and law enforcement generally in my personal life, even if it turns out i camped in the wrong place.   you have to respect someone who shoulders the thankless and ill-paid responsibility for protecting our trails and unpopulated areas.   most of the applicable regulations are civil rather than criminal, so they don't require much (if any) proof that you meant to break the law. 

so, wheely-guy, pay the fine and stop complaining.   better yet, start winter hiking and rig your wheely-thing with a ski - that's legal. 

10:09 p.m. on July 25, 2011 (EDT)
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Should have been a citation for a unicycle, surely?! LOL.

8:24 p.m. on July 30, 2011 (EDT)
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Seth said:

does "mechanical transport" apply to pogo sticks

 

Uh oh ... I've been planning a backpacking trip in the Yosemite Wilderness, using a pogo stick to save hiking time while carrying my 40lb Kelty frame pack.

Maybe I should reconsider since the pogo stick may be prohibited in the wilderness area?

:)

8:52 p.m. on July 30, 2011 (EDT)
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Interesting thread! Love that the OP rightfully disappeared and you all have carried on. Much like a great campfire... First one to bed misses the best stories.

11:08 a.m. on July 31, 2011 (EDT)
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If you have a idea about something its best to test it out and get some real results.  I just went Mt. biking in an legal area to ride called Mt St Helens     National  Monument.  For you people not informed it is the mountain  in Washington State that blew it top off back in 1980.  It is a amazing and fragile environment.  Lots of pumice stone and wild flowers.  If you were to ride off trail it would show up for many years.  There is a very popular ride called Ape Canyon and The Plains of Abraham this should be a poster child for just how the wheel has impacted the trail.  Oh by the way Horses are not ridden on this trail.  Bikes have been ridding here for over 20 years, guess what it is one of the most beautiful trail you will ever encounter.  Very narrow single track a ribbon through wildflowers.  I only encountered one place were rude riders rode off trail I wiped it out in a few minutes with my foot.  No one had cut any switch back something hiker love to do.  I also only found two pieces of garbage that I also pick up.  The trial is over 10 mile long one way.


DSCF0623.jpg

So come see for yourself but lets keep up the fantastic job Mt Bikers we do belong in the Wilderness.  Horses stay out!


2:17 p.m. on July 31, 2011 (EDT)
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Looks like you ran into some Neo-Luddites. I would fight that ticket as you obviously were not using the packs as transportation. 

2:57 p.m. on July 31, 2011 (EDT)
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I would fight it as well.

@ Dr.Reaper-As far as the "transportion" thing that would be my last avenue of approach because it is quite clear this gizmo is designed as well as being utilized to transport gear or there would be no need for it in the 1st place.

6:27 p.m. on July 31, 2011 (EDT)
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If I were an inventor and entrepreneur trying to get a new product out into the community, I think I would try to do through a more positive route.  Self-promotion runs underneath all of your posts (and the solo review on your product that you posted).  Rather than approach the community looking for help with a ticket fight...

Why not contact the forest service and have a constructive conversation with them about impact and accessibility?  Then come back here with that information!  Far more positive, constructive, and would also serve your promotional purposes. 

This is an interesting route.  Refer to Overmywader's posts on this subject... he speaks well to it as well.

6:30 p.m. on July 31, 2011 (EDT)
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@Cleric- +1 on that.

10:40 a.m. on August 1, 2011 (EDT)
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I invented my single wheel pack carrier over 20 years ago because of a shoulder injury logging that made it to painful to carry a pack.  So do you really think I want to try and take another 20.  I did try government channel then why to do think I would do any better now.  Wheel chair our still fighting for their rights to try.  By the way did anyone hear about the man who climb  Kilmanjaron in a wheel chiar?

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