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Great discussion of "Extreme Outdoors in the Media)

Over in the Trailspace Blog, Alicia references a great discussion that comes as a podcast on the media's role in scaring people out of the outdoors. The blog itself is called "Wildebeat", and the two parts are at:

The discussion is well-balanced and emphasizes some of the things some of us have been saying here on Trailspace in response to posts about worries in getting outdoors (dangerous people, dangerous bears, dangerous killer rabbits, "how dare you risk your life climbing when you have a family of small kids", "Everest Beyond The Limit really tells it like it is!", ...).

One thing the MC didn't point out, though, is that the actual risks in the wilderness are less than the risks involved in the driving to and from and other "everyday" risks that people accept. But, his podcast is aimed at the outdoors, so fair enough.

it's the killer rabbits that keep me on my toes .... imagine the risks associated with NOT getting out and getting some exercise, not seeing a mountain top sunset or the northern lights, of just sitting on your keister all day waiting around to die - that sounds like a far more serious risk than any you'll encounter "out there"!

It's extremely common to encounter people who try to make themselves seem braver and wiser than the average outdoor Joe, by trucking in all sorts of hype and self promotion.

People of this sort are sometimes used by journalists for an easy story, because they so willingly strike the bargain: free hype on command, in exchange for the attention.

I like the scare tactics. Keeps the minions away from the pristine beautiful locations. If everyone wanted to head out into the back country it would resemble a day at the zoo with paved trails and snack shops.

Sorry but its a catch 22 for me. I want the world to know how amazing it is being away from civilization and enjoying our earth in its natural form...BUT the protectionist side of me wants to scream "Oh my god its horrible. Its the most inconvenient dangerous thing anyone can do" ;)

Killer rabbits are scary...

...unless your survival kit includes the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch.

Anybody who has spent any time in real wilderness, as in parts of Alaska, B.C., the Yukon or NWT tends to be very cautious in the outdoors and will not dismiss the very real dangers there with mindless drivel. Too many posters on some 'net forums seem to think that oddball opinions posted in ludcrous terms are sound advice to novices and also impress the experienced folks here, I am not among those who may find such shenanigans amusing or instructive.

One case in point, there have been 14 people killed in avalanches this winter alone in BC and western Alberta and we are not into the worst part of the season, yet. Anyone who would dismiss this as some sort of hype is an idiot and should never venture anywhere beyond pavement.

In one sense, I agree with Brian L that scarey stories and EXTREME!!! REALITY!! TV shows that keep the general public out of MY wilderness are a good idea. On the other hand, they also seem to justify the view that the wilderness and nature are out there to be tamed and subdued. A number of years ago, when the North Cascades wilderness areas were being discussed, there were people seriously arguing that loggers should be allowed into the area to remove all the downed trees that people could trip over and injure themselves (no, I am not making that up).

There is a risk in anything you do, including just sitting on the couch watching the tube ... er, umm, I guess it is the "panel" these days, since I was in one of the electronics stores yesterday and there were no "tube" TVs, just "flat panels" and a few projection sets. As you sit there, you could have an earthquake (not just here in the SFBay Area, as the shaker in England last week showed) or a tornado that makes the house fall down on you. More people, even inexperienced ones, die in car accidents heading home from the woods than die in the woods.

That is not to minimize the risks of the woods and hills. If you go into avalanche terrain or don't pay attention and follow safe practices in bear country, you are probably going to have trouble sooner rather than later. There are plenty of experienced people who are willing to help and answer questions and provide excellent advice, including lots here on Trailspace (kutenay, for example). Yes, there are one or two who post misleading comments and misinterpretations (one less now) that if followed can lead to tragedy (I almost said the "c" word). These people are rare, though, and I am noting that that a lot of posters can spot the ignorant and naive pretty quickly. Some really great self-vetting here.

But more on the topic - if the media scare too many people, so that the belief spreads that the wilderness needs to be tamed, the view will also spread that the environment is merely for the exploitation of humans, and the rest of nature is not worth having. The problem with that is, of course, that we humans are dependent on an environment that is benign for us, which means we have to protect what is there. If we don't, the planet will become unsuitable for humans, and that's the end of the species (hmmm, maybe if humans can't do a better job as custodians, nature will find a way of finding a better group of stewards).

I am just roaring with laughter at your superb innuendo, so precisely put and so REAL!

My buddy and I are going snowshoing the day after tomorrow, it is driving snow with high winds here in metro Vancouver, our "tropical" climate, ya know and the mountains are completely blanketed in fog, but, hey, I will probably go in my gonch and flipflops!

My new "baby", Lily von Kruzinhaus, a Rottweiler girl of nine weeks runs out into this and LAYS in the wet snow, calmly chewing her mighty uncle Axel's personal bone. He, the lounge lizard that he is, sleeps in my reloading or gun rooms and NEVER will lay outside, the big puzzy!

Gawd, I LOVE wild BC weather like this, would go today, but, we need a 4x4 to get there in this snow.

Saturday at 3 am a killer moose snorted in my campsite, right behind my tarp. The noise sat me straight up. Took a few minutes to figure out what the ##$%$ just happened.

More than a few B.C. sleeping bags have become "damp" due to exactly that!!!!

I HAVE had a cow Moose charge a B.C.F.S. 4x4 just after she had dropped her calf, this was in June, 1967 and the oldtimer driving yelled at me to jump in the box and we got outa Dodge right quick! He told me that he was more frightened of this than of Grizzlies and if you had seen her ugly mugg and determination, you might agree!

I have been around animals my entire 61 years and I always am very cautious, so far, I have had wonderful encounters and never had to kill in self defence. I recently got a digital camera and hope to get some good Grizzly photos in the future, Bill sent me some beauties from his Alaska jaunt.

December 2, 2021
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