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Fixed anchors in wilderness areas of national parks

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Re: Fixed anchors in wilderness areas of national parks

Postby builttospill » Tue Apr 12, 2011 10:12 pm

The Chief wrote:
builttospill wrote: Remember, oil companies are convinced that a couple of wellpads are pretty small and won't really hurt anybody.


Of course you do not drive a fossil fueled "OIL COMPANY" powered vehicle either, you most certainly walk everywhere and to ALL your adventure spots.... RIGHT?


You do realize how tired that argument is, right? And that it is patently ridiculous?

Of course we're all hypocrites--I don't claim to be above the fray. But I don't think 100% purity is required to make observations and suggestions about public policy or whatever.

Moreover, I'm the one arguing that we should limit our impacts. You're the one who seems to be claiming that because somebody else is doing something worse, you should be allowed to do whatever you want (which seems strange coming from you). Let's see if this gets my point across:

There are murderers in the world who get away with it. Therefore I should be able to punch people indiscriminately, because other people are doing things that are worse.

See, that's logically identical to: "There are signs and walkways in wilderness areas. Therefore, I should be able to bolt a wall, because other people are doing things that are worse."


Anyway, that was my only point--just because worse stuff is being done out there doesn't excuse our own impacts. I'm shocked that you disagree with that Chief.

But anyway, I'll leave you to your own devices now.
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Re: Fixed anchors in wilderness areas of national parks

Postby The Chief » Wed Apr 13, 2011 7:16 am

builttospill wrote:Anyway, that was my only point--just because worse stuff is being done out there doesn't excuse our own impacts. I'm shocked that you disagree with that Chief.

But anyway, I'll leave you to your own devices now.

Your argument is the most absurd one of them all.

I recommend that you remain there in city. That will reduce the human impact on the "wilderness" by one. And, if you ever come out to the "wilderness", you best never set foot on any rock face as you most likely have destroyed many 2000 year old lichen. Tisk tisk tisk on you.
Image

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Re: Fixed anchors in wilderness areas of national parks

Postby mvs » Wed Apr 13, 2011 10:39 am

builttospill wrote:...
I don't buy arguments about how little impact my or your activity is having relative to others, because everybody thinks their own impact is "just small enough" to be acceptable. Remember, oil companies are convinced that a couple of wellpads are pretty small and won't really hurt anybody.


You are giving up a lot of your innate critical thinking skills with that statement. What sense does it make to talk about environmental impact if you put on blinders regarding relative sizes of that impact? So somebody comes along with the hilarious idea that by making sure there are no slings on top of Pigeon Spire to let you get down, our environment will be much improved. And you plan to sit there and keep a straight face talking about how and where to implement that policy without recourse to arguments of scale? You will just accept the already framed decision that this is the issue that is most important?

I must be reading your arguments wrong, because I doubt you'd have gotten as far as you have in life if you really believe that! :lol:

ps (added with edit) - to say this another way, how easy it was to eliminate you as a fighter for sensible environmental policies that have a chance to bring individuals on board. Frame the issue most contentiously, and then you end up fighting those who are your natural allies because it seems like a fun thought experiment to keep that framing. :)
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Re: Fixed anchors in wilderness areas of national parks

Postby Guyzo » Wed Apr 13, 2011 3:10 pm

mvs..... good one.
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Re: Fixed anchors in wilderness areas of national parks

Postby builttospill » Wed Apr 13, 2011 7:54 pm

Jesus Christ.

Clearly my point is being missed, and that's probably at least partially my own fault (though I refuse to take the full blame for one person fundamentally refusing to actually read and engage in arguments about logic).

I typed a long response explaining my position, but you know what? Fuck it. I really don't actually care. No matter what I write Chief would apparently misunderstand it, misrepresent it and then attempt to belittle me by telling me to stay home and out of the "real" wilderness--whatever the fuck that is supposed to imply. Your machismo got really, really old a couple of years ago and it hasn't gotten any more endearing since then. It's only become more sad as you try to turn every discussion into a referendum on whether you're a more impressive climber/bigger man than the other person. I stipulate that you are a better, more well-traveled climber than I, so perhaps we can move on from that particular line of reasoning?

MVS, like I said, my point was missed, but that's probably my own fault in your case. Suffice it to say this: relative impacts are absolutely important. I think public policy should be made by weighing relative costs to relative benefits, including long-term costs that are prevalent in environmental policy. I think that's a reasonable position and I don't think you disagree with it.

But most people ignore the "benefits" side of the equation. I think Bad Thing X is pretty damn destructive and Less Bad Thing Y is less so. But Bad Thing X probably employs a bunch of people and that brings some significant benefits to society. Less Bad Thing Y might not. Without weighing the relative benefits too, we're really missing the boat. Wellpads are absolutely far worse than bolts--but they also probably bring some benefit to society in terms of growth. Now, in my opinion that still doesn't make them worthwhile in many situations--but ignore the specifics for a moment and I think you and I can agree that a proper accounting would require that we consider both costs and benefits, both short and long run. That was the point I was making, albeit poorly, about "jobs."

More importantly: I was not arguing in favor of or against the specific policy that Arthur linked to. I don't really have a strong opinion about this particular issue. My point was merely that comparing the size of your impact to the size of some other group's isn't really tProxy-Connection: keep-alive
Cache-Control: max-age=0

proper way to go about this. Because, by that logic, we should not regulate the oil spill in a little neighborhood creek in Salt Lake City, because by god BP is spewing oil into the Gulf on a much grander scale. "If we can't fix the big stuff, and fix it all, it's not worth fixing the little stuff either."

Comparisons of relative size from one issue to another are only worthwhile in situations where there are a finite number of things that we can regulate. That IS true in the real world--so I suspect it's not really worth a whole lot of time/effort/bother to regulate slings on top of Pigeon Spire, because who really gives a damn? Presumably the Canadian parks people have bigger, more important issues to worry about.

So, this no-bolt policy is bad public policy because it detracts from more valuable uses of the park service's time. But is the policy bad because it regulates something whose relative impact is smaller than deforestation and massive oil spills? No. It would be bad if the costs outweigh the benefits, limited to this specific policy and issue.

In this case I think the enforcement costs, which detract from dealing with bigger problems, outweigh any possible benefits, but that wasn't my broader point.

Anyway, maybe that isn't any clearer, but hopefully it is. I've got to run though....
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Re: Fixed anchors in wilderness areas of national parks

Postby mvs » Wed Apr 13, 2011 8:58 pm

BuiltToSpill, hey thanks for working patiently to clarify your position. If anybody is guilty of hot-headed nuance-free posting here it's me. Mea culpa: I pretty much subscribe to the Scott Silver "Wild Wilderness" conspiracy theory. In a nutshell, it asserts that private interests (like off-road vehicle associations) push for increased privitization of public land management. It's win-win, for ideologes and ex-lobbyists in the government, and for industrial "wreckreaction" which is much more profitable than hippies on telemark gear.

Anyway, arguments like these are unfortunately catnip to little communities like ours. We can't resist them (kind of like telemark versus AT, or bolt wars), and to the extent that the conspiracy above exists in whole or part, we can't fight it effectively, having demonstrated our lack of unity over table scraps.

Not sayin' that's your fault at all...I'm just finding it frustrating that "fixed anchors in wilderness" is batted up again (and again). Anyway, I definitely don't think that my opposition to removing all fixed anchors means that people should get a free pass to bolt-gun the wilderness to death. And if I remember correctly the Chief here has spoken out and named names very strongly when he knew of something like that happening. I don't think you'll find apologists for excess here...
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Re: Fixed anchors in wilderness areas of national parks

Postby builttospill » Wed Apr 13, 2011 11:05 pm

I really don't actually care.


Long, rambling reply....


I guess I sort of proved myself wrong there, eh?

You should ignore that post....it's long-winded and I'm not sure it clarifies much. I've put more thought into this, and I'll post again when I have a few minutes to spend.
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Re: Fixed anchors in wilderness areas of national parks

Postby builttospill » Thu Apr 14, 2011 2:17 am

MVS, I should make it clear that this post isn't really about fixed anchors at all, but about how I think about the relative merits of publc policy--which is all I was driving at in my first post in this thread, far removed from any specific discussion about bolts (which I agree is an inane discussion for the most part). Read at your own risk.

I thought my arguments were reasonable and clear. But I'm realizing that they weren't clear--I hope they're still reasonable, but we'll see if it makes sense without all the vitriol of my last post (I read into what Chief was saying perhaps a bit much):

Consider two possible environmental policies, designed to address the impact from two different activities.
-Policy A imposes costs of $80 on society (i.e. people don't get to do whatever they want anymore) and generates benefits of $100 for society (preservation of "wilderness" or whatever).

-Policy B imposes costs of $5,000 on society (i.e. LOTS of people don't get to do what they want to do anymore) and generates $11,000 in benefits for society (lots of preservation or whatever).

Assuming that our regulatory agencies or government are able to regulate more than one activity at once, it's fairly clear from a cost-benefit standpoint that we should regulate both activities (i.e. both policies make sense to pursue).


My point about the Chief's signage argument arises from this:
It's possible that there are greater benefits to signage than there are costs. By simply saying "but this structure exists, so our's should be able to also," we're ignoring the benefits side of the cost-benefit calculation. And that is as important as the costs. A simplistic "size of the impact" debate misses a lot of nuance about benefits (like economic growth/jobs) that we ought to consider when making public policy.

That said, the law is the law, so if the law prohibits signage and walkways, they shouldn't be there. At minimum the law should be changed to allow them (if that's not the case now). So Chief's point is taken here--if the law says signs shouldn't exist, they shouldn't exist.






Now consider a slightly more realistic scenario where our agencies/government can't do an unlimited number of things -- they have a finite set of resources with which to monitor and enforce policies.

The same two policies are on the table:
Policy A: Costs $80, Benefits $100
Policy B: Costs $5,000 Benefits $11,000
Policy C (prevent Brazilian deforestation): Costs $10 billion, Benefits $100 Billion

Which one should the agency choose to pursue? If they pursue Policy A (banning bolts in our little parable), it makes sense to be outraged, because Policy B (banning oil wells, deforestation or some "big" impact) is clearly a better policy from the standpoint that it maximizes social welfare more. This much should be clear from the relative costs and benefits.

This is where things get more interesting. Pretend Policy A is a no-bolting policy and Policy C is a policy preventing deforestation in the Amazon (remember, I was responding to an image posted of Brazilian deforestation). Does the fact that Policy C is not being pursued affect the cost-benefit calculation of Policy A?

Simply put: no. Because USFS/BLM/whoever decides between Policy A and Policy B and has no input into Policy C. Pursuing Policy A (banning bolts or some other low-level intervention) does not prevent them from pursuring Policy C--Policy C was not possible for them to pursue to begin with.

Thus, my point that alluding to greater environmental destruction elsewhere is not a valid argument against a ban on bolts. The ban on bolts stands or does not stand on its own merits, regardless of what is happening in the Amazon, because Policy C and Policy A and the pursuit of either has no effect on the cost/benefit equation of either one.

More broadly, the only way that "Impact Z" (take your pick) could be taken as evidence that "Impact B" (bolts) should be allowed, is if we believe two things:
1. Banning (and monitoring and enforcing that ban) Impact Z would be more beneficial to society as a whole than banning Impact B
and
2. Banning Impact B will take sufficient resources in time/money/political capital that it will actually prevent the agency/government from simultaneously banning Impact Z.

The Amazonian rainforest does not pass test #2. Signage in wilderness areas may not pass either one, but that is not clear, because I don't know all the details of USFS/BLM resources or the relative costs/benefits of bolts and signs respectively.

(again, if Chief's point is that the law prevents both Impact Z and Impact B as it stands now but one is selectively enforced, then I agree, that is a big problem--I don't wish to quibble with that reasonable argument).








So what about my comment regarding wellpads that seems to have pissed Chief off? I think this is fundamentally a miscommunication between him and I.

I view environmental preservation and economic growth/development as a fundamental trade-off. Because there is a trade-off between the two, a spectrum exists in which some people on one side support absolute preservation at the cost of zero growth. On the other side of the spectrum exist people who want to drill for oil everywhere, with no preservation. Both sides are clearly crazy, of course.

I exist somewhere in the middle. Our relative positions aren't relevant because people exist all over the spectrum. For me, drilling wells on public land in most cases is too far toward the pro-drilling side of the spectrum. Chief, I take it, finds this hypocritical because I use oil. But it's not, and here's why.

I am open to drilling for oil in other places. More importantly, I am willing to pay the higher price of gasoline that would result from a ban on drilling on public lands. Again, I am willing to pay the marginally higher cost of gasoline if we were ban drilling on public land. Therefore, there is no hypocrisy in my use of oil. It is only hypocritical if I advocate for a complete ban on oil OR if I simultaneously want to restrict oil drilling AND complain about the high price of gasoline. I don't fall into either category.

You're welcome to feel differently about drilling, but my opposition to some specific wells does not demonstrate that I should be held to a higher "use no oil or you're a hypocrite" standard.

I assume that Chief would oppose drilling for oil in Yosemite or in his favorite backyard crag on the East side of the Sierra. For him, at that point the costs outweigh the benefits of lower prices/less foreign dependence. We can all come to different cost/benefit calculations based on the relative valuation we place on "lower/higher gas prices," "less/more foreign oil dependence," and "less/more preservation of specific places." These calculations are tinged by our personal interests--I care about wilderness with climbing potential especially. My uncle that owns a small trucking company has a different set of priorities.

My point was that OUR view of what is reasonable (i.e. bans on fixed anchors don't strike me as very reasonable) probably isn't representative of the views of all Americans, as should be obvious. So, it's simple to say that Impact A is okay because its obviously less harmful than B, but it's not clear that everyone else in America sees it that way.

This is why I have a hard time with relative assessments between "impacts" or policies. Because everyone comes to different conclusions, reasonably enough. My point in bringing in wellpads was not that drilling is bad (I use more oil than the average American probably). But rather, it was that we should be careful in making blanket statements about the smallness of our own impact and justifying it on that ground, because other people feel the same way about their own impact. Oil workers probably think wellpads are justified because they're small, remote and generate lots of benefits--and damn, look at that strip mine over there that is much worse. At the same time, I know people who participate in deforestation nearly as bad as that in the Amazon (deforestation most Americans would shake their heads in disgust at), and THEY think it's worth it. Hell, I met a guy in Kenya who had been a poacher and he rationalized it to me. Are our assessments of our own impact objective? Probably not, because we receive a disproportionate share of the benefits from bolting a cliff and don't pay the full cost (minimal as it is). The poacher receives a disproportionate share of the benefits of killing the rhino, and society as a whole pays the cost.




It should be clear I'm no environmental extremist. All that said, this is probably a bad policy. I don't really know, and I don't actually care about the specific policy as such. I shouldn't have interjected my little diatribe about how to weigh costs and benefits or think about these things in policymaking, but c'est la vie. Bottom line: what's happening in the Brazilian Amazon is not relevant, and I doubt that what is happening on scrub BLM land in Utah is relevant to the policy under debate here either. If we're going to discuss this, let's have a discussion of the relative costs and benefits of bolts themselves, and maybe monitoring/enforcement costs, because that's what actually should matter. But honestly, there are lots of other things we should discuss instead (and in my case, I've got work to do now that I've been avoiding).
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Re: Fixed anchors in wilderness areas of national parks

Postby The Chief » Thu Apr 14, 2011 2:32 am

builttospill wrote:MVS, I should make it clear that this post isn't really about fixed anchors at all, but about how I think about the relative merits of publc policy--which is all I was driving at in my first post in this thread, far removed from any specific discussion about bolts (which I agree is an inane discussion for the most part). Read at your own risk.

I thought my arguments were reasonable and clear. But I'm realizing that they weren't clear--I hope they're still reasonable, but we'll see if it makes sense without all the vitriol of my last post (I read into what Chief was saying perhaps a bit much):

Consider two possible environmental policies, designed to address the impact from two different activities.
-Policy A imposes costs of $80 on society (i.e. people don't get to do whatever they want anymore) and generates benefits of $100 for society (preservation of "wilderness" or whatever).

-Policy B imposes costs of $5,000 on society (i.e. LOTS of people don't get to do what they want to do anymore) and generates $11,000 in benefits for society (lots of preservation or whatever).

Assuming that our regulatory agencies or government are able to regulate more than one activity at once, it's fairly clear from a cost-benefit standpoint that we should regulate both activities (i.e. both policies make sense to pursue).


My point about the Chief's signage argument arises from this:
It's possible that there are greater benefits to signage than there are costs. By simply saying "but this structure exists, so our's should be able to also," we're ignoring the benefits side of the cost-benefit calculation. And that is as important as the costs. A simplistic "size of the impact" debate misses a lot of nuance about benefits (like economic growth/jobs) that we ought to consider when making public policy.

That said, the law is the law, so if the law prohibits signage and walkways, they shouldn't be there. At minimum the law should be changed to allow them (if that's not the case now). So Chief's point is taken here--if the law says signs shouldn't exist, they shouldn't exist.






Now consider a slightly more realistic scenario where our agencies/government can't do an unlimited number of things -- they have a finite set of resources with which to monitor and enforce policies.

The same two policies are on the table:
Policy A: Costs $80, Benefits $100
Policy B: Costs $5,000 Benefits $11,000
Policy C (prevent Brazilian deforestation): Costs $10 billion, Benefits $100 Billion

Which one should the agency choose to pursue? If they pursue Policy A (banning bolts in our little parable), it makes sense to be outraged, because Policy B (banning oil wells, deforestation or some "big" impact) is clearly a better policy from the standpoint that it maximizes social welfare more. This much should be clear from the relative costs and benefits.

This is where things get more interesting. Pretend Policy A is a no-bolting policy and Policy C is a policy preventing deforestation in the Amazon (remember, I was responding to an image posted of Brazilian deforestation). Does the fact that Policy C is not being pursued affect the cost-benefit calculation of Policy A?

Simply put: no. Because USFS/BLM/whoever decides between Policy A and Policy B and has no input into Policy C. Pursuing Policy A (banning bolts or some other low-level intervention) does not prevent them from pursuring Policy C--Policy C was not possible for them to pursue to begin with.

Thus, my point that alluding to greater environmental destruction elsewhere is not a valid argument against a ban on bolts. The ban on bolts stands or does not stand on its own merits, regardless of what is happening in the Amazon, because Policy C and Policy A and the pursuit of either has no effect on the cost/benefit equation of either one.

More broadly, the only way that "Impact Z" (take your pick) could be taken as evidence that "Impact B" (bolts) should be allowed, is if we believe two things:
1. Banning (and monitoring and enforcing that ban) Impact Z would be more beneficial to society as a whole than banning Impact B
and
2. Banning Impact B will take sufficient resources in time/money/political capital that it will actually prevent the agency/government from simultaneously banning Impact Z.

The Amazonian rainforest does not pass test #2. Signage in wilderness areas may not pass either one, but that is not clear, because I don't know all the details of USFS/BLM resources or the relative costs/benefits of bolts and signs respectively.

(again, if Chief's point is that the law prevents both Impact Z and Impact B as it stands now but one is selectively enforced, then I agree, that is a big problem--I don't wish to quibble with that reasonable argument).








So what about my comment regarding wellpads that seems to have pissed Chief off? I think this is fundamentally a miscommunication between him and I.

I view environmental preservation and economic growth/development as a fundamental trade-off. Because there is a trade-off between the two, a spectrum exists in which some people on one side support absolute preservation at the cost of zero growth. On the other side of the spectrum exist people who want to drill for oil everywhere, with no preservation. Both sides are clearly crazy, of course.

I exist somewhere in the middle. Our relative positions aren't relevant because people exist all over the spectrum. For me, drilling wells on public land in most cases is too far toward the pro-drilling side of the spectrum. Chief, I take it, finds this hypocritical because I use oil. But it's not, and here's why.

I am open to drilling for oil in other places. More importantly, I am willing to pay the higher price of gasoline that would result from a ban on drilling on public lands. Again, I am willing to pay the marginally higher cost of gasoline if we were ban drilling on public land. Therefore, there is no hypocrisy in my use of oil. It is only hypocritical if I advocate for a complete ban on oil OR if I simultaneously want to restrict oil drilling AND complain about the high price of gasoline. I don't fall into either category.

You're welcome to feel differently about drilling, but my opposition to some specific wells does not demonstrate that I should be held to a higher "use no oil or you're a hypocrite" standard.

I assume that Chief would oppose drilling for oil in Yosemite or in his favorite backyard crag on the East side of the Sierra. For him, at that point the costs outweigh the benefits of lower prices/less foreign dependence. We can all come to different cost/benefit calculations based on the relative valuation we place on "lower/higher gas prices," "less/more foreign oil dependence," and "less/more preservation of specific places." These calculations are tinged by our personal interests--I care about wilderness with climbing potential especially. My uncle that owns a small trucking company has a different set of priorities.

My point was that OUR view of what is reasonable (i.e. bans on fixed anchors don't strike me as very reasonable) probably isn't representative of the views of all Americans, as should be obvious. So, it's simple to say that Impact A is okay because its obviously less harmful than B, but it's not clear that everyone else in America sees it that way.

This is why I have a hard time with relative assessments between "impacts" or policies. Because everyone comes to different conclusions, reasonably enough. My point in bringing in wellpads was not that drilling is bad (I use more oil than the average American probably). But rather, it was that we should be careful in making blanket statements about the smallness of our own impact and justifying it on that ground, because other people feel the same way about their own impact. Oil workers probably think wellpads are justified because they're small, remote and generate lots of benefits--and damn, look at that strip mine over there that is much worse. At the same time, I know people who participate in deforestation nearly as bad as that in the Amazon (deforestation most Americans would shake their heads in disgust at), and THEY think it's worth it. Hell, I met a guy in Kenya who had been a poacher and he rationalized it to me. Are our assessments of our own impact objective? Probably not, because we receive a disproportionate share of the benefits from bolting a cliff and don't pay the full cost (minimal as it is). The poacher receives a disproportionate share of the benefits of killing the rhino, and society as a whole pays the cost.




It should be clear I'm no environmental extremist
. All that said, this is probably a bad policy. I don't really know, and I don't actually care about the specific policy as such. I shouldn't have interjected my little diatribe about how to weigh costs and benefits or think about these things in policymaking, but c'est la vie. Bottom line: what's happening in the Brazilian Amazon is not relevant, and I doubt that what is happening on scrub BLM land in Utah is relevant to the policy under debate here either. If we're going to discuss this, let's have a discussion of the relative costs and benefits of bolts themselves, and maybe monitoring/enforcement costs, because that's what actually should matter. But honestly, there are lots of other things we should discuss instead (and in my case, I've got work to do now that I've been avoiding).


It is obviously clear that you think far too much and need to get your ass outside and lost somewhere in order to find yourself..... wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeew!
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Re: Fixed anchors in wilderness areas of national parks

Postby builttospill » Thu Apr 14, 2011 4:08 am

The Chief wrote:
It is obviously clear that you think far too much and need to get your ass outside and lost somewhere in order to find yourself..... wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeew!


Agree I need to get outside. Probably not going to happen anytime soon though. Oh well....
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Re: Fixed anchors in wilderness areas of national parks

Postby Arthur Digbee » Thu Apr 14, 2011 12:13 pm

Why do you hate lichen, Chief? :wink:
OCCUPY SUMMITPOST !
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Re: Fixed anchors in wilderness areas of national parks

Postby mvs » Thu Apr 14, 2011 1:21 pm

I guess the point is more subtle than bandwidth allows. Indeed, go climbing and have some fun :)
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Re: Fixed anchors in wilderness areas of national parks

Postby MoapaPk » Thu Apr 14, 2011 1:26 pm

DADT
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Re: Fixed anchors in wilderness areas of national parks

Postby drpw » Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:39 pm

The Chief wrote:
builttospill wrote: Remember, oil companies are convinced that a couple of wellpads are pretty small and won't really hurt anybody.


Of course you do not drive a fossil fueled "OIL COMPANY" powered vehicle either, you most certainly walk everywhere and to ALL your adventure spots.... RIGHT?


Just so you know, I hardly ever use fossil fuels for transportation and that makes me a saint.
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Re: Fixed anchors in wilderness areas of national parks

Postby The Chief » Thu Apr 14, 2011 4:16 pm

drpw wrote:
The Chief wrote:
builttospill wrote: Remember, oil companies are convinced that a couple of wellpads are pretty small and won't really hurt anybody.


Of course you do not drive a fossil fueled "OIL COMPANY" powered vehicle either, you most certainly walk everywhere and to ALL your adventure spots.... RIGHT?


Just so you know, I hardly ever use fossil fuels for transportation and that makes me a saint.



Please do share how you get to your mountain adventure destinations.
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