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Most remote areas in Sierra??

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Postby MoapaPk » Wed Dec 02, 2009 8:53 pm

Dougb wrote:
As far as favorite places go, once the internet was invented, forget it. There's always gonna be someone who will blab about it, and then the fire-making, trash leaving, shampoo-hair-in-the-lake crowd will follow. The last time I was almost back from my favorite place, I met a group heading in for it. Someone devoted a whole chapter of his guidebook to it (my favorite place).


I'm pretty sure this crush of visitation happened well before the internet. Increased use coincided with more people getting interested in the outdoors, and more people having disposable time and money, and more guidebooks.

Many times I've seen favorite, relatively unknown places experience a boom in visitation, after a guidebook was written. In the Adirondacks, Peaked Mountain had no real trail till a guidebook disclosed the area in the late 70s; in New Mexico, Tent Rocks was little-visited till the "Hikes near Santa Fe" guide appeared in the 80s.

It's the way of the world.
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Postby Wastral » Wed Dec 02, 2009 9:27 pm

Well, yes to the guidebooks. No to the fact that more people are going to the outdoors. The fact of the matter is that far fewer are going to the outdoors even though we have a higher population than ever. National Parks have seen HUGE drops in numbers of people. Anywhere from 0 to 50% and the average nation wide is around 20%.

Guidebooks have simply spread the number of people out some. Most places that used to be BURIED on weekends here in WA st. don't have as many as they used to, but the back country average has improoved due to said guidebooks. Go anywhere the guidebooks don't mention and you won't see a soul.

Check out Snow Lake Statistics. Average used to be higher. Now people have spread out throughout the I-90 and US 2 corridor to a greater extent and the total # of hikers is slightly lower.

Sorry, can't find the article posted on the snoqualamie mt. baker national forest service website anymore detailing this fact. Does anyone else remember reading this article and can find the link? Bah, hate it when I misplace a good article to argue with. Makes a rather hollow arguement without the data to back it up... argg.

Yea, yea I know this is a CA site, but the above is still applicable. Maybe in CA the #'s have increased, don't know since I don't live there, but here in WA St. they have gone down even though we have seen a dramatic rise in population.

30-40% fewer folks have been going up Ranier for example in the last 5-10 years.

40-50% fewer have been going to North Cascades National Park. Olympic National Park has remained about the same though.

Brian

MoapaPk wrote:
Dougb wrote:
As far as favorite places go, once the internet was invented, forget it. There's always gonna be someone who will blab about it, and then the fire-making, trash leaving, shampoo-hair-in-the-lake crowd will follow. The last time I was almost back from my favorite place, I met a group heading in for it. Someone devoted a whole chapter of his guidebook to it (my favorite place).


I'm pretty sure this crush of visitation happened well before the internet. Increased use coincided with more people getting interested in the outdoors, and more people having disposable time and money, and more guidebooks.

Many times I've seen favorite, relatively unknown places experience a boom in visitation, after a guidebook was written. In the Adirondacks, Peaked Mountain had no real trail till a guidebook disclosed the area in the late 70s; in New Mexico, Tent Rocks was little-visited till the "Hikes near Santa Fe" guide appeared in the 80s.

It's the way of the world.
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Postby MoapaPk » Wed Dec 02, 2009 9:53 pm

Maybe fewer people are visiting national parks in the recession, but the free areas are getting increased visitation. And the number of people visiting national parks says nothing about the number going into the back country. What fraction of the visitors to Zion each year go farther than the 1-mile paved trails?

But more important, the time context of the original point was not given. The boom in back-country travel started in the 70s.
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Re: Most remote areas in Sierra??

Postby bdynkin » Wed Dec 02, 2009 10:17 pm

My 2c regarding Sierra's remoteness from an ousider's point of view (Boston).

Last year we didn't look at the map in time (stupid me) and instead of crossing the Snowtongue Pass we went over the col to the NW (loose and steep) and found ourself at the beautiful and frozen Payne lake. It wasn't that far to walk to Piute trail via Saddleback lake and Golden Trout lakes but it felt that people rarely go there - we did not see anybody.

Another time (maybe 6 years ago?) we did a chunk of Roper's route from Merriam lake north via Bear lakes and exiting at Mammoth. We saw exactly 1 guy during our 4 days off trail.

Both times it was a bit early in the season (late June/early July). Anyway, my impression of Sierra that it's far from being crowded. Just need to stay away from those trails.
Last edited by bdynkin on Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby hellroaring » Wed Dec 02, 2009 10:25 pm

If the following were true: A place is far far away. Horses can't do it, so you gotta walk. There is cold, swift water that needs fording. Off trail route finding. Some scrambling with a pack on. Basically, some suffering and work needs to happen in order to reach your awesome spot.

My ? is: Does a place like that attract as one poster stated "fire making, trash leaving, shampoo-in-the-lake crowd"? Those kinds of places aren't off limits to those trashing the backcountry & wilderness, but you'd think there's far less of those types way out in the back of yonder.??

It's very true that all it takes it one person to mess it up. Sounds like people find evidence of impact in even some of the most remote spots. One of my first Sierra trips involved hiking into a small chain of lakes fairly near the road. The place obviously got a lot of use. I found the perfect sleeping spot (away from the water and out of site), putting my stuff down and stretching out I only then noticed the pile of human crap and toilet paper with a rock on top of it. Then I noticed lots of little and big piles of rocks in the area...what a wake up call.
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Postby ksolem » Wed Dec 02, 2009 10:56 pm

I get a chuckle out of these folks who get on line and talk about how remote and beautiful places like TV and Blue Canyon are, then rag on anyone else who mentions these places online. Like they are some kind of closely guarded secret.

The difficulty and seriousness of visiting these places, especially alone, will keep the crowds away.

Way more backcountry fires are caused by lightning than people.

I am bummed to hear the Forest Circus opened Blue Canyon to packers. Bad idea there.

Here's a view up into Blue Canyon from the Gorge of Despair page on SP (Oh shoot, there's a page on SP?? I'll bet it's trashed now... :roll: )

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Photo by Guy Keesee
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Postby Bob Burd » Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:36 pm

ksolem wrote:I am bummed to hear the Forest Circus opened Blue Canyon to packers. Bad idea there.


I was in Blue Canyon on a weekend this past July. The trail is easier to follow than in the past, but it is still some effort to stay on it and not lose it. Looked more like the packers had opened up the trail themselves than any concerted trail-building effort by the FS.

And I think the idea of the crowded Sierra is far overblown. I didn't see a soul in Blue Canyon (no surprise), but didn't see anyone in Crown Valley or on the Rancheria Trail all the way from the start and back. There was only one other car in the lot when I got back - a weekend in July. And I could tell a similar story from hundreds of visits in the past ten years. The High Sierra crowds are in two dozen or so locations we could all name, like Whitney, Onion Valley, Rock Creek, Mammoth Lakes, Tuolumne Meadows, the Valley, Cedar Grove, etc, but there are far more places that one can go and find almost no one. If you leave the trail for more than a few hundred yards, your chances of seeing anyone diminish to close to zero even near the crowded trails.

Judging from the summit registers, I'd say there were more visitors in the remote places thirty years ago than there are today. Sport climbing, video games, and the Internet seem to have supplanted Sierra Club outings and the like as recreation for many.

For you, Kris - Gorge of Despair from Blue Canyon:

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Postby MoapaPk » Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:44 pm

Get off the trail in almost any western mountainous area, and you will likely see few to no people.
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Postby Snowslogger » Thu Dec 03, 2009 12:01 am

Did a two week trip in the Sierra this summer (down from Oregon) and was pleasantly suprised but how few people we saw away from the trailheads and main trails. Maybe that's because we were mainly backpacking rather than going for the most popular peaks, like I usually end up doing. Golden trout were spectacular too.
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Postby Bob Burd » Thu Dec 03, 2009 5:22 am

Dougb wrote: before I am banned for perhaps offending powerful people here


You're good with this elf, no offense taken. I enjoy your discourse and appreciate your perspectives.

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Postby The Chief » Thu Dec 03, 2009 5:34 am

Image

Hmmmm...

For such a rant on the opinions, misbehavior's and irresponsible deeds/actions of all other humans (except yourself of course) here on SP and in a summit register, my question is, what were you doing there?

I can only imagine all the centuries old micro-ecosystems and lichens that your feet trampled on and terminated on your many "off trail" excursion in the process of getting to those summits. But, I guess that's OK

Oh yeah, obviously you have ALWAYS in ALL your BC Trips, packed out ALL YOUR SHIT & TP etc, right?
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Postby ksolem » Thu Dec 03, 2009 6:04 am

You always lose when argueing with The Chief unless you are up against UberBabs. She is a professional.
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