Backpacker magazine – Global Warming

Once a month or so I head for the library to catch up on magazines.

Of course I had seen many references on-line to the Sept. 2007 Backpacker Global Warming Issue.

I like Backpacker — but am suspicious of any magazine with a GREEN issue. Are they simply pumping sales with the G word?

In this case, no. This issue is excellent. And scary. The “Future of Wilderness” projection will affect all hikers.

Climate change, Parks at risk, desertification, species extinction, forests dying, degraded water supply. It is depressing.

Some solutions are suggested. But buying a hemp pack somehow feels too little, too late.

Backpacker, September 2007 Issue

Backpacker, September 2007 Issue

hiking fees abolished for New Zealand youth

The Get Outdoors blog keeps telling me hiking is in decline. (Numbers down at Yosemite, for example.)

If so, perhaps we need to do more to get kids on to trails as they are doing in New Zealand:

Hut and campsite fees for children and young people aged under 18 will be free from July next year on New Zealand’s nine Great Walks, including the Whanganui Journey. …

Conservation Minister Chris Carter announced the initiative on the Abel Tasman Coast Track today, on the eve of this year’s Conservation Week (August 6 –12), the theme of which is outdoor recreation.

Good news for families! Hut and camping fees to be abolished on Great Walks for under 18s – New Zealand Tramper


Best. Hike. Ever.

What makes a hike a “best ever”?

Kimberly explains why her Great Wall of China day was her best hike ever:

Because it was the sunniest day.

Because the challenge was to reach the Great Wall at the ridge of the mountain, and we made it.

Because the view was spectacular.

Because it was HARD. My quads were quivering three quarters of the way up — and then I still had to get *down*.

Because a bunch of random people agreed to go hiking with me and they liked each other.

Because there was a feast of fresh grilled trout and fish dumplings at the end.

Because I went into it tired from a long week and came out of it happy happy happy.

Because it was preceded and followed by a night of dancing.

Because I still have Sunday.

Best. Hike. Ever. – Kimberlyland

is heli-hiking cheating?

I’ve only done it twice — both times to Mt. Assiniboine — and can confirm riding the bird is … GREAT.

Sure I’m polluting the atmosphere. And distracting the teeny tiny hikers below, sweating the 8hr uphill slog with a full pack. (It takes me 8min.)

But on arrival it’s like you landed in Heaven. Fresh. Excited. Already at altitude.


A little more thoughtful analysis from John Flinn in the San Francisco Chronicle arrives at the same conclusion:

I’ve known about heli-hiking for years, but stayed away until last fall because of three big concerns: Are the wilderness lodges a burden on the fragile alpine landscape? Do the frequent helicopter sorties spoil the solitude of those who walk into these mountains under their own power? And would I feel the same mountaintop exhilaration if I didn’t “earn” it through sweat equity?

In other words, is heli-hiking cheating?

By the end of my three-day stay, though, I was pretty much won over. Now my biggest concern is the cost: Unless you have the net worth of a CEO — and many guests do — the $700-a-day price puts it into the splurge-of-a-lifetime category.

Heli-hiking keeps high peaks within reach


Happily for the environment I can rarely afford the high fee. You’ll normally find me sweating on the trail, cursing the lazy so-and-sos that chopper past overhead.

attendance declining – USA National Parks

We’ve pooh-poohed the “doom and gloom” mongers in the past.

And we’ve even been part of the problem, criticizing drastic increases in National Park fees.

But perhaps this IS serious.

If the population does not want to visit National Parks, the Parks themselves will suffer most.

… attendance at Yosemite has dropped 17%, Death Valley at 28%, and camping and back-country trips are down 24% overall.

The Economist says “The importance of this decline can hardly be over-estimated for big environmental organisations such as the Sierra Club: they have depended on what one expert calls “a transcendent experience in nature”, usually in childhood, to gain new members and thus remain powerful lobbyists for environmental causes.”

No Child Left Inside: Economist on National Parks (TreeHugger)

What do you think?

Do we need to rally those who love the outdoors? Ask everyone to purchase an Annual National Parks pass in their country to support the outdoor cause?

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