the changing role of the Park Ranger

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an end-of-the-season post from a park ranger, who has some interesting insights into the changing role of the Park Ranger.

They’ve gone from being naturalists to cops, and they’re more likely to be responding to a domestic dispute at a campground than caring for the park or its inhabitants.

A pet peeve? The people that can’t get away from it all without bringing it with them. Leave the big-screen TV at home, it’s the outdoors…

Trout Underground » Ranger Gord’s Ranger Rant…

US hiking in decline?

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… according to an annual survey by the Outdoor Industry Foundation, a Boulder, Colo.–based nonprofit affiliated with the Outdoor Industry Association … while backpacking is still a vital activity, with an estimated 13.5 million American participants last year, that figure represents a 22.5 percent decline since 1998.

… More disturbing yet to backpacking enthusiasts, young people are snubbing the backcountry in even bigger numbers, evidenced by a 32 percent drop in backpacking among 16- to 24-year-olds since 1998.

Packing It In. A great Northwest pastime—backpacking—is getting a little too gray. – Seattle Times

Is hiking really in decline? Is it changing?

Hikers I know are doing more ridge walks and scrambles. Others are planning thru hikes.

Worldwide I’m certain hiking is on the increase. The internet is making it easier to plan, communicate and organize hikes.

These stats are a blip, I reckon. Hiking everywhere, including the States, will become more popular in the future.

(via The Adventure Blog)

Mt. Cook in New Zealand

The classic hike close to the highest peak in New Zealand was the Copland Pass Track — but it has been closed to the general public for years. Landslide made it too dangerous.

The best alternative is the guided Ball Pass Trek, a 3-day trek spending two nights at Caroline Hut 1830m (6000ft).

Alpinists may prefer the toughter Fitzgerald Pass route (Jubilee Route from Mt. Cook to the Copland Valley).

Know that the weather is often horrendous. It may be days before you see the top of Aoraki (cloud piercer).

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Ball Pass route

Ready to fly to Fiji? – update

The adventure begins.

So far, 937 people from 28 countries have signed on. The first have arrived in Fiji.

Wish I was there with them.

Video clips on USA Today.

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First posted May 30, 2006:

This is not reality TV – this is real life. Be part of a real adventure. Join the tribe.

TRIBEWANTED is looking for 5000 people from around the world to camp on an island, building a sustainable eco-community.

Cost: Flight plus memberships — Nomad ($220), Hunter ($440) and Warrior ($660) — entitles you to 7, 14 or 21 days on the palm-fringed 200-acre oasis. Fees cover food, lodging and local airport transfer.

Details at tribewanted.com

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BackpackGearTest.org – Home Page

… a site where backpackers evaluate new gear in the field over a six month testing period. We report to BackpackGearTest.org in a setting that encourages discussion.

For gear tests, manufacturers provide a set of gear to go to a broad range of testers. For other evaluations, we provide individual reports on our own gear with which we have had significant field experience. All of our reports are available to hikers seeking to make educated decisions about gear purchases and use, and to manufacturers and retailers seeking market exposure, recommendations from third party sources, as well as research and development feedback.

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BackpackGearTest.org – Home Page

This site has great potential.