[cdt-l] Ward/Herberg reply

RICHARD MALLERY dickebird at gmail.com
Wed Jan 17 14:00:46 CST 2007

I can see I'm taking a lot of heat on this list. I don't mind the Troll
definition, BUT Ignorant. Come on Mr. Ward! First of all you have absolutely
no say in this matter. For a year prior to heading out on this hike in the
spring of 1999, I left voice mail, email and snail mail for you and your
organization with questions about routing-- especially the bootheel. I never
heard a word from you. I know you have my address because you now send pleas
for money several times a year. So don't waltz in here several years later,
all "High and Mighty" critiquing my route through New Mexico. You did get me
laughing with your stretch that long-distance hikers cannot cross the
bootheel because they have a tendency to be vandals and pyromaniacs. I think
you might have spent too much time in the sun with Mr. Brown. You say, "This
is a ranch dedicated to experimenting with ways to allow cattle in arid
country without harming the environment." As Dr. Phil would say, "How's that
working out for ya?" But arguing that cattle roaming the Western states form
one of the most destructive uses of the country's natural resources is not
the point I am arguing today.

You say, "It does encompass some public land. But unlike hikers, it pays
rent on that land." I don't want to say the word ignorant again because I
find that very offensive. But I would like you and your organization to try
this: Call the BLM and show your interest in leasing all the BLM land along
the CDT. It is currently $1.43 "per animal unit month." Tell them you will
pay twice that "per hiker unit month." I will then personally help you raise
a few grand every year to fully fund those leases. I won't wait by the phone
because you aren't going to get any of that rancher welfare.

"BLM leased lands are open for use to the general public the same as
non-leased BLM lands. BLM permit holders cannot charge the general public
for access to, or for use of BLM leased lands. There are BLM recreational
permitees who charge their clients for their services, however, they are not
allowed to charge the general public for use of those same BLM public lands
they use for their services"

"BLM lands are often fragmented, and access to them can be difficult. There
is often times no legal access to isolated public lands located beyond
private land boundaries. Legal access across private land only exists if the
road you are traveling on is a state or federal highway, county road or a
BLM or Forest Service access road. All other roads should be considered
private and to travel on such roads would require permission from the
private land owner."

If you were to breakdown the bootheel into land jurisdictions you would find
a legal path across the gray ranch.

Gray Ranch issue aside--If you take a 1999 New Mexico DeLorme Topo you can
follow my route north of Hwy. 9 by following the Divide. 90% of that map
area indicates BLM or State land to Silver City. A State cop happened by
while I was crossing just east of Antelope. He swung around to check me out.
We talked about the Gray Ranch and I said, "Who owns the land north of
here?" He said, "Land out here changes hands faster than money in a crap
game. You won't have any problem hiking across this area except it is the
crossroads for Southwestern Drug Traffic and full of rattlesnakes this time
of year." I never saw a drug dealer of a rattlesnake.

I did have to cut through a copper mine just south of Silver City. I had no
idea it was there or I would have gone around it. I bet Mr. Ward knows all
about it and has even hiked it with the manager, but I never heard from him
so I was just blindly finding my own way. I'm blind in my right eye but I
think I am fully qualified to now write a CDT guide (braille edition).

A short note to Mr. Herberg: If you are leasing your backyard from the BLM
you can look for me to cross anytime. Your backyard belongs to me brother.
(See Above BLM rules) If I want water I will pay you for it--unless of
course I find out that your windmill was developed with US tax dollars as so
many of them are. I was never in the Special Forces, but crossing the
bootheel did remind me of my time in the Marines. I wasn't sneaking across
the ranch because I thought it was illegal. That is your take on my story. I
just didn't want to ask Dr. Brown for a deed when he tried to toss me off. I
was just trying to get my 25 miles a day in without a lot of hassle.

I don't want to stir up another bees nest BUT--I also hiked straight across
the Great Basin. The Red Desert is mostly BLM land leased by the big energy
companies (you know, unlike hikers, they pay rent on that land). Does that
again make me "disrespectful and pathetically ignorant?" If so let's all
kiss the Upper Green River Valley good-bye too.

Last but not least: Please post the Official Mr. Ward and Mr. Herberg route
through New Mexico. 12 million acres of New Mexico are under BLM
jurisdiction. I am more than curious how you cross without a severe case of
jaundice breaking out. I never experienced the prejudice to hikers you so
worry about. Every rancher I encountered was more than congenial. I respect
their property and their life-style. If they respect my right to cross
government land I'm a happy camper and we have no problem. If not--get the
deeds out boys!

I was going to ask this list about a route across Arizona--but on second
thought I think I will just use the braille method again. --Keep Smilin',
Dick E. Bird, a.k.a. Pathetically Ignorant Troll
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