[cdt-l] Numbers

Jonathan Ley jonathan at phlumf.com
Wed Jul 18 14:50:53 CDT 2007

There are a lot of ways to slice statistics. Numbers might be up for 
individual parks, but down overall... also, national parks are only one 
measure, and doesn't include large wilderness areas, national forests, 
blm lands and more... Plus, things like bad forest fire seasons, floods, 
and just a season of bad summer-weekend weather can affect numbers of 
backcountry visits. For example, the number of people using the Mt. 
Rainier NP backcountry will be WAY down this year... but because of 
massive trail damage & a lengthy park closure due to flooding.

Anyway, that's one reason I liked the "people survey" instead of the 
"National park" numbers.

Likewise, the totals for funding dollars can easily be mis-leading. 
First, there are differences between agencies - (national parks, 
national monuments, forest service, blm, etc..) some of which aren't 
even in the same department (agriculture vs. interior). Also, there are 
differences between funding for roads, front-country improvements, 
motorized-use trails, hiking trails, etc... Depending on the report, it 
could be interpreted any number of ways.

Anyway, for one snapshot & an interesting read, see this just today:

Sorry this is kind-of drifting from the topic of the CDT specifically, 
but I think in the big picture it can apply there too...


> I don't know how numbers equate to wilderness protection but I do not
> need data to tell me if usage is up or down. When I can call a
> National Park and get a backcountry reservation without feeling like
> I'm in a crap game I will know that backcountry use is waning. I'm
> trying to get a permit for a 200 mile Sept. loop of Glacier and so far
> I can't get into half the sites I need to. This is after most of the
> visitors have left and half the ranger staff--yet the campgrounds seem
> full. Maybe Glacier should allow mountain bikers so that they could
> fill all their vacancies.
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