[cdt-l] Mt. Taylor

Bruce Ward bruce at cdtrail.org
Thu Oct 4 13:46:58 CDT 2007


Thanks Jim. The issue becomes more complicated when "a Congressionally Designated National Scenic Trail" becomes the focus of the conversation. I know you are respectful of native America sites and concerns, but for very valid reasons native Americans have concerns about the implications of the "official" CDT. What I'm not sure I quite truly understand is the disconnect between those that are not interested in the rationale provided for a given route-sensitivity to local concerns, environmental, etc -but also maintain that the true value of the CDT experience is to choose your own way from Canada to Mexico.
 
I also would like to reinforce that we sincerely appreciate the dedication of the thru-hikers undertaking the CDT, they are only a very small percentage of the overall user of the many segments of the Trail that are designed to get more people out. Have your read Richard Louv's, Last Child in the Woods, Dealing with Nature Deficit Disorder. I highly recommend it.
 
I am not sure why you refer to the gutless bureaucracy as if it is something other than dedicated individuals who are trying their best to keep up with increased responsibilities and quickly diminishing resources. I consider some of the land managers working on the Trail my friends and it is unfortunate that you refer to them in that way.
 
Also, as I understand it, the Temple Pass conversation underway, we appreciate your perspective, but it too is complicated for reasons that go beyond the scope of this email.
 
I hope you understand we have more in common than not and after working on this project with my wife, Paula, for the last 14 years we have a different world view of the importance and long term implications of what we are doing. At the CDTA we believe The Trail Unites Us" and is something we hope will bring all kinds of people-including you and Ginny together for the common good, at a time when our country is desperate for something like this.
 
Wish I could be with you at ALDHA, please pass on my best wishes to all/
 
Bruce Ward
Executive Director
Continental Divide Trail Alliance
PO Box 628 
Pine, CO 80470
 
Tel.  303  838 3760
Cell: 303 917 1476
Fax: 303 838 3960
 
Shipping Address:
CDTA
13700 Highway 285
Pine CO 80470
" I firmly believe that if you follow a path that interests you, not to the exclusion of ...cooperation with others, but with the strength of conviction that you can move others by your own efforts, the chances are you'll be a person worthy of your own respects. "

- Neil Simon, (b. 1927)
American playwright, screenwriter 

 

________________________________

From: cdt-l-bounces at backcountry.net [mailto:cdt-l-bounces at backcountry.net] On Behalf Of Ginny & Jim Owen
Sent: Thursday, October 04, 2007 8:53 AM
To: cdt-l at backcountry.net
Subject: Re: [cdt-l] Mt. Taylor



Bruce - 
I think you should actually READ what I write before you answer.  I did NOT express disrespect for either the Navajo or their religion.   I DID express a lack of respect for the arguments that have kept the CDT off Mt Taylor for so long.  And for the gutlessness of the bureaucracy.    
 
Now, I wonder how much you really know about Mt Taylor?  Do you know, for example, that there are races run across the mountain?  Or that it's used as a picnic and party spot by the locals - including the Navajo and the Acoma?  Or that it's a local dayhike destination?  Or any other use that one might find for a mountain in their back yard?  Telling me that thruhikers walking across Mt Taylor would be any more disrespectful than what happens there on a regular basis is utterly ridiculous.  
 
I also understand at least as well as you that the bureaucracy is NOT likely to find the guts to overcome their excessively PC mindset.  
 
As far as the native Americans are concerned, I just spent 6 months doing a concentrated tour of many of the "native American" archeological sites in the US and Canada.  I damn sure didn't do that out of a lack of respect for the various cultures.  If you want to find out where I stand on the subject, I'll be doing a slideshow/workshop on that specific subject on Sunday afternoon at the ALDHA Gathering.  
 
Now allow me to put on my trail designer/construction/maintainer hat - if you build a trail that nobody uses, then you've wasted the time, energy and money.  Completing a "CDT" (or any section of the CDT) that nobody will use just for the sake of completion is neither a reasonable nor a worthwhile goal.  Completing the "best possible CDT" is both reasonable and worthwhile.  "Best possible" does NOT include 50 mile waterless sections - nor does it include 30 mile loops that drop a hiker less than a mile from where they started - nor does it include long roadwalks.   Those are sections that thruhikers are generally not willing to walk - and there are few, if any, others who will use them either.  I wonder  how many people have actually walked the route though the Chain of Craters?  I know there are a few - but I'd bet that it's less than 1% of thruhikers.  Who else would use it?  
 
But we've had this conversation before, haven't we?  
 
At least one positive effect comes out of the poor trail decisions - the hikers  (you know - those people who are the only real client base for what you do?) will be encouraged to continue the tradition of "designing their own hikes" rather than blindly following the "official" route.   
 
BTW - after our conversation last year we didn't follow up on the Temple Pass route that we talked about.  So - what happened? Did the Forest Service get it's favored route - outside the wilderness? Or is the argument still open?  
 
>From our experience - both as hikers and trail builders - the Temple Pass route would be very feasible.  The trail on the south side of the pass needs repair - but nothing major.  The trail on the north side of the pass needs some switchbacks installed in order to be usable by horses (and it would be better for hikers as well ).  But, the Forest Service notwithstanding,  there would be nothing in the way of major construction required to make it a good route.  
 
I'll be gone for at least the next week - first the Gathering, then hiking.  Y'all play nice, y'hear? 
 
Walk softly,
Jim
 
 
 
-----------------------------------------------------------
http://www.spiriteaglehome.com/








________________________________

	Date: Wed, 3 Oct 2007 11:23:46 -0600
	From: bruce at cdtrail.org
	To: cdt-l at backcountry.net
	Subject: Re: [cdt-l] Mt. Taylor
	
	
	A lack of respect for native American cultures and sacred areas will not help any of us who are trying to work through complex issues with a variety of tribes and local residents. In fact it creates increased opposition to the Trail. The posting below is very unfortunate and not at all in the spirit of those of us who are trying to get local communities along the CDT to become more enthusiastic about helping.
	The Forest Service and other land managers that are striving for a completed CDT should be commended for the work that they do trying to bring together local and national interests. This is difficult no matter where you are, but especially difficult in the areas the Trail traverses in New Mexico.
	 
	Bruce Ward
	Executive Director
	Continental Divide Trail Alliance
	PO Box 628 
	Pine, CO 80470
	 
	Tel.  303  838 3760
	Cell: 303 917 1476
	Fax: 303 838 3960
	 
	Shipping Address:
	CDTA
	13700 Highway 285
	Pine CO 80470
	" I firmly believe that if you follow a path that interests you, not to the exclusion of ...cooperation with others, but with the strength of conviction that you can move others by your own efforts, the chances are you'll be a person worthy of your own respects. "

	- Neil Simon, (b. 1927)
	American playwright, screenwriter 

	 

________________________________

	From: cdt-l-bounces at backcountry.net [mailto:cdt-l-bounces at backcountry.net] On Behalf Of Ryan Jordan
	Sent: Wednesday, October 03, 2007 8:05 AM
	To: cdt-l at backcountry.net
	Subject: Re: [cdt-l] Mt. Taylor
	
	
	Clearly, lots going on politically down in that area. Thanks for the education everyone and forgive my dogmatic approach!
	Ryan
	
	
	On 10/3/07, Ginny & Jim Owen <spiritbear2k at hotmail.com> wrote: 

		Dick - 
		The CDT has never been officially routed over Mt Taylor - they procrastinated on designating the trail that way because the mountain is one of the 4 sacred mountains of the Navajo.  I lost respect for that argument in 1999 when we were sitting at the top of Taylor and a group of Navajos topped the mountain - on their bigass ATV's.  I've since gained a little knowledge about the Navajo - and lost a lot of respect for the gutlessness of the Forest Service - and the gubmint in general.  Of course, since I worked as a contractor for da gubmint for 40+ years, I've had lots of time and opportunity to lose whatever respect I ever had for the bureaucracy.  
		 
		In any case, last year they routed hikers along the road around Taylor when they closed the Forest - and allowed Tom B to put out water caches.  Suspicion is that they did that as a test case as much as for the fire danger represented by the hikers.  But then - I'm a cynic, too.  
		 
		Yes - the Mt Taylor route that we walked in '99 had springs - and in '06 there was a rumor that the springs were still flowing.  But with the Forest closed, only a few hikers managed to go that way.  One question that occurs is - how many of the SOBO's went over Taylor - and what was the water situation later in the year?  
		 
		Walk softly,
		Jim
		-----------------------------------------------------------
		http://www.spiriteaglehome.com/ 
		
		
		
		Hi Jim: I must have missed something. Did the Forest Service route the trail around Taylor? I remember Gooseberry spring at the base and two others just the other side of Taylor (within a days walk) that were flowing water so cold you could chew it. Does the CDT still use T77 up and over Mt. Taylor? --Dick E. Bird 
		
		
________________________________

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