Do you speak up?

posted Oct 14, 2014, 12:08 PM by Paul Wagner
When do you speak up?

This survey that came out of an on-going correspondence with a couple of rangers in our wilderness areas. So here is the scene: You are a backpacker two days in from a trailhead. You find someone in the wilderness doing the following activity. Do you

A. Ignore the activity and hike away?
B. Notify them that the activity violates USFS policy?
C. Notify them that the activity violates USFS policy and ask them to stop?
D. Take a photo to document the activity?
E. Step in and stop/fix the problem?
F. Report the activity to the authorities when you hike out?
G. Other?

And the activities we identified;
  1. Building a new fire ring
  2. Chopping up or down a tree for fire wood
  3. Hiking with a dog where it is forbidden
  4. Fishing with bait in a fly-fishing only stream
  5. Feeding wildlife
  6. Leaving a fire or coals unattended
  7. Littering
  8. Hiking in a group that is larger than allowed
  9. Camping in an illegal area or illegal/closed campsite
  10. Mining with a pick and shovelI

It’s only fair that P provide the first set of answers:

  1. Building a new fire ring—never seen someone actually doing this. Probably B
  2. Chopping up or down a tree for fire wood. B, C, D, F
  3. Hiking with a dog where it is forbidden. B and/or C, D and F.
  4. Fishing with bait in a fly-fishing only stream. B
  5. Feeding wildlife. B, C….maybe more. I haven’t seen this
  6. Leaving a fire or coals unattended. E, certainly. Maybe B, C and F
  7. Littering. E, usually. We always pack out trash. If I see someone doing it, then B.
  8. Hiking in a group that is larger than allowed. B?
  9. Camping in an illegal area or illegal/closed campsite. B or C? D and maybe F.
  10. Mining with a pick and shovel. B, C, D, F
Those aren’t perfect answers, I know. But it’s what I have done over the past ten years or so. And of course it all depends on the situation—if there are more of them than us, I am less likely to try to take a more active role, for obvious reasons.
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