When do you speak up?
Since many of the contributors on these forums are very experienced backpackers, I thought Iíd share 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?
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
6.Leaving a fire or coals unattended
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 shovel
This is not intended to start a firestorm---it is a serious attempt to ask folks here what they would do. And since I am posing the question, itís only fair that I provide the first set of answers:
1.Building a new fire ringónever 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, CÖ.maybe more. I havenít 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 arenít perfect answers, I know. But itís what I have done over the past ten years or so. And of course it all depends on the situationóif there are more of them than us, I am less likely to try to take a more active role, for obvious reasons.