The Nazis? Stalin's purge? Stalin's forced famine? Pol Pot? WWI? WWII? Rwanda? (the list is actually much longer) All just in the 20th century and nothing to do with religion. I've heard your statement thrown around many times and it just ain't so. Money, power, greed, political ideology, tribalism, race, land, water, food....long list of why people kill people. Religion is sometimes used as a motivator, but the cause is human nature. You can make a case for science killing millions as well. It's still the humans behind the science.
Back to the original question, we need to convert, with all the religious fervor of a Jehovah's Witness, as many non-hiking heathens as we can find to our cause. Strength in numbers is how we can preserve the wilderness areas where we hike, no matter how "crowded" we perceive the trails become. Urban encroachment, non-wilderness uses (such as OHVs, dirt bikes, even mountain bikes) can lessen our hiking experience, invade our turf or even take it away from us.
I recently watched the documentary, "Mile...Mile and a Half," (available on Netflix) about five 30-Somethings who did the JMT. They were fairly novice backpackers (one who bailed on Day Three.) They all had some artistic expertise to record their journey. It's beautiful and humorous -- and fun to watch. No doubt their video journal will get many more hiker-wannabees out on the trail. And many of those viewers will give it a try, some to become avid hikers and some to do it only once before eventually putting the gear on craigs list. But I bet most of them vote pro-hiking or at least "green" for the rest of their lives.
Give me some pamphlets and send me out door-to-door!
I see what you did there, Kevon. :-) You are right. I still manage a nature preserve and evangelize to everyone who hikes and bikes it about their ownership of the place. Their faces light up and interestingly, I have to pick up less trash! And nobody dies. LOL
That's a fair observation. I didn't know the Jehovahs had a limit, so that news to me, but I have a buddy who's a "Witness" so I'll have to ask him now too
I onced asked a JW "if there is a limit, and it has been reached, why do you want to still be part of it?" His reply is that the 144000 go to heaven, and the rest live on Earth with Jesus after it is transformed. So, whether or not I agree with their assessment, they still have a plan for "everyone else" that isn't "you are all going to hell". I am not JW so take that for what it is worth.
Anyways, I think we should still preach the good news of get out there and hike! The more people at least try it out, the more advocates for keeping it available for us that use it more. Plus, you can easily escape the crowds by selecting different locations. One week I did a loop to summit the highest point in Utah. Half the loop was very used, the other half was completely empty. Many times a detour off the main trail is all that is needed for solitude.
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.