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  1. #121

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    Quote Originally Posted by Son Driven View Post
    Ok how would one go about writing, and enforcing a ban on hiker feeds that goes through 14 states, and a multitude of county's and municipalities? It would take an act of a dictator to implement such a law.
    It's basic US Government. House/Senate with checks and balances. They entrust the power to make such decisions to an agency in the executive branch in charge of National Parks. Any concerns are subject to judicial review. It's a wonderful system of checks and balances designed to prevent the tyranny of the majority.

    Nothing here is remotely Hitler like, who functioned with a scary combination of centralized power in his hands and his ability to rile a majority of citizens to crush the rights of the minorities.

    But, absolutely no one has brought up the suggestion that hiker feeds be banned by law, no one. That's a straw man of your own invention. People are simply freely stating their opinions. I'm just baffled how and why you'd equate any US Federal law/potential law to a dictatorship. They pass laws every day that annoy someone or another, it's nothing personal, it's just what any government does.

  2. #122
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    The majority of hiker feeds exist of land that is under federal jurisdiction. Like the one I participated with at the Troutdale Baptist Church 2.6 miles fro Dicky Gap. About 80 hikers accepted shuttle rides from and back to the trail. They knew that they would be receiving food from th Church leaders, so those who see harm in this type of activity can simply say no thank you, and continue on up to Partnership shelter, catch a ride and make a nuisance of themselves in the Town of Marion. As a side not on several occasions we had hikers come into our hostel with no food or money, and where basically homeless sojourners living on the AT.
    03/07/13 - 10/07/13 Flip flop AT thru hike "It is well with my soul"

  3. #123
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    Quote Originally Posted by Son Driven View Post
    Ok how would one go about writing, and enforcing a ban on hiker feeds that goes through 14 states, and a multitude of county's and municipalities? It would take an act of a dictator to implement such a law.
    It's not going to happen. Relax.

  4. #124
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    Quote Originally Posted by Son Driven View Post
    Ok how would one go about writing, and enforcing a ban on hiker feeds that goes through 14 states, and a multitude of county's and municipalities? It would take an act of a dictator to implement such a law.
    Yep. So we are basically a dictatorship away from this coming to pass. You probably shouldn't worry.
    Quote Originally Posted by Puddlefish View Post
    But, absolutely no one has brought up the suggestion that hiker feeds be banned by law, no one. That's a straw man of your own invention. People are simply freely stating their opinions.
    Yeah, that's pretty much the extent of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Son Driven View Post
    The majority of hiker feeds exist of land that is under federal jurisdiction. Like the one I participated with at the Troutdale Baptist Church 2.6 miles fro Dicky Gap. About 80 hikers accepted shuttle rides from and back to the trail. They knew that they would be receiving food from th Church leaders, so those who see harm in this type of activity can simply say no thank you, and continue on up to Partnership shelter, catch a ride and make a nuisance of themselves in the Town of Marion. As a side not on several occasions we had hikers come into our hostel with no food or money, and where basically homeless sojourners living on the AT.
    The feed you mention was somewhere not on the AT itself, so I don't understand your concern as it relates to on-trail feeds. But I don't quite understand why those who might choose to forego the shuttle and church feed, and go into Marion on their own, would necessarily make nuisances of themselves. They don't seem to be either/or events. I'm just guessing that one could do any combination of the three - go/not go to feed, go/not go to Marion, make/not make nuisance of themselves.

    "Homeless sojourners" as you call them are a group unto their own. They aren't hikers - at least not anymore. Hikers don't live out of hiker boxes, beg food/money, camp out long term in shelters, or worse - steal from hikers or town businesses. But homeless and broke people often do, out of survival necessity. I don't dismiss their plight. I feel sorry for them. They need help. But the AT isn't a good place to fix the kinds of problems these people have. And just sending them on their way with a full belly doesn't help solve their problems. That said, if you do run into some of these people, and can get them the help they need, that's a really good thing.
    Last edited by Alligator; 02-09-2016 at 23:16. Reason: No Politics. Keep politics off the site.
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  5. #125
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    It seems to me that the AT has developed several subcultures in recent years, one being the hiker feed. I don't know the motivations of those who initiate a feed but I think a large number are former thru hikers who want to "give back to the trail." I think others feel a strong attraction to the trail and want to share in the thru hiker experience because perhaps they cannot. By doing a hiker feed they can connect with hikers and share their hike.
    More walking, less talking.

  6. #126
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    Quote Originally Posted by Son Driven View Post
    The majority of hiker feeds exist of land that is under federal jurisdiction. Like the one I participated with at the Troutdale Baptist Church 2.6 miles fro Dicky Gap. About 80 hikers accepted shuttle rides from and back to the trail. They knew that they would be receiving food from th Church leaders, so those who see harm in this type of activity can simply say no thank you, and continue on up to Partnership shelter, catch a ride and make a nuisance of themselves in the Town of Marion. As a side not on several occasions we had hikers come into our hostel with no food or money, and where basically homeless sojourners living on the AT.
    It's a fair and serious observation that there are indeed some homeless and or freeloader types on the trail--even criminally prone individuals-- that requires circumspect safety awareness. The GSMNP taught us this need for precaution by their rules and regulations in approving our applications for trail support in the Park. Our tax dollars at work providing real protection; I am truly thankful for the National Park Service.

  7. #127

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    Quote Originally Posted by Son Driven View Post
    Ok how would one go about writing, and enforcing a ban on hiker feeds that goes through 14 states, and a multitude of county's and municipalities? It would take an act of a dictator to implement such a law.
    You really are hung up on the dictator thing, perhaps some therapy for PTSD from the Ventura years may be helpful?

    The AT is a unique parcel of property. Due to the NPS management of the trail corridor, it falls under the NPS regulatory landscape that has provisions and prohibitions for a wide variety of activities. Quoting chapter and verse is not something I am really not interested in doing, suffice to say you don't see hiker feeds at road crossings in National Parks much. The NPS can yield to local regulations concerning the preparation and serving of food, health and hygiene issues, proper disposal of fats, oils, and grease, proper refrigeration temperatures, proper cooking temperatures, and a host of other food related codes at the Federal, State, County, and local levels.

    So, the regs are already in place that can impact feeds. No dictators were harmed in the formulation of this text.

  8. #128

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    Quote Originally Posted by Son Driven View Post
    Ok how would one go about writing, and enforcing a ban on hiker feeds that goes through 14 states, and a multitude of county's and municipalities? It would take an act of a dictator to implement such a law.
    Give your dictator fetish a rest. What type of law can span states, counties, and municipalities? A federal law (see, not so hard...), and since the AT is a national scenic trail administered by the National Park Service, its subject to federal law.

  9. #129
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    Hiker feeds/trail magic is one of the more pure form of human kindness, things we should be practicing everywhere. Giving to the poor does not mean just giving to the chronically poor, but the poor at the moment, and at the moment we are rich and can give easily and painlessly and really make a difference in someone's life. A hiker is poor in the basics of human society, it is a voluntary state to be rich in other things, namely life experience, really living.

    In trail magic there is usually a exchange that benefits both parties, the trail angel can easily give food that would not be practical to bring on trail for the hiker, in that the hiker is elevated by human kindness and the trail angel is also enhanced by receiving stories of life on the trail. This in general is a very pure form of giving and receiving, rich giving to the poor on both ends, and both benefiting and taking that good will forward.

    It is also uncluttered by things like verified charities and public opinion of how one should give, what is appropriate to give and how, it is freely given of the heart which is the most valuable giving we can do as humans.

    Yes to mention some (few) do have other motives, such as church groups, but even with that, the trail angels sometimes are the ones who receive something missing in their lives, quite the opposite that the church authority may have planned.

    As for the trail magic attracting too many people. that is only the opinion of those who like the trail to be a more solitary experience, which is no longer the AT which has evolved, but there are many more trail they can travel and get to experience their type of hiking.

  10. #130

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    Quote Originally Posted by Starchild View Post
    Hiker feeds/trail magic is one of the more pure form of human kindness, things we should be practicing everywhere. Giving to the poor does not mean just giving to the chronically poor, but the poor at the moment, and at the moment we are rich and can give easily and painlessly and really make a difference in someone's life. A hiker is poor in the basics of human society, it is a voluntary state to be rich in other things, namely life experience, really living.

    In trail magic there is usually a exchange that benefits both parties, the trail angel can easily give food that would not be practical to bring on trail for the hiker, in that the hiker is elevated by human kindness and the trail angel is also enhanced by receiving stories of life on the trail. This in general is a very pure form of giving and receiving, rich giving to the poor on both ends, and both benefiting and taking that good will forward.

    It is also uncluttered by things like verified charities and public opinion of how one should give, what is appropriate to give and how, it is freely given of the heart which is the most valuable giving we can do as humans.

    Yes to mention some (few) do have other motives, such as church groups, but even with that, the trail angels sometimes are the ones who receive something missing in their lives, quite the opposite that the church authority may have planned.

    As for the trail magic attracting too many people. that is only the opinion of those who like the trail to be a more solitary experience, which is no longer the AT which has evolved, but there are many more trail they can travel and get to experience their type of hiking.
    Geez...it's just food...you make it sound as if these trail feeds are some sort of intense spiritual event. Personally, I see it rather as the going without these type of foods that are not practical to bring on the trail as the real spiritual experience of the trail. Deprivation is one of the special things about hiking the trail, both of food and people; I can go anywhere and be with people and eat these foods, nothing special about that.

    Food deprivation and how that transformed my body was so much more meaningful to my life than eating a burger

  11. #131

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    I've often wondered what goes on inside the heads of the death by over-nurture crowd. Now I'm beginning to understand.

    I once watched one of those extreme weight loss shows. There was an overweight kid, trying really hard to lose weight, to save his life, to learn about positive health habits. The second he got back home, his mother made him a steak and cheese sub for lunch, because it was his favorite, then she asked him if he wanted a second one, and the kid was like, "no, please no" and the mother went on to make him a second one.

    Knowing that your actions is killing something, and justifying that action as an exchange of kindness is really bizarre to me. ... and Starchild's answer is go hike another trail, because I've already got my emotional hooks into this one.

  12. #132
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    At least two things are happening that AT purists resent. Too many people and too much partying. Both will probably increase until the trail is one long party of thousands of people who don't desire the solitude a wilderness experience can (perhaps should) provide. Thru hiking has been popularized by the stories and movies of those who have trekked the 2180+ miles and, people are becoming more and more disillusioned with life in the fast lane. I think that trail magic is, for the most part, way different than "partying". It was born out of the desire of regular folk who couldn't give the time, didn't have the inclination or didn't think they had the stamina to actually do a long hike. Perhaps they want(ed) to live vicariously thru those who had the resolve and time to do it. Others recognize(d) that many folks who do a thru hike don't have a deep wallet and a meal, snacks and beverages helped stave off hunger. But bottomline they all want(ed) to do something charitable for those who dared to endure the hardships of a thru hike.

    Trail magic has grown as former hikers, knowing the incredible feeling of unsolicited and random acts of kindness, want to contribute. The intent of most (if not practically all) trail magic is about giving to others, putting a smile on the face of someone who has endured weeks of rain, sore feet, aching backs, and an endless number of minor disappointments and adversities. Coming upon a cooler of ice cold gatorade and/or beer on a day with blistering heat is a godsend. Hot dogs and burgers at a road-crossing is a 4-star meal!! Conversely, I agree the AT doesn't need to become one long concession stand. That said, it will continue to become more crowded and as more people complete the journey they will want to lend a hand to those coming along after them. So, bigger crowds on the trail and more unsolicited food & beverages are probably inevitable.

    When I lived in Washington I used to solo hike all over the Cascades. I had several hikes where I could spend days never seeing another human being. Then someone published a book about Washington's best trails and within a few years my favorite hikes were so crowded I no longer enjoyed them...BUT, plenty of folks did. They didn't know what those trails had been like 5-10 years beforehand and I went north to Alaska to find solitude.

    My point: We (those who are less than happy about the crowds and free food) don't own the AT and we can't dictate how others choose to enjoy it, tho one would hope that folks have a reasonable sense of respect for the environment and other hikers. THE CDT is still pretty primitive in many places and there are plenty of wilderness areas in Idaho and Montana where someone can hike for months and never see trail magic much less a boisterous party of hikers. The boundary lakes in MN are still primitive and Alaska has a multitude of opportunities to commune with nature without the unpleasantries of human hordes.

    So, like Daniel Boone it is perhaps (unfortunately) time for those who want a purist experience to look elsewhere. The AT is too accessible to too many people who want to get away from the hustle of everyday life. We can not deny them their opportunity to get away even if they don't have the same perspective of what "getting away" means to those who came before them; especially for those who don't want that experience to change. I believe it was Benton Mackay's vision to build a trail so people could find relief from the burdens and emotional stress of urbanization and industrialization. The implementation of that vision has been a resounding success and the population of the US has more than tripled.
    Happy trails...and peace!

  13. #133
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    From time to time I've helped with a Hiker Feed that old timers have been doing for fifteen or so years. If you don't like it don't partake, walk on by. It's the ATC that has promoted the trail endlessly and now complains about how many hike, where they start, when people start, how they hike, and if someone feeds them. These professional trail managers are about increasing their mission and preserving their jobs.
    Everything is in Walking Distance

  14. #134
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    Quote Originally Posted by TiHiker View Post
    At least two things are happening that AT purists resent. Too many people and too much partying. Both will probably increase until the trail is one long party of thousands of people who don't desire the solitude a wilderness experience can (perhaps should) provide. Thru hiking has been popularized by the stories and movies of those who have trekked the 2180+ miles and, people are becoming more and more disillusioned with life in the fast lane. I think that trail magic is, for the most part, way different than "partying". It was born out of the desire of regular folk who couldn't give the time, didn't have the inclination or didn't think they had the stamina to actually do a long hike. Perhaps they want(ed) to live vicariously thru those who had the resolve and time to do it. Others recognize(d) that many folks who do a thru hike don't have a deep wallet and a meal, snacks and beverages helped stave off hunger. But bottomline they all want(ed) to do something charitable for those who dared to endure the hardships of a thru hike.

    Trail magic has grown as former hikers, knowing the incredible feeling of unsolicited and random acts of kindness, want to contribute. The intent of most (if not practically all) trail magic is about giving to others, putting a smile on the face of someone who has endured weeks of rain, sore feet, aching backs, and an endless number of minor disappointments and adversities. Coming upon a cooler of ice cold gatorade and/or beer on a day with blistering heat is a godsend. Hot dogs and burgers at a road-crossing is a 4-star meal!! Conversely, I agree the AT doesn't need to become one long concession stand. That said, it will continue to become more crowded and as more people complete the journey they will want to lend a hand to those coming along after them. So, bigger crowds on the trail and more unsolicited food & beverages are probably inevitable.

    When I lived in Washington I used to solo hike all over the Cascades. I had several hikes where I could spend days never seeing another human being. Then someone published a book about Washington's best trails and within a few years my favorite hikes were so crowded I no longer enjoyed them...BUT, plenty of folks did. They didn't know what those trails had been like 5-10 years beforehand and I went north to Alaska to find solitude.

    My point: We (those who are less than happy about the crowds and free food) don't own the AT and we can't dictate how others choose to enjoy it, tho one would hope that folks have a reasonable sense of respect for the environment and other hikers. THE CDT is still pretty primitive in many places and there are plenty of wilderness areas in Idaho and Montana where someone can hike for months and never see trail magic much less a boisterous party of hikers. The boundary lakes in MN are still primitive and Alaska has a multitude of opportunities to commune with nature without the unpleasantries of human hordes.

    So, like Daniel Boone it is perhaps (unfortunately) time for those who want a purist experience to look elsewhere. The AT is too accessible to too many people who want to get away from the hustle of everyday life. We can not deny them their opportunity to get away even if they don't have the same perspective of what "getting away" means to those who came before them; especially for those who don't want that experience to change. I believe it was Benton Mackay's vision to build a trail so people could find relief from the burdens and emotional stress of urbanization and industrialization. The implementation of that vision has been a resounding success and the population of the US has more than tripled.
    Happy trails...and peace!
    A very thoughtful and even handed response. Thank you.
    If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything.

  15. #135
    Registered User egilbe's Avatar
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    There is an allegorical story I once read about a woman who loved birds so much, that she decided to feed them. She put out a bird feeder and delighted in everyday seeing new species of birds. She varied her food offerings to attract different birds and she enjoyed them immensely. As time went on, the birds started moving into the neighborhood to more easily partake of the abundance. No longer would they have to search high and low for morsels of food and life became good...for the birds. Now the poor homeowner who so enjoyed the birds found that there is a downside to easy living. The bird feeders attracted birds who defecated all over her porch, windowsills and patio. She listened to them squawking and fighting all day long. Some birds were actually building nests in her eves and their droppings fouled her yard.

    After awhile, the woman realized the only thing to do was to take away the bird feeders and let the birds fend for themselves. Although she loved the birds, she could no longer abide the messes they left behind.

    So it goes with the trail. Quit feeding the damn hikers and they will find other woods to defecate into
    Last edited by egilbe; 02-29-2016 at 21:14.

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    Maybe she should have just put a little food out every once in awhile.
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  17. #137
    Registered User soilman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bamboo bob View Post
    From time to time I've helped with a Hiker Feed that old timers have been doing for fifteen or so years. If you don't like it don't partake, walk on by. It's the ATC that has promoted the trail endlessly and now complains about how many hike, where they start, when people start, how they hike, and if someone feeds them. These professional trail managers are about increasing their mission and preserving their jobs.
    I disagree with your assertion that the ATC is the bad guy here. It IS their mission to promote the trail for everyone to enjoy. It is also their mission to protect the trail for future users. I don't see a problem with the ATC trying to educate hikers to reduce impacts on the trail, to encourage voluntary registration to help manage, and promote alternatives to the traditional thru hike. As far as hiker feeds, I have no problem with them. I indulged when I was thru hiking. I think there are alternatives to hiker feeds if someone feels compelled to do trail magic. If only half the people willing to feed a hiker would volunteer for trail maintenance the trail would be much better off and all hikers would benefit.
    More walking, less talking.

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    I suggest the big hiker feeds not be called trail magic. And that feeding that many strangers might come under the juristiction of the local health dept.

  19. #139
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    A few quick comments regarding magic and hiker feeds:

    *There's nothing wrong with holding a picnic, cook-out, etc. in a Park (Bear Mountain would be a good example), a trailhead parking area, etc. You're not ruining anyone's wilderness experience by giving out treats in a parking lot.

    *Large events, i.e. ones that would attract significant amounts of people and subsequent noise, should NOT be held in pristine
    places on the Trail itself as they would detract from some people's enjoyment of the site (Big feeds at places like Antler Campsite
    in Maine would be a good example).

    *Coolers and other containers should not be left unattended, as they attract wildlife and become garbage cans. Do not leave a
    container unattended unless you plan to come back for it THAT DAY! Likewise, never leave treats at a shelter or campsite unless
    you KNOW you'll be back to clean up anything left behind. Actually, since it can and will attract critters, doing this even for a
    short time is probably a lousy idea.

    *Be prepared to be gracious and giving to anyone who comes by, and not just-thru-hikers.

    *Use prudence if serving alcoholic beverages; be sure you're in a place where it is legal to do so. Never leave such items
    unattended. If a sodden Boy Scout walks off a cliff after enjoying your largesse, you might end up in jail.

    *Always bring sufficient garbage bags and leave your magic/feed site looking better than it was when you gut there. Invite
    hikers to leave THEIR own garbage as it means less will end up discarded improperly.

    *Lastly, and this goes out to the people who annually complain about Trail magic and Hiker Feeds: It's really simple. I don't
    know where you're from, but in Boston, I was taught that if someone offered you something you weren't interested in, you looked
    at them, smiled, and said "No thank you!" and then went about your business. Receiving and enjoying kindness from strangers
    is entirely voluntarily, nobody's being forced to eat a burger or drink a can of soda. Trail magic, done responsibly, can be a
    wonderful thing for those who wish to take part in it. Those not interested can simply keep walking. Nor really that complicated,
    eh?

  20. #140

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    Conversely, I would suggest the spectrum of opinion can be a learning tool for those interested in how to engage this activity with minimal impact on trail features, serving area(s), and trail users, as you have pointed out in your post. I've only been by a few of these, but I've not seen anyone speaking against the activity directly to those engaged in it. There were some comments about one of them a few hundred yards past the feed when people blocked the trail access at the road crossing. However, in a forum such as this, the issue will bring out those with contrary opinion. I doubt we have reached a level of intolerance in approving or dissenting opinion.

    As an aside, how do those hiker feeds in Boston work out with those on the Heritage Trail?

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