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  1. #1
    Registered User kestral's Avatar
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    Default Are books trail trash?

    Wondering on your opinions. I love to read at night and during a long lunch break. Canít make the long miles of my youth, so I have a bit more spare time.

    Question do you consider a leave one, pick up one paperback book exchange of a couple books in shelter litter? I consider virtually everything save a broom , trail register and books litter, but there is my soft spot for literature showing.

  2. #2

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    Litter in a shelter? I consider the shelter itself to be the biggest piece of litter on the landscape---and an eyesore---but that's just me.

    I take many books out with me on my backpacking trips---and I end up burning every one of them during the trips to lighten my load.

  3. #3

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    A Kindle is light-weight and long-lasting on the battery...ideal way to read and carry several books for the weight of one 50 page book

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by kestral View Post
    Wondering on your opinions. I love to read at night and during a long lunch break. Canít make the long miles of my youth, so I have a bit more spare time.

    Question do you consider a leave one, pick up one paperback book exchange of a couple books in shelter litter? I consider virtually everything save a broom , trail register and books litter, but there is my soft spot for literature showing.
    Not litter IMHO.
    If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything.

  5. #5
    Registered User Hikes in Rain's Avatar
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    Books litter? That's an oxymoron; you can't use those words together. As a section hiker, I bring my literature with me and bring it back, but I've been known to find a book in a shelter I wanted. Used to bring paper books, but now I take my Kindle. It's got a dedicated 3G phone connection to Amazon that usually has a signal, so I can bring a library of thousands of books with me.

  6. #6

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    Default

    Its not not litter,
    its trash

    Put kindle kindle app on phone
    Bring 1000 books if you like
    Weighs.......nothing

    But who wants to read when can watch movies or tv shows on phone instead?
    Netflix and prime let you download for offline watching.

  7. #7
    Registered User Christoph's Avatar
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    I don't think it belongs there. Just one more thing for mice to tear up, people to rip out pages to start fires (which usually involves litter burning), etc...
    Save it for the hostels, there's plenty of books there. I like the kindle idea for those that like to read at night though.
    - Trail name: Thumper

  8. #8
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    A book is only trash if you treat it as trash.

    I bring books and learning materials on trail regularly. They often include pictures. The books tend to be compact. Tear out pages to condense. We can learn about a trail's or regional history, wildlife, weather phenomenon(clouds, etc), reptiles, tree/wildflowers/flowering plant identification, mushrooms, geology, insects, butterflies, etc. Sometimes it can be a simple glossy pamphlet found in NP Visitation Centers. We can learn a lot about studying maps. This expands a narrower focus from a 'here's the trail' Data Book/App mindset to a wider corridor awareness. This way we're letting the hike and Nature and history into our souls developing a greater awareness than just always focused on ourselves passing through on a 30" wide path. Writing in a small WP Write in the Rain paper journal with WP space pen trail is a constant. I still read old trail journals. It's the history of my life. it's what I've learned and reminds us of what we may have forgotten. I'm more inclined to bring along these types of materials rather than unrelated paperback novels. Who really needs access to 50 books on Kindle? That's too much info to get lost in. That's why I prefer to pick up regional specific materials.

    This is one aspect of what I mean when I say thru hiking/hiking isn't just about hiking.

  9. #9

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    Many if not most of the active shelter maintainers regard books and maps as litter. Feel free to read them just dont leave them. Clutter and trash attracts more clutter and trash. Its amazing how much litter gets stuffed under shelters. I really liked the approach in newer shelters where they get them well up off the ground so folks couldnt hide trash under them. I was actively hiking when Pocket Rockets got popular and near empty canisters started getting left at the shelters. It got worse when the Jetboils that used smaller canisters got popular.

  10. #10
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    We may be too immature a species to allow such a luxury. All and all it's not litter, but because mean people suck we can't have nice things, so yeah, we can't go there.

    In AT utopia there are well respected book exchanges in the AT shelters.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    Many if not most of the active shelter maintainers regard books and maps as litter. Feel free to read them just dont leave them. Clutter and trash attracts more clutter and trash. Its amazing how much litter gets stuffed under shelters. I really liked the approach in newer shelters where they get them well up off the ground so folks couldnt hide trash under them. I was actively hiking when Pocket Rockets got popular and near empty canisters started getting left at the shelters. It got worse when the Jetboils that used smaller canisters got popular.
    Empty Coleman Canisters are probably what I see left behind the most as trash in backcountry non NP Hawaiian hikes. I suspect it's trash left behind from Hawaiian hunters. I've been on HI trail clean ups where we hauled out 2-3 Glad garbage bags full of bulky empty canisters from one area. Tin cans left behind is another common trash item.

  12. #12

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    Only if their religious in nature. Too many of these in shelters, those evangelists are the worst offenders.

    There's a couple of shelters which have a lending library book exchange set up next to it. Kind of looks like a big bird house with a windowed door. One's in CT and another in MA IIRC.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  13. #13
    I plan, therefore I am Strategic's Avatar
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    No, books in shelters aren't litter, they're the gift of knowledge and enjoyment to other hikers. Some great moments on the trail have been mine because of an opportune find of a book at a shelter, even though I carry my own reading material. The thing to do is treat them like they aren't litter: if you leave a book, make sure it's protected from the elements and animals. If you find a book, don't treat it like a random piece of paper and burn pages (I mean, seriously, book burning is one of the greatest affronts to knowledge possible.) Treat them like the gift to other hikers that they are. If you don't like books or if you don't like shelters, then pass by and leave both to someone else who does.
    Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.
    Sun Tzu, The Art of War.

  14. #14

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    "Littering" implies a deliberately lazy and inconsiderate mishandling of items you no longer need or want, or which can no longer be used. If someone leaves a book in a shelter with the intention of providing enjoyment to another hiker, it's not really littering, but it could be argued that doing so violates a few Leave No Trace principles.

  15. #15

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    I started reading a book I found in a shelter and was really getting into the story. About half way through I noticed the last two chapters were missing! Of course, it was the kind of story you really needed the last two chapters to wrap it up. No sense going any farther. Carried it to town and threw it away. If your going to use a book for kindling, use the first chapters. We can usually figure out the story without the intro.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by RuthN View Post
    "Littering" implies a deliberately lazy and inconsiderate mishandling of items you no longer need or want, or which can no longer be used. If someone leaves a book in a shelter with the intention of providing enjoyment to another hiker, it's not really littering, but it could be argued that doing so violates a few Leave No Trace principles.
    Well then, lets say the same thing about cast iron skillets, pillows, folding chairs, blue jeans, lanterns, coolers, and unwanted food.

    In all cases, someone justifies leaving an item with an apriori assumption that someone else will want it, and it wont be trash.

    The truth is, its all trash, packed out by more conscientious people than the ones leaving it. Or burned. Ridgerunners and shelter caretakers and trail clubs pack out 99% of this garbage.

    Just because a person might come along one day, weeks later, and like it, dont make it not trash.

    Its trash. Take it with you.

    If you brought it in, take it out.
    If your a good conscientious hiker you take out more than you brought, ie, other peoples garbage.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 02-02-2019 at 14:07.

  17. #17

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    Books are litter when left in shelters. Ain't no one going to pick up that grimy Clancy paperback, that the mice have started tearing apart for nesting material, and decide to read it. All the good intentions in the world aren't going to make that book less grimy.

    A used book is valuable to the right person. Much like that three pound bag of rice that you want to ditch because of the weight. Ask if anyone in the area wants it. If no one wants it, pack it out, put it in a hiker box. Why would you assume that because the dozen people around want nothing to do with it, then the next guy who comes along is going to cherish and rescue it.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Only if their religious in nature. Too many of these in shelters, those evangelists are the worst offenders.
    I love to find a good Chick tract. Those are the little rectangular comic books about the evils of Catholicism, Dungeons&Dragons, or rock and roll music. I used to save them and had a pretty good collection at one point.
    You can walk in another person's shoes, but only with your feet

  19. #19
    Registered User kestral's Avatar
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    Might be time to invest in a kindle. I have an I phone and I pad, both cut through battery life pretty quickly, therefore extra weight in external battery pack. Can you down load overdrive app onto kindle? This is my library app.

    I have kindle app on both, but they want $ for books I rent for free through library. I go through a lot of audio and e books. I pay taxes which support my library so I don’t see this as taking advantage at all.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    Litter in a shelter? I consider the shelter itself to be the biggest piece of litter on the landscape---and an eyesore---but that's just me.
    No. It's not just you, Tipi!

    In any event, I leave books behind at shelters, some before making it five pages in (like, for example, Wild). Shelters can house more than just humans. Mice, snakes, spiders, porcupines, books, religious pamphlets, fake electrical outlets; they all deserve a home.

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