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  1. #481

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    Quote Originally Posted by rickb View Post
    With all those people, how did the areas around the huts and shelters fare?
    No worse then usual I would suspect. Day hikers don't have that big an impact. I think the number of overnight visitors was down quite a bit. Although I suspect there are a few new "Stealth" sites along the Gulf Side trail between Adams and Mizpah due to Madison and Lakes being closed, but staffed to keep the riff raft out of the immediate area.
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  2. #482

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deadeye View Post
    To be clear, I wasn't advocating banishing shelters, just speculating a general shift toward tenting areas. Just as the enclosed shelters/lodges/camps that were once common on the Long Trail have become a rarity, tenting sites may become more common. A good tenting area can keep many of the benefits of a shelter (a social gathering site, water source, privy, concentrated impact) and minimize some of the problems common to shelters (mice, snorers, squatters).
    Gotcha, and I understand your point. It's a frequent discussion worth having.

    I worked in volunteer trail maintenance a long time and sat in on a few shelter repair, relocate, or remove decisions. These decisions take a lot into consideration, from location to historical data of crime, weather use, and other demographics. Removing a shelter, while well intentioned, does not change the human dynamic. Tenting areas will have the same social problems associated with shelters since people will behave the same. The chief benefit of shelters that no tenting area has, and one that has a heavy decision weight, they have a proven life saving record of people who had shelter gear torn up or were ill prepared for a given weather event like a multi-day heavy snowstorm.

    Unfortunately, the problems you cite are common to both shelters and tenting areas. Mice and other small scavengers are not limited to shelters, they go where hikers leave food. Since many hikers wrongly think tossing food to the ground wherever they are is not bad for the environment because it's "biodegradable". Due to the relatively easy access to food, tenting areas will continue to have these critters in residence as shelters do. Snorers are not limited to shelters either, snorers 12-feet away in a tenting area are/will be just as annoying (at least until a low voltage cattle prod on a long pole is developed).

    Where we agree, and I think most of the backpacking community as well, is shelters near road access points. Shelters near roads have more social problems (non-hiker use, vandalism, drunks, squatters, fires, etc) which can be solved by relocating or removing the shelter to avoid these and other problems associated with road access.

  3. #483
    Registered User
    Join Date
    08-14-2015
    Location
    Rome, Georgia
    Posts
    313

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    I love the shelters and would hate to lose them. In Virginia late this summer, I had the trail to myself for four days, three of which included heavy, prolonged downpours. It was nice to know there was a reliably dry spot ahead. Since I had the shelters to myself, I didn't worry about COVID (I wasn't aware the shelters were closed, at the time, and yes I'm aware the virus can hang around on surfaces for awhile). I'd cook a hot meal and then read by headlamp.

    When it is really stormy, shelters offer a hope of more secure lodging. It's good to have them.

    On the southern half of the trail, most shelters are located miles from the nearest road, at least miles along the AT if not as the crow flies. In all my years of section hiking, I've only encountered nice backpackers at shelters. All have been friendly with the exception of one curmudgeonly drinker at Wayah Shelter in NC around 2009.

    Shelters are good things, IMO.

  4. #484
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
    Join Date
    12-13-2004
    Location
    Essex, Vermont
    Age
    65
    Posts
    2,398

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    Quote Originally Posted by Traveler View Post
    Where we agree...Shelters near roads have more social problems (non-hiker use, vandalism, drunks, squatters, fires, etc) which can be solved by relocating or removing the shelter to avoid these and other problems associated with road access.
    Yup, unfortunately that makes getting materials and manpower to said shelters a much more difficult endeavor. That's life.

  5. #485

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    Shelters are good things, IMO.

    I agree, with understanding about close to road ones. Also easier to get up and go in the morning.

  6. #486
    Registered User
    Join Date
    01-25-2013
    Location
    Upstate NY
    Age
    44
    Posts
    473

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    Perhaps it depends on how close they are. Remember being at the one first into NY coming from CT, which you can look down to a local dirt road (though I don't think there was much, if any, parking there - we had hiked in from the border parking). Something like that might make it less likely to be an issue, as those who might think of doing something are perhaps less likely to pick one that visible where it would be easier for people to see what was going on.

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