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Old 01-08-2012, 11:44 AM   #71
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Zlee. I enjoyed your message. You can not shorten a message like yours to get the idea across that some individuals have a reality based on facts and experience, from those who are dreaming up facts for want of experience.

Your reply on this thread inspired me to start a new thread on trailer length and suitability to the back country roads.
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Old 01-08-2012, 11:52 AM   #72
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I STILL MAINTAIN, however, it is irresponsible to venture into the "true" wilderness unprepared to summon help on several levels and methods. JMO.
Maybe I am stating the obvious, but anyplace you can get an Airstream into is a far cry from true wilderness. The context of this site is Airstreaming and activities which can be done with an Airstream, which can include climbing, backpacking, paddling etc. which may have the NPS label "wilderness". Wilderness does not exist anywhere in the lower 48, so the argument of self rescue is a moot one. In the few "true wilderness areas left on earth" self rescue is the only option.

That does not imply that you should not "be prepared" to get yourself out of a jam. Those who go into any activity without a plan to get themselves out of trouble not only are putting themselves at risk, but the "rescue" team as well.

The expenses of a search and rescue easily is tens of thousands of dollars and more, that more often than not we pay for as taxpayers. Under certain circumstances though the rescuee is financially liable.

I still have a Spot though. I would like to have that option if the only other option is quietly waiting to die.
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Old 01-08-2012, 12:36 PM   #73
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Zlee, what you are describing are perfect examples of the Disneyification of our once wild places. Anyone who can get there feels free to approach travel within with the same abandonment (if they ever possessed it) of responsibility required for a day at a theme park.
While I take your point, I think that's a *bit* of an overstatement. Most people do understand that they're going into wilderness, and that it's dangerous. They just don't realize HOW dangerous it is, how fragile they themselves are or might be, and where the actual danger comes from. They have no clue how to be prepared.

That has little to do with the wilderness. Some people can get hypothermia in the middle of a city and often do. (Not counting the homeless, even.)

Anyway, what's "wilderness" or even "true wilderness"? Is it where there are no trails and no one but wildlife for hundreds of miles? Because we have plenty of that still. Is it where man has never been? We even still have some of that, in pockets that measure in miles.

As Terry Pratchett once wrote, the single biggest drive in human history has been to get as far away from nature as possible. There's positives and negatives to that, but it should be mentioned that, despite a love of nature, there's reasons why we have gotten away from it. Whether we should or not is not really the focus of discussion, is it?

It really doesn't take that much to break a body, so I'm all for being prepared and educated to not break it yet still experience what life has to offer.
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Old 01-08-2012, 12:37 PM   #74
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I think you're a little oversensitive here. What Rodney is saying is that until one gains some experience in the wilds, miles from civilization, without marked trails and cell phone service, they need to learn to be self-reliant. The National Parks are not Disneyland with rangers around every corner. You can get lost and things can eat you. Many who venture beyond their limits can panic and start doing things that will not help them to be found or rescued. I have traveled back trails only to find 2 wheel drive sedans stuck, a cut tire without a full spare, and a bottle of water for a family of four. There are those who should just not cross the line if they intend to rely on 911 as their personal saviour.
The remark I remember most as a NPS LE ranger in Glacier Park ... "where can we go to watch the grizzly bears feed?" ... enough said!
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Old 01-08-2012, 01:10 PM   #75
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Btw, in honor of this thread, I'm wearing a t-shirt that says "Bring a compass, it's awkward when you have to eat your friends."
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Old 01-08-2012, 01:21 PM   #76
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Originally Posted by Lumatic
Maybe I am stating the obvious, but anyplace you can get an Airstream into is a far cry from true wilderness. The context of this site is Airstreaming and activities which can be done with an Airstream, which can include climbing, backpacking, paddling etc. which may have the NPS label "wilderness". Wilderness does not exist anywhere in the lower 48, so the argument of self rescue is a moot one. In the few "true wilderness areas left on earth" self rescue is the only option.

That does not imply that you should not "be prepared" to get yourself out of a jam. Those who go into any activity without a plan to get themselves out of trouble not only are putting themselves at risk, but the "rescue" team as well.

The expenses of a search and rescue easily is tens of thousands of dollars and more, that more often than not we pay for as taxpayers. Under certain circumstances though the rescuee is financially liable.

I still have a Spot though. I would like to have that option if the only other option is quietly waiting to die.
I think this may be exactly where the misunderstanding and disagreement lies. I am talking about "Where the sidewalk ends". IE. the AS is parked, with Momma and her sister(s) "basecamping", and I and my bro-in-law donning our gear and heading off into THE WILDERNESS for a week. Most of the time the AS isn't even involved. There's NO PLACE I could take a 30' AS that can even remotely be considered wilderness. (maybe and overstatement for some, but not me)

BTW, Wilderness area is a "legal" definition designated for specific areas of land set aside with a very specific sets of use regulations. Don't THINK the NPS has any. USFS does....not sure about BLM....also there is still quite a bit (albeit not enough) wilderness in the lower 48. Gotta consciously hunt it out.
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Old 01-08-2012, 06:58 PM   #77
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There are wilderness areas within national parks (Rocky Mtn. NP is one) and within BLM lands. Congress has created different levels of wilderness, mostly to make some commercial interests happy or allow some old roads to remain open.

Wilderness is pretty subjective, but some areas in the forests in the west are pretty remote even though not official wilderness. There are also wilderness study areas and roadless areas, some of which have traces of old roads. Congressionally legislated wilderness allows horses even though horses are not native to the Americas. Horses really mess up trails when they (the trails) are wet.

Alaska is a another story with incredibly large parks and other classifications of public lands, many of which are "wilderness".

When I was a kid growing up in NYC, a mile square park with paved trails and lots of trees are awe inspiring wilderness and a little scary. Now I own 30+ acres of forest and it's pretty quiet there despite a nearby road—that's not "wilderness", but it is pretty cool.

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Old 01-08-2012, 07:56 PM   #78
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Oooo, I know this one!

The Wilderness Act of 1964 (Pub.L. 88-577) was written by Howard Zahniser of The Wilderness Society. It created the legal definition of wilderness in the United States, and protected some 9 million acres (36,000 kmē) of federal land. The result of a long effort to protect federal wilderness and to create a formal mechanism for designating wilderness, the Wilderness Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on September 3, 1964 after over sixty drafts and eight years of work.

The Wilderness Act is well known for its succinct and poetic definition of wilderness:

Quote:
“A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”
Today, the Wilderness System comprises over 106 million acres (429,000 kmē) involving federal lands administered by four agencies:

The National Wilderness Preservation System:
Area Administered by each Federal Agency (July 2004)[1]

National Park Service 43,616,250 acres (176,508 kmē) 56%
U.S. Forest Service 34,867,591 acres (141,104 kmē) 18%
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 20,699,108 acres (83,766 kmē) 22%
Bureau of Land Management 6,512,227 acres (26,354 kmē) 2%
Total 107,436,608 acres (427,733 kmē) 16%

Now, is this YOUR definition of wilderness? Maybe not, but I'm pretty impressed with how well we do despite all the badly we do as well, as a country.
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Old 01-08-2012, 08:07 PM   #79
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That is exactly what I was talking about. I am really surprised at the percentage breakout!!!

Had no idea the NPS was so big and USFS was so small. Must be a western thing for NPS more so than east?

Wait, is there a typo somewhere? Check the math.
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Old 01-08-2012, 08:22 PM   #80
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Wilderness Areas in the lower 48

It has been some time since I read the Wilderness definition of the NFS, but it remains that it is a roadless area and NO motorized vehicle traffic is permitted. Although that does not exclude horses, hikers and I have to assume bicycle traffic.

Some areas designated Wilderness are common place in New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. My favorite "Wilderness" area is the Gila Wilderness of Southwest New Mexico. There are roads off the main NFS road to the Wilderness area and they stop... You get out and walk into an area of several thousand square miles (I do not have my NFS brochure handy, so do not use this number in a game show). Walking into a cluster of Mimbres pit houses is an unforgettable experience in the steep canyons.

You can find access into the Gila National Forest from west of Mimbres, NM or south of Reserve, NM for AS travel. Pull outs are to be found, but seeing a 34 foot triple axle AS would be worth seeing a photograph on this thread. Along the NFS route you will see a zone on each side where there are roads. Then they stop. If you have a trailer longer than 25 feet, I would take the Reserve, NM access that heads southeast. Better roads than the Mimbres access into the forest.

The majority of wilderness areas are designated more because they are so rugged, nobody ever considered putting a logging road into the area. The Gila is absolutely beautiful and you CAN GET DISORIENTED as the canyons are very irregular in direction. You must have a compass and better yet a GPS to mark your vehicle's location, to find your way back.

How do I determine if I am in a Wilderness Area? When I do not find any trees cut down by a logging crew. Many of the Gila's largest trees were logged out in the late 19th century. The trails to be found are deer and elk trails that are handy to walk the grade without being winded, although unreliable for a long distance. Black bear also use the same trails, by the way.

Idaho's National Forests can be on steep grades that even a hiker would find difficult. Montana is not only rugged, but with the lower elevation mountain ranges and moisture, the brush and thick forests make it a miserable experience if you want to hike areas without established trails. Southwest Montana is much higher and has open country with plenty of roads through the river valleys with wonderful pullouts for a trailer or tent camper.

Most Wilderness areas are isolated areas and not very large. And many of you are right, there are few remaining true undiscovered wilderness left. My definition of a wilderness area:

No logged area with current or old road access.
No beer cans, rusty tin cans or glass.
No fire pits, excluding Indian campsites or pit houses.
No phone service...

I hate to tell you that even the Gila has been pretty much explored, but this is as close to being on our own possible today. Good luck and be careful.
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Old 01-08-2012, 08:27 PM   #81
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The NWPS does not govern all wildernesses. State and tribal governments also designate and protect/run wildernesses in the US. Some agencies overlap in areas or run them jointly.

There's an interesting list of wildernesses here, too. (As usual, your results on Wikipedia are only as good as the people writing them.)

It begins with:

Four federal agencies of the United States government administer the U.S. Wildernesses, which includes 756 Wildernesses and 109,478,939 acres (443,045.55 km2). These agencies are:

United States Forest Service
United States National Park Service
United States Bureau of Land Management
United States Fish and Wildlife Service

This is an area larger than Iraq or the state of California. In Alaska, there are 57,425,569 acres (232,393.03 km2) of wilderness. This represents about 52% of the wilderness area in the United States. The National Park Service (NPS) has oversight of 43,890,500 acres (177,619 km2) of wilderness at 60 locations. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has responsibility for 20,702,350 acres (83,779.4 km2) in 71 areas. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) oversees 8,726,011 acres (35,312.91 km2) at 221 unique sites. The Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Forest Service oversees 36,160,078 acres (146,334.64 km2) of wilderness areas in 439 areas. Some wilderness areas are managed by multiple agencies, so the above totals exceed the actual number of units (756) in the system. In addition, some of the 60 NPS areas with wilderness have multiple units designated as such (for example, Lake Mead National Recreation Area).

Some areas are designated wilderness by state or tribal governments. These are not governed by the Federal National Wilderness Preservation System.
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Old 01-08-2012, 08:35 PM   #82
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Even in wilderness areas, you do find some "stuff". I'll speak for BWCAW, since that is the only one I know extremely well. It's a canoe area primarily (some hiking trails, but not used as much as canoe routes)
You must camp in designated sites, in order to keep human evidence of habitation to a minimum impact. These sites have a fire grate, no other fires are allowed. Up in the woods, a minimum of 150' from the shore is a fiberglass...um...stool over a hole to keep human "stuff" confined to small areas.
There's nothing like sitting on the "throne" on a hillside or top and looking out over nothing and everything all at the same time!

It is about 1,000,000 acres and adjoins a Canadian version of a Wilderness Area, called Quetico Provencial Park, also approx. 1,000,000 acres.
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Old 01-08-2012, 08:50 PM   #83
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to paraphrase a very famous marine who said something like "c'mon you guys, you wanna live forever?"-belleau (sic) woods, 1918??

did he say guys or bums? anybody want to set me straight?

but apparently, some things are worth the risk.
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Old 01-08-2012, 09:44 PM   #84
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to paraphrase a very famous marine who said something like "c'mon you guys, you wanna live forever?"-belleau (sic) woods, 1918??

did he say guys or bums? anybody want to set me straight?

but apparently, some things are worth the risk.
You talkin' about my throne sitting being worth the risk? Well the skeeters are a problem in that "compromised position", but yes it's worth the risk!
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