Remote area route descriptions

Grab your bear can or camp chair, kick your feet up and chew the fat about anything Sierra Nevada related that doesn't quite fit in any of the other forums. Within reason, (and the HST rules and guidelines) this is also an anything goes forum. Tell stories, discuss wilderness issues, music, or whatever else the High Sierra stirs up in your mind.
User avatar
mrphil
Topix Regular
Posts: 259
Joined: Sat Jun 10, 2017 12:04 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Re: Remote area route descriptions

Post by mrphil » Fri Oct 12, 2018 6:37 am

Rightstar-

You've mentioned that social media will likely evolve, and I agree, and hope. What I'm not clear on is how you see it being used to "connect to the natural world". I think that's partially what we're seeing now, and that's the problem we're discussing in the extent to which we're opening up opportunities through shared information. Google would propose doing it through a vast network of webcams and selfie stations. I'd like to think that you have a more productive approach. I want to try to understand your thoughts. What I'm wrestling with is in how the participants interface and all benefit in a perfect scenario. I see three levels: 1) Nature itself (it can present itself at face value, but it can't actively advocate on its own behalf), 2) those that have the, call it advanced knowledge of places they've experienced that can opt-in or opt-out of sharing that info...call them the "stewards"/guardians/gatekeepers, 3) those that seek to expand their knowledge and their opportunities for a more unique interaction with nature through those with that greater knowledge...objectively, broadly, maybe a little unfairly, call this third group "users", which may or may not be a net positive in the long run. This is what we have now, and I think the resolution of how this plays out is at the crux of the debate.

The players won't change, so what has to or should?








User avatar
rightstar76
Topix Expert
Posts: 479
Joined: Mon Jun 26, 2006 3:22 pm
Experience: N/A

Re: Remote area route descriptions

Post by rightstar76 » Sat Oct 13, 2018 2:48 am

Mrphil, I am glad you shared your thoughts on this. It is fantastic we are having a discussion! :) What I had in mind is very different from what you were thinking.
Google would propose doing it through a vast network of webcams and selfie stations.
Actually, that’s connecting to the modern world in a self-centered way. It’s not to the natural world.
those that have the, call it advanced knowledge of places they've experienced that can opt-in or opt-out of sharing that info...call them the "stewards"/guardians/gatekeepers,
That’s commodification. A few have the goods and you have to pay for it.
those that seek to expand their knowledge and their opportunities for a more unique interaction with nature through those with that greater knowledge…
This builds on commodification. Those who have the means finance their personal enrichment by availing themselves of commodified knowledge. It's a product centered around the self. For example, the bucket list. It's driven by the fear that time is running out. It’s kind of like a salesperson who tells a buyer, everyone's doing it, get it now before prices go up or supplies run out. See the mountains now before they are trammeled! This is not reconnection with nature. It’s connecting to modernity, the self-indulgence aspect.

User avatar
rightstar76
Topix Expert
Posts: 479
Joined: Mon Jun 26, 2006 3:22 pm
Experience: N/A

Re: Remote area route descriptions

Post by rightstar76 » Sat Oct 13, 2018 3:48 am

Now using social media to reconnect with nature is different. In a simple sense, information would be freely available and hikers would be able to check up on weather, trail conditions, and gps coordinates. That to some extent exists now. But what we don’t have is a connection with others. We show off to others what we’ve done but we don’t really experience it.

Up until recently, we’ve relied on rules and authority figures to keep us on the straight and narrow when we’re out hiking. It worked well and ironically, it was during a time when information was indeed available from a limited number of sources such as the forest service and guidebook authors. Then the internet came along and social media.

So now everyone is an expert and can be the star of their own show. The JMT is talked up and now everyone is doing it. The trail is crowded and beaten down. Panic ensues. The bucket list seems to grow longer with hikers trying to do the JMT ever faster, trying to find more routes with acronyms, etc. However, I speculate, and this is my opinion, a new era is approaching.

Unlike back in the day when what the ranger said was golden, young hikers today no longer listen. They have too much information and make their own conclusions. However, there still needs to be structure and order. So that’s where a new type of influence begins to take shape. This is where new possibilities present themselves with shared information.

I think influence will come more from each other than from authority figures. Trail advocates and peers will use social media to influence behavior and cultural norms. Their knowledge and helpfulness will be freely available. In that way social media will be used to share respect and reverence for the outdoors. It will go beyond LNT. The sanctity of silence and respect of other trail users’ space will be shared and ultimately accepted as the norm. It will not be about selfies and how many likes you can get, but how far away mentally and spiritually from the ego you can get. When they're on the trail, hikers will be less interested in sharing every moment with the outside world. Selfies will be seen as “so yesterday”.

There will still be noise, disrespect, and ego on the trail. That's part of human nature. However, there will be much less of it as connecting to the natural world through social media will be experienced as a movement. It will change trail culture.

User avatar
Wandering Daisy
Topix Addict
Posts: 3841
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:19 pm
Experience: N/A
Location: Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento area)
Contact:

Re: Remote area route descriptions

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sat Oct 13, 2018 10:12 am

First, what in the world are you doing up at 3AM!! LOL.

Your optimism reminds me of the "age of Aquarius" mentality we had in the late 1960's. We thought the world would become one big "love-in", peace and equality. It did not turn out that way. Actually, went the opposite direction. In our youthful optimism, we did not understand the real world, the upcoming globalization, commercialism, incivility, the fruits of progress flowing to the few. You say we will not heed authorities in the future; contrarily, I see the anti-establishment attitude more likely to slide towards authoritarianism.

Granted, I am a classic introvert- we tend towards pessimism (we call it realism). But I recently read the book "Quiet" and agree that extroverts and introverts need each other to balance each other. Your optimism keeps me from spiraling down into a total pessimistic view of the future. Would be nice if things turn out like you hope; I actually hope you are right, but I am not betting on it.

User avatar
rightstar76
Topix Expert
Posts: 479
Joined: Mon Jun 26, 2006 3:22 pm
Experience: N/A

Re: Remote area route descriptions

Post by rightstar76 » Sun Oct 14, 2018 3:33 am

WD, I am glad you are feeling some optimism! I understand what you are saying. The era we live in today can feel overwhelming and discouraging at times. I also have moments where I feel doubt and pessimism. However, and maybe I am too optimistic, I believe tomorrow will be different and better. :)

I don't think the anti-establishment sentiment shown by some of the hikers on the JMT is a slide toward an acceptance of authoritarianism. I think it is a movement away from authority. Here is some good news. Recently, the Inyo NF released its revised land management plan. In my opinion, the sections on Volunteers, Interpretation, Partnerships and Stewardship and Appendix C : Creating a Partnership Culture, show the agency is acknowledging that new methods of communication are necessary today to reach visitors including JMT hikers.

https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/inyo/lan ... /planning/

As I wrote in my previous post, I think hikers on the JMT will increasingly look to each other for guidance. Those on social media that are deemed authentic will have the most influence. Also, while guidebooks and maps will still be available for purchase, demand for them will be low since the information can be found for free online. I will be one of the few who still buys them!

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests