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Backpacker — February 2018

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bodily systems and organs need specific
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The truth is that collagen is literally
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PASS i on to Pr o f e SSi on
Wo m e n i n T h e o u T d o o r i n d u s T rY
searching Yahoo, Google, Bing, and see results
from Patagonia, that’s my work.
WhAt iS your fAvorite Perk of
Working for PAtAgoniA?
Definitely our 9-80 work schedule. We do 80
hours in nine work days instead of 10, so we get
every other Friday off. I’ve traveled a lot to climb
with those long weekends, and it’s so nice to
disconnect and not feel rushed on the weekends.
WhAt’S your once Piece of Advice
for WoMen Seeking A cAreer in
the outdoor induStry?
Be bold, be objective, and recognize when your
own thoughts are limiting or preventing you
from doing something. Then just do it or go
for it, regardless of the outcome, knowing that
you’ll learn from the experience no matter
what. I say that because people I talk to in
passing, when they read job descriptions at
Patagonia, they tell me they’re not qualified for
the positions. But I could probably argue the
same thing about my job and the position I was
in when I applied for it. Obviously, if you don’t
do it, you never know what could happen.
Christie Fong
Senior AnAlySt of SeArch engine MArketing,
PAtAgoniA
Christie Fong stumbled upon her love of the outdoors when she agreed to climb a mountain on
a whim in college. She fell in love with climbing much the same way—when she went to a rock
climbing gym for the first time in China in 2011. Since then, she’s made a career in the outdoor
industry, in Patagonia’s e-commerce department, and has traveled the world seeking summits and
sends. We asked why she’s made the outdoors such a major part of her life. by k ASSondr A clooS
WhAt’S your firSt outdoor
MeMory?
Climbing Mt. Emei in China, when I was
studying abroad in the spring of 2009. It’s
the tallest of four holy mountains in China, and
that was my first very athletic or physically
intensive activity. I did it on a whim. It was two
days of climbing and walking up endless stairs
on this mountain, with all these monasteries
in between. We had to sleep in an abandoned
shack. At the top, there was a huge golden
temple and Buddhist statue. After that, I
started going all over to different parts of
China to travel and hike. It was challenging,
but so rewarding in the end.
WhAt WAS your firSt job in the
outdoor induStry?
I was working at a digital marketing agency
in Phoenix and The North Face was one of our
clients at the time, when I was just getting into
rock climbing. Every now and then, I would
check job boards and one day I saw a job posting
for Patagonia as an SEO analyst. I applied, and it
just so happened to work out. Now I’m a Senior
Analyst for Search Engine Marketing. If you’re
hoW hAve the outdoorS
eMPoWered you?
They’ve taught me a lot of life lessons. There’s
so much to see and do, even outside of climbing.
I also really like to travel; the outdoors also
means seeing the world. And with that, I’ve
learned to be more aware of my surroundings,
be mindful, and how to understand and embrace
different people and cultures. That awareness
is transferrable to a lot of other things.
flASh round
What’s your super power? Intuition
Outdoor adventure of choice for daily release?
Climbing
What’s your spirit animal? Red panda
What’s in your thermos? Dark roast coffee
If you had an intro song, what would it be?
Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now”
Your number one outdoor hack? Bringing
a Crazy Creek chair to lounge between
bouldering routes
One word that you think of when we say
“outdoors?” Reverence
What’s your favorite outdoor/adventure
book? Into Thin Air, by Jon Krakauer
To find your next job, visit us at:
jobs.camberoutdoors.org
You can also read Christie’s extended
interview here.
You Had Me at Monday.
PUBLIC
LANDS
CONTENTS
March 2018
50
Dinosaur National
Monument, UT/CO
Special Issue:
PU BLIC L A N DS
08 From the Editor
10 Your Lands, Explained
88 Last Word
SEE IT
SAVE IT
BUILD IT
12 Now or Never
Some parks are changing forever,
and sooner than you think. Hike
these trails before it’s too late.
36 Hikers Wanted
Good news for you: The best way to
help these trails is to lace up your
boots and see them yourself.
62 Labor of Love
Protecting landscapes is only half
the battle. Grab a Pulaski and pitch
in on these incomplete trails.
BY KELLY BASTONE
BY KELLY BASTONE
BY KELLY BASTONE
19 Prep Like a Pro
Tackle the country’s biggest
national park with tips from a
mountain guide.
41 Prep Like a Pro
68 Prep Like a Pro
Traverse the CDT’s wild terrain in
Colorado’s Mt. Zirkel Wilderness.
Hike Alabama’s Pinhoti Trail with a
local’s gear picks and know-how.
The fight over Bears Ears National
Monument ushers in a new front in
the battle over public lands.
52 Control Issues
Supporters say private groups
can rescue cash-strapped parks.
Opponents say no way. Here’s how
it’s playing out in Alaska.
BY CASEY LYONS
BY ADAM ROY
28 Common Ground
54 Wilderness Rx
Can a trail-loving Republican
Congresswoman bridge the
political divide? BY M. JOHN FAYHEE
Proponents tout the healing power
of nature, but can it really replace
medicine? Faced with a debilitating
crisis, the author heads outdoors
for help. BY ANNETTE McGIVNEY
26 Land Grab
74 In Good Hands
The National Park Service and
Native Americans work together
in Arizona’s Canyon de Chelly.
BY COREY BUHAY
34 The Payoff
Dive into the skin-tingling water of
Cracker Lake in Glacier National
Park. Bring friends.
03.2018
04
60 The Payoff
You’ll feel like a winner on this
island off the Washington coast.
What if, instead of having a country
full of parks, you have a country that
is a park? Scotland’s right to roam
comes awfully close. BY KEN ILGUNAS
84 The Payoff
The only thing better than taking
a hike is taking a first-timer along.
This Utah slot canyon makes a
sweet intro.
COVER
Sunset above
Sonora Pass
on the Pacific
Crest Trail, CA.
Photo by
Michael DeYoung
PHOTO BY KIM BARTON
76 Walk Free
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GPS
ENABLED™
SUPPORT
EVERYDAY WELLNESS*
EMERGEN-C
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STAFF PICKS Your most important moment on public lands?
Got engaged in Zion
National Park, UT
Recovered
from an eating
disorder in
Pisgah National
Forest, NC
Got married in Glacier
National Park, MT
DEPUTY EDITOR Casey Lyons
DESTINATIONS EDITOR Maren Horjus
SENIOR DIGITAL EDITOR Adam Roy
ASSOCIATE GEAR EDITOR Eli Bernstein
ASSISTANT SKILLS EDITOR Corey Buhay
ART DIRECTOR
Mike Leister
PUBLISHER
Sharon Houghton
303.253.6412
shoughton@aimmedia.com
MIDWEST ACCOUNT MANAGER
Healing PTSD
in the Coconino
National Forest, AZ
(see page 54)
NORTHWEST FIELD EDITOR Ted Alvarez
ROCKY MOUNTAIN FIELD EDITOR
Elisabeth Kwak-Hefferan
SOUTHWEST FIELD EDITOR Annette McGivney
CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Kelly Bastone,
William M. Rochfort, Jr.
My first trip to
the Ansel Adams
EDITORIAL INTERN Hannah Johnson
Wilderness, CA. It
brought every John
Muir text I’d read
to life.
Charlotte Sibbing
312.730.7173
csibbing@aimmedia.com
Went for a hike on the Ahnapee
Trail in Wisconsin after getting
engaged. We had to find our way
back in the dark. It was our first
challenge to tackle together;
we’ve had many more since.
EASTERN ACCOUNT MANAGER
Lesli Krishnaiah
303.253.6353
krishnaiah@aimmedia.com
WEST COAST ACCOUNT MANAGER
ART
PHOTOGRAPHY DIRECTOR Genny Fullerton
ASSISTANT ART DIRECTOR Giovanni Corrado Leone
ASSISTANT PHOTO EDITOR Louisa Albanese
My honeymoon in City
of Rocks, ID
©2017 Alacer. *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Dennis Lewon
FIELD SCOUTS
Nancy Bouchard, Paul Chisholm,
Ryan Horjus, Aidan Lynn-Klimenko,
Laura Lancaster, Kristen Pope,
Ethan Shaw, Ryan Wichelns
Tanya Foster
805.816.4354
tfoster@aimmedia.com
Seeing my 8-year-old
twins experience the
magic of Great Sand
Dunes National Park, CO
Fishing, skiing, and
hiking with my family
in Grand Mesa National
Monument, CO
MARKETPLACE ACCOUNT MANAGER
Jennifer Hall
303.253.6419
jhall@aimmedia.com
CORPORATE SALES
JoAnn Martin
joannmartin@aimmedia.com
Met my husband in the
Green Mountains, VT
Stef Luciano
sluciano@aimmedia.com
Conceived both
of my children on
public lands!
ACTIVE INTEREST MEDIA
OUTDOOR GROUP
GENERAL MANAGER
Jonathan Dorn
GROUP PRODUCTION DIRECTOR
Barb Van Sickle
BUILDING MANAGER Tony Wilhelms
I.T. SPECIALIST Tony Pene
CORPORATE MARKETING Amy Lewis
EVENTS MARKETING MANAGER Rebecca Louzan
MARKETING MANAGER Tina Rolf
DIGITAL MARKETING SPECIALIST Leslie Barrett
PREPRESS MANAGER
Joy Kelley
PREPRESS SPECIALISTS
Idania Mentana, Galen Nathanson
SALES ASSISTANT
Lori Ostrow
Copyright 2018 © Cruz Bay Publishing, Inc.
PRESIDENT & CEO
Andrew W. Clurman
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT,
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER & TREASURER
CIRCULATION DIRECTOR Jenny Desjean
DIRECTOR OF RETAIL SALES Susan A. Rose
RETAIL SALES MANAGER Bev Landau Giacalone
NEWSSTAND ANALYST Bernadette Shaia
Michael Henry
CHIEF INNOVATION OFFICER
Jonathan Dorn
VICE PRESIDENT, AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT
FREELANCE SUBMISSIONS
backpacker.com/guidelines
Tom Masterson
VICE PRESIDENT, CONTROLLER
Joseph Cohen
VICE PRESIDENT, RESEARCH
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
letters@backpacker.com
Kristy Kaus
HUMAN RESOURCES DIRECTOR
JoAnn Thomas
AIM BOARD CHAIR
EDITORIAL AND BUSINESS OFFICES
5720 Flatiron Parkway, Boulder, CO 80301
Efrem Zimbalist III
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Magazine
Publishers
of America
03.2018
06
Please include name and address as they appear on the
magazine mailing label with all correspondence. Allow
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One Emergen-C every day and you’ll emerge restored, fortified
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PUBLIC
LANDS
EDITOR’S
NOTE
Highline Trail,
Glacier National Park
This Land is Your Land
F
OR 150 YEARS, the dominant story of public lands
in the United States has
been one of expansion and protection. Since Yosemite became
a refuge in 1864, we’ve pioneered
the world’s first national park
system and created wilderness
areas that are the gold standard
for preservation. These places
are so deeply embedded in the
A mer ica n ps yche t h at we’ve
ta ken them for g ra nted. Now
they ’re under threat, not just
from development and divestment pla ns, but from climate
03.2018
08
change as well. Suddenly, that
150-year stor y is in danger of
reversing course.
If ever there was a time to stand
up for public lands, it’s now. These
are the places that transform our
lives, the places where memory
mingles with air, wood, water,
and rock. Regardless of our differences, hikers can all agree on this:
Preserving America’s wild places
matters more than ever.
If you’re reading this magazine,
odds are good you’ve experienced
some of your greatest days while
on public land. Think about one
91
Percentage of
2016 voters
who believe
it’s important
to protect
natural places
for future
generations,
according to a
Hart Research
Associates poll.
of those times. Think about how
it broadened and enriched your
world, how it changed you. Now
imagine that it never happened.
If that alarms you, good. It’s
time to act. Happily, the most
important thing you can do for
public lands is visit them; there’s
no better way to turn hikers into
supporters. That’s why we organized this issue around trails that
need you now. Use your boots—and
pen and phone and voice. Make
yourself heard, and ensure the
next generation has as much open
space as we enjoy today, not less.
PHOTO
PHOTO BY
BY BEN
TK HERNDON / TANDEMSTOCK .COM
More than 600 million acres. Mountains, forests, and plains. Canyons, coasts, and deserts.
It’s the American birthright. And it’s at risk. by DENNIS LEWON
“I got completely lost looking for a
ghost town. That’s when I took a look around
and realized I wasn’t lost —
I’d found the real Nevada.
Let my story be the beginning of yours.”
TravelNevada.com/FebBackpacker
PUBLIC
LANDS
THIS IS
YOUR LAND
The Public Landscape
Being American makes you part owner of some of the finest terrain
in the world. Better get a handle on your portfolio.
BUSIEST NPS SITE
Golden Gate National Recreation Area
15,638,777 VISITS (2016)
MOST
VULNERABLE
M O S T C O N T R OV E R S I A L
C A S C A D E - S I S K I YO U
G R A N D S TA I R C A S E -
& GOLD BUTTE
ESCALANTE & BEARS EARS
NATIONAL MONUMENTS
NATIONAL MONUMENTS
Diminished in December 2017
Ea rma rked for reduction
WA SH IN G T ON
NO RTH DAK OTA
MON TAN A
MIN NESO T A
EG
ON
OR E
GO
N
IDA H O
W I SC O NS I N
S OUTH DAKOTA
WYO
MING
WY
OMING
IO W A
N E VAD A
NEBR AS KA
IN
I LLI N O I S
UTAH
COL OR ADO
RN
CA
C ALLI
L IFO
IFFO
OR
N IA
KAN S AS
AR IZON
IZ O NA
A
M I SSO UR I
OK LAH OMA
A RK A NSA S
NEW MEXICO
MIS
SIS
SS
PPII
M
I SSI
SII PP
0
100
MILES
TEXAS
LO UI S I AN A
HAWAII
AL AS KA
0
MILES
0
200
MILES
LEAST BUSY NPS SITE
A n ia kcha k Nat iona l
Monument & Preser ve
100 VISITS (2016)
03.2018
10
HIGHEST PERCENTAGE
OF FEDERAL OWNERSHIP
NEVADA 81%
100
200
300
THE KEY
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
MISSION Sustains the health, diversity, and productivity
of lands for multiple use and enjoyment
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
MISSION Preserves the natural and cultural resources
and values of the National Park System for enjoyment,
education, and inspiration
U.S. FOREST SERVICE
MISSION Sustains the health, diversity, and productivity
of the nation’s forests and grasslands
U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE
MISSION Works with others to conserve, protect, and
enhance fi sh, wildlife, plants, and their habitats
1 MILLION SQUARE MILES
of federal land
BUREAU OF
LAND MANAGEMENT
OTHER AGENCIES
29,000 MI
PUBLIC
LANDS
2
383,000 MI 2
FISH AND
WILDLIFE SERVICE
156,000 MI 2
MA IN E
NEW HA MPSH IR E
VE R MON T
MA SSA CH U
US
SET
ETTS
N E W Y OR K
MIC HIGAN
132,000 MI
FOREST SERVICE
300,000 MI 2
2
PUBLIC LAND
LEADER BOARD
VISITORS PER YEAR
= 50 MILLION VISITORS
RH O DE IS LAN D
N E W J E RS E Y
OHI O
DE L AW ARE
WES T
VIRGINIA
VIRGI
NI A
FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE
CO N N E CT ICU T
PE NNSY LV AN IA
N DIAN A
NATIONAL PARK
SERVICE
ABRAHAM LINCOLN
Designated what would
become Yosemite
MA RY L AN D
VIRG IN IA
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
DC
KENTUCKY
NOR T H
CAROL IN A
THEODORE
ROOSEVELT
T ENNESSEE
Founded the public
lands movement
FOREST SERV ICE
FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
S OUTH
CAROLI NA
GEORGIA
ALABAMA
LOWEST PERCENTAGE
OF FEDERAL OWNERSHIP
His CCC modernized
the park system.
PHOTOS BY LIBR ARY OF CONGRESS. MAP BY DOLLY HOLMES.
RESEARCH BY HANNAH JOHNSON
CONNECTICUT .2%
JIMMY CARTER
FLORIDA
Preserved wild
Alaska forever
YOUR LAND, YOUR VOICE
Should the government
turn over federal land
to the states?
64% NO, KEEP IT FEDERAL
BARACK OBAMA
Protected 265 million
acres—the most in history
2017 BUDGET
BLM $1.3 BILLION
NPS & USFWS $3 BILLION
USFS $6.2 BILLION
23% YES, GIVE IT TO THEM
13% UNDECIDED
OUTDOOR RECREATION ECONOMIC BENEFIT $887 BILLION
BACKPACKER.COM
11
HIDDEN TREASURE
Arizona Trail
Tonto National Forest, Arizona
THE VIEWS FROM Picketpost Mountain couldn’t be more
Arizona: red dirt expanses and dusky hills pocked with
20-foot-tall saguaro cactuses, craggy desert towers . . .
and big mining pits? There, amid arguably one of the prettiest stretches of the 800-mile Arizona Trail, machines will
begin digging the Resolution Copper Mine in as soon as
three years. Not only will the ore extraction mar the view
from the 4,377-foot peak, but the operation will affect popular rock climbing in the area and inch scary-close to Native
American archaeological sites.
Tackle the Superior section of the Arizona Trail now,
before the planned reroute around the mine leads hikers
away from Picketpost’s iconic vista. From the Picketpost
trailhead, follow the Arizona Trail south for .3 mile, then take
the 2-mile spur to Picketpost’s 360-degree summit view.
Return to the Arizona Trail, and follow it 9 more miles past
saguaros and eroded rock knobs to camp at Trough Springs
(a seasonal water source). Return the way you came.
TRAILHEAD Picketpost (33.2722, -111.1763) SEASON
September to May PERMIT None CONTACT
www.fs.usda.gov/tonto
Like this view from Picketpost
Mountain the way it is?
Petition local representatives
to revoke the Forest Service
land swap that gave the green
light to mining in the area.
03.2018
14
PUBLIC
LANDS
Final Countdown
GRINNELL
GLACIER TRAIL
SEE IT
Glacier National Park, Montana
YOU ’ V E HE A R D TH AT t h is
park’s 23 namesake features are
disappearing, but maybe thought
you had plenty of time to see them.
Bad news: Revisions to air temperature modeling indicate the zeroice date may be in 2020. In this
case, there is literally no time to
waste to see the land and its architect in the same viewshed.
One of the first to go might be
Grinnell Glacier, which has lost
40 percent of its original might
in the last half-century. Steady
melting keeps the ice retreating
higher into the cirque that cradles it, while calving expedites
the process (like in 2015, when a
10-acre chunk broke off into Upper
Grinnell Lake). Admire Grinnell’s
110-acre remains by following
its eponymous trail 5.5 miles to
Upper Grinnell Lake, where the
glacier’s crumbling toe adds to the
startlingly blue water every year.
Scan the steep-walled cliffs surrounding the lake to see two more
glaciers: Gem to the south and
Salamander, which once touched
Grinnell, 700 feet above it. Look
for mountain goats on the cliffs,
glimpse alpine wildf lowers that
thrive in snowmelt, and listen for
the squeak of marmots on the rocky
moraine—all of these cold-loving
species will struggle and decline
without the park’s rivers of ice.
PHOTO BY HAGEPHOTO
TK
TRAILHEAD Grinnell Glacier
(48.7971, -113.6684) SEASON
July to October PERMIT
None CONTACT nps.gov/glac
PROGRESS REPORT
Cute and resilient: California’s
Channel Islands foxes just
notched the fastest recovery
of a mammal on the endangered
species list in U.S. history. The
now-delisted critters grew
their population from 50 to
4,000 in just 12 years. Look for
the little fighters on the 2-mile
Cavern Point Loop Trail on Santa
Cruz Island.
BACKPACKER.COM
15
PUBLIC
LANDS
SEE IT
BACK TO NATURE
Long Trail
Mt. Mansfield State Forest, Vermont
CLOSE YOUR EYES and picture fall glory
in Vermont’s north woods. It’s the sort of
scene that’s equally austere and comforting: blazing tunnels of crimson and amber
leaves, high-elevation ba lds filled with
a lpine tundra, huge moose browsing at
the water’s edge.
It’s not all going away, but it will change.
Scientists are already noting the slight uptick
in temperatures in Vermont, which has given
rise to bark-boring pests that attack hardwoods. Ashes, birches, and, most notably,
maples are dying off, and, though scientists
can’t say when they’ll disappear from the
landscape, it will likely happen within the
next few decades. Alpine tundra, the state’s
rarest ecosystem, may follow. Moose may
migrate away.
03.2018
16
Cheer you r sel f up by ex per ienci n g
Vermont the way nature intended on the
28-mile segment of the Long Trail from
Bolton to VT 15 (leaving a car at both locations). It’s a roller coaster, gaining 9,500
total feet—including a 2,600-foot grunt up
Mt. Mansfield, the state high point—but
there’s no better section for notching big
views from tundra-topped summits. Do it
in three days, overnighting at Twin Brooks
(scan for moose here) and Sterling Pond
Shelter ($5). The Long Trail has its charms
in every season, but autumn’s sensory overload is the best—for now.
TRAILHEAD Bolton Notch Road (44.3838,
-72.9147) SEASON Year-round PERMIT None
CONTACT greenmountainclub.org
PROGRESS REPORT
Governor Andrew Cuomo
and the New York state
legislature agreed to
dish out $200 million to
create the Empire State
Trail. The new-andimproved path will span
750 miles in two prongs,
from Buffalo to Albany
and from NYC to Canada,
giving backcountry
access to 130 more
municipalities.
The Chin soars
above the Long Trail
on Mt. Mansfield.
PUBLIC
LANDS
SEE IT
OUT OF THIS WORLD
Sliding Sands Trail
Haleakala National Park, Hawaii
LIFE’S NOT EASY as a silversword. The rare-but-iconic
plant has had to fight for its life atop Maui’s 10,023foot Haleakala for the past 300 years, first dealing
with hungry, invasive goats, then overeager, nonLNT-abiding tourists. Now the spiky, silver rosette
faces another battle: climate change. Between warming temps and disrespectful hikers, the Haleakala silversword population has declined 60 percent since
the 1990s—now numbering just 40,000. See the
threatened plants on the 9.2-mile, out-and-back
Sliding Sands Trail, which descends into the volcano’s
crater. The easy-to-identify silverswords pop against
the deep-red dirt.
TRAILHEAD Keonehe’ehe’e (20.7141, -156.2511)
SEASON Year-round PERMIT None CONTACT
PHOTOS BY (FROM LEFT) KURT BUDLIGER; RON DAHLQUIST /
AURORA PHOTOS. ILLUSTRATION BY JOEL KIMMEL
nps.gov/hale
PROFILES IN PRESERVATION
the veteran
Sean Gobin
TURNING POINT In 2012, following
deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan,
Gobin, a Captain in the Marine Corps,
thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail. “The
outpouring of support I experienced on
the trail was really impactful,” Gobin
says. “In combat zones, you experience
the worst of humanity and start to have a
cynical view of society. The Appalachian
Trail community reestablished the basic
faith in humanity I lost somewhere along
the way.”
RESULTS Gobin founded Warrior
Expeditions, a nonprofit organization
that has provided free, long-distance
outdoor expeditions for 148 veterans
since 2013. “We have a veteran
population trying to heal from war
experience, and our entire society is
trying to overcome all kinds of trauma,”
Gobin says. “The outdoors is a free,
great, and accessible way to do that.”
(For more on the healing power of public
lands, see page 54.) –Hannah Johnson
BACKPACKER.COM
17
PUBLIC
LANDS
Herd Spotting
TRAIL AND
LOS T CREEKS
SEE IT
The Greenstone
Ridge Trail
WITH ALASK A’S largest system of glaciers and
permanent snowfields, a
qua r ter of Wra ngell-St.
Elias hides under a shield
of ice. As in other Alaskan
parks, that frozen layer is
melting—giving caribou
fewer places to escape from
biting insects. But that’s
not the only issue the deer
have with warming temps.
A longer growing season
means that new seedlings—
the highly nutritious sprigs
that nourish babies—no
longer coincide with calving season. Plus, hotter
summers mean more fires,
which destroy the lichens
that the adults rely on.
A l l s a id , Wr a n ge l l ’s
C h i s a n a c a r ib ou her d ,
which once was 1,800 anim a l s s t r on g , h a s b e en
dwindling for more than a
decade. Try to spot the 700
or so remaining deer—plus
Dall’s sheep—in the northea st corner of the pa rk
before they make a permanent move for colder yearround temps. Connect the
gravel bars, canyons, and
dwa rf willow a nd birch
benches of the Trail Creek
and Lost Creek drainages
for a 22.5-mile loop (get
prepped, right).
PRIVATE ISLE
Greenstone Ridge Trail
Isle Royale National Park, Michigan
GRAY WOLVES HAVEN’T always lived on
Isle Royale. They arrived in the 1940s, having
migrated across an ice bridge from Ontario.
But such ice bridges are now rare—winters
have become warmer and windier—and with
no inf lux of fresh breeding stock from the
mainland, Isle Royale’s most celebrated residents have dwindled in number from 50 in
five packs to just two inbred animals.
That could spell disaster for the island’s
entire ecosystem. With no predators to check
the island’s 1,600 moose, biologists predict that the browsers will mow down every
balsam fir and aspen sapling on Isle Royale,
causing a disastrous ecological ripple effect.
Now, the Park Service must decide whether
to import wolves to reinvigorate the population—or let nature take its course.
To listen to what may be the island’s
f ina l howls, hike a t wo-night, 21-mile
loop on the island’s east end (where the
03.2018
18
remaining wolves were born and still spend
most of their time). From Rock Harbor, hike
7 miles west along a shoreline trail before
camping at Daisy Farm. Next day, hike
northeast for 7 more miles—following a portion of the Greenstone Ridge Trail—to Mt.
Franklin. Overnight at Lane Cove and then
close the loop with 7 more miles to Rock
Harbor. Alternatively, if you’ve got a boat,
dock at Tobin Harbor to dayhike through the
east end’s wildest corner: Head 1 mile north
through lichen-draped firs to Lookout Louise
and its views of forested fingers splintering
into Lake Superior, then hike 5 miles west to
conduct a wolf-spotting mission along the
Greenstone Ridge Trail.
TRAILHEAD Rock Harbor (48.1461, -88.4861)
SEASON April to October PERMIT Required
for backpacking (free); obtain aboard the
ferry. CONTACT nps.gov/isro
TRAILHEAD Trail Creek
(62.5227, -143.2220)
SEASON June to September
PERMIT None CONTACT
nps.gov/wrst
PROGRESS REPORT
Here’s how to put the
wild back into wild. Once
nearly extinct, there are
now an estimated 113
Mexican gray wolves
in Arizona and New
Mexico. In 2016 alone,
the population grew
17 percent, the largest
year-over-year growth
since the reintroduction
plan began nearly 20
years ago. Try to spot
these elusive predators
in Arizona’s Blue Range
Primitive Area.
PHOTOS BY (CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT) ALEX MESSENGER / TANDEMSTOCK .COM; SAR AH EBRIGHT; COURTESY.
TEXT BY K ASSONDR A CLOOS (PREP LIKE A PRO)
Wrangell-St. Elias
National Park, Alaska
PREP LIKE A PRO
EXPLORE ALASKA’S
FARTHEST REACHES
E
VERYTHING IS bigger in Alaska:
Wrangell-St. Elias (left) is the largest
national park in the country, almost
six times the size of Yellowstone. Even Sarah
Ebright, who guides full-time for St. Elias
Alpine Guides, hasn’t cracked a double-digit
percentage of exploration after five years of
working there. She figures she’s seen about
5 percent of the park, and calls that a high
estimate. Why so tough to explore? In most
places, you have to drop into the trailless
SARAH EBRIGHT
backcountry by plane, and then jagged alpine
St. Elias Alpine
passes and snow-draped volcanoes make
Guides Operations
for slow going. “I love that feeling of being so
Manager
little,” Ebright says. “You look around and the
mountains just keep going, as far as you can
see. You feel like a tiny speck on the surface of the Earth.”
Rohn
Glacier
KEY SKILLS
PUBLIC
LANDS
OFF-TRAIL HIKING
Pretty much the only paths in Wrangell-St. Elias
are game trails. Use these tips when your route
intersects boulders, tundra, or scree.
SEE IT
1. BOOST YOUR BALANCE.
A few months before you head to the
park, strengthen your ankles, knees,
and mental toughness by hiking the steepest,
least-maintained trails you can fi nd near you.
Use poles for extra stability.
2. DO YOUR RECONNAISSANCE.
Ask park rangers about relevant
glacier conditions before you head out.
During the fl ight in, ask your pilot to fly over
your intended route, and keep an eye out for
landmarks and divergences from your map. “A
lot of our topo maps are from the 1950s,” Ebright
says; things change fast in glacier country.
3. PICK LANDMARKS WISELY.
Retreating glaciers and changing river
courses make unreliable handrails.
Instead, use unmovable objects like
ridgelines. Getting cliffed out? Scan the horizon
for a ramp you can reach by backtracking. Don’t
hesitate to turn around—it might be the only way.
Frederika
Glacier
High Pass
Odyssey
Hole-in-TheWall Glacier
FAVORITE HIKE: The High Pass Odyssey. Fly in from McCarthy, and
connect the Frederika and Rohn Glaciers to the small airstrip near the
headwaters of the Nizina River. The terrain along this 30-mile, 8-day
trek varies from tundra to alpine passes, but the finale is the best part.
“You end up at this beautiful glacial lake full of icebergs,” Ebright says.
4. MASTER THE ‘SCHWACK.
Stick to high ridges, gravel bars, and
game trails to avoid bushwhacking
when you can. No choice? Streamline
your pack to avoid catching branches.
Keep about 4 feet between you and your partner,
and wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.
In dense, thorny brush, spare your face and
arms by hiking backward.
THE GEAR
OSPREY
ORTOVOX
SCARPA
It’s Ebright’s go-to pack for trips of
all types, because it’s both super
comfortable and super durable (and has
the suspension to handle heavy loads).
Ebright’s Ariel has survived extensive
bushwhacks in boreal forest, scrapes on
rocky terrain, and every kind of weather
imaginable. $330; 5 lbs. (w’s S); m’s
Aether AG 80; ospreypacks.com
Unlike most other puffies, the Laravella
is stuffed with wool. “I wear it all year
long,” Ebright says. Stretchy back panels
accommodate her broad shoulders and
let her row a packraft without restriction.
But it’s not too warm. Ebright wears it
under a rainshell without sweating—a key
feature in the soggy Wrangells. $250;
11.3 oz. (w’s S); w’s S-XL; ortovox.com
With a rockered sole and just enough flex,
the Charmoz is a foot-saver for Ebright.
The hybrid mountaineering boot is stiff
enough for crampons, but the flexible
forefoot and grippy Vibram outsole
make it ideal for all-day hiking and rockhopping across the Wrangell’s trailless
terrain. $295; 2 lbs. 12 oz. (w’s 38);
m’s 40-50, w’s 37-42; scarpa.com
Aerial AG 75
Lavarella
Charmoz
BACKPACKER.COM
19
PUBLIC
LANDS
A hiker approaches
Deer Lakes on the
Mammoth Crest Loop.
SEE IT
SEE THE FOREST FOR THE TREES
Mammoth Crest Loop
Inyo National Forest, California
TRAILHEAD Lake George (37.6035, -119.0112) SEASON
July to October PERMIT Required for backpacking (free
for walk-ins, $10 + $5/person for reservations); obtain
at the Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center. CONTACT
www.fs.usda.gov.inyo
PHOTO BY HAGEPHOTO
WHITEBARK PINES have been fighting the good fight for
a long time. Most of these gnarled trees are 600 to 700
years old—that’s a lot of time doing battle with the weather
in the harshest high-elevation zones across the West.
But though they can withstand the endless lashing of
icy winds, whitebarks are practically defenseless
against pests like pine beetles and fungi like blister rust.
Unfortunately, both have reached epidemic levels thanks
to recent warming trends, spurring die -of fs from
Washington to Wyoming. With no whitebarks, expect
smaller plants and animals that use the trees for shelter or
food (like Clark’s nutcrackers) to follow suit.
Some of the healthiest of the remaining whitebarks live
in California’s southern Sierra, where the arid climate discourages pests. To wander among their wind-twisted limbs,
head to Mammoth Lakes and follow the 13-mile Mammoth
Crest Loop, which spends most of its time between 10,400
and 11,200 feet, where whitebarks still thrive. Start at the
overnight lot on Lake George Road and climb for 6 miles
along the crest of the Sierra, tenting in the rock-studded
meadow between Lower and Middle Deer Lake. Next day,
continue counterclockwise on unmaintained trail to Silver
Divide and down to Barney and Skelton Lakes, just south of
the trailhead.
PUBLIC
LANDS
SEE IT
Make History
CHILKOOT TRAIL
Klondike Gold Rush National
Historic Park, Alaska
NICK NAMED THE “Mea nest
33 Miles of History,” the Chilkoot
may very well be the world’s longest
museum. Along the route, hikers
pass Gold Rush artifacts from the
1800s like boots, boats, and grave
markers (assuming people leave
them as they lie). Decomposition,
decay, and increasing meltwater
are also to blame for the disappearing ruins, which could be totally
gone in a few decades. Keep your
eyes peeled for artifacts—including an easy-to-spot boiler—on the
7.7-mile Canyon City section. Turn
around at the old settlement or
pitch a tent near the Taiya River.
TRAILHEAD Chilkoot (59.5120,
-135.3466) SEASON June to
September PERMIT Required ($21);
obtain from the visitor center in
Skagway. CONTACT nps.gov/klgo
Welcome Party
AMERICAN CAMP
PRAIRIE LOOP
San Juan Island National
Historic Park, Washington
PAY Y O U R R E S P E C T S t o
nature’s comeback kids on this
easy, 3.5-mile loop along the Strait
of Juan de Fuca: After they were
declared extinct in 1908, island
marble butterflies were rediscovered on San Juan Island nearly a
century later. Though they’re still
threatened (and face habitat loss
to agriculture), the insects’ population is thought to be around 300.
Look for the butterflies (they have
f lashy, green-and-white wings)
in the American Camp area of the
national historic park by connecting the South Beach, Bluff, and
Grandma’s Cove Trails.
TRAILHEAD South Beach (48.4572,
-123.0065) SEASON Year-round;
the butterflies are most common
May and June. PERMIT None
CONTACT nps.gov/sajh
BACKPACKER.COM
21
PUBLIC
LANDS
SEE IT
Visit Cliff Palace
on a guided tour. The
dwelling contains
23 kivas and more
than 150 rooms.
BLAST FROM THE PAST
Cliff Palace
Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado
ANCESTRAL PUEBLOANS BUILT THEIR stone dwellings in cave-like alcoves created by erosion. But those same erosive forces may lead to the ruins’
destruction in Mesa Verde and other archaeological sites across the Southwest. Irregular weather patterns due to climate change have increased
the frequency of the freeze-thaw cycles that cause cliffs to shed pieces of rock: Meltwater trickles into the cracks, expands as it freezes, and
wedges off the outlying stone. The threat even prompted Mesa Verde officials to close access to Spruce Tree House in 2015.
Cliff Palace could follow. This past summer, the park dispatched climbers up the ruin’s surrounding walls and ceiling, where they tapped the rock
with hammers to determine its stability. One rock-scaling mission ended up dislodging an 800-pound slab that splintered climbers’ scaffolding as
it hurtled to the floor. Better make the .3-mile journey to North America’s largest cliff dwelling sooner rather than later.
PROFILES IN PRESERVATION
the advocate
Amy Roberts
03.2018
22
TURNING POINT “In my early 30s I had a
good-paying job at a tech firm with stock
options and a seemingly solid career
path,” Roberts says. “The ‘trouble’ was
I was spending all my evenings after
work and the weekends climbing—at the
Black Cliffs outside Boise and the City of
Rocks and Smith Rocks on the weekends.
I decided to quit my job (much to my
dad’s horror) and took a year off to
climb, eventually migrating to the Sierra
Nevada. That period clarified for me that
my passion was about the outdoors and
getting outside and I wanted my working
hours to be about that as well.”
RESULTS Now the Executive Director
of the Outdoor Industry Association,
Roberts works to show the value of
public lands, both for individuals who
get outside and for local economies
that benefit. “The economic message
has been a game-changer,” Roberts
says. “Cities that have invested in green
space are seeing the return in businesses
choosing to locate there, as well as
people returning to live near urban parks.
Similarly, gateway communities to more
remote national parks and monuments
are thriving. Our data is now widely cited
by policymakers.” –H.J.
PHOTOS BY RUSS BISHOP / AUROR A PHOTOS; (OPPOSITE) KOBY KIRK
ILLUSTR ATION BY JOEL KIMMEL
TRAILHEAD Cliff Palace Overlook (37.1678, -108.4731) SEASON April to October PERMIT Required ($5); obtain at the visitor center.
CONTACT nps.gov/meve
MAKE IT
PER SONAL
Remember Everything
PUBLIC
LANDS
When you’re hiking in a place that might never be the same, make sure
you bring home a story you can share. BY HANNAH JOHNSON
CHOOSE YOUR WEAPON
JOURNAL It’s cheap,
light, and batteries are
not required.
CAMERA Whether
you use a phone or
DSLR, it’s the fastest
way to record a trip.
DON’T FEAR THE BLANK PAGE.
Write as if you’re recounting the
day to a friend on the phone. Start
with a scribble or simple description; it’s OK to be messy. Your
style will likely change during the
trip anyway. “You grow into what
you like,” Kirk says.
GET INTO A HABIT.
Routine is essential. Set aside
time each day to get the camera
out or record the day’s events.
FIND BALANCE.
Capture the landscape,
camp life, your hiking partners,
trail milestones, and failures
as well as successes. You want a
well-rounded view of the trip.
GET GRITTY.
The most memorable moments
often happen when the weather
is bad or people are working hard.
When you’d rather not get out the
camera, you probably should.
VIDEO Shell out
for that action cam, or
upload phone vids to
the cloud—both Apple
and Google
can automatically
combine your videos
(and photos) into a
highlight reel.
BLOG Share your
experience with the
click of a button,
either on-trail or at
home. Try the (free)
Off Exploring or
BonJournal apps.
PAINTBRUSH
Drawing or painting
your trip requires
more supplies
(and patience), but
research shows that
integrating visual and
motor skills is one
of the best ways to
cement memories.
THE EXPERTS
Writer and artist Kolby Kirk and pro adventure
and documentary photographer Jody MacDonald
without public lands
this could be you
Supporting the outdoors since 2001: bigagnes.com
Photo: Tim Murphy
* blowtorch optional
PUBLIC
LANDS
Sunset on
Navarre Beach
SEE IT
YOUR LAND, YOUR VOICE
The Senate included a
go-ahead to drill for oil
in the Arctic National
Wildlife Refuge in the tax
bill it passed in December.
Should drilling be allowed
in ANWR?
SURF AND TURF
Florida Trail
Gulf Islands National Seashore, Florida
03.2018
24
the salt content on land, killing off many of
the coastal plants.
If you’d rather hike this trail than paddle
it, make haste to Santa Rosa Island. From
the Navarre Beach Pier, track west along
the national seashore’s wild, undeveloped
beaches. Scramble though dunes on the
bay side of Santa Rosa before pitching your
tent at the backcountry Bayview Campsite
at mile 12.5 (BYO water). Next day, hike 14
more miles on beachside bike paths and
sandy trails through coastal scrub to Fort
Pickens ($10 entry fee; campsites start at $26;
recreation.gov). Note: There are a few water
spigots along the way.
TRAILHEAD Navarre Beach Pier (30.3801,
-86.8638) SEASON September to May
PERMIT None CONTACT nps.gov/guis
78% NO
16% YES
6% NOT SURE
PROGRESS REPORT
Dole Food Company
sold a nearly 4,000-acre
slice of Waimea Native
Forest in Hawaii to the
Trust for Public Land last
fall, which bodes well for
Oahu’s native plants and
wildlife—and hikers looking for lush rainforest
with ocean views.
PHOTO BY STUART SCHAEFER
THERE MAY BE NO better taste of the
1,300-mile Florida Trail than its northernmost segment. The 26.5 miles from Navarre
Beach to Fort Pickens meander along the
slim, sandy finger of Santa Rosa Island, leading hikers across sugary, white-sand beaches
and dunes with views across the teal water of
Pensacola Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.
But this beachy paradise may soon be
underwater. Sea levels are rising all along the
Gulf Coast, and although scientists haven’t
been able to forecast exactly when saltwater will overwash these barrier islands, the
threat is already evident: Storms, now higher
and stronger than before, have sliced channels of open water through Santa Rosa Island
and obliterated the park’s Fort Pickens Road
(necessitating $50 million in repairs and
reconstruction). Such floods have also raised
Even after
34,000 years...
They still
share a love
of meat
Gray Wolf
©2018 Blue Buffalo Co., Ltd.
Species: Canis lupus
Feed your dog more of the
chicken, duck or salmon
he was born to love.
Love them like family.
Feed them like family.¨
Domestic Dog
Subspecies: Canis lupus familiaris
Fun Fact:
A recent genetic study suggests our best pals
and wolves separated from a common ancestor
between 9,000 and 34,000 years ago.
(1 of 3)
Battleground
Not since the days of the Wild West has the public land picture
seemed so unsettled. by CASEY LYONS
FOR L E S S T H A N A Y E A R ,
Ut a h’s B e a r s E a r s Na t ion a l
Monument described a 1.3 millionacre swath of canyons brimming
with the highest density of ancient
native artifacts in the country.
Last December, by order of
President Donald Trump on the
re c om mend at ion of I nt er ior
Secretary Ryan Zinke, Bears Ears
was replaced with two monuments with a combined area some
85 percent smaller than the original. The remainders returned to
their designations as BLM or U.S.
Forest Service land, making them
eligible for new energy and road
development. (Nearby, 1.9 millionacre Grand Staircase-Escalante
National Monument was diminished by about half).
A reduction of t h is si ze is
unprecedented in our history (it
faces legal challenges), and the
rhetoric around the issue has been
heated, given that the monument
status didn’t change existing uses
for grazing, mining, logging, oil and
gas leases, hunting, or off-highway
vehicle use. It didn’t increase the
total federal land holding, or force
private property owners off their
land. It did, however, enhance protection from future development.
That’s what national monuments
do, and as a result, they direct a lot
of visitors—and their money—to a
place worth seeing.
But what made Bears Ears and
Escalante so objectionable to some
03.2018
26
was partly their respective sizes.
Since national monuments came
into existence under the Antiquities Act of 1906, there has been
debate about their scope. Many
Western members of Congress
have advocated for smaller tracts
that define areas of specific cultural significance, arguing that
large areas of protected land stymie
local control. Of course, that didn’t
stop President Theodore Roosevelt
f rom desi g n at i n g t he Gra nd
Canyon a national monument in
1908, when Congress lacked the
will to name it a national park.
There was grumbling then, too,
with detractors arguing that any
hindrance on mineral extraction
would be bad for Arizona’s economy. (It’s worth noting that the
Grand Canyon generated $900 million for the local economy in 2016.)
The size issue has also prompted
new legislation to put limits on
the Antiquities Act. If approved, it
would restrict the president from
designating monuments larger
than 85,000 acres, while requiring
voted consent from all levels of government. But, in this case, size isn’t
all that matters.
T he at t a ck on monu ment s
comes amid a broader effort to
undermine protections for public
lands—or eliminate them outright.
Despite a long history of bipartisan
support for public lands, a plank in
the GOP’s 2016 platform offered
a directive to reduce federa l
This site in
the Abajo
Mountains,
previously in
Bear Ears, is not
included in the
newly created
monuments.
THERE’S AN
ONGOING
ARGUMENT
TO GIVE LAND
BACK TO
STATES, EVEN
IF THE LAND
IN QUESTION
WAS NEVER
OWNED BY THE
STATES THAT
CONTAIN IT,
BUT RATHER BY
THE AMERICAN
PUBLIC.
acreage. In January 2017, Utah
Republicans introduced a bill to
transfer 3 million acres of land to
state control. Days later, the backlash from users of the outdoors
stopped it cold. In 2016, Zinke,
then a Congressional representative, resigned his position as a delegate to the Republican National
Convention over this issue, calling
it too divisive.
Still, there’s an ongoing argument to give land back to states,
even if the land in question was
never owned by the states that contain it, but rather by the American
public. Prior to designation as a
monument, the Grand Canyon—
and much of the Southwest—was
held by a federal agency responsible
for nearly all the land that became
the United States after the 1848
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended
the Mexican-American War (and
well before the establishment of the
State of Arizona in 1912). A similar
story played out across the West.
Unsur prisingly, A merica ns
don’t wa nt to g ive up what ’s
already theirs. Year after year, we
continue to show strong support
for public land protection. But
while visitation continues to climb
across all designations of federal
land, funding continues to shrink,
straining infrastructure.
O ne of t he key a r g u ment s
against public land protection
is that America needs extractive industries to boost the economy. But 90 percent of BLM land
is a lready elig ible for energ y
development, mining, and drilling. That logic suffered another
blow last year when Congress,
as part of the Outdoor REC Act,
recognized the contributions of
the outdoor industry to the gross
domestic product for the first
time ($887 billion in 2016, accordi n g t o t he O ut door I ndu s t r y
Association—far outpacing mining’s $261 billion contribution).
U ltimately, the cour ts w i ll
decide if the changes to Bears Ears
and Grand Staircase-Escalante
will stand. The results will have
far-reaching consequences. Do
presidents have the power to undo
land protections established by
their predecessors? Will that
leave some controversial locations bouncing between competing
visions of how to manage them?
Eit her w ay, wh at h appen s
will be big news because, thanks
t o generat ion s of a dvocat es,
lawmakers, and yes, hikers, our
lands occupy not only a place
on our national map, but in our
American identity.
PHOTO BY TIM
TK PETERSON
PUBLIC
LANDS
STATE OF
THE LAND
X ULTRA 3 MID
Congresswoman
Martha McSally
after a 13.2-mile
hike on the Arizona
Trail in October
03.2018
28
PUBLIC
LANDS
SEE IT
COMMON
GROUND
Can a trail-loving conservative
use public land to bridge the partisan
divide? M. John Fayhee joins
Representative Martha McSally on
the Arizona Trail to find out.
photography by GABRIELLA MARKS
I
T DID NOT TAKE LONG for word to spread in the small, isolated
town in New Mexico that I call home. Whether quaffing a Belgian
ale in the brewpub, or sipping a fair-trade latte in the java emporium, or inspecting organic cabbages in the food co-op, members of my
dirt-worshipping social circle would approach and ask, suspiciously,
“So . . . I hear you’re going hiking with a Republican?”
I’d brush off the blatant stereotyping. Besides, I argued, these are divisive
times and here was a chance find out if trails can transcend politics.
At issue was my acceptance of an invitation to spend a day on the Arizona
Trail (AZT) with Congresswoman Martha McSally, whose National
Environmental Scorecard rating for 2016 from the League of Conservation
Voters was an almost impossibly low 3 percent. McSally represents Arizona’s Second Congressional District—the southeastern part of the Grand Canyon State—which includes such world-class
rough country as the Chiricahua Mountains, Cochise Stronghold, Saguaro
National Park, and a significant portion of the AZT, including its southern
terminus on the Mexican border.
Skeptical friends aside, my foray to visit McSally had perfectly understandable root causes.
First was my curiosity about McSally herself. After having been told by
the Air Force that, at 5’3”, she was too short to fill a cockpit, she became the
first American woman to fly a fighter plane in combat, piloting an A-10 over
Iraq in 1995 as part of Operation Southern Watch and over Afghanistan in
2004. She then worked her way up the military hierarchy until she became
a squadron commander and retired as a full-bird colonel in 2011 at age 44.
She sounded like the type of paradigm-shifting person with whom I’d like to
share a day on the trail.
Second, McSally had very publicly stated her intention to section-hike
the entire 800-mile AZT, an undertaking very near and dear to my heart, as,
exactly 20 years prior, I had become one of the first people to complete a thruhike. My interaction with the footpath over the intervening two decades had
been infrequent and cursory. I wanted to see how it had evolved since its designation as a National Scenic Trail in 2009.
McSally decided to hike the AZT at least partially as a way to celebrate public
land. “I’m hiking to show our district, our state, and our nation that these treasures matter, that outdoor recreation is important,” she said in a statement at
the outset. “Elected officials have a responsibility to help protect our lands for
future generations. I’m willing to demonstrate that I take
this responsibility seriously.” This kind of thinking puts her almost at total odds
with current Republican orthodoxy.
A plank in the party’s 2016 platform states, “It is
absurd to think that all the [federal] acreage must
remain under the absentee ownership or management
of official Washington. Congress shall immediately
pass universal legislation . . . requiring the federal government to convey certain federally controlled public
lands to states.”
But this comes at a time when the majority of all
Americans, regardless of political party affiliation,
support public lands, and they’re voting with their feet.
Public lands-based outdoor recreation is exploding in
Arizona, which is home to 90 legally designated wilderness areas, three national parks, 18 national monuments, and a host of long-distance trails in varying
stages of completion.
And, when former Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz introduced a bill to transfer 3 million acres of public land to
state ownership in the first days of the Trump administration, it prompted an immediate outcry, particularly
from hunting and fishing groups, loud enough to make
him withdraw the bill in days.
Even Donald Trump, when campaigning for president, said he couldn’t get behind something like that: “I
don’t like the idea because I want to keep the lands great,
and you don’t know what the state is going to do,” Trump
told Field and Stream magazine. “I mean, are they going
to sell if they get into a little bit of trouble? And I don’t
think it’s something that should be sold. We have to be
great stewards of this land.”
The majority of people agree, regardless of political
leaning. In 2017, Colorado College conducted a survey
of residents of Western states and found that support for
preserving public lands for recreation outweighs support for drilling and mining on them by a factor of 3 to 1.
(In Arizona, it’s 4 to 1.) And in a separate poll commissioned by the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank, 75 percent of voters in the 2016 election
said that protecting and maintaining national parks,
public lands, and natural places should be a “very important” goal for the federal government.
I wanted to see if the national reverence for public
land is perhaps the one thing—maybe the only thing—
that Americans can agree on. In our polarized era of
national politics, could public lands be a rare bit of
common ground? And could McSally, a proud conservative and devoted trail lover, be the one to help reconcile a
major political party with the fact that an overwhelming
majority of Americans love to recreate on public lands?
O U R C O N T I N G E N T C O N G R E G AT E D a t a
McDonald’s in northeast Tucson on an October morning
and drove to Gordon Hirabayashi Campground, along
the Catalina Highway. The road there is lined with sheer
cliffs and one of the densest concentrations of saguaro
cactuses in the Southwest as it ascends 7,000 vertical
feet in 27 serpentine miles.
Our goal was to dayhike 13.2 miles to Redington
Pass, at the base of the Rincon Mountains, which
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29
PUBLIC
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def i ne t he he a r t of S a g u a r o
Nat ion a l Pa rk . It ’s a mo derate stretch of trail northeast of
Tucson, where McSally lives and
has one of her two district offices. I had ex pressed a desire to
McSally’s staff to do more than an
ornamental, photo op-type stroll
along the AZT. I made this request
out of concern that McSally’s pronouncement that she intended to
complete the entire trail was little
more than a publicity stunt. At that
point, she had hiked only one 1.7mile section (out and back, so 3.4
miles total)—from the southern
terminus in Coronado National
Memorial to Montezuma Pass.
That hike had been leveraged into a
bona fide media event, with much in
the way of TV and newspaper coverage. The last thing I wanted was
to be a part of a dog-and-pony show.
When I mentioned that concern
to McSally, she half-growled, halfgrinned and said, “I don’t say I’m
gonna do something and not do it.
Trust me, I’m gonna finish.”
McSally told me that, given her
tough schedule—spending Monday
through Thursday in Washington,
D.C., and weekends at home in
Tucson—and given that the AZT
consists of 43 sections covering between 9 and 35 miles each,
it might take a few years, but she
was determined to see the quest
through. Not, she said, because she
had committed to the journey in
public and on the record but, rather,
because it was something she really
wanted to do.
Martha—she insisted everyone
address her thus—stated that she
intended to invite members of the
community to join her on most of
the AZT sections because it presented a perfect opportunity to mix
with the people she represents in a
non-traditional setting. But why a trail? What attracted
an Air Force fighter pilot to the
decidedly subsonic world of hiking?
Martha said her entrancement
03.2018
30
The AZT snakes
through saguaro
country like Gila
River Canyons on
its 800-mile tour
of Southwestern
scenery.
PROGRESS
REPORT
The purchase
of a massive
private range
by the Wilderness Land
Trust finally
opened the
Sabinoso Wilderness in
northeastern
New Mexico
to hikers last
fall. Up until
the ink dried,
it was the
only designated wilderness area in
the U.S. that
lacked public
access,
though several wilderness study
areas remain
inaccessible.
with Arizona’s backcountry actually started in the air. “Since I
was in pilot training [at Tucson’s
Davis-Monthan Air Force Base], I
got to view the amazing variety of
landscapes, mountains, canyons,
diverse ecosystems, and breathtaking red sunsets from the air,” she
said, “as well as experience them on
the ground, first on runs, bike rides,
and camping, and later on hiking,
once I got that bug.”
That led to regular hikes and a
particular fondness for 9,456-foot
Mt. Wrightson, where she’d climb
to wraparound views of Arizona
and Mexico after returning from
campaigns, be they military or,
later, political. When she’s home
in Tucson, she makes regular trail
runs to decompress from “sleepdeprived deployments to D.C.,” as
she puts it. “I head out onto the trail
with my golden retriever when I can
and, each time, my body, mind, and
soul feel refreshed.”
Sounded like a trail person to me.
OUR GROUP WAS DIVERSE:
two professional Forest Service
wildland firefighters, the dean of
the University of Arizona’s College
of Education, a superintendent of
a nearby school district, a wilderness and recreation manager for
the Coronado National Forest—
which housed this stretch of trail—
a photographer, one of McSally’s
staffers and her fiancé, and, perhaps most interestingly, the father
of one of the six people who had
been killed during the 2011 assassination attempt on Congresswoman
Gabrielle Giffords.
It was Giffords’s seat, which
she gave up because of hea lth
issues related to the shooting,
that McSa lly eventua lly won.
After McSally failed to win the
Republican nomination in 2012
and the seat went to a Democrat,
she returned in 2014 and won the
general election by 167 votes. She
was reelected in 2016 by a substantial margin. (Shortly after she and I
hiked together, she announced that
she would seek the Senate seat Jeff
Flake is leaving.)
Martha and I brought up the
rear, as the group strung out over
perhaps a quarter-mile. I took the
opportunity to ask about her story. She was born in 1966, in Rhode
Island, to a middle-class family.
Her father, who worked his way up
from humble beginnings to become
an attorney, died when she was 12.
They had been very close, and his
death turned young Martha angry
and resentful.
One day, her mother, who had
spent the previous few years trying
to hold together a single-parent
home, suggested that Martha might
as well join the Army.
“I had never given one second’s
thought to the military,” Martha
said. “I was obstinate. I thought,
OK, if I am going to join the military, then I’ll show her! I’ll go to one
of the service academies! I applied
to the Air Force Academy and was
accepted. It was quite a surprise.”
P ret t y much f rom day one,
McSa l ly had to overcome t he
boys’-club mentality that dominates the armed services. There
have been women pilots for many
years, but, for the most part, they
have been restricted to f lying
tankers and cargo planes in situations officially defined as “noncombat.” McSally butted heads
with that policy and prevailed,
opening the doors to an entire new
generation of female pilots.
There was more to her legacy.
Her stint over Afghanistan came
three years after one of the most
brazen legal moves in American
military history: While stationed
in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,
McSally, like all American servicewomen, was required to wear
a body-covering abaya while off
base. Not surprisingly, this chafed
the hide of America’s first com-
PHOTO BY MIKE CAVAROC
SEE IT
bat-certified female fighter pilot.
So, she sued Defense Secretary
Donald Rumsfeld. In 2002, the
Department of Defense announced
a “change in policy ” regarding
the abaya requirement, claiming
McSally’s lawsuit had nothing to
do with the decision.
McSa lly ’s reputation among
jour na lists is t hat she ra rely
a n s w e r s q u e s t i on s d i r e c t ly.
Regarding the hot-button issue
of the day—Trump’s threat to “resize” several of the national monuments, which he ultimately did
l a s t Dec ember—s he s t re s sed
that none of the parcels lie in her
Congressiona l district, implying that her opinion on the matter
was not relevant. But she said she
had sent a letter to Secretary of the
Interior Ryan Zinke asking that he
take local input into account as he
toured many of those threatened
monuments last year.
When I asked about her views
toward public lands in general, she
talked about multiple use for recreationists, and how she favored the
continuation of the federal Payment
in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program,
which distributes money to states
and counties with a high percentage of untaxable public land within
their borders. In 2017, PILT delivered $34.4 million to Arizona,
which is not exactly chump change.
McSally’s support signals a willingness to go her own way: The
program passed the House with
just nine Republican votes when it
was attached to the 2014 Farm Bill
(before McSally took office).
Looking at the notorious $11.9
billion in deferred maintenance at
the national parks, she teamed up
with Rep. Seth Moulton, Democrat
of Massachusetts, in 2016 to introduce a bill that would formally aim
service corps volunteers at the deficit. That bill died in committee,
but she reintroduced it last July; it
bounced between committees over
the summer, then stalled again.
Between her voting record, legislative efforts, and genuine passion for the outdoors, it was hard
to pin McSally down. The most I
got in terms of a unifying philosophy was, “We need to make sure we
protect these public lands for future
generations to enjoy, while being
responsible with taxpayer dollars.”
There was none of Thoreau’s “in
wilderness is the preservation of the
world” springing forth from her lips. MOLINO CAMPGROUND, 3.5
miles into our hike, is located in
the kind of geophysical splendor
that attracts visitors from around
the globe. Though there are numer-
PUBLIC
LANDS
McSally leads
the way along
a section of the
Arizona Trail
near Saguaro
National Park.
LIKE THE REST
OF US, SHE WAS
DIRTY, SWEATY,
AND PERFECTLY
AT HOME OUT
THERE AMONG
THE LIZARDS
AND CACTI.
ON THE TRAIL,
IT’S EASY TO
FORGET ABOUT
POLITICAL
DIVIDES.
ous astounding mountain ranges
in the Southwest—the Sandias, the
Dragoons, and the Organs come to
mind—none, in my opinion, match
the massive Santa Catalina Range,
which fills the northern horizon of
Tucson, for rugged grandeur. With
crazy rock formations, deep canyons, and views well down into
Sonora, the range ranks among the
most awesome in the country.
Martha started working her way
toward the front of the line, mingling with her guests along the way,
playing the part of trekking-pole
politician. I took the time to reminisce a bit about my own 1997 thruhike of the AZT.
Back then, it consisted of little
more than a disorienting hodgepodge of unrelated existing tread,
spliced-together forest roads,
and cross-country navigation at
a time when GPS was still in its
infancy. Today, the trail is not only
complete from end to end—it is
marked, signed, guidebooked, waypointed, and coiffed as well as any
long-distance trail in the West. There was a part of me that
missed the rawness of the AZT
20 years ago. Though I personally
prefer solitude when I’m out in the
woods, I am a reluctant adherent to
the advocacy principle of outdoor
recreation: The more people we
have hiking on our trails, the more
people we likely have advocating for
our public lands. I hope that’s the
case for Martha, too.
We stopped for a snack at West
Tank—more or less the day’s halfway point. It was there that, as
hikers do, we started swapping trail
stories. Martha sat on the ground
in a small patch of shade, eating a
pack-smooshed PB&J and laughing
at the tall tales. Like the rest of us,
she was dirty, sweaty, and perfectly
at home out there among the lizards
and cacti. On the trail, it’s easy to
forget about political divides.
From then on, Martha led the
way. It wasn’t so much that people
were showing deference to her,
though I’m certain there was some
of that. It was a combination of her
level of fitness and the fact that she
seemed like the type of person who
considers the tip of the spear to be
her native habitat. She is clearly a
born leader, one who people seem
instinctively inclined to follow.
Whether by inspiration or intimidation, I could not tell.
As the temperature rose toward
the upper 80s, I started feeling a
bit lightheaded. Despite my everincreasing decrepitude, I remain
a fairly strong hiker, but I do not
perform well when my cranium
is sizzling. Shade was sparse. The
group splintered, with Martha, the
university dean, and the school
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31
PUBLIC
LANDS
SEE IT
administrator—trail runners all—
leaving the rest of us behind. I
ended up in the middle group with
one of the Forest Service firefighters, who had recently returned
from battling the massive conflagrations in northern California,
and Ross Zimmerman, the man
whose son, Gabe, had been murdered during the assassination
attempt on Gabby Giffords.
Zimmerman developed a relationship with McSally after the
incident. And he played a role in her
decision to start hiking the AZT by
introducing her the Arizona Trail
Association’s executive director.
Zimmerman, who leans left,
admires McSally and genuinely
likes her. But he said he does not
know whether he is going to vote for
her in the next election. Apparently,
he has been upfront with her about
his indecision.
He wa s of the opinion that
McSally has the potential to become
a new kind of Republican, one with a
connection to the natural world that
transcends her party’s perceived
tendency to view public lands as
little more than resource-rich commodities. That would be a big deal,
maybe enough to span the ideological canyon that sits between left
and right and unite voters on recreational lines instead of dividing
WITHOUT
MARTHA
SETTING THE
PACE, IT’S MY
GUESS THERE
WOULD HAVE
BEEN MORE IN
THE WAY OF
TRAILSIDE
LOLLYGAGGING.
BUT THE SECOND-TERM
CONGRESSWOMAN HAD
SEVERAL COMMITMENTS
SCHEDULED
THAT EVENING.
DUTY CALLED.
them along political ones. There is clearly work to be done.
Martha has cast votes that, according to the League of Conservation
Voters, went against Mexican gray
wolf reintroduction, against the
Endangered Species Act, in favor
of drilling in the Arctic National
Wildlife Reserve, and against federa l funding for research into
renewable energy.
But then there’s the fact that
she sued the Secretary of Defense,
during wartime, over an issue that
even the most skeptical among us
have to admit had less to do with
fashion preference than it did with
women’s rights and a sense of justice and fairness.
“ We were told that we were
fighting against the Taliban at
least partially to make it so women
in Afghanistan did not have to
wea r Musl i m d ress,” Ma r t ha
said. “And here we were, in Saudi
Arabia, having to wear abayas. It
was crazy.”
Martha said she never thought
the lawsuit would benef it her.
Quite the contrary. She assumed
she would be kicked out of the Air
Force the second Rumsfeld got
served with the court papers. She
wasn’t. Instead, her suit became a
law that passed with unanimous
support in 2002, making the abaya
SUPP
explicitly optional. She ended up
being promoted for her independent streak, not punished. We arrived at Redington Pass in
what members of our group familiar with the route called “very good
time.” Without Martha setting the
pace, it’s my guess there would have
been more in the way of trailside
lollygagging. But the second-term
Congresswoman had several commitments scheduled that evening.
Duty called.
During the trip home, I thought
about what I’d tell my dirt-loving
social circle. Is Martha McSally
going to start channeling John
Muir? Not a chance. But I still
hold out hope for her. It’s based
to a large extent on her intention
to hike the entire AZT, to spend
weeks and weeks rubbing elbows
in an intense fashion with the
world-class natural beauty of her
adopted state. I believe prolonged
ex posure to w i ld countr y ca n
change the way people perceive
our public-lands heritage. Change
the way we perceive everything.
Maybe even each other.
M. John Fayhee was the editor of the
Mountain Gazette for 13 years and is
the author of 12 books. In addition
to the AZT, he has thru-hiked the
Appalachian, and Colorado Trails.
RT
PUBLIC LANDS
WE LOVE THE OUTDOORS. SO DO YOU. HELP PROTECT THEM.
A portion of the proceeds of the Harpers Ferry
goes to support the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.
US MATERIALS
US MANUFAC T URING
US WORKERS
NEW TO 2018
Appalachian Trail
Lightweight Hikers
Harpers Ferry
Max Patch
www.farmtofeet.com
Here’s to everyone who actively works to protect the environments in which we play.
Estes Park, CO, Base Camp for Rocky Mountain National Park.
VisitEstesPark.com
PUBLIC
LANDS
THE PAYOFF
SEE IT
Irresistible
Glacier National Park,
Montana
YOU FEEL THE COLD before you hit the
PHOTO BY K ATIE YARBOROUGH
water. You feel it before you even jump,
and your skin will tingle long after you
emerge. But when glacier, mountain,
and sunshine conspire to create perfect conditions at Cracker Lake, you
can’t resist going in. It’s challenge and
reward in one, something you won’t
find at the neighborhood pool. Get here
on a 12.2-mile round-trip from Many
Glacier Hotel and be ready for what
may happen when you see it for yourself. Info nps.gov/glac
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34
S P O N S O R E D CO N T E N T
Think You Know Poland?
Think Again...
This incredible destination combines history, breathtaking landscapes
and urban adventures. Stunning castles and mansions, wild
mountains and vast forests; bustling cities filled to the brim with
culture, art, architecture, history, authentic cuisine and friendly locals.
EXPLORE POLAND ON FOOT
Poland has a rich network of hiking trails, ranging from
intense climbs to gentle nature walks.
Essential Poland hikes:
The Karkonoski National Park: Hike the ridge between
Mt. Szrenica and Mt. Sniezka for views of forests and
mighty cliffs.
The Bialowieza National Park: Home to the largest population
of the European bison. It is one of the very few remaining
places in Europe where landscapes and local wildlife can be
observed and appreciated in their natural habitat.
The Tatra Mountains create a natural border between
Poland and Slovakia, and are the location of two national
parks. Zakopane, a popular ski town is the area's top
destination. Be bold and try something beyond the beaten
path and venture out into the untamed, wild beauty of the
Polish Tatra mountains.
The Bieszczady Mountains: Mountain range in the
Southeastern part of Poland, home to the Bieszczady National
Park. Outstanding destination for adventure travel and
outdoor activities. The best time to visit is in the fall or spring.
URBAN ADVENTURES BY BIKE
A bike rental is the perfect way to discover and explore
Poland’s bustling cities at your own pace. As a bicyclist, you
can see the many different sides of a city, from its trendy
neighborhoods to its historic castles and palaces, worldclass parks and much more. From the beginning of April to
the end of November, city bikes are available on a 24/7 basis.
BEAUTIFUL COASTLINE AND PRISTINE LAKES
Summer is the perfect time to explore the coastline along the Baltic Sea. Whether
travelers are looking for a flashy, glamorous beach destination or a quiet, secluded
spot, Poland's Baltic Coast has it all. Best of all, the expense of staying at a beachfront
resort in Poland is far less than for many comparable destinations worldwide.
Poland's lake district has thousands of lakes and an equal number of ways to pass
the time. Summer is the best season to take advantage of all that the lake region
has to offer, from sailing, water-skiing, windsurfing and canoeing to more relaxing
pastimes like fishing and birdwatching.
Experience the Poland you never hear about, a country that will
welcome you kindly and send you home refreshed and relaxed!
www.poland.travel
PUBLIC
LANDS
SAVE IT
Show your support
for threatened trails by
taking a hike, discover the
untapped health benefits
of public lands, and learn
how nonprofits can rescue
budget-strapped parks.
03.2018
03.2018
36
36
HIKERS NEEDED
S AV E I T
Hit these endangered trails to
vote with your feet and send a
message that protection pays off.
by KELLY BASTONE
additional reporting by Corey Buhay
GRAND GALLERIES
Lower Butler Wash
Bears Ears National Monument, Utah
PHOTO BY WHIT RICHARDSON
When former President Barack Obama established the 1.4million-acre Bears Ears National Monument on December
28, 2016, he secured protections for several hundred thousand cultural and archaeological sites that had suffered
from looting, grave robbing, and energy development.
Since 2013, state and federal managers had flagged more
than 100,000 acres along the monument’s eastern edge
near Bluff, Utah, for potential oil and gas leases. Monument
status effectively put those plans on hold.
Fast-forward a year: President Donald Trump’s executive order to roll back Bears Ears up to 85 percent of its
former size exposes many sites to renewed drilling threats.
In March, the BLM plans to auction off leases in the Canyon
Country District, which includes the former Bears Ears. And
new wells have been permitted on BLM land 2 miles north of
Bluff, near the old monument boundary.
Native American tribes, state attorneys general, and
groups such as the Wilderness Society have all promised
to challenge Trump’s action in court (see page 26). You can
show where your allegiance lies on the trail. Head into the
southern corner of the reduced monument—in what was
tentatively called “Shash Jaa National Monument” at press
time—to see the Procession Panel, a 1,500-year-old petroglyph that depicts 179 human forms marching to a central
circle. From the unmarked trailhead on Lower Butler Wash
Road, follow the unsigned trail southwest. Cross Butler
Wash and another sandy drainage before climbing slickrock slabs, where cairns mark the route. Descend into a
canyon slicing into Comb Ridge and hike west to Procession
Panel, 1.4 miles from the trailhead. Puzzle at the 15-footlong assembly of sheep, serpents, deer, and people (some
wearing elaborate headdresses) before retracing your steps.
TRAILHEAD Procession Panel (37.3511, -109.6288)
SEASON September to May PERMIT None CONTACT
friendsofcedarmesa.org
Comb Ridge hides
a slew of some of the
country’s best-preserved
archaeological artifacts.
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03.2018
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PHOTO BY CHRISTIAN HEEB
WET-’N’-WILD
Birch Lake
Boundary Waters Canoe Area, Minnesota
CROWDS AREN’T ALWAYS a bad thing. Boundary Waters is one of the
country’s most visited wildernesses, and since the area’s currently
locked in a debate pitting mining against conservation, the swollen
ranks of hikers and paddlers have never been more welcome.
In 2016, Chilean company Antofagasta petitioned the BLM to
renew a mining lease in the Superior National Forest adjacent to
Boundary Waters Canoe Area, hoping to start up a sulfide-ore
copper mine in the same watershed as the wilderness area. Mining
has long been a part of Minnesota’s economy, but this kind of
copper extraction would release sulfuric acid—the same corrosive
stuff used in batteries—into the drinking water of moose, endangered Canada lynx, and blue-spotted salamanders found throughout the Boundary Waters. Now, the BLM and U.S. Forest Service
are conducting an environmental analysis of a proposed 20-yearlong mining moratorium, but Minnesota congressional members
are trying to block it. The public comment period has ended, but it’s
never too late to show your support.
With 1 million acres of wilderness and more than 1,200 miles of
canoe routes, Boundary Waters has plenty of glacially carved lakes
and forested basins to go around. See what the hype is about by
staging a paddle through Birch Lake, a long stretch of silver nestled
amid a spruce forest pocked with aspens. Put in near Kramer Bay,
and camp at any number of lake islands. When you return, consider
calling local representatives and telling them why the place is worth
keeping pristine for the next 20 years—and beyond.
TRAILHEAD Birch Lake Boat Access (47.7355, -91.9423)
SEASON June to October PERMIT Required; reserve six months
in advance at recreation.gov (starting at $16 per person).
PHOTO BY TK
CONTACT bit.do/boundary-waters
Paddlers ply
Birch Lake
at sunrise.
PROGRESS REPORT
It took more than 30
years, but led by Rep.
Beto O’Rourke (TX-16),
the House passed a provision last fall to protect El Paso’s Castner
Range and its wealth of
10,000-year-old archaeological artifacts and
unique desert wildlife.
No commercial enterprise, no roads, no motor
vehicles, no aircraft, no
permanent structures—
no problems.
PUBLIC
LANDS
S AV E I T
Multisport Mania
ARCHER’S
FORK LOOP
Wayne National Forest, Ohio
IF HISTORY ’S DOOM E D t o
repeat itself, then Ohio’s only
national forest might be destined
to serve as a stage. The 240,000acre tract of rolling Appalachian
foothills was almost completely
stripped of trees by the end of the
mining and logging boom in the
1800s. It took a full-scale replanting effort by the CCC in the 1930s
to create the forest as we know
it today, which is home to more
than 158 bird species, including
wood ducks, great blue herons, and
cedar waxwings. The restoration
triumph is a hot spot for hiking,
mountain biking, hunting, and
paddling—but new fracking technolog y threatens to replay the
forest’s past.
The BLM has set aside 40,000
acres for potential drilling, a move
that could pollute millions of gallons of water and would result in
deforestation for roads and drilling pads. The good news? As of
press time, only 2,000 acres have
been leased and no operations
have broken ground yet, so there’s
still time to urge BLM and Forest
Service officials to take back the
land. See what all the fuss is about
on the 9.5-mile Archer’s Fork Loop,
which passes the sandstone Great
Cave and the 51-foot-long Irish Run
Natural Bridge (which you can walk
across). Here, it’s easy to see Ohio’s
real riches are all in plain view.
TRAILHEAD Ludlow Catholic
Cemetery (39.5240, -81.1810)
SEASON Year-round PERMIT None
CONTACT www.fs.usda.gov/wayne
BACKPACKER.COM
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PUBLIC
LANDS
S AV E I T
Score this view
of Moxie Pond
from Moxie Bald.
TERRA INCOGNITA
Appalachian Trail
THE BALD MOUNTAIN POND area of fers a
glimpse into what Maine’s forests were like
more than a century ago. Only conifers and fingers of rock surround its pristine, glacier-hewn
shoreline, where AT thru-hikers bunk at a leanto hidden in the pines on the north end. Arctic
char—a species that once thrived in most of
Maine’s lakes—still swims here, and the endangered Canada lynx roams the woods. That’s why
the National Park Trust and the Trust for Public
Land are campaigning to buy roughly 1,500
acres of land around the pond from a private
timber company. The purchase would preserve
a parcel of never-logged, old-growth forest and
provide public access to previously off-limits
Ossie Pond and its population of wild brookies.
Most lakes this big long ago attracted scores
of cottages and towns, but Bald Mountain Pond
is still, surprisingly, scarcely touched—and
impressively grand. Discover what makes this
lake worth preserving by launching a canoe from
03.2018
40
the informal ramp on the pool’s southern edge.
Paddle 2 miles north beneath the shadow of Bald
Mountain’s lumpy ridge, which stands more
than 1,500 feet above the water. Take out at the
Moxie Bald Lean-to (near 45.2707, -69.7453),
which sits just back of the water in a miniature
bay on the lake’s northwest end. Claim space for
your sleeping bag, then head out on foot: Hike
2 miles southbound on the Appalachian Trail to
2,630-foot Moxie Bald for a feast of blueberries (fruiting in August) and views over Moxie,
Baker, Austin, and Bald Mountain Ponds. Tack
on the .8-mile (one way) side trip to North Peak
for views of Katahdin’s gray ramparts (looking
northeast) and the Bigelow Range (west) before
returning to Bald Mountain Pond for the loons’
evening serenade.
TRAILHEAD Bald Mountain Pond Boat
Launch (45.2422, -69.7311) SEASON May to
November PERMIT None CONTACT matc.org
PROGRESS REPORT
Locals banded together
to create the new 3-mile
Sherry Belle Trail in
Kanab, Utah. Next
time you’re passing
through on your way
to Escalante, Zion,
Bryce Canyon, or Grand
Canyon’s North Rim,
try out the new path at
Jackson Flat Reservoir—
and bring an extra
memory card to capture
the red mesas that rise
above the water.
PHOTO BY (LEFT) ECOPHOTOGR APHY
Northeast Somerset, Maine
PREP LIKE A PRO
KEY SKILLS
MASTER SOUTHERN TRAILS
C
HEAHA STATE PARK plays host
to just 4 miles of the 339-mile Pinhoti
Trail (page 43), but according to
park manager (and Pinhoti thru-hiker) Callie
Thornton, panoramic views of the Talledega
Range and steep, rocky stretches make those
4 miles some of the trail’s best. The Pinhoti
winds northeast from Flagg Mountain,
Alabama, through northwestern Georgia.
As it links together small towns and parks
like Cheaha, the trail funnels hikers—and
CALLIE THORNTON
their spending money—into local economies.
Cheaha State
It’s this interplay between sustainable
Park Manager
growth and dedicated conservation that kept
Callie Thornton checking for job openings
at Cheaha ever since she started backpacking seven years ago (she
finally landed the gig in 2017). People often think Alabama is flat,
she says, but it’s not—and the views you’ll find atop rocky summits
here will change your perception of hiking in the South.
Stairway
to Heaven
Pinhoti
Trail
Cheaha
Wilderness
Adam’s
Gap
FAVORITE HIKE: The Stairway to Heaven. Climb these switchbacks just
south of Cheaha State Park and ascend 600 feet in half a mile. It’s brutal,
Thornton says, but it’s worth it for the spin-around views. “It’s the only
place on the trail you can sit at your campsite and see the sun go down
and watch it come up in the morning from the same spot,” she says.
PUBLIC
LANDS
PREPARE FOR THE WORST
Wildfires, snakes, and scrambling make the
Pinhoti Trail more treacherous than its Southern
charm might imply.
1. PACE YOURSELF.
More often than not, rescues happen
between Bulls Gap and Adams Gap,
where people aren’t prepared for steep
elevation change, Thornton says. Aim for a
steady, moderate pace. To gauge, monitor your
breathing: You should be able to talk, but not sing.
2. WATCH YOUR STEP.
Rattlers, corals, copperheads, and
cottonmouths all call the Pinhoti
home. Keep an eye out along sunny
stretches and while scrambling. Step on logs
and rocks rather than over them—there could
be a snake curled up on the other side. Get bit?
Check for fang holes. If you fi nd them, stay calm
(a galloping heart spreads venom faster) and
remove any tight clothing or jewelry before
swelling starts. ID or photograph the snake if
possible, and get to the ER right away.
3. DOUSE THE FLAMES.
“The biggest threat we face is fi re,”
Thornton says. During a drought in
2016, wildfi res burned thousands of
acres and temporarily closed part of the Pinhoti
in the Talladega National Forest. Still, campfi res
are allowed throughout. Use established fi re
rings, a fi re pan, or a fi re mound to decrease risk
of wildfi re. Let the flames burn down to ash, then
douse with several liters of water—not dirt—
or until ashes are cool to the touch. Not using a
ring? Pack out or disperse your ashes.
THE GEAR
KELTY
ICEBREAKER
BIG AGNES
Cosmic Down 20
Tech Lite Short Sleeve Crewe
Fly Creek HV UL2
Weather changes quickly in the Pinhoti’s
highcountry (Thornton has seen temps
drop 30 degrees below what was
forecast) and a warm bag is a sure safety
net. On hot nights, the full-length zipper
dumps heat, and DriDown fill resists
humidity. Bonus: It’s more affordable
than most 20°F down bags on the market.
$160; 2 lbs. 13 oz.; kelty.com
Cheaha summer temps can break 100°F
—plus it’s humid. “I sweat a lot, but this
merino top soaks up all the moisture,”
Thornton says. Enter wool’s antimicrobial
properties: Even after days of wear, the
Tech Lite doesn’t get smelly. And at a
thru-hiker-friendly 4 ounces, it’s about as
light as merino tees get. $75; 4 oz. (w’s S);
m’s S-XXL; w’s XS-XL; icebreaker.com
When bugs keep her tent-bound on
humid nights, the Fly Creek’s mesh body
is Thornton’s ticket to sound sleep.
“There’s room for me, my dog, and
my pack, and it’s still lighter than my
hammock setup,” she says. The added
perk of ditching the fly? Uninterrupted
stargazing on Talladega ridgelines. $390;
1 lb. 15 oz.; bigagnes.com
BACKPACKER.COM
41
CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’
Pacific Crest Trail
Shasta-Trinity National Forest, California
IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA, the PCT hugs high, rugged ridgelines
with birds’-eye views over evergreen-rimmed lakes—owned by the
Michigan-California Timber Company. Thankfully, the company
offered to cede its right to mow down the scenery in September 2017,
instead selling off land and easements that surround 17 miles of the
Pacific Crest Trail to the Forest Service, Pacific Crest Trail Association,
and the Trust for Public Land. The deal also protects four river systems
(including salmon and steelhead habitats in the Trinity and Klamath
River basins) and opens public access to 10 lakes.
To witness why the area is worth the expense of time, money, and
effort, venture into Shasta-Trinity country. There, the 10-mile SissonCallahan Trail, a route that links Lake Siskiyou to 8,020-foot Deadfall
Summit, looks to become the next great vein for staging loops and
03.2018
42
multiday trips. (At press time, the Forest Service did not have a timeline for when construction on side trails might begin—but there’s no
better way to show support than by hiking the main drag.) Easy option:
Hike 20 miles out and back to camp at the Deadfall Lakes, beneath the
jags of bronze-colored Mt. Eddy. The trip is entirely on trail and follows
the Sisson-Callahan the whole way. Adventurer’s option: Keep going.
Continue north on the PCT, crossing a string of high-alpine meadows
beneath Trinity Divide, before looping counterclockwise below the
Scott Mountains to camp at Bull Lake (one of the 10 tarns that this purchase brought into public ownership) near mile 23. Next day, follow
a mix of faint user paths and forest roads east along Bull and Bear
Creeks to reconnect with the Sisson-Callahan Trail and close the
40-mile lollipop-loop.
TRAILHEAD Sisson-Callahan at North Fork Sacramento River
(41.2859, -122.3859) SEASON July to October PERMIT None
CONTACT www.fs.usda.gov/stnf
PUBLIC
LANDS
Home Sweet Home
PINHOTI TRAIL
Weogufka State Forest, Alabama
S AV E I T
NOT ONLY AR E loca l nonprof its
buying up private land to reroute the
Pinhoti’s road walks onto wilderness
trails, but they also want to extend
the Appalachian Trail to where the
Pinhoti crosses Flagg Mountain, the
southernmost 1,000-foot peak in the
Appalachian Range. It’s bigger than
Georgia’s Springer Mountain, where
throngs of hikers (and their tent cities)
have overrun the southern terminus of
the AT. Advocates say Flagg’s size and
CCC cabins, which could be adapted for
hikers, will relieve overuse at the current AT starting point. Long trail legend
and former AT record holder Jennifer
Pharr Davis is on board: In March, she’ll
thru-hike Alabama’s 170-mile portion
of the Pinhoti Trail to raise awareness
for the underrated route, which ducks
through quiet, leafy corridors, fords
small creeks, and passes rocky overlooks
above the rolling green hills.
You ca n follow in her footsteps.
Hikers (and their tourism dollars) can
do a lot to persuade local residents
to suppor t proposed Pinhoti Tra il
improvements by demonstrating the
economic benefits that come from welcoming walkers (see page 41). From
the Flagg Mountain summit, hike a
4-mile lollipop-loop on new trail: Follow
yellow then white blazes to historic CCC
cabins, then make a steep, .3-mile climb
for views of Alabama’s rounded summits. Retrace your steps on the return,
and turn it into an overnight if you’d
like; dispersed camping is allowed. Tip:
Time it for mid-October when the slopes
explode with crimson and yellow.
PHOTO BY PHILLIP STOSBERG. ILLUSTR ATION BY JOEL KIMMEL
Mt. Eddy’s couloirstreaked west
face rises above
Deadfall Lakes.
PROFILES IN PRESERVATION
the student
Christy Nachtigall
TURNING POINT In 2014, Nachtigall
participated in Project Wildcat (PWild),
an eight-day backpacking trip on the
Superior Hiking Trail for incoming
Northwestern University students.
“On the last day of PWild, we camped
next to Lake Superior and slept under
the stars,” Nachtigall says of the
experience. “There is something so
beautiful about sleeping outside. The
last thing that you see is the stars above
you. I felt so safe falling asleep to the
sound of water.”
TRAILHEAD Flagg Mountain (32.9729,
-86.3487) SEASON Year-round PERMIT
None CONTACT pinhotitrailalliance.org
RESULTS Nachtigall credits PWild for
her smooth transition into college. “It
took away a lot of the fear about going to
a new school in a new city,” she says. “It
boosted my confidence, and I met one
of my best friends on the trail. Spending
every day together in such a different
environment, you form a bond that
wouldn’t be possible just meeting on
campus. Now, I encourage all incoming
students to try it out. I even got a
seasonal job at REI so I could continue
helping others take that first step.” –H.J.
BACKPACKER.COM
43
PUBLIC
LANDS
The aspens along
the Spraddle Creek
Trail go off the fourth
week of September.
S AV E I T
SUMMIT SEASON
Spraddle Creek Trail
White River National Forest, Colorado
THE 7,377 ACRES surrounding Spraddle Creek occupy a
TRAILHEAD Spraddle Creek Road #737 closure gate
(39.6438, -106.3634) SEASON June to October
PERMIT None CONTACT www.fs.usda.gov/whiteriver
03.2018
44
PHOTO BY JEFF CLARK
busy part of one of the busiest national forests in America.
There, just outside Vail, recreation and development pressure is so intense that Conservation Colorado is campaigning to add this zone to the adjacent Eagles Nest Wilderness.
If Spraddle Creek’s designation is upgraded and given wilderness area protection, its swath of boggy moose habitat and high-alpine meadows can’t become the next great
condo complex or zipline course. Instead, it would remain
a roadless, largely trailless tract of Colorado high country
(much like the nearby Gore Range), the wildness of which
belies its proximity to vacationland.
To visit, head out from the trailhead at Spraddle Creek
Road and trek 4 miles up FS 737 (a former 4WD route).
The aspens are on the brink of overtaking the doubletrack,
creating a quaint tunnel that deposits you at a ridgetop
meadow. There, spy the teeth of the 14,000-foot Sawatch
Range behind Vail Ski Resort.
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PUBLIC
LANDS
See the Pregnant
Buffalo petroglyph
in Nine Mile Canyon.
S AV E I T
WRITING ON THE WALL
Fremont Village Trail
Nine Mile Canyon, Utah
THE DEVELOPMENT OF OIL reserves in the plateau surrounding Nine Mile Canyon, started in 2000, nearly spelled disaster for 60-plus prehistoric
rock art sites, which were getting coated in the dust kicked up by heavy truck traffic. But energy companies paved the canyon road, and now, it’s
heavy visitation that threatens these gems: As more people enjoy easier access to the 10,000 petroglyphs and pictographs, vandalism is on the
rise. In May 2014, two hikers defaced the famous “Pregnant Buffalo” site, etching their initials into the panel.
But hikers can also be a force for good. Other visitors at the Pregnant Buffalo site witnessed the vandalism and noted the couple’s license plate
number, which led to the perpetrators’ eventual prosecution. The episode proved that increased visitation at Nine Mile Canyon and other archaeology hot spots (like Bears Ears National Monument, page 36) can actually protect ancient artifacts. Hopefully, people will show more respect if they
know hikers are watching.
Visit Nine Mile Canyon, which contains more Fremont petroglyphs and pictographs than any other location in the Lower 48, and hike the Fremont
Village Trail. Starting near the split of Nine Mile Canyon and Cottonwood Canyon Roads, the .5-mile out-and-back ascends a sagebrush-dotted hillside to a bench 200 feet above Nine Mile Canyon’s floor. Pass a ring of stones marking an unexcavated pithouse, admire the red handprints that the
Fremont people stamped on a large boulder some 1,000 years ago, and peer into caves where they made basic dwellings.
PROFILES IN PRESERVATION
the politician
Jared Polis
03.2018
46
TURNING POINT When U.S. Rep. Jared
Polis, who represents Colorado’s Second
Congressional District, was 10 years
old, he went on a family camping trip.
It turned him onto public lands, but not
in the way you might think: “We rented
llamas to carry our equipment, but we
woke up to find they were gone,” he
says. “So we had to spend the entire day
searching for them. That day of exploring
the woods solidified for me that our
public lands are what make Colorado—
and our country—so special. Protecting
them for future generations will always
be a priority for me.”
RESULTS Polis has made good on his
word, ensuring that conservation is an
ongoing part of his legislative agenda.
He serves as vice chair of the Sustainable
Energy and Environment Coalition and
authored the Veterans Conservation
Corps Act and the Continental Divide
Wilderness and Recreation Act, the
latter of which protects nearly 60,000
acres of public lands. “We are fighting
to preserve access to public lands,
and trying to avoid that access being
privatized or sold off to the highest
bidder,” he says. “Once they are gone,
they are gone.” –H.J.
PHOTO BY LARRY LINDAHL .
ILLUSTR ATION BY JOEL KIMMEL
TRAILHEAD Fremont Village (39.7832, -110.1343) SEASON Year-round PERMIT None CONTACT castlecountry.com
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PUBLIC
LANDS
From the “M,” scan
southwest to see the
Pioneer Mountains.
S AV E I T
WESTERN FRONTIER
High Trails
WHEN THE BLM SOLD off 1,100 acres to a pri-
vate buyer in the 1980s, residents of Dillon,
Montana (population 4,257), lost access to
their local hiking, biking, and equestrian trails—
which subsequently required a half-hour commute to reach the goods. The Beaverhead Trails
Coalition negotiated with the new owner, who
agreed to sell—if the BTC could come up with
the money. So far, the BTC has raised more than
$430,000 in donations to purchase 781 acres,
which eliminates the car time. Construction
on new trails has already begun, but the group
needs $130,000 more for the final 327-acre
parcel, which offers an even remoter feel along
the trail system’s western edge. Donate and then
visit to show your support—and help remove the
KEEP OUT signs still posted there.
03.2018
48
The High Trails network currently consists of
3 total miles of hiking paths that climb the 300and 400-foot bluffs along the broad Beaverhead
River and roller coaster across treeless prairie.
From the parking area on 10 Mile Road, follow
the Dillon Town Overlook Trail for .8 mile, gaining 400 feet on the approach to the hillside’s
landmark “M,” an homage to local University
of Montana Western. Then continue north on
marked trails nearly a mile farther, rolling across
the grassy ridgeline to savor views west to the
Pioneer Mountains bordering Idaho. Head south
to complete the 3.5-mile loop.
TRAILHEAD Dillon Town Overlook (45.2179,
-112.6751) SEASON Year-round PERMIT None
CONTACT beaverheadtrails.org
YOUR LAND, YOUR VOICE
The National Park Service
has proposed raising
prime-time entrance
fees at some of our most
popular parks to $70.
Good idea or bad idea?
59% BAD IDEA
26% GOOD IDEA
15% NOT SURE
PHOTOS BY BENJAMIN MOORE / BEAVERHEAD TRAILS COALITION;
(OPPOSITE) NOAH WETZEL
Dillon, Montana
MAKE IT
PER SONAL
Big Agnes
co-founder Bill
Gamber at work
on the CDT
(page 68)
Maintain a Trail
PUBLIC
LANDS
It’s hard work, but there’s nothing quite as satisfying as
improving a trail for future hikers to enjoy. BY ELI BERNSTEIN
BE PREPARED.
“Be safe,” Downs says. “You
need the proper footwear and
the proper clothes. Light
hikers and sneakers are great
for hiking. But for trail work,
you’re dealing with 500-pound
rocks and sharp tools that are
applied with force, so you’ll want
heavy-duty footwear. Wear long
pants. Treat it like you’re at a
construction site.”
GET FAMILIAR WITH THE WORK.
“It shouldn’t be the first time
you use a hand tool,” Downs
says. Gauge your fitness level by
doing yard work or other laborintensive activities to get a sense
of how you’ll handle the rigors
of trail maintenance. “Knowing
that will let you work within your
limits on the trail.”
THE EXPERTS
Morgan Sommerville and Andrew
Downs, regional directors of the
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
CHOOSE YOUR WEAPON
Safely using a Pulaski is key to
trail building. “Be sure nobody
is in the ‘blood bubble,’ about
10 feet on either side of you,”
Sommerville says. “Put one leg
forward to protect your back.
Pace yourself: Let the weight of
the tool do most of the work.”
FOLLOW THE LEADER.
“Be open to critiques from your
supervisors,” Sommerville
says. “Listening to instruction
is important for making
improvements that are supposed
to last many years.”
TREAD LIGHTLY.
After a day of trail work, you’ll
want to keep all paths in good
condition. “Walk on the inside
[uphill side] of the trail. The
outside edge is the most easily
ruined part,” Sommerville says.
“If there are wet areas, walk right
through the middle of them.
Don’t cut switchbacks.”
PUBLIC
LANDS
Drilling, nature’s way: In Dinosaur
National Monument, the Green
River bored a network of chasms
(like here, in the Echo Park area)
over the past millennia.
S AV E I T
Sound of Silence Trail
Dinosaur National Monument, Utah/Colorado
AT PRESS TIME, energy companies were vying to claim several BLM
leases that the agency had offered adjacent to Dinosaur National
Monument. While the Colorado side of the park has a comprehensive plan to suggest guidelines on where such development can
and cannot happen, the Utah side doesn’t. That leaves roughly
PROFILES IN PRESERVATION
the athlete
Vasu Sojitra
03.2018
50
one-third of the park on the ropes. If developed, the wells would
be visible from the Quarry Visitor Center (on the Utah side) and
the 3.2-mile Sound of Silence Trail, which is so-named because its
interpretive panels encourage visitors to use all their senses to
savor the region’s lack of development. Hike these sandy washes
and slickrock knobs to make the statement that hikers want to
hear desert winds, not pump jacks.
TRAILHEAD Sound of Silence (40.4372, -109.2760) SEASON
March to November PERMIT None CONTACT nps.gov/dino
TURNING POINT Sojitra, who had
his right leg amputated after being
diagnosed with a blood infection as a
baby, learned to backcountry ski while
studying at the University of Vermont.
“I was in Vermont’s Bolton Valley
backcountry, and the first time I went,
it was brutal,” Sojitra says. “But once I
got into the groove, it really helped with
my confidence. Having friends who
encouraged and praised me for even
being 100 yards behind them definitely
helped me going forward.”
RESULTS Now an accomplished
skier, climber, and trail runner, Sojitra
is sponsored by brands including
Ortovox, Julbo, and Dynafit, and has
been featured in many short films and
media projects. “I want to be a resource
for people to realize what their true
potential is,” Sojitra says. “Being active
in the outdoors creates community and
confidence. Public lands allow me to let
go of the negative aspects of having a
disability and focus on what I am
capable of doing.” –H.J.
PHOTO BY KIM BARTON.
ILLUSTR ATION BY JOEL KIMMEL
CANYON COUNTRY
EXOS | EJA
W e a l l n e e d p l a c e s t o p l a y.
P l a c e s w h e r e w e c a n f in d o u r s e l v e s ,
t h r o u g h t r i a l a n d t r ib u l a t i o n o r w h il e
p o n d e r in g i n q u i e t w o o d e d g l a d e s .
W e n e e d c a b in s t o s h a r e l u n c h w i t h
mice and expansive vie w s for sunset
s h e n a n i g a n s . P l u s , p in k f l a m in g o s
need a place to float. These moments
are how the good days are made, and
w e ’r e c o m m i t t e d t o e n s u r in g t h a t w e
a ll h a v e a p l a c e t o m a k e t h e m .
PUBLIC
LANDS
STATE OF
THE LAND
(2 of 3)
Control Issues
AT ITS BEST, the Shoup Bay Trail
is a sampler of what makes Alaska
great. For 10 miles, the route traces
the shoreline of Valdez and Shoup
Bays, passing through alder forest
and flower-filled meadows on its
way to views of Shoup Glacier. But
last summer one thing was missing:
the trail.
T he pat h , overg row n w it h
spiky devil’s club and cat’s claw,
represented one small portion
of Alaska state parks’ $65.1 million in deferred maintenance, but
the four-person crew that showed
up to tackle it in the summer of
2017 hadn’t been sent by the state.
Instead, they were working for
Valdez Adventure Alliance, a local
nonprofit experimenting with a
new way of keeping Alaska’s public
lands open.
Alaska’s state park system is
the biggest in the country, managing some 3.6 million acres.
Unfortunately, its budget—$14
million in 2017—is miniscule by
comparison, a fraction of the $522
million that California will spend
on its parks this season.
“Everybody’s been working to
tighten their belts and do what
they can to cut costs,” says Ethan
Tyler, director of Alaska’s Division
of Parks and Outdoor Recreation.
The division has turned to private
operators, generally locals, to run
26 of its parks. Those that don’t
find takers risk slipping into “passive management,” which is as bad
as it sounds.
Private enterprise has been part
of America’s public lands since
1916, when Stephen Mather, the
first director of the National Park
Service, introduced concessions
to the national parks. They’re now
commonplace, from hotels and restaurants to buses and backcountry guides. But in the past decade,
a few politicians have gone further
and proposed privatizing the operation of entire park units. Advocates
argue that privately run parks like
Alaska’s cut overhead and reduce
the burden on taxpayers.
Some contend that the profit
motive can be a force for good.
Warren Meyer, president of concessionaire Recreation Resource
Management, says that dependence on fees creates an incentive
03.2018
52
for commercial operators to put
users first. “In our company, 100
percent of the revenues we receive
is from visitors, which means that
if we don’t run a good operation that
is attractive to visitors, we don’t
make any money,” writes Meyer
on his blog, parkprivatization.com.
Private operators don’t own the
parks they run, and user fees are set
by the government.
Opponents counter that private
operators don’t pay their fair share
of maintenance, allowing them
to reap profits while leaving taxpayers to foot the bill. A review by
the Center for American Progress
found $389 million in deferred
maintenance at concessionaireoperated facilities throughout
the national parks. Others worry
that privatization is the f irst
step toward a stealth takeover of
America’s heritage, such as in 2016,
when Yosemite spent $1.7 million
on new signs after the outgoing
concessionaire, Delaware North,
claimed trademarks on the names
of several of the park’s iconic sites.
But there’s a third way. When
Alaska state parks announced in
2015 that it was searching for permitees to manage three Valdezarea parks, including Shoup Bay
State Marine Park, it was a local
nonprofit, not a corporation, that
answered the call. Founded just
months earlier, Valdez Adventure
Alliance’s mission is to promote
outdoor sports as an economic
alternative to extractive industries.
For Valdez, the parks represent
income: Roughly 100,000 people
visit them every year, contributing
an estimated $5 million to the local
economy. “We felt it would be devastating to have these park units
close,” says Lee Hart, VAA’s executive director. Rather than allowing
a commercial operation to cherrypick the most profitable sites,
VAA argued that the state should
give priority to groups willing to
manage the entire package. After
some discussion, the parties inked
a two-year contract.
Nonprofits have long lent cashstrapped states a hand in maintaining parks. But with this agreement,
Valdez Adventure Alliance became
the only one in Alaska to run all
aspects of a park, from carting away
In 2017, Valdez
Adventure
Alliance
reopened a
7-mile segment
of the Shoup Bay
Trail for the first
time in 5 years.
OPPONENTS
COUNTER
THAT PRIVATE
OPERATORS
DON’T PAY THEIR
FAIR SHARE OF
MAINTENANCE,
ALLOWING THEM
TO REAP
PROFITS WHILE
LEAVING
TAXPAYERS TO
FOOT THE BILL.
trash and stocking bathrooms to
collecting campground fees.
The most serious challenge,
however, was simply keeping the
trails open. “Valdez is a subarctic
rainforest, and in the summer, vegetation grows incredibly quickly,”
Hart says. In Shoup Bay, it took a
crew of contractors three weeks of
“heroic brush-cutting” to clear a
7-mile section.
Soon, VAA faced another crux:
funding. It became clear to Hart
that, without state money, user fees
from campsite and cabin reservations wouldn’t be enough to cover
their operations. Locals chipped
in, with a few restaurants pledging
to donate 1 percent of their profits. VAA also secured a $40,000
grant from the U.S. Department of
Transportation—cash unavailable
to for-profit operations.
Today, Shoup Bay State Marine
Park is in better shape than when
VAA took it over; the trail reopened
last summer, and the organization
is in talks with the state to renew its
contract for another five years.
Both groups agree that they
don’t want the nonprofit to run the
parks forever. But with Alaska’s
financial future still uncertain, will
the state be able to take them back
anytime soon?
“That’s the million-dollar question,” Tyler says.
PHOTO BY ALASK A STOCK IMAGES / AGEFOTOSTOCK .COM
When three state parks in Alaska were on the brink of closure,
a nonprofit stepped in to help. by ADAM ROY
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PHOTO BY TK
S AV E I T
03.2018
54
PUBLIC
LANDS
S AV E I T
WILDERNESS
New science seeks to quantify
how wild spaces can treat widespread
mental health issues.
by ANNETTE McGIVNEY
illustrations by JOEY GUIDONE
M
AYBE YOU SHOULD PACK A BAG?”
The advice from my friend Mary was practical but also terrifying. An hour ago, she had answered my frantic phone call for help
and rushed to my house so she could drive me to an emergency psychiatric
facility near my home in Flagstaff, Arizona. Now she was implying that I
might not be coming back for a while.
It was July 2010 and for the previous 10 days I hadn’t slept at all, not even
for five minutes. Night after night I laid in bed with my heart racing and body
trembling, filled with enough adrenaline to rob a bank, desperate for rest
and some kind of explanation about what was happening to me. As Mary
waited, I tossed my toothbrush in the bag and looked at my tear-streaked
face in the bathroom mirror. Maybe I wouldn’t come home, I thought. Maybe
I wouldn’t survive whatever it was that was eating me alive.
Until this crisis, I had always thought of myself as a rock. Nothing rattled me. Over the three previous years I had been investigating a story for
this magazine about a woman who was murdered in the Grand Canyon
(“Freefall,” June 2007). In the beginning, my desire to learn more about the
crime seemed like simple, journalistic curiosity. I wanted to know why the
18-year-old killer stabbed the victim 29 times just to rob her. I suspected
there was some darker, more sinister force at work. But I couldn’t have
known that force was coming for me, too.
BACKPACKER.COM
55
PUBLIC
LANDS
S AV E I T
Tomomi Hanamure was murdered on May 8, 2006—her 34th
birthday—as she hiked to Havasu
Fa lls in the Havasupai Indian
Reservation adjacent to Grand
Canyon National Park. Tomomi
lived in Yokohama, a crowded
suburb of Tokyo, but she made a
personal tradition of visiting spectacular wild places in the American
West on her birthday. She chose a
place of contrasts: Havasu is home
to both a series of iconic cascades
and the Havasupai, a people who
have experienced extreme poverty
and chronic substance abuse since
they were forced onto the reservation 140 years ago.
As Tomomi hiked alone, she
e n c o u nt e r e d a n 1 8 -y e a r - o l d
Havasupa i ma n na med Ra ndy
Wescogame. Randy was from one
of the tribe’s oldest families, and
he had spent much of his teenage years in juvenile corrections
for petty theft, alcohol consumption (illegal on the reservation),
and minor assaults. By May 2006,
he was addicted to methamphetamine. Other media and the public
seemed to chalk up the most brutal
murder in the history of the Grand
Canyon to the desperate randomness of drug violence. My intuition
told me there was more to the story.
EVERY PIECE OF new information I found in my reporting led to
a new disturbing question. I interviewed Randy’s school teachers
and read court records to learn
that his father beat him with television cables and barbed wire hard
enough to leave scars. I also felt
the pain of the victim’s family and
friends when I interviewed them.
I read in Tomomi’s journal about
how she was abandoned by her
mother at age four.
What started as simple curiosity soon grew into an obsession. The more I learned about the
killer, the more my mind tracked
into ruts from my own life. I would
later discover I was acting out what
Sigmund Freud called the repetition compulsion. “The patient
cannot remember the whole of
what is repressed in him, and what
he cannot remember may be precisely the essential part of it,” Freud
wrote. “He is obliged to repeat the
repressed material as a contemporary experience instead of remembering it as something in the past.”
By May 2010, after nearly three
years of reporting on the murder
for a book, I started having nightmares and a sensation that my
arms and head were vibrating, as
if trembling in fear. In my reporting notes from that time, even my
03.2018
56
THE MORE I
LEARNED ABOUT
THE KILLER,
THE MORE
MY MIND
TRACKED INTO
RUTS FROM
MY OWN LIFE.
handwriting is shaky. My body
knew something my mind didn’t. I
kept digging.
In a taped, three-hour confession, Ra ndy described how he
stabbed Tomomi with his right
hand using a rusty, 4-inch blade.
As I listened, I felt something in me
break loose. That one small detail—
he used his right hand—was the
key to the lock box of my past. Out
sprang a lost fact that unnerved me
with its force: My father beat me,
and he did it with his right arm.
More memories soon barraged
me, presenting a version of my
childhood that felt completely separate from everything I thought I
knew about myself. My mother suffered from chronic depression so
severe it kept her mostly bedridden.
I remembered my father’s anger.
By the time I was in grade school,
he beat me almost daily with a belt.
It was always after dinner or following his evening tennis workout. The violence would begin as
measured spankings but then, as
his rage gorged itself, he unleashed
everything, stopping only when he
was too tired to go on.
My life at age 49 became an
endless horror show of my own
childhood. I couldn’t even switch
it off with sleep. When another
repressed memory f lashed forth,
my body reacted as if the abuse was
happening all over again.
As much as I tried to manage my
memories, there was no way to push
them back down. My life began to
spiral. My inner rock crumbled. I
needed help.
Four hours after I walked into
the psychiatric facility that day
in July, I walked out with a diagnosis of chronic post-traumatic
stress disorder. This form of the
condition has all the symptoms
of regular PTSD most commonly
associated with war veterans. But
it also includes additional symptoms like cognitive impairments
and dissociative disorders. These
are born of prolonged trauma typically experienced by children who
grow up in abusive homes.
When I first started researching the story, I had no way of knowing how much I had in common
with both Tomomi and Randy, or
that hiking into the Grand Canyon
to investigate the crime would be
both a curse and a blessing.
T HE HE A LING POW E R OF
nature has long been recognized.
Hen r y Dav id T horeau, R a lph
Waldo Emerson, and Frederick
Law Olmsted all wrote in the mid19th century about the benefits of
a walk in the woods as they popularized the idea of preserving wild
places for the public good.
John Muir, who was tormented
as a child by his tyrannical father,
famously discovered transcendence in the wilds of Yosemite.
“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken,
over-civilized people are beginning
to find out that going to the mountains is going home . . .” wrote Muir
in 1901, “that wilderness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and
reservations are useful not only as
fountains of timber and irrigating
rivers, but as fountains of life.”
Now, researchers are finding
evidence to explain the feeling.
The last few years have brought
forest bathing and nature deficiency disorder to the mainstream,
as stressed-out city folks and kids
turn to the wilds for renewed focus,
healing, and relaxation.
In recent decades, the number of
“nerve-shaken” adults diagnosed
with PTSD has increased exponentially. According to the U.S.
Department of Veterans Affairs,
nearly 400,000 veterans of the
wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have
been diagnosed with it. However,
this number is just a small percentage of the total number of people
in the United States with PTSD—
approximately 8 million during
any given year—who are struggling
to recover from a traumatic event,
whether a car accident, sexual
assault, or an abusive childhood.
Ever si nce PTSD wa s f i rst
introduced as an official medical diagnosis in 1980, the two primar y forms of treatment have
been pharmaceuticals and talk
therapy. For ma ny PTSD sufferers, myself included, the pills
and therapy help, but not enough.
And the significant risk of drug
dependency made it unworkable
as a long-term strategy for me. As
PTSD’s prevalence grows, a group
of clinicians, veterans, and environmentalists is working to take
the treatment for PTSD outside
and use nature itself as a new form
of medicine.
But research is critical. The U.S.
healthcare system runs on clinical trials, data-driven science, and
quantifiable results about efficacy
and dosing. Unlike, say, the benefits of exercise, it’s hard to design
a controlled experiment in which
nature’s impact on psychological
markers can be isolated and measured in a lab. And neurobiologists
are yet to agree on what constitutes
nature—is it city park, national
park, or any chunk of untouched
wilderness? That is to say, your
doctor can suggest you spend time
in nature (as some physicians do
here and abroad), but won’t be able
to tell you how much therapeutic
PROGRESS
REPORT
Thanks to a
bipartisan
effort, the
Tennessee
Wilderness
Act, which
designates
nearly
20,000 acres
of Cherokee
National
Forest as
wilderness,
passed out of
committee
and made it
one step
closer to
completion
last fall. It
moves on to a
full vote
under the
Federal Land
Management
Act.
benefit you’ll get in return.
In an effort to make this brand
of wilderness medicine a reality, the Sierra Club has teamed up
with scientists at the University
of California, Berkeley, to create
the Great Outdoors Lab, which
compiles research to quantif y
the effects nature has on chronic
hea lt h cond it ion s . “ We hope
to ma ke public lands part of a
common healthcare prescription,”
says Sierra Club Outdoors director
Stacy Bare, who is also an Iraq War
veteran diagnosed with PTSD.
Over the past three years, the
GO Lab has conducted research
on how t he outdoors speci f ically impacts the human nervous
system. The first article on its
findings will be published in 2018
in Emotion, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Psychological
Association. The research represents the most comprehensive science yet documenting how nature
impacts individuals with PTSD on
metabolic and psychological levels.
The GO Lab study group is comprised of 180 military veterans and
youths from underserved communities who were experiencing
PTSD symptoms and participated
in one- or two-day rafting trips
on California’s American River.
Before, during, and after more than
90 trips, researchers measured
the participants’ stress hormones,
immune function, dopamine regulators, and proteins that control
inflammation. All these markers
for PTSD showed positive physiological changes. One week after the
trip, participants also reported a 30
percent reduction in PTSD symptoms and a 10 percent increase in
wellbeing measures, such as happiness and social connection.
Most notably, awe was the emotion that best predicted positive
change in participants. The greater
the level of awe the participant
reported in connection with the
dramatic natural landscape, the
better he or she felt not only during
the trip but for weeks afterward.
Which is to say that protecting the
most spectacular terrain isn’t just
good for pictures; it’s the best thing
we can do for our health.
“Time outdoors changes people’s
nervous systems,” says UC Berkeley
ps ycholog y professor Da cher
Keltner, who co-authored the GO
Lab study. “It is as effective as any
PTSD intervention we have.”
WHEN I WAS 8 YEARS OLD,
my family moved from Houston
to a rural town in East Texas that
was surrounded by the dense pine
forests of the Big Thicket National
Preserve. Our new home had a big
backyard with a tree house and was
flanked by woods that seemed to go
on forever. For the first time, I had
a place to escape the yelling and
violence at home. This wilderness
became my private refuge.
My fondest memor ies f rom
childhood are of wandering in the
woods with my dog Lucky. I felt
safe and comforted there, like the
trees were embracing me when no
one else would. At night, inside my
house, I kept the bedroom curtains
open. It was easier to sleep in the
company of the stars and the moon.
Like me, Tomomi found a nurturing parent in the outdoors. After
being abandoned by her mother,
she was raised as an only child by
her father, who worked 12-hour
days in a factory. Tomomi took
care of herself and, typical of children experiencing neglect, felt
depressed and lonely. As an adult,
she found the tonic she was looking
for in the American West, where
the wide open spaces of the Grand
Canyon filled the void in her life. In
contrast, Randy turned his abuse
outward, fighting with his classmates and getting into trouble.
Instead of Havasu’s redrock sanctuary, he spent most of his youth
behind the razor wire of juvenile
correctional facilities.
While most research documenting the positive impacts of nature
on mental health has been focused
on vets, the largest group affected
by traumatic stress is children. The
number of kids experiencing family
violence has been steadily climbing
over the past 50 years. According
to federal statistics from the U.S.
Department of Health and Human
Services, some 4 million children
were reported to state agencies in
2015 (the most recent data available) for being at risk of abuse or
neglect. But other groups of PTSD
sufferers have not seen the same
push into nature as vets have.
Nooshin Razani, a pediatrician and director of the Center for
Nature and Health at Children’s
Hospital Oakland in California, is
leading the charge to prove that wild
places help traumatized kids. In
2015, she and her colleagues teamed
up with the East Bay Regional Park
System to take young patients on
backcountry outings. There were
78 parent-child pairs enrolled in the
study and they spent one full day in
nature three times a week for three
weeks. It was what Razani called
the “park prescription.” In addition
to surveys on psychological wellbeing, saliva samples were obtained to
measure parasympathetic nervous
system markers (such as cortisol
and alpha amylase, which increase
PUBLIC
LANDS
BACKPACKER.COM
57
PUBLIC
LANDS
S AV E I T
with stress), as well as heart rate
and blood pressure before, during,
and after the outings.
“We found that nature decreases
the trauma response, improves
cog n it ive f u nc t ion , a nd pro motes healing,” Razani says. “Our
study showed that pa rk visits
increase resilience in children. It
doesn’t take away the adversity
in their lives but it buffers stress.
Hormones, blood pressure, and
heart rate normalize in nature.”
Why, exactly, is this so? Other
researchers are investigating a
variety of theories on the relationship between nature and human
health. Possible explanations range
from the calming effect of the color
green to deep quiet to the absence
of distractions. “Maybe it is simply
because we evolved in nature,”
Razani says. “For most of human
history we lived outside.”
Though scientists and social
workers haven’t unlocked why
nature works the way it does, it
seems the next major advance in
mental health treatment is just as
likely to come out of a public forest
as a private lab.
DU R I NG T H E F I R S T F E W
months after my PTSD diagnosis,
I thought my goal should be to get
back to the way I was before the
03.2018
58
crisis—a strong, single mom raising a teenage son. I tried to resume
my normal routine of running but
the side effects of the medications I
was prescribed in the aftermath of
my breakdown caused debilitating
muscle cramps. I wanted to travel,
but I was too afraid of having a
panic attack on the airplane. The
only place I felt comfortable and
safe was in the backcountry. Just
like the veterans in the GO Lab
study, my sense of wellbeing was
restored in the wild. Fortunately,
I live in Arizona, which is more
than 50 percent public land. The
national forests and parks around
my home became my hospital.
The medication played a critical role early on and I also had
good luck w it h va rious bodybased therapies for minimizing
my symptoms. Regular visits with
a psychiatrist and therapist were
essential, too. But over a period of
several years, I came to realize that
it was my time in nature, day in and
day out, that helped me feel better
than anything else. I would tell
this to my therapist, who noted it in
my chart but didn’t seem to understand what I was really saying.
She had not read up on the GO
Lab research. My time in the wild
wasn’t just a fun hobby. It was helping me. It was healing me.
Just as I did when I was 10, I took
PROTECTING
THE MOST
SPECTACULAR
TERRAIN ISN’T
JUST GOOD FOR
PICTURES; IT’S
THE BEST THING
WE CAN DO FOR
OUR HEALTH.
up rambling through the woods
with my dog, always alone and
off-trail. Being away from people
allowed me to connect more completely with the Earth’s natural
rhythms. There was no reason to
hurry and no goal except to be there
on a visceral, sensory level. I plugged
into the equilibrium of the forest—
the trees, the wind, the birds, the
solitude. A few months after starting the routine, my heart rate went
down, my breathing became deep, I
didn’t startle as easily.
A ll that from being outside,
taking regular doses of awe in the
spaces we all own. It would sound
mystical if it didn’t work so well.
That’s part of the problem. Public
lands are at risk, torn between the
value of their petrochemicals, minerals, and real estate and the value
placed on them by people like me
who have experienced something
in the wilderness we can’t prove or
quantify. But with research ongoing, we might be on the cusp of
putting a number on the value of
public health. And that could just
be the beginning. What else don’t
we know about how the wilds work
on our brains? And will we be able
to preserve them for long enough to
find out?
I have now tapered off most
of the medications that I was on
seven years ago, replacing them
with daily nature walks. And I
regularly immerse myself in the
Grand Canyon or other Southwest
national parks for infusions of awe.
By definition, I will never be completely over chronic PTSD, but now
I know it won’t ruin me, either.
Last year, when I felt my mind
filling anew with dread, I loaded
up my pa ck a nd h i ked t o t he
bottom of the Grand Canyon.
That first night, I laid my sleeping bag on the sand next to the
Colorado River. I listened to the
pur r ing waters of rapids a nd
stared up at the moonless night
sky. The white band of the Milky
Way stretched like a bridge of diamonds from the North Rim to the
South. I looked at the familiar faces
of the constellations, the planets,
the shooting stars. It was as if the
whole universe was embracing me,
welcoming me home, telling me it
was going to be all right.
BACKPACKER Southwest Field
Editor Annette McGivney is the
author of Pure Land, which chronicles her experience reporting the
most brutal murder in Grand Canyon
history and grappling with chronic
PTSD. She is also founder of The
Healing Lands Project, a non-profit
that funds wilderness trips for child
victims of domestic violence.
PUBLIC
LANDS
THE PAYOFF
S AV E I T
Spontaneous
THERE’S NO SUCH THING as kid
stuff on public lands. Or maybe
it’s all kid stuff. Without walls
or ceilings, the rules go fuzzy,
the norms flutter away with
each passing mile. After a short
paddle out and a night on the
island’s north shore bay, this
campground sack race started
on a lark and ended in a heap of
laughter. There are no losers on
public lands either, not even when
you fall down first. Info bit.do/
HopeIsland
03.2018
60
PHOTO BY BEN MATTHEWS
Hope Island State Marine
Park, Washington
DIRT. SMOKE.
BUG SPRAY.
UV RAYS.
All reduce the waterproof performance
and life-span of your tent.
Cleaning with NEW Tent & Gear SolarWash
LEARN MORE ABOUT
PROTECTING YOUR TENT:
PUBLIC
LANDS
BUILD IT
BUILD
IT
New trails, new access,
new management systems.
Here’s how to create
a better hiking future.
Bolinas Ridge rises
out of the fog.
03.2018
62
LABOR OF LOVE
Protecting land is only the first step. Hikers
need trails, and trails don’t build themselves.
Grab a Pulaski and create new paths and
restore lost routes on these 10 trips.
BUILD IT
by KELLY BASTONE
additional reporting by Hannah Johnson
URBAN WILD
Bay Area Ridge Trail
California
PHOTO BY MEDITATIVEIMAGES.COM
WHEN COMPLETED, the 550-mile Bay Area
Ridge Trail will provide top-notch hiking—
over ocean bluffs, through pine corridors,
among sky-kissing redwoods, and across
golden hills—to more than 7 million people
who live nearby. If access to natural beauty
is the fastest path to creating new advocates, this trail will be a warp drive.
Some 375 miles of trail are already good
to go, including the newest 5.3-mile segment to 3,486-foot Mt. Umunhum—now
the trail’s highest point—in the Sierra Azul
Open Space Preserve. Help the masses
find their wilderness inspiration this year
by selecting a trail-building event at ridgetrail.org. (Our crystal ball predicts there
will be work to be done on the fire-ravaged
sections in Sonoma and Napa Counties.)
Or, to sample the highlights, tackle the
12.8-mile Bolinas Ridge segment through
Golden Gate National Recreation Area into
redwood-filled Samuel P. Taylor State Park.
TRAILHEAD Bolinas Ridge (37.9395,
-122.6586) SEASON Year-round
PERMIT None CONTACT ridgetrail.org
BACKPACKER.COM
63
Patriot Path
SEPTEMBER 11th NATIONAL MEMORIAL TRAIL
Pennsylvania, New York & Washington D.C.
DURING A GOVERNOR’S meeting after the terrorist attacks
of 2001, David Brickley—then the Director of the Virginia
Department of Conservation and Recreation—proposed a long
path to honor the fallen. The route would stretch 1,300 miles, linking the three sites of the 9/11 attacks, from the Pentagon near D.C.,
to the World Trade Center site in New York City, to the Flight 93
Memorial near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The idea received
unanimous support.
Today, the project is underway, but a work in progress. It uses a
patchwork of trails, though roughly half of the 9/11 Trail currently
follows roads—and only the New Jersey portion has been signed.
03.2018
64
But widespread support for the trail is reducing the road walks
(CSX railroad, for example, donated an abandoned train corridor
that will allow for a 7-mile path between Shanksville and Garrett,
Pennsylvania). Exercise your patriotism by pitching in on the rest
of the trail. Contact the September 11th National Memorial Trail
Alliance at 911trail@comcast.net to get started.
To tick off the 9/11 Trail’s most established portion, hit
the 5-mile Patriots’ Path, a lollipop-loop through Schooley’s
Mountain County Park in New Jersey. The section climbs through
young ash and maple trees, following white blazes to the rocky
banks of Electric Brook. Don’t miss the short detour to a series of
mossy, boulder-studded waterfalls via the rooty Falling Waters
Trail midway through.
TRAILHEAD Schooley’s Mountain County Park (40.7947, -74.7702)
SEASON Year-round PERMIT None CONTACT 911trail.org
PHOTO BY ADAM MOWERY / TANDEMSTOCK .COM
ILLUSTR ATION BY JOEL KIMMEL
Nab this view of
4,020-foot Hawksbill
Mountain (and any welltimed rainbows) near
mile 11 on this piece of
the MST, just beyond
Tablerock Mountain.
PUBLIC
LANDS
Rock ’n’ Roll
CUMBERLAND TRAIL
Tennessee
FULL RANGE
Mountains-to-Sea Trail
North Carolina
MOST EVERYONE knows the famous north-south trail that crawls along North
Carolina’s Appalachian ridge. Fewer know its east-west little brother—and we think
that should change. The 1,175-mile path, which travels across the state from the
Great Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks, passes through hardwood forests, open
balds, and colonial towns as it hits the East’s tallest peak (6,684-foot Mt. Mitchell) and
lighthouse (193-foot Cape Hatteras). The fine print? It has 500 miles of road walking.
Help connect this soon-to-be classic by finding a trail-building event near you at
mountainstoseatrail.org, then reward yourself on one of the path’s best sections:
the 19.5-mile piece that bisects Pisgah National Forest. To do it, head out from Old
NC 105, crossing 1,400-foot-deep Linville Gorge to ramble north along its rollercoaster ridge. Bed down in the rhododendron forest near mile 6, then spend day two
undulating past the stone stacks of the Chimneys and across airy fins that rise above
wildflower-dotted slopes. Drop off the spine to your shuttle car on NC 181.
TRAILHEAD Mountains-to-Sea on Old NC 105 (35.8223, -81.9302)
SEASON Year-round PERMIT None CONTACT mountainstoseatrail.org
PROFILES IN PRESERVATION
the educator
Jamie O’Donnell
TURNING POINT While studying at North
Carolina State University, O’Donnell
spent three summers working at a boys’
camp. “It was an adventure camp, so we
went backpacking and rock climbing,”
O’Donnell says. “Working with kids in
wild places made me really appreciate
what people can learn when they do
things outside together. That led me to a
career as an educator in the outdoors.”
RESULTS Since 2000, O’Donnell has
spent about 170 weeks in the field as
BUILD IT
THE GOOD FOLKS at Friends of
the Cumberland Trail know that
waiting for grants and other government aid is no way to break
ground. Of course, they’ll still take
donations, but they’re pioneering
new ways to fund the Cumberland
Trail, which will stretch 300 miles
across the Volunteer State’s Smoky
Mountains when completed. The
volunteer organization founded
Sa ndrock Recordings, a sma ll
record label, to sponsor local artists, as well as a radio show of the
same name to celebrate the trail
and the area’s history; all proceeds
for both go directly to maintenance
and trail-building projects for
the Cumberland. To date, they’ve
pulled in more than $10,000.
A nd showstopper that it is,
the Cumberland deserves every
record deal signed in its name:
It passes big-view gorges, whitewater rivers, a nd ha z y mountain vistas as it meanders from
the Kentuck y state line to
Chattanooga. (Hop on the LaurelSnow section outside Dayton for
the best bite-size piece.) But, it’s
only half-done. Justin P. Wilson
Cumberla nd Tra il State Pa rk,
the trail’s steward, needs volunteers to help with construction,
specif ica lly nea r Cumberla nd
Gap National Historic Park and
Grassy Cove Karst Area on the
trail’s north end, as well as near
Chicka mauga Creek Gorge on
the south end. The money is there—
all that’s needed is you.
TRAILHEAD Cumberland in
Laurel-Snow State Natural Area
(35.5258, -85.0219) SEASON Yearround PERMIT None CONTACT
friendsofthecumberlandtrail.org
an Expedition Curriculum Manager and
Field Instructor for NOLS. “Wild places
are powerful classrooms to learn about
yourself and connect with the natural
world,” he says. “As an educational
organization, NOLS relies on public
lands. We operate a lot of courses in
Bears Ears National Monument, so I care
a lot about that place. I’ve probably spent
four months of my life backpacking in the
area, both for fun on my own and as part
of NOLS courses, and it’s a disgrace to
lose protection there.” –H.J.
BACKPACKER.COM
65
PUBLIC
LANDS
INTO THE WOODS
Pennsylvania
Highlands Trail
Pennsylvania
YOU DON’T NEED TO go far to get gone in
eastern Pennsylvania. Sounds surprising,
but it’s true: This meandering route connects swaths of songbird-filled forests and
lacy streams in the Appalachian foothills—
all within striking distance of Baltimore,
Philly, and New York City. But the route
is about 100 miles (or one-third) short of
completion, so paid and volunteer trail
crews with the Appalachian Mountain Club
are hard at work, closing the gaps. Sign up
to help at outdoors.org/volunteer.
To count yourself among the first hikers
to use the Highlands Trail’s brand-new
Buck Hollow Campsite, log the 26-mile,
two-night point-to-point from St. Peters
village to Buck Hollow Road. Day one, track
10.5 miles through hardwood corridors to
camp in French Creek State Park. Next day,
hike another 10.5 miles through meadows
wrinkled with brooks to overnight with the
resident owls at Buck Hollow. Close the
hike with a 5-miler to your shuttle car on
Buck Hollow Road.
BUILD IT
TRAILHEAD Horse-Shoe (40.1797,
-75.7321) SEASON Year-round PERMIT
None CONTACT pahighlands.org
YOUR LAND, YOUR VOICE
What’s the greatest threat
to public lands today?
Atlantic Adventure
BAY CIRCUIT TRAIL
Massachusetts
I-95 MAY BE THE fastest way around
Boston, but it isn’t the best: The 230-mile
Bay Circuit Trail skirts Beantown through
37 suburbs like an “emerald necklace.” That’s
how Bay Circuit visionary Benton MacKaye
(who also proposed the Appalachian Trail)
imagined it in 1921, and today, only 20 percent of the route between Plum Island (in
Newburyport) and Kingston Bay (the southern terminus) remains on roads.
Complete the entire trail and flaunt a shiny
commemorative pin, or, if you have just a
weekend, tackle the wildest section: Starting
west of Sudbury on Weissblatt Conservation
Land, follow the Bay Circuit Trail southbound on a hilly, 7.9-mile course through
03.2018
66
hushed hardwood forest laced with streams.
Highlights include 426-foot Tippling Rock
and 602-foot Nobscot Hill, where panoramic views stretch to saddle-shaped Mt.
Wachusett and the Blue Hills.
For now, tenting is only permitted at Camp
Acton (northwest of Concord) and Nobscot
Scout Reservation (southwest of Sudbury;
reservations required for both). But the
Appalachian Mountain Club, which oversees the Bay Circuit Trail, plans to create
more campsites along the route, including at Rocky Narrows, where wooded bluffs
overlook a cliffy, rock-squeezed segment of
the Charles River. Register at outdoors.org/
volunteer to assist with building the campsites and blazing more trail.
TRAILHEAD Weisblatt Conservation Parking
Area (42.3603, -71.4411) SEASON Year-round
PERMIT None CONTACT bit.do/bay-circuit
52% PRIVATIZATION
14% CLIMATE CHANGE
21% OVERCROWDING
13% OTHER
PROGRESS REPORT
Local volunteers
built the “short-butbeautiful” Tirrell’s Trail
in Weesaw Township,
Indiana, last fall. The
.3-mile trail isn’t long—
but it’s wide and smooth.
It’s one of the area’s first
ADA-accessible paths.
PHOTO BY DOUG WECHSLER / AGEFOTO
Time your jaunt
through French
Creek State Park
for spring glory.
You own 640 million acres of public land.
Let’s keep it that way.
Take Action:
www.wilderness.org/ourwild
PREP LIKE A PRO
PUBLIC
LANDS
KEY SKILLS
CHASE ROCKY
MOUNTAIN HIGHS
C
BUILD IT
CROSS A STREAM
OMBINE BEETLE-KILLED timber
with wildfire and you’re in for a whole
lot of downed trees. That’s what
parts of the Continental Divide Trail (page
72) have faced recently, especially as they
head north through Colorado’s Mount Zirkel
Wilderness en route to Wyoming. And
that’s where people like Kathleen Lynch and
her colleagues at Big Agnes come in. They
adopted a 76-mile section of the CDT near
Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and made it
KATHLEEN LYNCH
their mission to maintain it. In the last year,
Sourcing Specialist,
the Big Agnes crew has blazed and cairned
Big Agnes
part of the route, removed blowdowns,
cleaned up campsites, and more. “Everyone
in the company uses that trail,” Lynch says. “We have real a sense
of pride in it. The Zirkels are rugged and unique. You can explore for
20 or 30 years and still find new places every time you go out.”
Zirkel
Circle
With fewer trees to combat erosion and hold water,
quick-flowing runoff can turn once-reasonable
brooks into ragers. Here’s how to navigate the
Zirkel’s water hazards.
1. SCOUT THE TERRAIN.
When you reach the river, search for
a wide section where the water is slow
and shallow. Make sure that you’re not
crossing upstream of obstacles,
like downed trees or waterfalls.
2. FORM A TRIPOD.
If crossing by yourself, make sure
you always have a stable base. Face
upstream, spread your legs shoulderwidth apart, and use a trekking pole or long stick
as the third point of contact. Make sure your
pack straps are unclipped so you can quickly
shed the weight if you take a dunk.
3. USE A BUDDY.
When fording with a hiking partner,
position the stronger hiker slightly
upstream, with the trailer’s hand on the
lead walker’s pack. Move slowly across,
with both parties facing upstream at an angle.
Pay attention to the depth: If swift-flowing
water reaches higher than mid-thigh, you should
probably turn around.
Gilpin Lake
Gold Creek
Lake
CDT
Lost Ranger
Peak
FAVORITE HIKE: CDT to the Zirkel Circle. After topping Lost Ranger
Peak at mile 1,514 of the CDT, take a detour and hike 7.5 miles via the
Wyoming Trail to hit the “Zirkel Circle,” comprised of the Gold Creek
Lake and Gilpin Lake Trails. “You’re isolated in high alpine meadows,”
Lynch says, “and it’s really spectacular every way you look.”
CAUTION
Camping under dead trees can be a fatal
mistake. “Look for open meadows and
wide clearings, and be aware of already
hanging branches,” Lynch says. “You may have
to walk an extra mile to fi nd a place that’s safe.”
!
BLACK DIAMOND
OPTIC NERVE
BugsAway Sol Cool Ampario
Convertible Pant
Trail Pro Shock Trekking Poles
Dedisse
“Expect a lot of creek crossings and
crawling under trees in the Zirkels,”
Lynch says. She likes the Trail Pros
for how easily they stash on her pack
(they collapse down to 24 inches),
and their stability—helped by shock
absorbers—on steep descents and while
fording streams. $140 (pair); 1 lb. 5 oz.;
blackdiamondequipment.com
Because fires and beetles have wiped out
much of the trail’s foliage, a trip through
the Zirkels is like hiking above treeline—
bright—so Lynch says a good pair of
sunglasses is critical. The Dedisses offer
high quality at a reasonable price, and
their TR 90 nylon lenses provide 100
percent UVA/UVB protection. $65;
0.8 oz.; opticnerve.com
“When navigating around downed trees,
pants are essential so your legs don’t get
scratched up,” Lynch says. She’s partial
to the ExOfficios after vetting them on
her own CDT thru-hike. Due to their light
nylon material, they dry quickly after
surprise storms. $115; 11.3 oz. (m’s 32);
m’s 30-42, w’s 0-16; exofficio.com
03.2018
68
PHOTOS BY (TOP) NOAH WETZEL; COURTESY (3).
TEXT BY RYAN WICHELNS
EXOFFI CIO
PHOTO BY TK
THE GEAR
PUBLIC
LANDS
PACIFIC PASSAGE
Chinook Trail
Oregon & Washington
THINK OF THE Columbia River
Gorge and you probably conjure ribbons of tumbling water
and emerald-colored forest.
Handfuls of trails venture into
dark woods to hit these snapshots, but locals know there’s
potential for a bigger picture. The
proposed 300-mile Chinook Trail
will stay high, circumnavigating
the Gorge via ridges on a grand,
catwalk-like tour through Oregon
and Washington. Though it will
use a patchwork of existing trails,
the Chinook Trail Association
needs help creating connections.
Visit chinooktrails.org to learn
more, or, for some on-the-ground
research, try the short hump up
4,062-foot Larch Mountain. This
hike—and its view of Mt. Hood—
are along the proposed Chinook
route between Troutdale and
Cascade Locks.
BUILD IT
TRAILHEAD Larch Mountain
(45.5295, -122.0887) SEASON
May to November PERMIT None
CONTACT chinooktrails.org
PROFILES IN PRESERVATION
Rahawa Haile
TURNING POINT
See Mt. Hood from
Larch Mountain.
Deepest ’Daks
NORTH COUNTRY TRAIL
Adirondack Park, New York
PROPONENTS OF THE North Country Trail, which runs for 4,600 miles from North Dakota
to New York, have waited nearly 40 years to get approval to relocate the Adirondacks’ 40 miles of
road walking onto footpaths—and at long last, trail construction will begin this year. Volunteers
can help Adirondack Mountain Club crews clear 3 miles of trail through the Hoffman Notch
Wilderness, incorporating parts of the Big Pond Trail. The new path on Jones Hill will afford
hikers views of the surrounding 3,700-foot peaks through windows in the maple-and-birch
canopy. To pitch in, contact local volunteer coordinator Mary Coffin (marycoffin@gmail.com).
TRAILHEAD Big Pond (43.8451, -73.8051) SEASON Year-round PERMIT None CONTACT bit.do/nct-adk
03.2018
70
Haile thru-hiked the
Appalachian Trail
in 2016. “One of my
favorite sections was in
the Saddleback Range
in Maine,” she says. “I
remember climbing up this
mountain and I just felt in
control. I felt so powerful
in my body, and what it
could accomplish. I felt a
part of the wilderness.”
RESULTS “I’ve spent
this year writing about
diversity in the outdoors,
different barriers to entry,
and how we can change
that,” Haile says. –H.J.
PHOTOS BY (CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT) AUSTIN JACKSON; NOAH WETZEL; COURTESY.
ILLUSTR ATION BY JOEL KIMMEL
the writer
MAKE IT
PER SONAL
Take Action
Whether you’re up for a two-minute phone call or a two-hour meeting, follow these tips
to save the lands you love. BY ALEX GULSBY
CHOOSE YOUR WEAPON
The March for Public
Lands, August 2017,
Salt Lake City
No matter how you communicate, tell your representative
who you are, where you’re from, and how the issue affects you.
THE MEETING
HOW IT WORKS This is the
most effective. Putting a face on
an issue makes it personal.
HOW TO FIND ONE Go to a
“ I GET DISCOURAGED ALL THE
TIME. WE ALL DO. BUT THERE
MUST BE JOY AND LOVE IN
ADVOCACY—IT STARTS WITH
LOVE FOR A PLACE, FOR A
COMMUNITY. AND THAT IS
REVITALIZING.”
–Terry Tempest Williams, author,
speaker, and conservationist
THE EXPERT
Ani Kame’enui, the Director of Legislation and Policy
at the National Parks Conservation Association
town hall meeting or make an
appointment (call two weeks
ahead) with your representative.
THE PHONE CALL
HOW IT WORKS Staffers keep
a tally of how many calls an issue
receives each week.
WHOM TO CALL Find your
rep’s direct office number at
whoismyrepresentative.com.
WHEN TO CALL Call during
business hours before a big vote,
especially one day prior. If an
email newsletter has a call to
action, act immediately.
THE LETTER
HOW IT WORKS Handwritten
notes catch a representative’s
attention. Do your research, and
keep it to three paragraphs.
WHERE TO SEND IT Use your
representative’s office address
in his or her home state.
SOCIAL MEDIA
HOW IT WORKS It’s harder for
reps to ignore comments made
in the public arena.
WHAT TO DO Tweet or
Instagram a selfie on public land,
tag your representative, and tell
him or her to take action.
PUBLIC
LANDS
PUBLIC
LANDS
Flight Path
CONDOR TRAIL
California
BUILD IT
Cross Huston Park
on the Continental
Divide Trail.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH
Continental Divide Trail
Colorado & Wyoming
THIS 421-MILE-LONG
route may offer an even
m or e s c e n i c c om mu t e
between Los Angeles and
Monterey than the Pacific
Coast Highway: It weaves
among sky-scraping redwoods, coastal mountains,
natural hot springs, and
wind-raked Pacific beaches.
But it’s not yet signed, some
sections have disappeared
due to lack of maintenance,
and, yes, there’s still a bit of
road walking.
To see why the Condor
Trail is worth the work,
knock out the 18-mile segment from Piedra Blanca
north to Reyes Creek. It
v i sit s B ea r t r ap Cre ek ,
where one of California’s
last remaining grizzlies
was captured in 1916. The
consta nt strea m views,
stark white rocks (really
fossi lized sa nd dunes),
and quiet campsites will
leave you eager to lend a
hand to the Condor Trail
Association, which is planning several 2018 work sessions to restore key gaps
in the chain. One project
will f lag and reestablish
20 miles of fire-damaged
trail through rolling grasslands and oaks in northern Santa Barbara County,
and another will reopen 7
miles of the Agua Blanca
and Pothole Trails in the
Sespe Wi lderness. By
fa l l 2018, t he A l l ia nce
hopes to start signing the
trail—another volunteer
effort. Visit condortrail
.com to join a work party or
adopt a segment.
RIDGE-WALKING ACROSS America’s spine makes pretty much everywhere feel like big-sky country. The
TRAILHEAD Green Mountain (41.1164, -106.9150) SEASON July to October PERMIT None
CONTACT continentaldividetrail.org
03.2018
72
TRAILHEAD Piedra Blanca
(34.5604, -119.1653)
SEASON Year-round
PERMIT Required for backpacking ($5); self-issue
at the trailhead kiosk.
CONTACT condortrail.com
PROGRESS REPORT
More than 350 outdoor
industry company execs
joined forces and signed
a letter to the President
last summer, requesting
continued protection of
national monuments.
PHOTO BY NOAH WETZEL
3,100-mile Continental Divide Trail’s high summits and grassy ridgelines—which are set far back from
urban centers—deliver eyefuls of the heavens and guarantee solitude. The only problem with all that
mountain grandeur? Maintenance is a challenge. The 65-mile segment linking Colorado’s Mt. Zirkel
Wilderness to Wyoming’s Huston Park Wilderness may suffer the most: Not only does it traverse roadless, unpeopled parts of both states, but its forests were also devastated by a pine beetle epidemic.
Now, all that’s required is an ordinary summer thunderstorm to send these trunks toppling across the
trail like pick-up sticks. Hikers can hardly penetrate the nests of branches and bark, rendering many
stretches virtually inaccessible.
Several times each summer, volunteer crews (page 68) from nearby Steamboat Springs tote in saws
to clear downed timber off the CDT in the Mt. Zirkel Wilderness, where 22 fallen trees per mile isn’t
uncommon. But those groups don’t venture farther north into Wyoming. So to resurrect this segment,
the Continental Divide Trail Coalition is calling for Trail Adopters who can hike through Huston Park and
its surrounding segments with folding saws. The reward? Alpine meadows, flower-rimmed creeks, and
11,007-foot Bridger Peak, one of the highest summits in the scarcely visited Sierra Madre Range. And
satisfaction that lasts for miles.
AMY ROBERTS
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR,
OUTDOOR INDUSTRY
ASSOCIATION
WHIT FOSBURGH
PRESIDENT & CEO,
THEODORE ROOSEVELT
CONSERVATION PARTNERSHIP
JOIN OUTDOOR INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION.
A FORCE FOR PUBLIC LANDS.
When hike, hook and bullet work together, their power to defend our
nation’s public lands is immense. Amy, Land and Whit lead the outdoor
industry by representing outdoorists’ and sportsmens’ voices. As our
administration continues to forge an assault on our public lands system,
collaboration is critical. Join OIA and be a force for meaningful change.
JOIN OIA outdoorindustry.org/membership.
LAND TAWNEY
PRESIDENT & CEO
BACKCOUNTRY HUNTERS &
ANGLERS
(3 of 3)
In the
Right Hands
Blade Rock cuts
across Canyon
de Chelly toward
Tsegi Overlook
on the south rim.
In Arizona’s Canyon de Chelly, the National Park Service and
the Navajo Nation work together on a new way to run a park.
by COREY BUHAY
CANYON DE CHELLY LIES IN
the heart of Navajo country—both
geographica lly a nd politica lly.
When the national monument was
created in 1931, the Navajo Nation
retained rights to the land, making
it the only unit in the country that
the National Park Service operates
but does not own.
The canyon bottoms—which you
can visit only with a Navajo guide—
have been a haven for indigenous
people for thousands of years. The
1,000-foot-high sandstone walls fortified the Navajo against Spanish,
Mexican, and American invaders and hid the tribe during forced
removals. Rock art and Puebloan
cliff dwellings still line the walls.
Sandstone fins and spires—like
800-foot Spider Rock—rise from
the canyon floor. Among the twisted
rock and deep history, about 40
Navajo families still make the monument their home.
Other parks consult with their
i nd i genou s re sident s or l a nd
users, but only here does the land
belong to its original owners. That
makes Canyon de Chelly unique,
albeit imperfect.
At the beginning, the idea was
that the Navajo would manage the
land, the Bureau of Indian Affairs
would make decisions about land
03.2018
74
use, and the Park Service would take
on visitor services and archaeological preservation. Each party operated independently. Communication
bet ween t hem wa s neg lig ible,
a nd conf usion about jurisdiction was the norm. “Even people
within those organizations weren’t
clear on who was responsible for
what,” says the monument’s NPS
Superintendent Lyn Ca rra nza.
“There was no collaboration.”
For over 85 years, disagreements
persisted about law enforcement
jurisdiction, land management
responsibilities, and how much
development to permit within the
monument’s boundaries. The missing piece? A joint management plan
(JMP), which would provide a collaborative framework to share—
rather than split—park management
responsibilities as well as a vision
for the future.
The evolution of the partnership
makes sense: Who better to help
manage the land and provide interpretation for sacred sites than those
who have lived there for centuries?
And now, a JMP is finally in the
works for Canyon de Chelly.
It might not sound like much,
but it’s a huge and long-awaited step
in the right direction for United
States parks.
WHO BETTER
TO MANAGE
THE LAND
AND PROVIDE
INTERPRETATION
FOR SACRED
SITES THAN
THOSE WHO
HAVE LIVED
THERE FOR
CENTURIES?
“ T here is renewed i nt erest
among Native Americans in the
U.S. to try and work with the government in returning some of these
park services and stewardship back
to the Native people,” says Myron
McLaughlin, president of the local
Navajo Nation chapter in Chinle, the
gateway town to the monument.
There’s also renewed interest
from the Park Service—a significant milestone in a country with a
long history of displacing indigenous people from their homelands.
“This is about setting an example
for how to have good relationships,
and in that sense, I think it can help
repair what’s happened in the past,”
Carranza says. But righting ancient
wrongs is never easy.
The trouble with joint management is that it’s complicated, says
McLaughlin. His chapter is one of
110 local governments within the
Navajo Nation, and one of five that
intersect the monument boundary. These chapters, along with the
Navajo Nation, the Park Service, the
Bureau of Indian Affairs, the canyon
residents, and the vendors and
guides operating in the monument
all get a say, he explains.
The bureaucracy slows down
decision-making, but there’s plenty
to be gained. With strained tribal
and Park Service budgets, real joint
management might not just be the
key for getting all the right voices at
the table, but for getting organized
enough to unlock more money, too.
“The Navajo Nation can apply for
funding NPS can’t, and vice versa,
and a lot of this funding requires
some kind of partnership,” Carranza
says. “With that money, there’s a lot
we could do in terms of exotic plant
management, caring for archaeological sites, dealing with erosion—the
sky’s the limit.”
And it’s not just about saving ecological and archaeological resources.
Canyon de Chelly is a cradle of stories and songs. Protecting it is also
about protecting a people.
“We’re losing our language,” says
Wilson Hunter, a Navajo Nation
member and the NPS public information officer for Canyon De Chelly.
“How do you balance the Western
world with Native cultures?” Hunter
believes a joint management plan
could be the key to bringing together
the new and the old, and finding balance between ancient and modern.
In Canyon de Chelly, all the parties involved are currently working
on a strategic planning agreement—
a precursor to a JMP. Carranza
hopes it will be signed this year.
“It’s a long process, but if we succeed, I think other parks can learn
from us,” Carranza says. “Here, we
can demonstrate what’s possible.”
PHOTO BY MIKE CAVAROC / TANDEMSTOCK .COM
PUBLIC
LANDS
STATE OF
THE LAND
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this initiative because our product was grown
out of a passion for the outdoors.
fourpointsbar.com
We founded Fourpoints to be more than just a
product. Our goal was to become a lifestyle brand and
use that platform to promote issues that are important
to Colorado such as environmental stewardship,
outdoor ethics, and protecting public lands.
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for transporting to your favorite destination.
smartbottleinc.com
WALK FREE
The U.S. may have pioneered land
protection, but Scotland leads the
charge when it comes to accessing wild
terrain. Can we learn from one of the
most hikeable countries on Earth?
by KEN ILGUNAS
PHOTO BY TK
Roaming at its
best: The Cuillin
Ridge Traverse on
the Isle of Skye
03.2018
76
PUBLIC
LANDS
BUILD IT
PHOTO BY STEVE ASHWORTH
L
ESS THAN HALF AN HOUR into
a four-day hike across the Scottish
Highlands, I’d lost my way. I had
missed a bridge over the rain-swollen Inverie
River, and now I was high-stepping over tussocks, baptizing my socks in bogs, and walking the river’s soft edges, seeking a point to
cross and finding nothing remotely safe.
Disoriented as I felt, I was at least comforted knowing that, here in Scotland, I could
be lost on someone’s land without feeling like
a criminal or worrying about getting shot. It
felt good to ramble across the countryside, no
trail or signs to guide me, wandering in whatever direction I fancied—even if that direction
proved wrong. It reminded me of my boyhood
in Western New York, where my brother and
I built forts in the woods, played hockey on
frozen ponds, and never once thought we were
doing anything more nefarious than being
kids. But unlike that tiny suburban oasis
where neighborhood kids could trespass with
impunity, all of Scotland is open for exploration. Aside from a couple of road crossings,
every step of my 25-mile trek would be across
private property.
I had come to the Highlands to exercise
Scotland’s “right to roam,” which describes
a 2003 law that allows citizens and visitors to responsibly enjoy Scottish lands
and waters, no matter who owns them.
For hikers and other outdoor recreationists, it’s a critical legal right in a country
that’s 83 percent privately owned (by comparison, the United States is about 65 percent private). I was particularly interested
in Scotland because I’d recently written a
book about how nature in the U.S. is becoming increasingly inaccessible. In This Land
Is Our Land (coming out in April), I chronicle how anti-access landowners, conservative politicians, and far-right movements
like the Sagebrush Rebellion—which made
national news during the 2016 occupation
of Oregon’s Malheur Wildlife Reserve—are
seeking to deny the American birthright
to enjoy the natural world. I was eager to
visit a country that’s moving in the opposite direction by prov iding unfettered
access to its countryside. I wanted to see if
Scotland’s right to roam worked, and how
it worked, and whether it might work in the
U.S. Instead of defining a park by its boundaries, is it possible—when it comes to hiking
and biking and climbing—to simply declare
there are no boundaries? Or would such
universal access grate against that other
American dogma, What’s mine is mine?
To find out, I planned to spend a month in
Scotland. I’d talk with folks about the right
to roam in lowlands, highlands, and islands.
I’d attend a national access forum, interview
politicians, and walk town paths. And most
importantly, I’d experience the right to roam
firsthand on a backpacking trip.
For that, I chose the Cape Wrath Trail, a
muddy, unmarked route stretching about 200
miles. It runs generally between Fort William
in the south and the Cape Wrath lighthouse
on the northwest coast. I zeroed in on what
looked like a particularly wild section from
Inverie to Glenfinnan.
The first mile followed a well-established
trail along the Inverie River. I walked past
stone walls growing poofs of moss. The forest
floor crept up tree trunks, swaddling them
in greenery. A dome of clouds occasionally
opened up, allowing the sun to brighten the
brooding moors.
But then I missed my turn, and random
roaming didn’t lead me to the river crossing. Big lumpy raindrops left nickels of moisture on my unfolded topo map as I tried to get
back on track. Fortunately, I ran into another
hiker. The man pointed me in the right direction, then looked up, as if he was about to castigate the sky, and apologized for the weather:
“When it’s over, you’ll forget about all the
shite and remember all the sunny bits.” With
that, I put on my rain jacket and pants, found
my bridge, and continued into one of the most
roamable places on Earth.
ACCORDING TO AN OLD Gaelic expression, everyone has a right to a “tree from the
wood, a fish from the river, and deer from
the hills.” Subsistence living no longer rules
the land, but the right to roam, as a custom,
goes back generations. It wasn’t always an
enshrined right, though. In the 18th and 19th
centuries, under aristocratic rule, common
lands were made private and poor farmers
were forcibly removed in an episode known as
the Clearances.
In 1999, after a referendum, the Scottish
Parliament was reestablished for the first
time since 1707, which meant that Scotland
could pass its own land reforms. Just four
years later, the Land Reform (Scotland) Act,
or LRSA, opened up the whole countryside.
Scotland isn’t the only country that allows
public access to private property. Norway,
Sweden, and Finland have customs that grant
generous roaming rights. In Sweden it’s called
allemansrätten (which means “every man’s
right”). Several other European countries,
including England and Wales, have partial
right-to-roam systems, opening up significant areas to recreation, but with restrictions
(such as camping bans) that make Scotland’s
law seem particularly permissive.
For Scots, the transition was not all that
controversial. Roaming was customary, if
not exactly legal, before 2003, so there was
little opposition to the law. Public support is
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so broad, in part, because very few
Scots own substantial landholdings (half of private rural Scotland
is held by about 400 owners) and
because farmers and sheepherders
are heavily subsidized by taxpayers. Malcolm Combe, a legal scholar
at the University of Aberdeen,
says, “Anytime someone tries to
chip away at access rights, there’s
always a backlash. I think it would
be fair to say that anyone trying
to repeal access would find themselves persona non grata with the
Scottish public.”
AN AMERICAN MIGHT initially
exercise his or her right to roam in
Scotland sheepishly, as I did. We’ve
been trained to think of private and
public property in black and white
terms: You’re either in a park or
you’re not. But as I hiked across the
remote and uninhabited Highlands,
I didn’t feel like an intruder. The
Cape Wrath route crosses land so
empty and wild that I wasn’t worried about walking through someone’s backyard.
There wasn’t a building, road,
fence, or telephone pole in sight.
Near the stone ruins of Cardoch
v i l l a ge, a not her t r ea cher ou s
creek crossing slowed my progress. In the last minutes of twilight, I reached the coa st a nd
hiked across hard sand to Sourlies
Bothy, which is one of many old
shepherd huts turned into hiking
shelters across Scotland.
I’d fantasized about sleeping in
a warm, dry shelter, but I took one
look inside and decided I’d rather
pitch my tent. There was a rat’s nest
of charred foil and burnt plastic
in the fireplace. A 5-gallon bucket
overflowed with trash from freezedried meals. There was another
bucket of empty wine bottles.
Mouse poop was strewn about.
The bothies may very well represent the best and worst of the
right to roam. They’re free, they’re
maintained by the goodwill and
hard work of volunteers, and they’re
often donated to the public by
generous landowners. They represent the shared sense of responsibility, the shared sense of trust,
that makes something as free and
unregulated as the right to roam
possible. But freedom has costs.
Like public lands in the U.S., private
lands in Scotland can be cared for—
or abused—by visitors.
Earlier, in Inverie, I met two
outdoor management professionals at the offices of the Knoydart
Foundation, which is managed by
the 100 community members who
collectively own the 17,200-acre
Knoydart Estate. (Community
03.2018
78
Hikers in
Scotland
routinely pass
through gates
marking property
lines (right);
bothies serve as
free backcountry
shelters.
ownership of land is becoming
increasingly common in Scotland.)
I spoke with Amie Dow, the estate
ranger, and her husband Ian, the
estate forester, about the challenges
the right to roam presents.
Several times, Amie has found
people looking into their home,
despite guidelines meant to prevent
such invasive roaming. She doesn’t
necessarily blame this on the law,
adding that their house—a Danishstyle timber A-frame—makes a lot
of people curious. “I understand
it,” Amie said about the unexpected
visitors. “They’re trapped on the
treadmill. They get up here and it’s
like letting the cows out.”
Although there can be problems with open access, Amie and
Ian stressed to me that they wholeheartedly support the right to roam.
“Access to the land—it’s our right
as humans, if you want to get philosophical about it,” Ian said. “It’s our
only tangible birthright.”
“ACCESS TO
THE LAND—
IT’S OUR RIGHT
AS HUMANS,
IF YOU WANT
TO GET PHILOSOPHICAL
ABOUT IT,” IAN
SAID. “IT’S OUR
ONLY TANGIBLE
BIRTHRIGHT.”
IT WASN’ T LONG AGO t hat
Americans enjoyed a similar birthright. In 1867, John Muir walked
from Louisville, Kentucky, to the
Gulf Coast of Florida, taking the
“wildest, leafiest, and least trodden way I could find.” In his book,
A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf,
Muir never even mentions that he
was trespassing over other people’s property. No one confronts
him about hopping fences. He
never writes of “Private Property”
signs. Indeed, such freedom was so
ingrained in our early culture that
Pennsylvania’s delegation to the
Constitutional Convention tried to
get a right to roam inserted into the
Bill of Rights .
Up until about the Civil War,
walking over people’s land did not
mean what it means to us today.
Americans had been hunting and
fishing and traversing each other’s
lands since colonial times. People
thought of land that was unimproved (no crops) and unenclosed
(no fences) with a f lexibility and
nonchalance that many of us today
would find unimaginable.
But that started to change at
about the same time we established
the world’s first national park. With
the protection of Yellowstone in
1872, America revolutionized the
idea of public lands conservation.
Today, we have arguably the finest
system of park lands in the world,
but that doesn’t necessarily mean
we have more access. If Muir tried
to repeat his thousand-mile walk
today, he’d probably worry about
getting fined for trespassing.
A s A mer ic a’s pa rk s y s t em
evolved, it concentrated public
lands in the West, a natural outcome of protect i n g la nd t hat
wasn’t already densely populated.
So while the U.S. is about 35 percent publicly owned, the majority
of wilderness is in low-population
Western states. Together, Alaska,
Nevada, Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming
contain 62 percent of the public
land in the country, but only 3.7
percent of the population. The far
more populous states on the East
Coast—say, the original 13 colonies plus Washington, D.C.—have
30 percent of the population but
only 3.2 percent of the public land.
Several Midwestern and Great
Plains states have almost no federal public lands at all.
The result: The land we’ve set
aside for roaming is far from many
of our largest cities. Yes, people can
drive long distances to a national
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Crossing the
River Elchaig on
the Cape Wrath
Trail (top);
Alistair Gibson
on the 9,000acre estate he
manages.
park, but is that a substitute for
being able to walk out your front
door and explore?
AFTER MY NIGHT c a mpi n g
outside the bothy, I continued on,
hiking up a path that ran alongside the Finiskaig River. Here,
the glen contained broad sweeps
of grass and moss webbed with
streams. Waterfalls gushed from
the mountainsides.
There is great beauty in the
solitary Highlands, but it can be
haunting. I walked for miles without seeing anything move, except
the grass swaying in the wind.
There were no cattle or sheep in
sight. No bugs, no birds, no rabbits,
no squirrels—nothing. Sometimes
the Highlands are so quiet, so
seemingly devoid of life, that it
feels like you’re the first being to
walk the Earth. It’s a soul-stirring landscape, but compared to
American wilderness, Scotland
can seem lifeless. The Highlands, I
thought, could stand to have a few
lynx, beavers, bison, and wolves
roaming as well.
Absence of wildlife aside, the
place reminded me of my summer s work i n g a s a r a n ger i n
Alaska. It felt like I was back up in
the Gates of the Arctic National
Park. With a map in one hand and
a compass in the other, I’d walk up
and over mountain passes of the
Brooks Range and along the cobbled banks of the Koyukuk River.
I drank freely from streams and
rivers, I collected wild blueberries and cranberries, and I got to
experience the exhilarating solitude that comes from a walk alone
through wilderness. A longside
equality and justice, I thought that
this—the everyday freedom to get
close to nature and move where we
please—was an advancement in
human rights that all civilizations
should aspire to achieve.
While the Highlands may lack
03.2018
80
biodiversity, there are more than a
few deer, and I soon started hearing and seeing them. The red deer
stags were in rut, bellowing across
the countryside. Most of the deer
belong to large herds managed by
gamekeepers. I met one of them on
the 9,000-acre Glenfinnan estate.
Alistair Gibson, the estate’s manager, forester, and deer stalker,
was dressed in knee-high socks,
tweed britches, and a tweed drop
brim hat, with a rifle slung over his
shoulder. His outfit had the curious
effect of looking simultaneously
ridiculous and intimidating.
Gibson, who’s ma na ged the
estate since 1995, maintains the
Corryhully Bothy, near a 1898 viaduct that has become a pilgrimage
destination for fans of the Harry
Potter movies (it features in four
of the films). Gibson told me he’s
never rea lly had an issue with
hikers. “People sometimes mess
up the bothy,” he said. “It’s only a
small percentage, but it happens.
But I embrace the freedom to roam.
I think it’s wonderful.” Gibson
replenishes the shelter with firewood every day, despite having no
obligation to do so. He occasionally asks hikers to take a different
route up a mountain when the deer
are calving, and for the most part
he’s found visitors to be conscientious and well-mannered.
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This shared sense of responsibility helps make the right to roam
work. It’s so important, in fact, that
it’s been spelled out for all to understand. When I called Rob Garner,
one of the principal authors of the
Scottish Outdoor Access Code, to
ask about it, the first thing Garner
did was correct my use of the term
“right to roam.” The preferred
term, he said, is the far less sexy
“right of responsible access.”
“Right to roam is very popular with journalists,” Garner said.
“It’s a nice little encapsulation.
But it doesn’t convey the balance.
The right to roam only conveys one
of two halves. The Land Reform
Act gave rights, but the Scottish
Outdoor Access Code sets out what
the responsibilities are.”
The Outdoor Access Code was
developed by Scottish Natura l
Herita ge, a semi-public body,
a nd approved by the Scot tish
Parliament. It’s a practical guide
for the walking public and landowners. Similar to our “Leave No
Trace” principles, the rules in the
code aren’t exactly laws; they’re
guidelines that attempt to bring
order to the system. They make it
clear that rights and responsibilities go hand in hand. For example,
property owners can’t grow hedges
for the purpose of deterring walkers, and hikers can’t walk onto a
lawn or into a house.
Back in Inverie, I had spoken
with Fiona Lennie, who runs a
bunkhouse that caters to hikers.
“I think in most cases the right
to roam works to breed respect,”
Lennie said. “You have to trust in
order to breed trust. It reminds
you, although you are an individual,
you’re part of everything, and that’s
a good, humbling experience. You
take that with you.”
OTHER COU N TR IE S H AV E
taken note of the success of rightt o -roa m l aw s i n Br it a i n a nd
Scandinavia. In 2017, A ndrew
Weaver, a member of the Green
Party in British Columbia’s legislative assembly, introduced the Right
to Roam Act, which would establish the rights of residents to access
public lands, rivers, streams, and
lakes for outdoor recreation. The
Ramblers organization in England
is advocating for more Scottishstyle reforms.
Meanwhile, recreational access
for A merica ns may be getting
worse. Proponents of the Sagebrush
Rebellion stage symbolic occupations of our public lands in the name
of “liberating them,” which generally means selling them to the highest bidder. Likewise, calls for our
PHOTO BY JOHN DALE (TOP); STEVE ASHWORTH
PUBLIC
LANDS
IS YOUR FAVORITE FOOT TRAIL
FOREVER?
The AT is, but the other 10 National Scenic Trails are not. Gaps
in these trails add up to 25% of the total. We should insist that
“Interior” study the 1968 National Trails System Act and recommend
to Congress how we can save these trails for posterity.
National Scenic Trail
Trail Length
Gaps (Miles)
Gaps (%)
Arizona National Scenic Trail
800
none
none
Continental Divide National Scenic Trail
3100
558
18%
Florida National Scenic Trail
1300
300
23%
Ice Age National Scenic Trail
1200
500
42%
Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail
444
370
84%
New England National Scenic Trail
215
73
34%
North Country National Scenic Trail
4600
1600
35%
Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail
2650
265
10%
Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail
1200
300
25%
Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail
821
108
13%
16330
4074
Total (without the A.T.)
Hundreds of hardworking hikers have been addressing
this problem of gaps. But there are 34.7 million hikers
in America. We need at least 100,000 hikers to phone or
write their Congressman. JOIN US AT THE WASHINGTON
MALL ON EARTH DAY, APRIL 22, 2018. The details are
not available yet. If you can help, we would like to meet
you. Write to info@hikingtrailsforamerica.org or phone
(904) 829-1714 now, this minute, or you’ll forget. We will
keep you in the loop.
This is the only mission of Hiking Trails for America.
SAVING THESE 10 TRAILS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT
TASK HIKERS FACE. We are in this until the job is done.
If we stay the course, the stars will align. It happened
in 1968. We will make it happen again. This 50th
Anniversary is the perfect time to review the Act.
Jim Kern, President
HIKING TRAILS FOR AMERICA (904) 829-1515 | HikingTrailsForAmerica.org
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federal lands to be handed over to
the states in the name of “local control” threaten protections; states
have a long history of selling public
lands because they don’t have the
resources to manage them.
I n s om e c a s e s , ou r p u bl ic
lands are made essentially private by lack of access. In 2015,
New Mexico Governor Susana
Martinez signed a bill that eliminated the public’s right to walk
a cros s pr ivat e la nd t o get t o
public strea ms. Joh n Gibson,
the vice president of the Public
Land/Water Access Association
in Montana, says, “For over two
decades we’ve seen some people
work to privatize our public lands
by cutting off public access. And
onc e s om e b o d y c ont r ol s t he
access, they control all the public
resources, including fish and wildlife on those lands.” The Bureau of
Land Management says that about
9 percent of its lands, or 23 million
acres, are inadequately accessible
because of private land. Almost
every week, some American field,
swimming hole, stream, or stretch
of coastline becomes closed off to
the public.
This is happening at a time
when many of our national parks
are overwhelmed with record visitation, and when the U.S. Census
projects that our population will
increase by almost 100 million
people by 2060. Even if the amount
of public land in the U.S. remained
exactly the same for future generations, we’ll still face a crisis in recreational access. Could a right to
roam, if just on a local or state level,
help? Can it work in America?
H a r vey Ja cobs , a proper t y
law scholar from the University
of Wisconsin at Madison, says,
“There is absolutely nothing in
U.S. property law which stands as
a conceptual or practical impediment to the rea lization of the
right to roam.” Eric Freyfogle, a
03.2018
82
pr op e r t y l a w s c h ol a r a t t h e
University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign and the author of On
Private Property, recommends
passing state laws that authorize
local governments to undertake
land use regulation. Most all of the
scholars I spoke with suggested
there were ways to make a right
to roam law constitutional, but all
agreed that legal issues weren’t
the biggest problem. First, we’d
need a dramatic cultural shift.
Such a cha nge would enta il
valuing the good of the community
over private privilege, and reassessing our devotion to extreme
i nd iv idu a l i sm . I n ou r pol it ical climate, you’d be right to call
the enactment of such a law farfetched, but when you consider
how Scottish land was once closed
off and American land was once
wide open, the transition to a new
concept of property rights doesn’t
seem so crazy.
IN THE HIGHLANDS, there’s
nothing more comforting than
smoke coming from the chimney of
a bothy on a cold, wet evening. Just
before dark, I experienced just such
a scene at the A’Chuil Bothy, at the
edge of a dark-green spruce forest.
I wa l ked in a nd met Jenny
Johnstone, a 25-year-old hiker
walking the whole Cape Wrath
Trail. She was feeding the fire with
branches a previous visitor had left.
“It’s bothy custom to leave kindling
for the next person,” she said.
Johnstone, from Glasgow, had
just f inished a g rad prog ra m.
Before taking a job, she wanted to
go on a long hike and tick off a few
more Munros (Scottish peaks over
3,000 feet). Jenny signs her name
in the bothy journals as “Super-T,”
a trail name she picked up on the
Appa lachia n Tra il, which she
hiked after graduating from the
University of Virginia.
The Cape Wrath
Trail crosses
a wild stretch
of Highlands
terrain where
hikers choose
their own route.
THE RIGHT TO
ROAM SEEMS
LIKE A LEAP
FORWARD IN
HOW WE THINK
OF OTHERS—
NOT AS
STRANGERS
TO BE MISTRUSTED, BUT
AS EQUALS
WITH WHOM
NATURAL
RESOURCES,
SCENERY, AND
COLLECTIVE
FATES ARE
SHARED.
We hung our clothes to dry by the
fire, then laid in our sleeping bags
on an elevated platform, the fire
crackling and popping a few feet
away. I asked her about the differences between hiking in the U.S.
and Scotland.
“On the AT, I didn’t have to plan
much because it was just like following a straight line,” she said.
“But that kind of takes the fun out of
it. Half the fun of hiking is figuring
out where you’re going, getting lost,
finding your way again.”
The AT provides a very limited
perspective of American wilderness, of course, but I had to more
or less agree. Apart from Alaska
and the large wilderness areas in
the West, there really aren’t that
many places where we can freely
roam. Even in our national parks,
we’re often directed (for sound
ecologica l reasons) to camp in
designated places and hike on
established trails.
“Even if I am on someone else’s
la nd here, it ’s not a big dea l,”
Johnstone said. “A farmer will
come over and ask how you’re
doing. And I love telling people that
you can set your tent up wherever.
Especially Americans. They can’t
wrap their heads around it. ”
This disbelief isn’t surprising
when you consider the emphasis on private property rights that
exists in the U.S. We’re proud of our
unique brand of individualism, and
resist any threat to it. But as I hiked
through the Highlands, I began to
wonder if walking across each other’s property could do more than
improve access to the outdoors.
It’s not just hikers who benefit
from unfettered exploration. The
right to roam seems like a leap forward in how we think of others—
not as strangers to be mistrusted,
but as equals with whom natural
resources, scenery, and collective
fates are shared. When I was exploring the Isle of Eigg, a local told me,
“We don’t think of owning land, we
think of taking care of it.” The right
to roam, I came to see, can make a
whole country more neighborly.
I had plenty of time to think about
these things because when I arrived
in Glenfinnan, where my journey
was supposed to end, I decided to
keep going. I had enough food and
a f lexible schedule, and the rain
had even paused. So in the spirit
of roaming, I tacked on another 20
miles of the Cape Wrath Trail.
The route ahead looked straightforward, but really, I knew any
direction would do.
Ken Ilgunas is a park ranger and the
author of Trespassing across America
and This Land Is Our Land.
PHOTO BY JOHN DALE
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San Rafael Swell, Utah
generation. That’s what we’ve
been doing in America for 150
years. And the best part of being a
good steward is passing the torch.
It’s pure joy—for everyone—and
it can happen anywhere. But the
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Enjoy this canyon as an out-andback or loop hike encompassing
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Info blm.gov/visit/little-wildhorse-trailhead
03.2018
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PHOTO BY ERIK TURNER
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ITEM 61427/63308
69397/64059/64060/64061/95272 shown
AUTOMATIC
BATTERY FLOAT
CHARGER
COMPARE TO
$
MODEL: GX200UT2QX2
NOW
Customer Rating
Cu
3/8" x 14 FT., GRADE 43
TOWING CHAIN
39
HONDA
• Includes compass, sewing kit, safety pins,
fishing line, matches, fire starting paper,
lanyard & sheath
SAVE
$990
9
$15 99
COMPARE TO
LIMIT 3 - Coupon valid through 5/16/18*
• 8100 cu. in. of storage
• 704 lb. capacity
• Weighs 120 lbs.
NO W
119
11999
*31633562
*
31633562
LIMIT 3 - Coupon valid through 5/16/18*
$
$1999
SAVE
27%
$
ITEM 60363/69730
ITEM 69727 shown
CALIFORNIA ONLY
Customer Rating
SAVE
69%
5499
MODEL: 27918
ITEM 60343/67338 shown
SUPER
COUPON
NOW
NOW
89
99
SUPER COUPON
Customer Rating
ITEM 94555/62774 shown
$9999
SUPER
COUPON
• 5400 lb.
capacity
$3999
ROUGHNECK
$
99
30", 5 DRAWER
TOOL CART
LIMIT 9 - Coupon valid through 5/16/18*
20-60 x 60mm
SPOTTING SCOPE
WITH TRIPOD
6.5 HP (212 CC) OHV
HORIZONTAL SHAFT
GAS ENGINE
N OW
*31632555
*
31632555
$
19
8
$ 99
*31653402
*
31653402
LIMIT 5 - Coupon valid through 5/16/18*
SUPER COUPON
Customer Rating
LIMIT 4 - Coupon valid through 5/16/18*
SUPER
COUPON
99
4
$44
99
*31631287
*
31631287
SAVE $149
$49
ITEM 69667/68740 shown
MODEL: 0300813A
*31653376
*
31653376
SAVE
$230
COMPARE TO
NOW
LIMIT 3 - Coupon valid through 5/16/18*
$
SUPER
COUPON
Customer Rating
LIMIT 5 - Coupon valid through 5/16/18*
Customer Rating
• 1500 lb.
capacity
NOW
99
*31627992
*
31627992
$
SUPER
COUPON
1000 LB. CAPACITY 2 PIECE VEHICLE
MOTORCYCLE LIFT DOLLIES
• Diamond plate steel platform and ramp
SAVE
• Lift range: 7" – 29-1/2"
50%
6999
Customer Rating
*31622585
*
31622585
LIMIT 1 coupon per customer per day. Save 20% on any 1 item purchased. *Cannot be
used with other discount, coupon or any of the following items or brands: Inside Track Club
membership, Extended Service Plan, gift card, open box item, 3 day Parking Lot Sale item,
compressors, floor jacks, saw mills, storage cabinets, chests or carts, trailers, trenchers,
welders, Admiral, Ames, Bauer, Cobra, CoverPro, Daytona, Earthquake, Fischer, Hercules,
Icon, Jupiter, Lynxx, Poulan, Predator, Tailgator, Union, Viking, Vulcan, Zurich. Not valid on
prior purchases. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented. Valid through 5/16/18.
.
SUPER
COUPON
Customer Rating
NOW
ANY
SINGLE
ITEM
*31622606
*
31622606
LIMIT 1 - Cannot be used with other discount, coupon or prior purchase.
Coupon good at our stores, HarborFreight.com or by calling 800-423-2567.
Offer good while supplies last. Shipping & Handling charges may apply if not
picked up in-store. Non-transferable. Original coupon must be presented.
Valid through 5/16/18. Limit one FREE GIFT coupon per customer per day.
SAVE
$500
$5 9
1598
MODEL: HDB32EH
LIMIT 9 - Coupon valid through 5/16/18*
SAVE
$39
SUPER
COUPON
99
MODEL: 1312-92
*31627349
*
31627349
LIMIT 4 - Coupon valid through 5/16/18*
$
9
ENERGIZER
$ 99
COMPARE TO
ITEM 63135
61451 shown
$
COMPARE TO
6
$ 99
ITEM 60706/62319/68056 shown
COMPARE TO
ITEM 61319
62614/63598
64073/45807 shown
99
MODEL: B6350
PORTER-CABLE
• Waterproof
• Lightweight
NOW
99
ANY PURCHASE
SWIVEL LENS
HEADLAMP
AMMO BOX
99
COMPARE TO $
WITH
Customer Rating
SAVE
$70
20%
OFF
FREE
M-REG130926_Backpacker
SUPER COUPON
SUPER COUPON
Customer Rating
SUPER COUPON
KOBALT
$
299
MODEL: SM3055LW
Customer Rating
NOW
9
$1299
$
19999
ITEM 61969/61970
69684 shown
*31680178
*
31680178
LIMIT 4 - Coupon valid through 5/16/18*
At Harbor Freight Tools, the “Compare to” price means that the specified comparison, which is an item with the same or similar function, was
advertised for sale at or above the “Compare to” price by another national retailer in the U.S. within the past 90 days. Prices advertised by others
may vary by location. No other meaning of “Compare to” should be implied. For more information, go to HarborFreight.com or see store associate.
ARRIVE PREPARED
Winter
Hiking Boots
MICROspikes® Traction
CONNECT™ Gaiters
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Kenneth J Hamilton Photography
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PUBLIC
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LAST
WORD
“We have fallen heirs to the
most glorious heritage a people
ever received, and each one
must do his part if we wish to
show that the nation is worthy
of its good fortune.”
Nankoweap view,
Grand Canyon National Park
03.2018
88
BACKPACKER (ISSN 0277-867X USPS 509-490) is published nine times a year (January, March, April, May, June, August, September, October, and November) by Cruz Bay Publishing, Inc., an
Active Interest Media company. The known office of publication is 5720 Flatiron Parkway, Boulder, CO 80301. Subscriptions are $19.98 per year in the U.S., $29.98 in Canada, $41.98 elsewhere
(surface mail). Periodicals postage paid at Boulder CO and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to BACKPACKER, PO Box 420235, Palm Coast, FL 32142-0235.
GST #R122988611. BACKPACKER publications, including GearFinder®, Waypoints®, and Adventure Travel®, are registered trademarks of Cruz Bay Publishing, Inc. © 2018 Cruz Bay Publishing,
Inc. All rights reserved. Volume 46, Issue 346, Number 2, March 2018. Subscribers: If the postal authorities alert us that your magazine is undeliverable, we have no further obligation unless we
receive a corrected address within 2 years.
PHOTO BY CHRISTIN HEALEY
–Theodore Roosevelt
Snow. Mobile.
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The newly redesigned 2018 Subaru Outback helps keep you going safely with
confidence, even when the going gets snowy. Standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive
+ 32 mpg* gets you deep into the snowscape, and makes winter just another season
to fill with adventure. Love. It’s what makes a Subaru, a Subaru.
Outback. Well-equipped at $25,895.†
Subaru and Outback are registered trademarks. *EPA-estimated highway fuel economy for 2018 Subaru Outback 2.5i models. Actual mileage may vary. †MSRP excludes destination and delivery charges, tax,
title, and registration fees. Retailer sets actual price. Certain equipment may be required in specific states, which can modify your MSRP. See your retailer for details. 2018 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited shown
has an MSRP of $34,780. Vehicle shown with accessory equipment.
LIGHTER.
FASTER.
STRONGER.
Firstlight Tent
A four-season, two-person shelter
built for alpine adventures.
Lobuche Peak, Himalayas
Jon Griffith
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