We don't need any more lost hikers!

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oroblanco
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Re: Colorado Man "Goes Missing" in the Superstition Mountains!

Post by oroblanco » Sun Feb 21, 2010 8:02 pm

SuperstitionGuy wrote
We don't need any more lost hikers!
I agree and understand, but it is pretty much a certainty there will be more over time. I have to "rant" here for I place at least a part of the blame for people becoming lost (and some even perishing from thirst or exposure) on our good old United States Geological Survey and the private clubs they are catering to. The USGS topographic maps are (in my opinion) the best maps available; they are published at the expense of the US taxpayer and sold at a reasonable cost. However in recent years, due to pressures from private clubs like the Natures Conservancy and Sierra Club, the USGS has been deliberately erasing important geographic features from these maps - including ancient ruins, remote springs and water sources, and even trails. The excuse given, if you can get them even to admit they are in fact doing this erasing, is that it is done to "protect the resource" from "vandalism and overuse". It is perhaps understandable when we are talking about ancient Amerindian petroglyphs - however even these belong not to any private club but to "we the people" and how can our people enjoy them if they can not find them?

With the erasures of trails and springs in remote areas, this amounts to almost criminal negligence on the part of the USGS. A man could perish of thirst, fifty FEET from a spring and with the best USGS topo maps in his hands, because he cannot look for a spring which is not marked on his map. I just received a new print of the USGS 7.5 minute 1:24,000 scale topo map for Weavers Needle, ordered because our old one (a 1960 edition) is getting pretty ratty from age and use. (Plus the danged graffiti and little notes "someone" marked all over it, I will blame it on Beth as she is not looking, ha ha :mrgreen: ) Well to my unpleasant surprise, those busy editors at the USGS mapping department have been very busy indeed. I am half-tempted to file a class-action lawsuit over this deliberate alteration of taxpayer funded maps. What is ironic about this is that erasing (to satisfy the desires of private clubs) is being done at the same time that the same govt is busily photographing by satellite every square inch of our territory, to such detail that it is literally invading our privacy.

Springs, ruins and trails are NOT the only things those busy little hands have been deleting either - they are also removing MINES. The Miller mines are GONE for example. How long before some innocent person falls into an old mineshaft simply because it was not marked on the maps? I think this erasing act alone amounts to criminal negligence on the part of the USGS.

Sorry for the rant, but if you think I am kidding, take out a 1960 edition Weavers Needle map and compare it side-by-side with the newest version 2004 and you will see just what I am talking about. People can get lost now even with the best available maps in hand, thanks to these erasing efforts done by a public-funded branch of government in order to make some private clubs happy.

Roy

Jim Hatt

Re: We don't need any more lost hikers!

Post by Jim Hatt » Mon Feb 22, 2010 12:55 pm

I couldn't agree with you more Roy,

It is really heart wrenching, to see so much historical data removed from USGS Topo's, every time a new version comes out. If you go back through the years, you can even see where Place-names have been changed by moving them around like a "Shell" game.

Even the La Barge Canyon Trailhead has been renamed "Boulder Canyon" where it meets with Canyon Lake. Hang on to your old Topo Maps. Future generations will need them in order to make any sense out of anything written in our time.

Jim

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Re: We don't need any more lost hikers!

Post by oroblanco » Mon Feb 22, 2010 8:06 pm

Hola amigo,

I want to ask you a 'rhetorical' question (no reply necessary) but suppose you or I were working at the USGS mapping service, and deliberately removed/erased old mineshafts, trails and springs from the maps; and as a result, people got lost, died of dehydration, fell into old mineshafts which are clearly marked on older maps; what do you suppose the law would do to you or I, for doing that sort of vandalism?
Roy

Jim Hatt

Re: We don't need any more lost hikers!

Post by Jim Hatt » Mon Feb 22, 2010 9:13 pm

Roy,

I'm glad you said I didn't have to reply. The only words I can think of, to make my response appropriate, are not allowed by the Terms of Use Agreement! :oops:

Jim

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Re: We don't need any more lost hikers!

Post by cubfan64 » Tue Feb 23, 2010 9:59 am

While I understand your sentiments Oro and Jim, and I agree on some things, I can't but feel that the subject is a double edged sword - let me try to explain without rambling too much and you guys shoot holes in my comments :)

Leaving potential water sources off the list for now, I could make an argument that putting the locations of mine prospects, ruins and such things as those has a greater risk associated with it than removing them. For example, take the average hiker (not an explorer, but just a hiker/camper). Most of them will stick to the major trails throughout their hike and a basic USGS map should be more than adequate. However if they see that there is a ruin or mine shaft or something "not far" from the trail, at least a portion of those people will be curious enough to go looking for it - that's when potential problems can occur. In this case, I prefer thinking that "ignorance is bliss," and what they aren't aware of will not cause them problems. You also have the other group that's out looking for either artifacts to take or deface - I don't want a basic map to point that kind of thing out to them

For those of us who specifically seek to get off the beaten path, there are so many resources out there available to us to fill in all the gaps that the USGS maps leave out. It doesn't take that much effort to find maps that point to those things we want to explore, and to be honest, I WANT it to take effort to find some of those things so I can still have that feeling of excitement when I find something that I know not every person hiking the wilderness comes across.

I'm already starting to ramble, so forgive me, but hopefully you sort of understand where I'm coming from with the comments.

In regards to potential water sources, I do agree that ANY AND ALL should be shown on a map, unless there is a good reason to believe it absolutely no longer exists during any season. While some may argue that a person could get into trouble or waste valuable energy looking for a water source that is dried up, if someone is in serious trouble out there, at least there's a CHANCE to find some water - it's better than no chance at all.

Just as an aside, and my guess is we could all tell stories like this...

My total days spent hiking/exploring in the Superstitions so far is only maybe a total of 20-30 days. In that short bit of time, I try to stay mostly off the main trails as I'm not out there to "hike" per se. I consider myself to be a novice at best out there, but I had an experience a couple years ago when I was still even more green than I am now that always strikes me when I think about people who get lost, hurt or die out there.

I was coming out of West Boulder Canyon and starting to head towards where Chuck Aylor's camp was when I ran across a couple people hiking. They were wearing shorts, tennis shoes, short sleeve shirts and hats. They each had a walking stick and a fanny pack with 1 bottle of water each. No other backpack, no other supplies or anything. As I came out of the brush and onto the trail, I sorta scared them a bit, but we chatted briefly and they admitted that they were lost. They had come in from Peralta Road and had planned for a half day hike and got confused somewhere along the trail. Neither one of them had a map or GPS but had just planned to hike down a trail for a few hours and then turn around and come back. I never could figure out where they took a wrong turn, but since it was afternoon by then, I sat down and showed them my map, explained where they were and oriented them so they could get back to the Peralta Trailhead. I was staying out there that night and knew where I was and how to get back, so I gave them my map as well as a couple extra bottles of water and a flashlight in case they didn't get back to the parking lot until dark. I sent them on their way and watched them until they were shortly out of sight. I started setting up my tent and stuff and not less than 30 minutes later here they came back down the trail. As soon as they saw me, they started laughing and told me they had stopped after 10 minutes or so on the trail out and wanted to get a better view for a photo, so they went off the trail just a little bit to look out over a ridge. When they got back to the trail, they had gotten turned around somehow and started walking right back the way they came.

I smiled since they were laughing about it as they headed back out again, but I couldn't help shaking my head when they were out of sight and wondering how many people like that go out there totally unprepared and end up as a statistic.

Paul

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Re: We don't need any more lost hikers!

Post by oroblanco » Tue Feb 23, 2010 5:12 pm

Hola amigo,
I do understand your viewpoint, but respectfully disagree. People make mistakes, sometimes stupid mistakes of course and no matter how good a map may be, stupid trumps all. However that said, we are not the end of the line, others will follow us. The people who come 50 years after us, will have very few of the older edition USGS topos which clearly and accurately show the locations of many old mineshafts, springs, trails etc. These features belong to 'we the people' that is, all of us not just any private club or group. Would you prefer to see this situation change, so that we would follow the 'logical' progression of limiting information and thereby access as well, then the next step of course to have state licenses for Dutch-hunters, and only licensed Dutch-hunters would be allowed to own the correct maps? Of course there would be testing and fees involved, perhaps even "schools" where someone could receive the necessary training to apply for a Dutch-hunter license. The next logical step is that anyone not a licensed Dutch hunter must hire a licensed one in order to be able to enter the Superstitions. I could have this all wrong but have seen it happen in hunting, so that for example, a non-resident of Wyoming, is required by law to hire a licensed Wyoming guide in order to be able to hunt in official "wilderness areas" such as exist in the Bighorns, etc.

While you were able to locate the map information you required, others may not be able to in the future or even NOW. A person new to this 'game' may very well order a set of USGS topo maps, receive the newest edition printings, and now believes he has the best available and most accurate maps, with every reason to think so since it is the USGS and taxpayer funded.

Anyway I respect your viewpoint Paul, but disagree on several grounds. It is just plain wrong that a map printed today, is less accurate and does not include depictions of clear hazards which were published forty years ago. A person who voluntarily enters a mineshaft he saw depicted on a map, made an informed decision to do so - a person who accidently falls into one simply because he didn't know it was there because his maps have been deliberately altered to hide these important geographic features is criminal vandalism and malicious endangerment of the public, IMHO.
Roy ~ Oroblanco

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Re: We don't need any more lost hikers!

Post by cubfan64 » Wed Feb 24, 2010 5:15 am

oroblanco wrote:Hola amigo,
I do understand your viewpoint, but respectfully disagree. People make mistakes, sometimes stupid mistakes of course and no matter how good a map may be, stupid trumps all. However that said, we are not the end of the line, others will follow us. The people who come 50 years after us, will have very few of the older edition USGS topos which clearly and accurately show the locations of many old mineshafts, springs, trails etc. These features belong to 'we the people' that is, all of us not just any private club or group. Would you prefer to see this situation change, so that we would follow the 'logical' progression of limiting information and thereby access as well, then the next step of course to have state licenses for Dutch-hunters, and only licensed Dutch-hunters would be allowed to own the correct maps? Of course there would be testing and fees involved, perhaps even "schools" where someone could receive the necessary training to apply for a Dutch-hunter license. The next logical step is that anyone not a licensed Dutch hunter must hire a licensed one in order to be able to enter the Superstitions. I could have this all wrong but have seen it happen in hunting, so that for example, a non-resident of Wyoming, is required by law to hire a licensed Wyoming guide in order to be able to hunt in official "wilderness areas" such as exist in the Bighorns, etc.

While you were able to locate the map information you required, others may not be able to in the future or even NOW. A person new to this 'game' may very well order a set of USGS topo maps, receive the newest edition printings, and now believes he has the best available and most accurate maps, with every reason to think so since it is the USGS and taxpayer funded.

Anyway I respect your viewpoint Paul, but disagree on several grounds. It is just plain wrong that a map printed today, is less accurate and does not include depictions of clear hazards which were published forty years ago. A person who voluntarily enters a mineshaft he saw depicted on a map, made an informed decision to do so - a person who accidently falls into one simply because he didn't know it was there because his maps have been deliberately altered to hide these important geographic features is criminal vandalism and malicious endangerment of the public, IMHO.
Roy ~ Oroblanco
Hi Roy,

I knew I liked you for a reason :) You have the excellent ability to disagree, but do so in a way that doesn't come off as arrogant, condescending or sarcastic and I for one absolutely appreciate that!!!

I do understand what you're saying as well, and your points are definitely valid ones. I'm not firmly in either "camp" to be honest and my views and thoughts can certainly be changed. You and Jim both gave me more to think about from different perspectives and to me, that's what discussion and communication is all about!

Respectfully, Paul

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Re: We don't need any more lost hikers!

Post by oroblanco » Wed Feb 24, 2010 9:19 pm

Thank you Paul - and your points are valid. Just look at the general discussion thread for an example of vandalism and theft of petroglyphs. Short of building tight fences around them how can they be protected so that future generations can enjoy them? I don't know any good answers to this one.
Roy

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Re: We don't need any more lost hikers!

Post by RockyFrisco » Thu Feb 25, 2010 4:43 pm

For what it's worth, if anything:

I tend to choose on the side of truth most of the time. In other words, I would support telling it like it is in most cases. If divulging the plain facts results in somebody getting hurt or dying, that's a tragedy, but I think that in most cases, protecting the truth is more important than protecting the ignorant or stupid.

I wouldn't want to see licensing in this case, since I trust the government to screw up anything they meddle in. After all, isn't the right to get a Darwin Award part of being an American? I might support licensing if it were likely that some fool tenderfoot would fall on somebody and kill them, but that's not likely, is it?

Tell me, please, do you think the Superstitions are far more dangerous than, say, McElmo Canyon? I understand the problem with temperature in the summer season, but, other than that, what's the main danger? McElmo has lots of places where you can die from carelessness; it has some really nasty snakes and scorpions and the canyons and washes like to get you lost and confused. I wandered and explored there since I was a small child, often unsupervised, and found locations and things the locals didn't know about. I always had a gun and water and some rope. I got pretty scared a few times, but always made it back to camp. Is a main danger other humans? I ask because I think I'm getting the bug to come see for myself. I will be 73 in July, but I'm pretty limber and sure-footed for an old guy and I know how to pace myself. Tulsa is around 750 feet ASL; I wonder what the average elevation is in the Supes. I lived for a whole winter season in Creede a few years ago and was used to the thin air after a few days. Never got used to the cold, though.

What do you guys think about this?

-Rock

Jim Hatt

Re: We don't need any more lost hikers!

Post by Jim Hatt » Thu Feb 25, 2010 5:57 pm

Rocky,

Based on your experiences you have outlined above, and my 20+ years of experience in the Superstitions. I would say that you would have no trouble at all, going anywhere you wanted to go in there, as long as you are in reasonably good health, and are not in any big hurry to get to where you are going. "Haste makes Waste" and causes accidents too. I have hiked in there with a man that was in his 90's, and he continued to hike in there (often solo) until the year of his death at age 92.

A mountain is a mountain, and a canyon is a canyon, and they present most of the same hazards, no matter what mountain Range they are in. That is not to say they are as scenic as the Superstitions are, but I don't think there is any place in there that you would not feel comfortable in. The danger from humans are nothing today, compared to what I have been told about them in the 60's when there were mining claims being worked around every corner, and occupied by paranoid Miners/Prospectors.

If you ever get down here, I'd be more than happy to let you tag along with me on a trip or two with me, until you got the lay of the land established in your own mind. I haven't had anybody new to spin my yarns over a campfire to in a long time. Might even have time to tell you some funny stories about "Kris", that would be too far "off topic" and he might object to me posting in an open forum such as this. :lol:

Jim

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