Friends of Big Bend National Park
Big Bend Conservancy

Over-estimating your experience or under-estimating the terrain in a place like Big Bend can result in serious injury or death. Use the information and advice found here wisely. Climb/Hike/Camp/Drive at your own risk.

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A Winter in the Bend -- 100 days, 400 miles hiked, 85 nights under the stars

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Offline presidio

  • Soaptree Yucca
  • Mountain Lion
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  • 3436
I met a guy once that told me he got in trouble for leaving a summit register on a summit.  It was considered "abandoned" property which is against park "rules". ... Usually they are sitting in an office monitoring websites for transgressions and don't have time to get out in the backcountry.

Yeah, but the NPS litters the landscape with those silly and obnoxious permit boxes where they expect (and require) you to fill out a "permission slip" to "legitimize your presence" (as Geezer states in another post) to take a hike to someplace like Burro Mesa.

"Legitimize your presence." Why do you need to legitimize your presence? Sounds like a totalitarian government where you must have papers merely to move about.

What's the real point, beyond collecting niggling statistics? If someone is going to do something unapproved, are they going to fill out a form? Not likely. Regardless, what is the likelihood of anyone from the NPS being out there except on very rare occasions. As noted, they usually are found in their offices, unless leading the hapless on some guided hike around a parking lot.

I bet they catch a lot of violators that way. Hell, unless you park a vehicle at any given trailhead, the NPS has no way at all of knowing if someone is out and about unless they just happen to run into you on their rare excursions away from the entertainment centers they concentrate upon.
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Wendell (Garret Dillahunt): It's a mess, ain't it, sheriff?
Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones): If it ain't, it'll do till the mess gets here.
--No Country for Old Men (2007)

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joetrussell

  • Guest
Quote
This the crux of the issue. You have to get permission to use your lands? Why?

I have thought about that for quite some time, since at least the early 1970's. When the latest government shutdown happened and the NPS shut down Big Bend my first thought was " why", I understand the Park Service going " off duty ", their employer went " off duty ". ( well the NPS employer did not go " off duty " as the American people are their employer, but we have that whole government thing going and the government is just the peoples hired help but they seem to have forgotten this point ... that however is an entirely different subject )

Anyway, to MY point .... why does the land have to go " off duty " as well. It is our land. However, our government just does not see it that way. ( This land is your land, this land is my land, this land was made for you and me. I had to put that in there, couldn't resist )

So, here is my solution for the  " why do you have to get permission to use your lands question "..... get some brave politician, some brave congress man or woman ( ok, I know that kills the idea from the start but bear with me ), get that mythical brave congress man or woman to introduce a bill to Congress that would empower the NPS to create Wilderness areas that would never shut down because the government shuts down, areas that would be open to anyone willing to perhaps risk their life for a true wilderness experience, areas that would not have to be funded by the NPS or any other revenue stream because it is land that we would just LEAVE ALONE. If you hike out into the desert or hike up into the mountains and screw up and break a bone and you can not get yourself out and you die, well that is on you, you took the risk, you lost your life, you died, such is life. To paraphrase Abbey, " to die alone, on rock under sun at the brink of the unknown, seems to me to be very good fortune indeed". ( I could look up the exact quote because the book is right behind me but I am lazy )

To stay on the Abbey line, " industrial tourism " is alive and well in the NPS and always will be, that is unfortunate but true. It is not that bad, there are people that want to see wilderness, they just don't want to experience it. There is nothing wrong with that. To each his own. You see, there should be no restrictions on wilderness areas, perhaps parking lots at trail heads but not much more, and if you hike off and make it back safely, well, that is great, if you hike off and die, well, such is life.

I hit preview and read this post and it seems to have a political feel, I am sorry if that is the way it comes across. Wilderness should not be political, it is just something we need, even if you never go there, it is just something we need. As Abbey said, wilderness does not need defense, it just needs defenders. I am sorry if I tried to quote Abbey too many times. I think his fiction was sub-par but his essays on the desert were excellent. I say his fiction was sub-par because John Steinbeck is my favorite author and, as far as fiction is concerned, Abbey was no Steinbeck. ( But A Walk in the Desert Hills is beyond good )

This post brought to you by at least 4 Cuba Libres. OK, I showed my age here, for you younger readers it ain't a Rum and Coke, it is a Cuba Libre.


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Offline trtlrock

  • Mountain Lion
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  • 1262
Some caches dropped; slight revamp; now 28 nights in the NP & legal.

Do carry on, though...   ;)
John & Tess

"...and I'll face each day with a smile, for the time that I've been given's such a little while..." - Arthur Lee

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Offline RichardM

  • Admin/Moderator
  • Global Moderator
  • Mountain Lion
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  • 7618
Some caches dropped; slight revamp; now 28 nights in the NP & legal.

Do carry on, though...   ;)
So now you can re-post your itinerary and we can get back to being jealous? :icon_wink:

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Online steelfrog

  • Mountain Lion
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  • 1579
Ya, umm, no.  Steel wouldn't do that.

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Offline Picacho

  • Black Bear
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  • 611
"There I was completely wasting, out of work and down
All inside it's so frustrating as I drift from town to town
Feel as though nobody cares if I live or die
So I might as well begin to put some action in my life

Breaking the law, breaking the law
Breaking the law, breaking the law
Breaking the law, breaking the law
Breaking the law, breaking the law

So much for the golden future, I can't even start
I've had every promise broken, there's anger in my heart
You don't know what it's like, you don't have a clue
If you did you'd find yourselves doing the same thing too

Breaking the law, breaking the law
Breaking the law, breaking the law
Breaking the law, breaking the law
Breaking the law, breaking the law"

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Offline catz

  • Golden Eagle
  • Mountain Lion
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  • 1031
  • Old enough to know better, but...
I'll repeat a suggestion I made in the first iteration of this thread.  And that is, when you go up on Mesa de Anguila, you should take the time to go to the eastern end of the Mesa, where it overlooks Tornillo Creek at the mouth of Santa Elena Canyon.  Not many people can say they've been there and it really is an amazing view, both out across and down into the canyon.

I'm not positive where exactly you plan on going up onto the Mesa, but it looks like at Canyon Flag.  If so, there are a couple of good camping spaces there, where the trail tops out on the Mesa.  Allow the next day to make it to the east end and back.  Camp again at the same spot and then resume your hike out.
Wake me when it's time to go.

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Offline Robert

  • Golden Eagle
  • Black Bear
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  • 993
  • He who limps is still walking. - Stanislaw J. Lec
...when you go up on Mesa de Anguila, you should take the time to go to the eastern end of the Mesa, where it overlooks Terlingua Creek at the mouth of Santa Elena Canyon.

FIFY- Robert :icon_wink:

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Offline presidio

  • Soaptree Yucca
  • Mountain Lion
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  • 3436
get that mythical brave congress man or woman to introduce a bill to Congress that would empower the NPS to create Wilderness areas that would never shut down because the government shuts down, areas that would be open to anyone willing to perhaps risk their life for a true wilderness experience, areas that would not have to be funded by the NPS or any other revenue stream because it is land that we would just LEAVE ALONE.

Well, what you suggest already exists. But, it is found on USFS and BLM lands. They don't attempt to close access to their undeveloped areas (which basically is 99% of what they manage...they did shut down the developed sites just like the NPS).

However, if you are in TX, you almost are totally out of luck because the USFS has a mere 34,000 acres (spread among 5 units) of wilderness in the far east TX forests, and the BLM has a very minimal presence and no wilderness near Amarillo. Go west and that all changes, where the NPS is a bit player in the game.

The mindset of the NPS simply is that you cannot be allowed on their turf without supervision, even in their wilderness areas (where you still must get permits and permission to be there). That control attitude was extended and became very obvious when they shut down the open-air DC monuments, where access controls never have existed. The NPS view is you MUST be denied access if they are not working.

Changing that would require rewiring the psyche of the NPS; something they have zero interest in accomplishing. It's their turf and you get to use it only in a manner of which THEY approve. They know best; just ask them.

With USFS and BLM wilderness, you just go (yeah there are some exceptions, unfortunately, principally in very popular USFS areas in places like Colorado and such), but generally you have the places to yourself.

As I noted in a different post, while all the Big Bend fans were denied access and distraught, I went hiking in a USFS wilderness area where I encountered several other hikers, but no employees or physical controls attempting to limit my use. We successfully used the land without supervision and neither we nor the land were worse off for the experience.
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<  presidio  >
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Wendell (Garret Dillahunt): It's a mess, ain't it, sheriff?
Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones): If it ain't, it'll do till the mess gets here.
--No Country for Old Men (2007)

 


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