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MtnGoat

Impact study shows climbing damages ecosytems

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Don't get too freaked out Z. I'm sure we can and do still disagree on a good many issues. I liked your premise that humans too are part of nature, as I have often made this point in conversation. Unless one subscribes to the idea of a non-evolutionary origin for humans (such as literal creationism, or some sort of alien deposit) then one must accept that we, and everything we create and destroy, is also a "natural" process.

(I do not believe this idea should ever be used as a cop-out to justify poor environmental stewardship!!!!)

Your statement regarding the potential alienation of climbers/outdoor lovers when "lichen studies" and similar are used to limit access is prophetic. My current (mostly negative) view of modern environmentalism is in part, a product of this very type of "study".

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Has anyone climbed there? This study throws out a lot of statistics about "rock climbers" impacts on vegitation. Wouldn't it be kind of important to have an idea of things like how many climbers use the are in a given day, how big of an are are we talking about, how many routes in that area, sport or trad, etc. Without this info it is difficult to get an idea of what is going on. I assume that this is a heavily used area. Is there more to this report than what is posted above?

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See, humans are animals... animals are natural... animals kill eat other, eat each other, eat their own young, have gay sex... just like humans... um.

So what was I saying? Rather than refer to non-human processes as natural and human processes as unnatural, why not talk about human-directed and non human-directed processes or something like that.

On a similar note Abbotsford recently passed a municipal bylaw banning the keeping of "non-human primates" as pets. Damn I was glad they just didnt say primates!

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As indicated in some of the responses here, the results of the McMillan/Larson study are really no surprise. After all, how could it NOT be the case that scrubbing rock surfaces, cleaning cracks, turning over rocks, and slinging bushes will reduce the extent and diversity of bio-matter on a crag (indeed, in the interest of developing a friendly crag-climbing environment we do our best to eliminate that pesky moss, clean the life-giving dirt from the cracks, eradicate any wasps who may have taken up residence, etc.). The idea that it is a tradeoff -- human enjoyment vs. bio-diversity or aesthetic considerations -- is what we should focus on.

Looking at climbing in the Cascade region, I would be willing to guess that Dru is correct that the drier cliff-side environment at Skaha does not recover as fast as that in Squamish, but there may be other factors to consider in addition to wetness. Elevation, for example. I bet a cleaned crack or stomped ledge on Prussik Peak will take longer to recover than one in the Icicle. And uniqueness. My guess is that there is more likely to be something unique growing on Mt. Eerie than there is on a cliff in Darrington or Index, because there is a lot of exposed granite along the west slope of the Cascades, but relatively little of that Mt. Eerie rock growing next to the salt water in Puget Sound.

In this vein, I sometimes wonder what the issues are when people worry about "environmental" impact at Frenchmen's Coulee. Sure, the trash and the trails are an eyesore, the turds are disgusting, and wall-to-wall bolts are ugly, but I don't think the basalt rim environment at Vantage is unique when compared to literally hundreds of miles of similar terrain in the immediate vicinity. It does not make the issues related to climber impact any less vital to suggest that the issues at Vantage may be more rooted in aesthetic and egocentric concerns than in some kind of greater or more objective "ecological" concern, but I believe that a recognition of this fact might shed some light on the issues there. We are not just talking about respect for nature, but respect for other people as well.

When considering the results of a study like McMillan/Larson, one issue we should be discussing is what this means to us, as climbers, and whether we might be willing to sacrifice our own immediate climbing goals when faced with environmental issues, whether they be related to science or aesthetics.

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Ok granted the rock is not alive but has any one seen what vegitation does to rocks... Save the rock is what I say...moss grows like a capet, providing water for shrubs and what nots... their root systems break the rock down... What I want to see is a study on erotion speed caused by plant life... or bug life... all in comperason to humans, both are nature forces in this world... since when did humans become an un-natural force... since when are we not a part of the ecosystem as well... since when is what I would like to know... we are egocentric creature, as is the majority of creatures on this planet, we just happen to be the smartessed... rolleyes.gif" border="0

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quote:

Originally posted by Country Jake:
we are egocentric creature, as is the majority of creatures on this planet, we just happen to be the smartessed...
rolleyes.gif" border="0

Tell it to the dolphins tongue.gif" border="0

Nobody knows if we are really the smartest or not but we have hands and with tools like that who needs brains anyways?

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Ok maybe I'm not the smartest, but do you think that dolfins have any Idea about the other planets, stars, our own sun, what they are made of, not to mention know what the rock we climb are made of or how old they are, we have learnd more about our enviornment that any other creature that lives on this microscopic rock flouting in a sea of perpetual nothingness...

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quote:

Originally posted by Country Jake:
Ok maybe I'm not the smartest, but do you think that dolfins have any Idea about the other planets, stars, our own sun, what they are made of, not to mention know what the rock we climb are made of or how old they are, we have learnd more about our enviornment that any other creature that lives on this microscopic rock flouting in a sea of perpetual nothingness...

All dolphins do is eat, sleep, play and fuck. Whereas we insist on categorizing and classifying things in order to make our lives meaningful (and therefore more complicated.)

Who is the smarter beast?

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So your saying that when two dogs play around the yard or have a tug-o-war with a chew toy is not a nature act it's just recreation for them... so you don't think other animals don't get board and go out and do something just for recreation... that is considered natural, why is it not considered natural for us to go out and occupie our time with a sport, many other animals do it, dolphins for one...

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quote:

Originally posted by klenke:
Sounds like dolpins are smarter.
[laf]

Do you think dolphins get stressed out about their very existence?

Probably only when it is threatened.

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quote:

Originally posted by Country Jake:
So your saying that when two dogs play around the yard or have a tug-o-war with a chew toy is not a nature act it's just recreation for them... so you don't think other animals don't get board and go out and do something just for recreation... that is considered natural, why is it not considered natural for us to go out and occupie our time with a sport, many other animals do it, dolphins for one...

Whoah there Jake, your putting words in my mouth.All I said is that dolphins eat, sleep, play and fuck. I made no reference to anything related to "nature" or "natural", though what they are doing is certainly natural.

The point I was trying to make is that IMO big brains and opposable digits aren't exactly the winning combination we think they are. We manipulate our environment in such a way as to isolate ourselves from it. Yeah, you go out in the hills in winter and feel the cold on your face, but you're most likely clothed in plastics, carrying distilled fuels that you burn in objects made of refined metals for heat... and the list goes on. Rather removed from "nature" in my book.

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Sorry scott I wasn't refering to your coment... I was refering to klenkes... But every thing that is so called senthetic in this world can be found in this world... every element is natural... if it weren't then I would not be posable for it to exist... I live in the woods all the time... I live off deer, elk, fish, and naturely grow vegtables, I live in a wood house, have a gravel drive way, build my fences out of wood as well, to keep in my domesticated animals... are my animals not natural because they are not wild beast runnig across the untaimed landscape...

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quote:

Originally posted by Country Jake:
Ok maybe I'm not the smartest, but do you think that dolfins have any Idea about the other planets, stars, our own sun, what they are made of, not to mention know what the rock we climb are made of or how old they are, we have learnd more about our enviornment that any other creature that lives on this microscopic rock flouting in a sea of perpetual nothingness...

who knows, they might?

but seriously, are you calling knowledge intelligence? seems to me they are two different things. some stupid people seem to know a lot of facts.

i agree klenkes argument is bogus. all primates climb for play.

and remember... "anthropogenic" and "non-anthropogenic" not "natural" and "unnatural". It does make sense to separate out the human impacts cause there are a lot of us and our tools have made us pretty powerful agents of change.

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Dru:

You're right. But the people living a "Stone Age" existence have knowledge that allows them to prosper in their given situation.

As far as Enron goes...which is the worse decision, having bought Enron stock or buying the "Women of Enron" Issue of Playboy? grin.gif" border="0

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quote:

Originally posted by Greg W:
Dru:

You're right. But the people living a "Stone Age" existence have knowledge that allows them to prosper in their given situation.

But their culture's overall amount knowledge is less than our culture's.

As far as Enron goes...which is the worse decision, having bought Enron stock or buying the "Women of Enron" Issue of Playboy?
grin.gif" border="0


Are they hot? At least you get a fantasy out of Women of Enron issue... then again if you bought Enron stock you really did get screwed! [laf]

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Hello climbers,

Michele and I are waiting until the rate of new messages slows down a bit, then we'll respond here to as many of you as we can. Most of you, even the pissed off ones, have the right to be heard, but in the same vein, we will feel free to argue with anyone whose logic is fucked up. Right now, it's important that people know that we've been studying the ecology of cliffs for 17 years and have published the only book dealing with cliff ecosystems (Cambridge University Press, 2000). Also, most taxpayers complain about science that isn't applied enough. In this case, it seems that the complaints may have more to do with the immediately applicability of the results. In any event, hang in there (pun intended) and we'll respond in due course.

doug larson

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Ok doug, then tell me alittle somthin about the erotion rate of the vegitation in conparison to the erotion rate of the climbers...On the actual rock of course, I'm more consered about the rock then I am about the vegies and bug upon it...

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OK Professor, here's some questions to start with.

First, you showed that climbing harms cliff ecosystems based on the fact that this activity decreases biomass and possibly biodiversity. That seems obvious to all of us and some of us resent that your study implies that this is unique. Most of us seem to agree that if a certain cliff ecosystem (or its key organisms) is (are) threatened that we as climbers should voluntarily back off. As you know, walking across the desert or more so, building a road so that you can get to the cliff to make your study, is even more damaging to an ecosystem. So, what does your study show that is NOT already obvious?

Second, are you basing your recomendation to ban climbing at the studied cliff based only on the ecological dynamics of it? Did you consider the impacts to other areas if this area is closed down? Did you think about the harm you might do to the environmental movement as a whole if you declare that climbing is at odds with the environment and recomend a ban rather that recomending that the authorities work with climbers to lower their impact?

Lastly, acting like you need to wait for us to cool down before you respond and mentioning how "pissed off" some of us are is a juvenile rhetorical tool and I am calling bullshit. Establishing yourself as the voice of reason and we as the irrational neanderthalic climbers is not going to work with most of us. Quite a few of us are academics, a few are environmentalists, and some of us are smart anyway. Know your audience.

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quote:

Originally posted by rayborbon:
Laying pavement and installing ski lifts damages ecosystems too
rolleyes.gif" border="0

You are right on Ray Lets all stay home and become fat pigs and save the ecosystemOh thats right just being alive hurts the ecosystems rolleyes.gif" border="0

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Since CO2 is a by-product of human respiration, and scientific studies have shown that this gas is partly responsible for global warming, I am going to sit very, very, very still from now on....and try not to breathe.

...now, you might reply, "But Fairweather! The CO2 that you exhale is so insignificant you are going overboard by not breathing!"

To which I would reply, "Almost as insignificant as the amount of lichen and mosses destroyed each year by climbers?"

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I read Dr Larson's whole paper and this is the paragraph that should have been in the first post (mtngoat didn't have it yet though);

"In samples obtained by the random positioning of plots, age distributions from all sites were similar (Figure 4.2). Most cliffs had the inverse J shape to the age distributions for ring counts and estimate ages that one would expect for [Figure 4.2] presettlement forest. At two southern sites (Rock Chapel and Grimsby) no current recruitment was found. Expect for this, recruitment was very apparent and old trees were found at all sites. Trees to 1032 years were reported in Larson and Kelly (1991) but since that time maximum ages of 1653 years have been reported (Larson et al 1994; Larson and Kelly 1995). The results clearly showed that cliffs of the Niagara Escarpment, including sites near Milton, (and in agreement with earlier studies on the Milton outlier) had a completely unexpected character: namely that the least-disturbed and most ancient forest ecosystem east of the Rocky Mountains was present on the exposed cliffs. These results had broad implications not only for the future management of the escarpment, but also for the interpretation of the other components of the flora and fauna. If the forest tree cover of the cliffs is presettlement (and more or less uniformly so from south to north) then, all of the understory and underlying geomorphological processes that operate on the cliffs are largely controlled by natural rather than by human influences. In other words, the results suggested that the entire escarpment represented a complete presettlement forest, not just old trees."

Those are some very old trees and this is truly a unique forest. I would not climb on these cliffs if I was told about this first. I KNOW that if you banned climbing there however, that some of my less reverent bretheren would rap in there at night and carve their initials on those trees. Seems like a study of the anarchic nature of climbers might be a good supplementary study (you did profess an interdisciplinary approach didn't you Dr.?).

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