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johndavidjr

Amer Alpine Club Harms Climbers

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irrationality comes to mind. On somewhat a side note, last time I stayed at the Skull Hollow campground outside of Smith Rocks, they were counting cars and doing surveys. Anybody know the reasoning. I dig on that campground, though the bathrooms are trashed, it seemed like a good spot. Are they goin to start charging or limit numbers? just a question cause i am curious.

And this same thread is on Supertopo...

and I am a proud member of the AAC.

Edited by pierceadams

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I know nothing about this situation and I haven't even tried to follow his link but I wouldn't completely dismiss JohnDavidJr's concerns. It would not at all surprise me to think that free camping at the Gunks is not going to last forever, nor that there could be some behind the scenes discussion that includes some AAC folks whose goal may not be to keep camping free.

 

Is there something to this? I don't know. I've a supporter of the AAC but that doesn't necessarily mean I think they could do no wrong. The Access Fund split off from them decades ago and even the AF might not put energy into actually TRYING to keep a free campground free.

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Mattp is among the MANY CC posters....whom I ALWAYS read with serious interest and respect.

 

So Matt, here is the story, obviously: ACC = not totally bad. AAC in this case = doing serious wrong due to inadequate thought.

 

NOBODY will EVER get through to them on this. It's a totally concrete wall.

 

As a result of this debacle in the long term, AAC, a CRITICALLY IMPORTANT, NATIONAL FORCE FOR CLIMBERS, will LOSE some of its VALUE AS AN ORGANIZATION FAVORING CLIMBERS' INTERESTS.

 

Complex historical argument:

 

Consider the Appalachian Mountain Club. Have you heard of the Vulgarians? This was reaction to AMC's efforts, in about 1960, to impose foolish club "standards" on anybody who wanted to climb in Gunks. AMC's name has suffered as a mountaineering group, for 40 years due to these efforts. Though Fritz Wiessner et al., were once major forces in AMC, it's now considered merely a hiking group. Has nothing to say about climbing.

 

ACC, assuming its plan succeeds, will enter Gunks local folklore in a similar fashion. This is a long-term proposition and its name will suffer long-term, national harm. The national climbing scene will suffer some loss as a result.

 

This is GOING TO HAPPEN.

 

 

THAT IS WHY NW CLIMBERS ought to care just a little bit.

 

-------

 

 

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Given your apparent passion for the topic, perhaps there is some reason for concern, but why the absolute reluctance to provide any relevant information for readers? If you have facts or information, share it. If you want to speculate what you think is happening, share that. So far you have been very non-specific in your claims. Not sure how you expect people to get involved if you won't tell us why we should get involved.

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Johndavidjr: if what you are saying is true, it would positively suck for climbers there. However, Jim Donini and Conrad Anker have very high credibility with folks on this site, many of whom know them or know someone who knows them. You have posted this on 3 sites that I have read, and on one of them Jim Donini, what is his title? I think President of the AAC, replied to you and said that it is untrue that they have any interest or are working in anyway in seeing free camping closed at the Gunks, and in fact through their efforts alone have facilitated keeping free camping at a few other places.

 

Perhaps what Winter said above is true, and you have the wrong target. In either case, I appreciate your passion for wanting to keep the area the same, and like everyone on this site wish you and the Gunks locals well in your quest. If there are specific things we can do to assist, like writing a letter of support to any agency or group, please include an address.

 

Regards

 

Bill

 

Full text of Jim Doninis response from Supertopo below:

 

"I feel that intelligent, informed dialogue is important. Rokjox's diatribe is neither intelligent nor informed. He disses the AAC for their role in guide certification Worldwide. Guess what, Rokjox, the AAC has nothing to do with guides certification, the U.S. group involved in that area is the AMGA. Concerning the Grand Teton Climbers ranch, I have to say that there are many people who love the fact that there is a clean, comfortable place in the Tetons replete with cabins, clean toilets, cooking pavilion and library where they can stay and meet other climbers for between 8 and 16 dollars a night. Perhaps Rokjox is upset because the GTCR isn't a great place for loud parties. The AAC does a lot of things for climbers, Rokjox, that don't cost a dime. Talk to the many young climbers who were able to go on trips because they were recipients of AAC grants. Or you might want to talk to indigenous people in the Khumbu region about the reforestation program we were involved with. And for the concerned climber in the Gunks let me say that we are proponents of free camping in climbing areas. The free camping in Indian Creek is still intact to no small degree because of the money the AAC granted to construct 5 Kiosks replete with Reststop dispensers. The BLM and the Friends of Indian Creek will tell you what a positive impact this has had with the solid human waste problem.

What we want to do in the Gunks is offer an alternative between free camping with few facilities, and expensive motel rooms, for those who don't have friends in the area to stay with. Our campground will have clean toilets, hot showers and a cooking paviloin for rainy days. There are people who would like to pay a nominal fee for a hot shower after climbing on a sultry day. We have no intention of restricting free camping.

The AAC is doing many things to reach out to active rock climbers. We continue to explore areas where we can develop campgrounds as a benefit to climbers. We continue to seek out stewardship opportunities (like Indian Creek) where our propactive intervention can head off potential problems. We continue to work with the Access Fund to help them in their efforts to keep climbing areas open.

I invite everyone to come party with us at the first "Craggin Classic" nexy Oct.10/12 in Golden, Co. Come and you will see that the AAC knows how to get down. One last thing- we still need a few host climbers to help us with our first "International Climbing Meet' to be held Oct. 4th thru the 9th in Indian Creek. As of now, we have 40 climbers from 20 countries registered.

 

 

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Doninis said:

 

"What we want to do in the Gunks is offer an alternative between free camping with few facilities, and expensive motel rooms.... We have no intention of restricting free camping."

 

I guess "we" had no intention of wrecking Iraq, either. But an easily predictable outcome nonetheless.

 

My apologies to readers of this generally excellent forum for my difficulty in letting this thread slide past. I'll try to put it on ice for awhile.

 

 

 

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I have never been to the Gunks, or even the east coast. But what I know of demographics is that eventually, in crowded areas, free camping becomes untenable. It often becomes a dirty mess. I'm afraid that this isn't a fight worth fighting.

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Smith Rock has had both free and pay camping for a long time. I don't think that they are mutually exclusive arrangements.

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I guess "we" had no intention of wrecking Iraq, either.

 

This is in a thread opposing a campground in the Gunks. Godwin in 3, 2, 1...

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I have never been to the Gunks, or even the east coast. But what I know of demographics is that eventually, in crowded areas, free camping becomes untenable. It often becomes a dirty mess. I'm afraid that this isn't a fight worth fighting.

 

free camping at lovers leap and it's quite clean, smith rock has free camping and it's quite clean, cochise stronghold more of the same i could go on and on . where you climbing and camping big boy?

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Last I heard, free camping at Lovers Leap is no longer free. Does anybody know if this is true?

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And the similarities between free camping in Central Oregon and Cochise to free camping near one of the great urban areas of the world is?

 

Are you all so stupid that you can't see that Central Oregon is much further from the east coast megalopolis than is the Gunks? We have no idea what is going on at the Gunks, but you idiots wanna bring up Smith. I see the Grasslands going pay-for in a few years, the place is getting dirtier, and the outhouses are terrible.

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:lmao: Funny stuff Pink. The fact is that no one is saying the free campgrounds are dirty McJizzy.

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I have never been to the Gunks, or even the east coast. But what I know of demographics is that eventually, in crowded areas, free camping becomes untenable. It often becomes a dirty mess. I'm afraid that this isn't a fight worth fighting.

 

free camping at lovers leap and it's quite clean, smith rock has free camping and it's quite clean, cochise stronghold more of the same i could go on and on . where you climbing and camping big boy?

As of 1 June, camping at Lovers Leap is $10/site/night/one car, +$5/additional car.

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JDJ,

So, I read the interview link you provided and I've copy & pasted the passage that interested me the most:

Hank- The Multiple Use Area is a lot different than most other what they call MUA's. Most are large tracts of land that have very limited facilities and they're used a lot by hunters and fisherman. This one's a small tract of about fifty acres and its primary use is a campground. To make it manageable, I think that the state needs to change the way they manage it or stop allowing camping there. I don't think the way it is now is sustainable. I think the pieces that are missing right now are facilities; they need better sanitary facilities. It needs clearly identified campsites. It needs to have onsite overnight supervision, and they need a permit system specifically for camping. Given the level of camping that goes on there, I think that's the only way that it's sustainable.

 

I don't know if you're aware of this, but the Preserve has been working with the Appalachian Mountain Club to try and get an alternative camping area in here. I think the state is kinda holding off on investing a lot of resources into the Multiple Use Area because everyone is thinking that the AMC is going to open this facility. The Preserve also runs a small campsite at Trapps Bridge; we call it Trapps Camp. A lot of people call it Camp Slime; that's kind of a nickname for it. The reason that site works is because it has a lot of the things I just mentioned. It has somebody that lives in the campsite, so it has onsite supervision. There is a permit system for your car and your campsite and numbered campsites. We also have reasonable sanitary facilities nearby at Trapps Bridge, so that's why that works.

 

If you're driving on 299 past the Multiple Use Area, on the left hand side is an area owned by the Appalachian Mountain Club. They got a grant from the New York State Parks Dept. (OPRHP) for about a quarter of a million dollars to build a campsite on that spot. The Preserve has been working with a lot of the players to try and make this happen. They are about four or five years behind schedule, and what has happened is the construction costs for the campsite have increased. There were a couple of things that weren't identified early on in the facilities planning which have increased the budget. So now the AMC is way behind schedule on this project, and the price is a lot different than what they have in their pocket right now. That's what's going on with it, and I don't know how it's going to be resolved.

 

Eventually, I think what climbers will see here is a more facility type campsite, like a real campsite. It's going to cost money. It's not going to be free, but I don't know if it's going to be run by New York State, by the Mohonk Preserve, or by the AMC. But it's very obvious that the facility is needed. There is a good mix of overnight housing available at a bunch of different price ranges except for car camping. It's not a good car camping situation right now.

So, if I understand things, if the AMC/AAC campground on private land wasn't happening, the State of New York would likely take the time and the resources to formalize the campground into a permit, sites, etc. Regardless, management of camping at the Gunks was going to change as far back as five years ago. It seems to become a question of which evil do you want: A campground managed by the state, or a campground managed by the AMC?

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It seems to become a question of which evil do you want: A campground managed by the state, or a campground managed by the AMC?

 

Could you please give me a few more evils to choose among? I am not good at either/or choices.

 

Also, I am not sure I would want to associate with climbers who want to pay a nominal fee for a hot shower after a sultry day.

 

Unless the free campers were allowed to come use the showers at the AAC facility, that is, for a nominal fee, say 50 cents?

 

The generation gap seems to be showing, again. I'm not sure what all Jim Donini was responding to but he seems a mite on the defensive. Of course I respect him and I respected Jim McCarthy when he was AAC President. As long as they don't try to police the climbing world and clean up all the bad acts.

 

Climbing organizations may do good by mediating between selfish climbers and uber-bureaucracies but having a foot in 2 worlds can be awkward.

 

There needs to remain a place for people with next-to-no-funds and in the near future it may need to be quite a large place.

 

The stodgy old AAC types we don't need to worry about. Most of them most of the time, anyway.

 

 

 

 

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Uhh... AMC has now morphed into ACC on this project.

 

In effect you are correct. Nobody can save the tradition of free, year-round Gunks camping. Too bad American Alpine Club is so willing to be the instrument here. AMC's name has been mud in Gunks since 1960s "Vulgarian" days.

 

 

Also, as an added bonus, here is Fred Beckey at Gunks last October.

 

 

I spent that entire week camping there. The place was nearly deserted.

 

 

-----------

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But what I know of demographics is that eventually, in crowded areas, free camping becomes untenable. It often becomes a dirty mess.

 

The former free camping zone below the Chief springs to mind. Now it's regulated, has proper sites, shelters, outhouses, and costs money, but in the late eighties it was squalid free camping with a fair bit of garbage, the surrounding woods covered in toilet paper blooms, and piles of foul smelling char and wire from steel belted radial bonfires.

 

The free camping along the south shore of the Tieton River is often a garbage strewn wasteland, I spent a solid half hour cleaning up garbage at the last site I stayed in there on Memorial Day weekend.

 

 

Free things are cool, but usually only if most people don't know about it. Humanity en masse can be a pretty ugly thing.

 

 

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But what I know of demographics is that eventually, in crowded areas, free camping becomes untenable. It often becomes a dirty mess.

 

The former free camping zone below the Chief springs to mind. Now it's regulated, has proper sites, shelters, outhouses, and costs money, but in the late eighties it was squalid free camping with a fair bit of garbage, the surrounding woods covered in toilet paper blooms, and piles of foul smelling char and wire from steel belted radial bonfires.

 

The free camping along the south shore of the Tieton River is often a garbage strewn wasteland, I spent a solid half hour cleaning up garbage at the last site I stayed in there on Memorial Day weekend.

 

 

Free things are cool, but usually only if most people don't know about it. Humanity en masse can be a pretty ugly thing.

 

 

 

I think that your picture of the former Campground Wall free camping is selective and possibly exaggerated. However, the late 80s is the one block of time I can't personally account for. Yes, things look and smell better when someone is paid to clean up and/or supervise, but humanity en masse can take care of itself fairly well, too, just not to a degree acceptable to everyone.

 

I believe free or cheap options for camping are usually seen as good policy lest too many users go underground and money must be spent on hounding them out of the bushes.

 

Surely there is a mix of conventional and free-rider use at many climbing campsites including the venerable Yos which is a crowded area at times of the year.

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Yes, things are cheap and adventursome when someone can get it dirbag style, but the AAC can take care of a campground fairly well, too, just not to a degree acceptable to all dirtbags.

 

I believe moderately managed options for camping are usually seen as good policy lest too many users go dirtbag and money must be spent cleaning up after them.

 

Obviously not what you said, but a similar argument that seems to match my personal sentiments better.

 

But I hear you if you would like to keep some things "wild". I used to like to got to Frenchmans and camp wherever I wanted.

 

 

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The AAC is just as bad as the Sierra Club and Nature conservancy.

They have become a group of elite ECO pimps. They scare you with their marketing to make you give them money. They buy up land and then close it off to everyone except themselves and their high rolling donors and then the rest of us can just go somewhere else.

 

Then the big wigs at these organizations pay themselves fat salaries with health benefits that would break any of our check books. The president of my local United way makes $250K! and this is a non-profit!?! I stopped giving to the united way a long time ago after I learned how much of the donations go to salaries and benefits and how much actually goes to help people.

 

These groups are nothing more than ECO PIMPS. They take your money and enrich themselves because their greedy human nature kicks in and they reveal themselves without integrity.

 

Same old, same old.

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The AAC is just as bad as the Sierra Club and Nature conservancy.

They have become a group of elite ECO pimps. They scare you with their marketing to make you give them money. They buy up land and then close it off to everyone except themselves and their high rolling donors and then the rest of us can just go somewhere else.

 

Then the big wigs at these organizations pay themselves fat salaries with health benefits that would break any of our check books. The president of my local United way makes $250K! and this is a non-profit!?! I stopped giving to the united way a long time ago after I learned how much of the donations go to salaries and benefits and how much actually goes to help people.

 

These groups are nothing more than ECO PIMPS. They take your money and enrich themselves because their greedy human nature kicks in and they reveal themselves without integrity.

 

Same old, same old.

 

Nobody will fault you for showing up with more than just an unsubstantiated opinion son. Things like facts, links, stories or first, 2nd, or even 3rd hand rumors are examples that make for interesting additional fodder for unsubstantiated opinions like that one you just tried to joist off on us. Sure kid.

 

Anything about the AAC you really know for sure feel free to bring it, and don't just toss out more guesses, cause thats cheating! Bring a link or a story with an example, it's not just OK, but encouraged, even though this is the internet and rumors run rampant.

 

-Really- :wave:

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