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johndavidjr

Amer Alpine Club Harms Climbers

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The American Alpine Club is working on a project that will close a long-established and well loved, free camping area in the Shawangunks. This will harm the interests of climbers.

 

The free camping area is open year-round. No one is ever turned away. It is clean and orderly, and is patrolled daily by state rangers.

 

AAC expects to open its own campground next year, directly adjacent to this free area.

 

The AAC camp will require fees and reservations, and will be closed for much of the year. It will routinely turn away climbers when it reaches capacity, which will be on all prime weekends.

 

AAC executive director Phillip Powers says its campground has no bearing on plans to close the free area. This is either disingenious or misinformed.

 

Here is what AAC board-member Conrad Anker sent me, when I asked about this in February. My concerns have since been ignored:

 

Greetings John,

 

Thanks for your note regarding free camping at the Gunks. In the west

we take "free" camping for granted, yet in places like NY and Europe it is

a slightly different matter.

 

I am departing for the AAC board meeting today. We are in session all

day Friday and I will make note of your concerns.

 

Kind regards,

 

Conrad

 

~~

 

Conrad Anker

 

Bozeman, Montana

59715 USA

 

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I dont get it. AAC's expensive, exclusive campground will put the free, idylic utopian campground of which you speak out of business?

 

What am I missing? Are they doing something to get the free campground closed, so that people have to use theirs?

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The Elite American Alpine Club.

Poor people should go elsewhere.

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AAC is hurting climbers and the nuances don't alter this.

 

Its project will close the free area, turn away countless people who want to camp, while charging fees to those fortunate enough to have reservations. Off-season camping will be no longer be possible.

 

But by way of background, AAC's partner on the project is Mohonk Preserve, which owns essentially all Gunks climbing.

 

MP's "Director of Land Stewardship" made some slightly illuminating remarks on the topic several years ago, just before AAC replaced AMC as partner on campground project. See bottom of linked page:

 

http://www.theuberfall.com/hankinterview2.htm

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John, you need to make a better case for your point of view if you hope to get any support. Do you mean to say that merely by opening a pay campground they are signaling their intentions to close the free one? Your link doesn't support your assertion.

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John, you need to make a better case for your point of view if you hope to get any support. Do you mean to say that merely by opening a pay campground they are signaling their intentions to close the free one? Your link doesn't support your assertion.

 

Is the free one even run by the AAC?

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It's all rather arcane local politics, the upshot of which is, of course, climbers lose.

 

The American Alpine Club is fully aware of how their plan will hurt the climbing public. Yet they persist because operating the private camp will raise their profile.

 

A Little Background:

 

The super-straight-laced Mohonk Preserve has very major influence and the inside track on whether state-owned free camping continues.

 

The MP guy says in link above: "I think that the state needs to change the way they manage it or stop allowing camping there." He goes on to say, "I think the state is kinda holding off on investing a lot of resources into [free area] because everyone is thinking that the AMC* is going to open this facility."

 

AAC and MP are now partners on the private "facility," with MP operating in the background. A state guy told me that when AAC camp opens, the MP will probably acquire the adjacent, currently free site in a land-swap with state, and close it down. MP's property currently surrounds the site.

 

It's not that MP particularly wants the land. But their super-wealthy board members and financial backers own lots of property in the area, and dislike the appearance of chaotic parking that develops on a dozen weekends per year.

 

Also, what's a "land manager" to do but "manage?"

 

-

 

*Appalachian Mt Club, or AMC, tried decades ago, to impose its "certification" test as a requirement for all gunks climbers. More recently, they sought to develop the private campground & then decided not to. AAC, with a far lesser track record in facilities management than AMC, might, in theory, make a similar decision at any time, before or after the state site is closed.

 

----

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AAC executive director Phillip Powers says its campground has no bearing on plans to close the free area. This is either disingenious or misinformed.

 

You should ask them why they are closing the free campground instead of accusing them of trying to protect an investment.

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The American Alpine Club is trashing the local tradition of free camping with no regard for who gets hurt.

 

They're doing this to get a high profile for the increasingly obscure club in a very active climbing area.

 

The AAC members I've met don't stay in free campgrounds; They jet to black-tie dinners held by their club. They stay in expensive hotels, or on their yachts, or just buy a few acres and build a vacation home.

 

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the local tradition of free camping with no regard for who gets hurt

 

Jeebus, what sort of liquor laws do you have there?

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You are only sharing your opinion, not presenting facts. We mayu be a bunch of dickheads on this site, but we need a little more evidence than your ranting to get behind what you are saying.

 

FYI - I'm an AAC member. I don't have a vacation home, a black tie, or stay in expensive hotels.

 

Calm down and present facts or move to spray.

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Perhaps "free camping" has come to mean "place to get drunk, act like a bunch of fucking idiot NYC human rats, and leave trash all over the place". I'd love to see some pics of your awesome free campsite, I'm sure it would make an Indian cry, the way the city sub-humans have typically treated the woods out there.

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So hold on - the AAC opens a campground on private lands adjacent to a campground on state land. The concern is that the state will then trade away the state campground to MP, which is also a co-operator of the adjacent private campground? Do I have this right? Seems to me like the state would find itself in a shit-storm of public outcry if it tries to trade away public facilities to an operator of a competing private facility.

 

Instead of coming down on the AAC, you might want to start organizing folks to begin telling the state how important public facilities are despite the development of private facilities in the area. You should also look into what types of laws govern trades of state land and disposal of public property in New York. Each state has a separate set of laws - here in Oregon there is often an "equal value" requirement for land trades and they must also be found to be in the "public interest." New York I'm sure has different laws. Start making your case now and shape your message to be consistent with your state laws and disposal of state land. If you're ahead of the ball and have a strong base of support, you'll be perceived as advocating FOR something with a positive vision instead of just being reactionary and saying no to a project. Attacking the AAC and dividing the climbing community is unlikely to get you any closer to your objective of protecting public facilities.

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Perhaps "free camping" has come to mean "place to get drunk, act like a bunch of fucking idiot NYC human rats, and leave trash all over the place". I'd love to see some pics of your awesome free campsite, I'm sure it would make an Indian cry, the way the city sub-humans have typically treated the woods out there.

YMMV but the few nights I've spent at at Gunks campground have all been very quiet enjoyable nights. It was not dirty and definitely not a party scene.

 

 

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Camping at the gunks is what I did as a teenager, and got to find out about all these other parts of the country. Beat the hell out of sitting in the burbs . Everyone knows if you want to party go into new paltz

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The American Alpine Club is trashing the local tradition of free camping with no regard for who gets hurt.

 

They're doing this to get a high profile for the increasingly obscure club in a very active climbing area.

 

The AAC members I've met don't stay in free campgrounds; They jet to black-tie dinners held by their club. They stay in expensive hotels, or on their yachts, or just buy a few acres and build a vacation home.

 

You are only sharing your opinion, not presenting facts. We mayu be a bunch of dickheads on this site, but we need a little more evidence than your ranting to get behind what you are saying.

 

FYI - I'm an AAC member. I don't have a vacation home, a black tie, or stay in expensive hotels.

 

Calm down and present facts or move to spray.

 

So hold on - the AAC opens a campground on private lands adjacent to a campground on state land. The concern is that the state will then trade away the state campground to MP, which is also a co-operator of the adjacent private campground? Do I have this right? Seems to me like the state would find itself in a shit-storm of public outcry if it tries to trade away public facilities to an operator of a competing private facility.

 

Instead of coming down on the AAC, you might want to start organizing folks to begin telling the state how important public facilities are despite the development of private facilities in the area. You should also look into what types of laws govern trades of state land and disposal of public property in New York. Each state has a separate set of laws - here in Oregon there is often an "equal value" requirement for land trades and they must also be found to be in the "public interest." New York I'm sure has different laws. Start making your case now and shape your message to be consistent with your state laws and disposal of state land. If you're ahead of the ball and have a strong base of support, you'll be perceived as advocating FOR something with a positive vision instead of just being reactionary and saying no to a project. Attacking the AAC and dividing the climbing community is unlikely to get you any closer to your objective of protecting public facilities.

 

I couldn't agree with Fender4 or Winter more: thanks guys for your words. John David Jr, you come off as emotional and shrill. Sounds like you have no idea what the AAC is all about, nor the full issues surrounding Gunks camping. I'm a long-time AAC member: like Fender4 the vast majority of us certainly aren't jet-setters nor have any interest in vacation homes, and like this dirt-bagger (me) take advantage of AAC benefits such as worldwide rescue insurance, reduced rates on some lodging (in particular the AAC Teton Climbers' Ranch and reciprocity with the ACC-Alpine Club of Canada), and staying informed and being involved in regard to regional and national climbing issues. Perhaps you should consider joining too, so you can learn more and if you want to effect change, do it from within.

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Um, you're quite right. The AAC does some good things. Sorry if I implied they don't.

 

(I do find a tad anachronistic their "annual black tie dinner" at Manhattan's Union Club, the "Oldest US Gentlemen's Club." No, not THAT kind of gentlemen's club. To each their own, if they've got it, I guess.)

 

But more to the point, I do have a pretty good handle on Gunks camping, & sadly, the AAC is being highly irresponsible on this project.

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Then please try and explain how a new AAC-run campground would threaten the dirtbag one. While that may well be the case, I (and probably a host of others) are having a hard time following your reasoning.

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Sorry to belabor a point.

 

If you don't understand, and want to, then please read the final four paragraphs of interview linked below.

 

http://www.theuberfall.com/hankinterview2.htm

 

The item is a bit old, but maybe you'll get the drift. MP, ACC and state are now partners. AMC is out.

 

I'll post on this again after the MUA and Slime are closed next year. Will add the AAC's address, where you can mail in your reservation request.

 

 

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The article is about the APPALACHIAN MOUNTAIN CLUB, not the AMERICAN ALPINE CLUB. Your post above says AMC is out and now the deal is with the AAC, but how do I know that?

 

Anyway, on the theory that there's at least two sides to every controversy, I give credence (and respect) to the article's description of the area being hammered. I volunteer in a National Park here and am familiar with the challenges of trying to keep an area from turning into a desolate junkyard vs. keeping access limited in order to preserve natural conditions.

 

The further you post the less credible you seem. The MP isn't trying to close off climbing access. You need to realize that more people and more pressure on a piece of land has to bring a conservationist response to prevent it from being ruined for everyone. Fees are one method, or part of a larger strategy, to achieve that.

 

The article also explains that the fees will bring facilities. It's not just that someone is going to start charging, You're going to *get something* for your money.

 

I don't see why Northwest climbers should care. You haven't come across with anything that explains what's the outrage.

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Builder:

You assign to me zero credibility, a difficult approach to discussion.

 

Also, might point out that for example, Mt. Rainier Ntl Pk, was set up to satisfy the railroad/lumber interests. A weird but true history. See for example, "Olympic Battleground" an interesting, perhaps weak, but highly detailed and well documented work, published by Sierra Club.

 

So take care on whom who you spend your volunteer work hours.

 

But here's the AAC's ONLY press release and it's from two years ago.

 

http://www.americanalpineclub.org/pdfs/06%20AAC%20Shawangunks%20campground%20news%20release%20FINAL.pdf#search=%22shawangunks%22

 

A lot is left unsaid, and in fact, the situation is somewhat complex.

 

If you don't see why Northwest climbers should care, then maybe it'll be best for you just wait around, until somebody needlessly and thoughtlessly trashes a local tradition in your backyard.

 

I'm sure they too, will think they're doing you a nice favor.

 

---

Edit to fix link

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