[at-l] If you think the AT is crowded or overused now..............

Jim and/or Ginny Owen spiriteagle99 at hotmail.com
Mon Apr 9 18:15:39 CDT 2007

Doug Mathews wrote:
>If you think the trail(s) is/are over crowded now, then I'd suggest
>that you get out and hike now.  According to the US Census Bureau, by
>the year 2050, there will be 419,854,000 folks in the US. That is
>almost a 50% increase. Now I don't know how many undocumented folks
>that includes or exclude, but I feel safe to say that this number may be 
>less than the actual total.

I wouldn't argue with those numbers - but they don't tell the whole story.

>So the powers that be(you and me) had better put some pressure on
>those in the know to do some planning on how to accommodate the
>increase.  If everything holds, then a 50% increase in total
>population may mean a 50% increase in trail utilization if not more.

Not necessarily true.  The numbers of backcountry users - including 
thruhikers - has declined in recent years.  In fact, it's declined by about 
25%.  That trend has been evident for the last 10 years - and obvious with 
respect to thruhiking for the last 5.  See: 

>For those of you planning on still here then,  you'd better start
>electing some folks who have more to do than figure a way to
>redistribute money.  Even if you do not plan on being here, you need
>to start electing folks who care about what's happening in the future and 
>not just staying elected!

Good luck.  I've been trying to convince people about this for years.  It 
hasn't been working.

A couple points - first, that the reproductive rate among hikers is so low 
as to be ridiculous.  Meaning we're not even replacing our own population.  
Second, with a decreasing "trail" population, only a fool would expect more 
and more monetary support for the trails.  Do you know how badly hikers are 
out-gunned by , say, horsemen - or 4-wheelers?  Do you know how much more 
political clout that gives them than it does us?  Third, with an increasiing 
number of "minority" elected officials will come a decreasing interest in 
maintaining "hiking-only" trails - or, for that matter, trails and/or 
"wiiderness of any sort.  I wonder how many hikers have "any" understanding 
of the cultural changes that are happening in this country today?  Much less 
what they mean for the future.

Funny thing (NOT) is - hikers also consistently vote for those who are most 
likely to ignore the trails.  And to vote against those who actually put 
money into the agencies that build and maintain the trails.

Self-delusional, self-destructive behavior ALWAYS works - no exceptions.  
But in the long run, the results NEVER meet ones expectations.

Walk softly,


Mortgage rates near historic lows. Refinance $200,000 loan for as low as 

More information about the at-l mailing list