The trip That Never Was.

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The trip That Never Was.

Postby Mechanic-AL » Sat 25 Jan, 2020 2:18 pm

I recently spent a week walking from Lake Ada up Bernes Valley through Dixons Kingdom and then out exploring around Long Tarns and Turrana Bluff. On the second night I camped among the xmas holiday hoards at DK. As I sat having my breakfast a Parks ranger came wandering down out of the pines and we ended up having quite a lengthy enjoyable conversation covering a range of subjects including Lake Malbena, the new tent platforms for DK and the steadily increasing numbers continuing on to Lake Adelaide after a night at DK. It was quite a relaxed conversation and we touched on the frustrations felt by many Parks staff with the way everything is heading and the need for them to tow the ministers line regarding management policies.
AS I began packing up I was politely reminded to be sure to use the wash down point at the end of my walk. I told the ranger I was heading out towards Turrana Bluff for a few days and then out via Lake Fanny so I wouldnt have a chance to wash anything down before I got home. She told me how pleased she was that I was heading out that way because it was such beautiful country and and excellent place to explore. She then went on to say " I just hope you dont feel the need to spray photos and details all over some social media platform when you get back ". I had been keeping track notes and taking lots of photos, more for my own benefit than others, but the idea of posting a trip report was lurking in the back of my mind.I just wanted to share some of the things I had seen and experienced. As I wandered down the wide open expanses of the Valley of Hinom the rangers words were playing on a loop in my head and I had the classic good voice vs bad voice argument raging in my head. Judging by a clearly evident pad most of the way it was hardly virgin territory I was passing through so what harm could one more trip report do ? Then I recalled the rangers observations that people arrive at DK, they have or will climb Solomons Throne and Mt Jerusalem and then they are off again either to Lake Adelaide or back to Wild Dog Creek. Not too many people vary this itinerary apparently. Could it be possible for my trip report to encourage other people to explore areas in the region that clearly couldnt cope with an increase of traffic ? In truth I may not have even been there myself if other peoples reports and photos hadnt planted the seed for this walk in my brain in the first place.
The Ranger hadnt lied to me. The area I spent exploring over the next few days was stunning. I had such an enjoyable trip. As soon as I got home, with the Rangers advice fading in my head, I sat down and began working on a trip report. And then a bush fly landed firmly in my porridge. Parks released their ' Walls of Jerusalem Recreational Zone Plan' for public submissions and I suddenly found myself rethinking the whole situation and just what a miniscule role I played in the future of this incredible place. As I kept telling myself one little trip report could only contribute the tiniest little ripple on the surface of a huge lake. But what a heap of little ripples eventually converge ? Then the resulting groundswell for development must surely become something that cant be ignored.
I finished my trip report and am happy I have a personal record of an amazing walk but it wont be seeing the light of day on any social media platform.
While we all make noises about commercialization of sacred places I think it is important to have a good look at ourselves first and identify what our role is in this ever increasing mess and how we contibute to whats happening out there.

I'm not pointing any fingers or offering any solutions.

Just think it is the first thing we should be looking at.
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A reed shaken in the wind"?
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Re: The trip That Never Was.

Postby tastrax » Sat 25 Jan, 2020 4:07 pm

Good on you! Alas, lots of people dont understand the 'recreational creep' that continues to expand the track network.

The Walls plan is a classic case where they are now saying we need to extend and harden the track rather than reduce the impacts to a previously agreed defined level (Via track classifications)...instead we change the goal post (recreational zone status) and allow increased development. viewtopic.php?f=3&t=30738&p=387654#p387495
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Re: The trip That Never Was.

Postby CBee » Sat 25 Jan, 2020 4:09 pm

This is a very nice post. I, in the past, believed in sharing trip reports and gpx files. Not sure if it was just ego, but I started uploading tracks for people to download. Some of them, shame on me, off-track. Some GPX had 2000+ downloads and the icing on the cake was a clear pad marked with pink ribbons, on what once was my off-track route. I was really upset about it and decided to take everything off the net (and the ribbon too). Same for my obscure climbing routes and crags, went back to find a clear pad, arrow painted on rock etc.
A mistake I won't repeat again because I felt devastated.
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Re: The trip That Never Was.

Postby north-north-west » Sat 25 Jan, 2020 5:32 pm

Wonder if it was one of the track rangers I met just below George Howes.

All of the major and secondary routes into and out of the Walls, including Rinadena/Long Tarns, Bernes, Golden Gate, Powena/Fanny, even Ritters, are mentioned in Chapmans' book (although the average Instabagger won't know about that book and most of them seem to be allergic to off-track walking), so I'm not sure how much good your self-restraint will do. Then again, every little bit counts. I certainly don't want the hordes traipsing over the cushion plants near Sally, or in the Golden Gate.

btw, this is the main reason I say as little as possible in this forum about specific off-track routes and explorations. I'll pass on some info privately to individuals I think will respect the privilege, but I'm not publicising most of it.
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Re: The trip That Never Was.

Postby Mechanic-AL » Sat 25 Jan, 2020 9:16 pm

I wouldnt imagine for one minute that my actions are going to make the slightest difference. But what I'm slowly starting to realize is that the established bush walking community are just as much a part of the problem as they should be to a solution. Its no good for the people who spend more time in the bush and go out there more regularly to sit back and regard new comers as the main problem. We are all in this together. We're all spinning around on the same planet.

north-north-west wrote:All of the major and secondary routes into and out of the Walls, including Rinadena/Long Tarns, Bernes, Golden Gate, Powena/Fanny, even Ritters, are mentioned in Chapmans' book


So because he's John Chapman does that make it ok ? I honestly believe that his intentions when he puts his books together are honourable, he wants to share his knowledge of whats out there, but in truth he's probably responsible for leading more people into areas that are under pressure than just about anyone. In short, he is indirectly responsible for commercializing wilderness, just as all of us who have bought his books are.
A dim sort of light bulb came on that day as I was walking along stewing over the rangers advice. Its really not acceptable to be wandering off into these places regularly without accepting some small degree of responsibility for whats so special to us and posting youtube clips, trip reports and route details all over social media while bleating on about the increased pressure on these areas is hypocritical in the extreme.
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Re: The trip That Never Was.

Postby Aardvark » Sun 26 Jan, 2020 4:36 am

When i started leading groups of up to 12 people on club walks, many years ago, i wrestled with the issue. I concluded there were two types of trip reports. One washed over many details of access and specific points such as grid references whilst telling a bit of a story about the people or some features during that particular visit. The other was specific about the access and getting permission from whoever and even providing GPS details.
Personally, i think people should still have to research further and apply whatever skills necessary to find their own way. It helps thin out the crowd a little.
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Re: The trip That Never Was.

Postby north-north-west » Sun 26 Jan, 2020 7:28 am

I'm not saying it's OK because Chapman does it, just that the basic information is there for those that go looking. As for his motivation - that is purely commercial. Those books are there to make money, full stop end of. Nonetheless, they do keep details to a minimum for the off-tracks routes.

Mechaniic--Al wrote:posting youtube clips, trip reports and route details all over social media while bleating on about the increased pressure on these areas is hypocritical in the extreme.


Agreed. A large part of the nature/landscape photography community in Australia and elsewhere have been wrestling with this issue over the last few years. The consensus is - publish that image, but don't give details. The amount of information published should always be inversely proportional to the sensitivity of the place.

Aardvark wrote:Personally, i think people should still have to research further and apply whatever skills necessary to find their own way. It helps thin out the crowd a little.


Could not agree more.
We've touched on this issue in the forum before and there has always been someone sticking their head up with their knickers in a twist with a "how dare you decide who gets to go there" attitude. I have yet to find one who can explain what obligation any of us has to provide them with information we have only because we went exploring. Far as I'm concerned, our primary obligation is to the environment, and that means not only minimising our impact when we're there, but not using our experience to encourage or enable overuse.
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Re: The trip That Never Was.

Postby taswegian » Sun 26 Jan, 2020 3:09 pm

I too applaud your efforts and your silence
Having made The Walls my lifetime walking experience I kept out of that debate a good while back due to the many concerns raised here.
To me it's a dwindling resource, and my first trip was 60 years ago when it was still okay to ride horses in there plus a hoard of other things.
I'm not sure much of the decision-making is done by people with much understanding of past and reality of the now.

Those that want to venture then yes, venture, but only if you're experienced enough to know what you're venturing out into.
Today's society isn't geared to bush life experience rather more towards thrill seeking, bucket list personal gain stuff.

I'd love to read your report, but happy to know you've experienced it, savoured it and treasured it.
Well done.
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Re: The trip That Never Was.

Postby Mechanic-AL » Mon 27 Jan, 2020 9:25 am

Thanks Taswegian

your comments about thrill seeking and bucket list stuff really strikes at the heart of what this is really all about.

People go bushwalking for so many different reasons and with a variety of objectives and goals.
When I see solo walkers who have taken a great deal of time and effort to set up a shot of themselves crossing a creek or striding off into the distance it becomes pretty obvious that their main objective is to produce a clip for mass consumption. So too with bloggers who post every detail of every walk they have ever done.
There is no reason why these clips and trip reports cant still be done but shared a bit more discreetly.

I feel like we are fast approaching some major fork in the path with regard to how we respect our National parks and World Heritage areas and people who are punching out regular video clips and blogs will have the least right to complain when it becomes evident we have strayed down the wrong path.
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Re: The trip That Never Was.

Postby Warin » Mon 27 Jan, 2020 9:32 am

If anything the great part about this thread is, it is causing thought.

At present .. I see no reason not to share photos without location information. If you know where it is, then you know. If you don't know then you can still have the pleasure of the photo.
I usually do a written journal, mainly so I don't forget things.
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Re: The trip That Never Was.

Postby wander » Mon 27 Jan, 2020 11:07 am

Nice OP.

I can't say I do trip reports and most of the reason to leave places as I found them including what went over the desk during the research phase. If I do they are very brief to a couple of pics. I'm also too lazy.

Researching possible trips shows up the bulk of online trip reports are from UK/Euro origin. To me this is telling. I might be skewed as I don't do fb and I might be missing a bunch of stuff that is put up there.

In defence if Chapman his notes go from detailed to very brief. And he is clear he has done this to discourage folks from going to some zones unless they know enough about what they are doing not to need detailed notes. Wilmot / Franklin would be the obvious example of this. My understanding from a very brief chat with Chapman that there was involvement / feedback from Parks way back at time of first edition, but he may not have complied with all Parks requests, but Parks were also contradictory in their advice. Bear in mind this is all a long time ago now.

And there are way more places not in Chapman than in.
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Re: The trip That Never Was.

Postby Mechanic-AL » Mon 27 Jan, 2020 12:42 pm

wander wrote:
I can't say I do trip reports and most of the reason to leave places as I found them including what went over the desk during the research phase.


I wonder how this fits in with ' Leave No Trace and Minimum Impact ' bush walking conduct ?
Can people ( myself included ) who have put detailed trip reports and videos into the public domain still be able to consider themselves Minimum Impact bush walkers ?

I doubt it.
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Re: The trip That Never Was.

Postby ofuros » Mon 27 Jan, 2020 1:21 pm

Mmmm...then again, would these beautiful wild wilderness areas be loved & protected as much as they are, if the general public hadn't had a emotional response after seeing the awesome pics by Peter Dombrovskis, Les Southwell, Olegas Truchanas, Wild magazine or the Wilderness Society Calendars etc etc...even Cousteau's early underwater diving movies or present day David Attenborough's huge movie library show us we should be careing for the environment with their use of imagery & heartfelt words.

To know is to care
Detailed off-track info isn't needed.

By the way, it's a great area to explore, Mechanic Al...walked & fished the area many moons ago. Thanks for sharing your report & thoughts.
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Re: The trip That Never Was.

Postby taswegian » Mon 27 Jan, 2020 3:46 pm

Do we NEED TO KNOW just where a photo taken, or a east of Jerusalem , vicinity of Lake Fanny etc, and leave it at that.

The Walls is iconic IMO. It stands out geographically and majestically beautiful in its rawest of states.
The photos of such sites, The Labyrinth, Pelion Plains vistas etc (fill your own commonly known special places where "the masses invade") are, IMO sufficient to entice others out into the great outdoor Tassie wilds, and appreciate some of what Tasmania has to offer.

Then those with a true adventurers spirit can go, look, and explore at leisure the isolation of the not your general run of the mill places.

Many could attest to some very special places, gorgeous scenery that people would go out of their way to get a selfie because someone posted a photo and directions etc. Then the invasion starts and the degradation follows.
And the helicopters get overworked. That's another side issue we currently face.

Maybe my age group sees things differently.
If you weren't fit, capable in finding your way, putting up with the vagaries of not knowing (no prior aerial photography reconnaissance etc) what lies ahead, and competent in self discipline and self management then you just didn't do it.

It's probably because of my age I know what has and is being lost, never to return and yet knowing it doesn't have to be such.

It's hard to compress a lifetime into a short few paragraphs, and those that grew up in a different era and never experienced the rawness of 60 plus years ago wilderness probably wonder what the fuss is all about.

There's a perception we can't have our cake and eat it. Well we can if it's managed properly but I'm not sure or current government and tourism proponents know really how that works.

M-AL this was a good thread to start and as said above its got people thinking.
Just needs to spread that abroad, somehow :D
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Re: The trip That Never Was.

Postby Mechanic-AL » Mon 27 Jan, 2020 4:36 pm

ofuros wrote:Mmmm...then again, would these beautiful wild wilderness areas be loved & protected as much as they are, if the general public hadn't had a emotional response after seeing the awesome pics by Peter Dombrovskis, Les Southwell, Olegas Truchanas, Wild magazine or the Wilderness Society Calendars etc etc....


Like most things their are 2 sides to this issue and that is a very valid point you have made Ofuros.
Nobody could dispute the power of those images and the role they played in swinging public opinion.

I guess its really up to the individual to question their own motives before posting stuff for the world to see at the click of a button.

I would just like to give some credit to the parks ranger ( Amanda... I think ) who gave me reason to stop and consider my own actions.
Hopefully this thread will give others a reason to stop and consider the possible outcomes of their own actions........because we arent all Dombrovskis' or Truchannas'.
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Re: The trip That Never Was.

Postby Mark F » Mon 27 Jan, 2020 4:40 pm

Thank you for raising this issue Mechanic-AL. I have often fretted over posts where people ask for, and occasionally insist they need a gpx file before doing a walk. For me part of the experience is exploring the unknown and then allowing it to remain so for future visitors so few if any trip reports from me.

Of course some, like a recent poster who said "I kind of feel more determined now to reach PB and share some amazing pictures of my experience." are unlikely to ever learn.
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Re: The trip That Never Was.

Postby north-north-west » Mon 27 Jan, 2020 6:09 pm

Mark F wrote:Of course some, like a recent poster who said "I kind of feel more determined now to reach PB and share some amazing pictures of my experience." are unlikely to ever learn.


No need to be concerned about that one. The likelihood of their reaching PB is about the same as mine of climbing Fedders without ropes.
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Re: The trip That Never Was.

Postby waif » Tue 28 Jan, 2020 6:53 am

Great post - an interesting conundrum...

The explosion of blogs and social media, trip reports etc. would definitely have raised popularity of many areas. Even if only 1% of those reading are inspired to repeat the trip that could be a substantial impact in personnel due to the open spread of information and potential to go viral. What comes to my mind in particular is the Abels list, I have a few circumstances of meeting people out in scrub that have only recently ventured into the bushwalking realm when their self-challenging nature was piqued by stumbling across the list through a blog or word of mouth.

The .gpx etc. route one is a definite hazard too. People are inherently lazy and even if only the image of the route is posted, I myself have taken screenshots "just in case" and with the mentality of "well they survived and got through" used the shared images as reference guides and ended up following closely. There is a scale from saying: "Enter here, this region is well worth checking out, exit here, be careful of this part" to stalking a line on a gps device. Where the sweet spot is unclear.

And then again sharing our stories is part of being human, isn't that what photos are for?
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Re: The trip That Never Was.

Postby Nuts » Tue 28 Jan, 2020 9:25 am

Mechanic-AL wrote: I'm not pointing any fingers or offering any solutions.


Well it's the blogging collective, the game, peakbaggers, guidebook authors. And, just like a masterful photo from days past, we are kidding ourselves that a simple photo wont do it. If there's any doubt left, Geo location services will probably make a simple photo easy to locate soon enough.

I'm sure many in the collective still want to dismiss concerns, & I don't have any definite solutions. That's the world we have and it's probably way too late for a re-visioning. If left to government we can bet the solution will be a lazy overreaction, buildings charges & policing.
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Re: The trip That Never Was.

Postby Warin » Wed 29 Jan, 2020 9:46 am

Wainwright wrote his books to encourage others to devise their own walks... Many simply follow his walks.
If all the people that follow his walks were forced to devise their own walks .. how many would walk? And then, in walking, spread damage across the countryside?

I have no solution .. but a few questions... and I am not asking all those questions.
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Re: The trip That Never Was.

Postby Mechanic-AL » Wed 29 Jan, 2020 7:06 pm

Having had a bit more time to think on this and reading a few view points from angles I hadnt considered the one question I keep coming back to is motive.
What is the motive behind trip reports and video clips posted on line ?

There are example of written trip reports that are very creative, written by talented people that dont give too much detail away buy still tell an engaging story.
With Video clips, even very slick productions it is obviously much harder to be discreet. But at the end of the day there always seems to be a bit of ego involved.

Its the quiet achievers in life who usually have the most amazing back stories. But you never hear much from them.
And its the quiet achievers who stand to lose the most in this ever increasing need for bloggers and youtube junkies to expose everything thats out there.

As I've already said there is always 2 sides to just about anything and my opinion is just that. Mine.
I would like to hear something from the other side. Am I wrong about the ego element ?
Please let me know if I am.
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Re: The trip That Never Was.

Postby Son of a Beach » Thu 30 Jan, 2020 8:12 am

I think you're correct. There are many different reasons that people go bushwalking. For me, I just like being there (and the challenge to get there makes being there better). For others, they the challenge is what they like, and for still others, they want to have a story to tell (including blogging, forums, or sharing photos).

Having a story to tell is part of human nature, and isn't a problem in and of itself. But being completely self-centred about it (or about anything), ie, at the expense of others (or the environment) is unhealthy both for the egotistical individual, and for others around them (and in this case for the environment).
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Re: The trip That Never Was.

Postby ofuros » Thu 30 Jan, 2020 12:28 pm

For me, it's just another form of communication/expression...sharing the beauty & variety of the aussie bush & it's unique inhabitants. You can talk about your trip with friends but a picture paints a thousand words.

My 2c worth....share the love we have for the bush with words or pics, or both, if you think it's a sensitive, secret squirrel area that doesn't need extra foot traffic, use some social media restraint & keep the detailed off-track notes & GPS tagging offline. You can always share your notes privately to a trusted like-minded soul, away from the 'All Seeing Eye'(Worldwide web)

...or bury your memories on your hard drive & reminisce from time to time. The choice is yours. :wink:

Normal viewing resumed....back to my mustard, ham & cheese toastie while I plan another trip now that the Main Range & Mount Barney Np's are beginning to reopen. 8)
Last edited by ofuros on Mon 03 Feb, 2020 8:55 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The trip That Never Was.

Postby ofuros » Mon 03 Feb, 2020 7:35 am

Pandora's Box has opened without rules or limitations...a few guidelines on leave no trace social media restraint.

https://lnt.org/new-social-media-guidance/
https://www.nzherald.co.nz/travel/news/ ... d=12217278
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Re: The trip That Never Was.

Postby Nuts » Mon 03 Feb, 2020 8:58 am

So they seem to cover such things as trip reports (geo-tagging etc) but then the principles don't really address this, other than perhaps number 7, number 4 by inference. It could be argued that anyone that publishes as little as a photo to somewhere in a park (not necessarily somewhere new as any photo can reestablish a place as a desirable destination) isn't showing respect to the place, or other users; the concept or future in wilderness of exploration and discovery. Or at least disempowers all those who wouldn't share.

The joy of simply sharing as all positive (photos/reports etc.) is a quaint, possibly irresponsible notion which authorities are going to struggle to mitigate. Again, other than by building (locking up/policing).
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Re: The trip That Never Was.

Postby ofuros » Mon 03 Feb, 2020 4:39 pm

Didn't say it was a perfect guide, just putting it out there to get people thinking or maybe adding to. :wink:

The horse has already bolted when it comes to sharing info online... technology has given us a pathway to share info fast, without rules, boundary's, constraints or very little repercussion to many more eyes than a Bushwalking, Kayaking, Climbing, Canyoneering guide book ever could in the past.

It's up to the user to self regulate what they do or don't post....and there lies the problem, some are capable of restraint but the majority aren't. :oops:
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Re: The trip That Never Was.

Postby Nuts » Tue 04 Feb, 2020 12:38 pm

Agreed :)

I raised concerns on this topic to park management back in 1991. Anything now, 'after the horse has bolted', was probably inevitable/ very much forseeable.
Personally I like any attempt at education. But locally, have become a skeptic of anything our Parks Service does, thanks to their new commercialization directives.

On this, i'd prefer to see a focus on education enshrined in policy and as a basis for controlling numbers.
This partly would happen through applying for levels of access permits or eg. build on the initiative for walkers to attend a briefing on The Overland Track.. But, rather than build infrastructure and limit (through booking systems & discretionary income) would prefer mandatory levels of permit that require attendance at educational meetings or demonstrations of commitment to MIB or of equipment and knowledge.. More tedious than simply paying (i'd not like to have to go through it) but more in the spirit of maintaining these wild and free places. If numbers are set to keep growing we could at least have the percentage earning the right rather than being sold it. Education business, Educational tourism rather than Ticklist Tourism.

p.s it's completely in line with preserving wilderness / ideals (to me) but somehow is made sound completely whacky to explain to government with their institutional level imaginations, and especially with few examples or commercial models to follow.
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Re: The trip That Never Was.

Postby Mechanic-AL » Tue 04 Feb, 2020 7:36 pm

I would agree that education is the answer but it would have to be at the most basic level before expecting walkers to attend MIB briefings or seminars.

Most guidebooks or online research into any reasonably remote area bush walk will usually come with a standard warning along the lines of " For experienced walkers only. Walkers need to have competent navigation skills .......blah, blah blah.

It's not going to filter out the idiots but it should be enough to get most people to stop and think a bit.

Maybe the first step could be some sort of simple addition to the "experienced walkers only' blurb ? Anything at all that may cause people to stop and consider the implications of posting reports and photos of sensitive or remote areas on-line.
"What went ye out into the wilderness to see?
A reed shaken in the wind"?
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Re: The trip That Never Was.

Postby crollsurf » Tue 04 Feb, 2020 8:43 pm

I think you can avoid Instagram and post on Wordpress and alike. There is a setting you can use to stop your posts being indexed on Google and other search engines. So it can just be another dark web post if you want.

After my very brief interlude blogging (Croll.me) I found just flicking through my photos was good enough to bring back the memories.

I've seen the same problem with surfing and a lot of places are now mainstream. Still the places that are a days walk are still largely untouched. Blog the OLT to your hearts content but save the lesser known places to memory and share with friends you can trust

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Re: The trip That Never Was.

Postby Nuts » Wed 05 Feb, 2020 5:20 pm

I don't want to disagree, and don't. But it hasn't worked. Whether one in 100 trusted friends or 1 in 100,000 walkers, it's one too many when one person has the capacity to bring in hordes. And some of them actively disagree! We'll run out of places to call sensitive or remote.

Our parks service seems to alternate between meek frowning (by individual discretion) and full throttle development, no half measures.
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