We're not asking the FS to make improvements because it will inexorably affect change. We try and petition because it might improve the situation.
We have some concerned parents who lost a son. If by virtue of petitioning we can affect the FS to make SOME improvements, it might prevent the loss of another life.
In this case it is worth asking the FS to make a change to the trail. It is not harmful to petition and ask. It is not harmful to be heard.
Not petitioning because it might not change anything, best case scenario, is ineffective. Worst case scenario, it is harmfully negligent. This fact is indisputable.
Perhaps our area of dispute may be better spent proffering effective solutions, i.e. building a volunteer force for trail improvement under the auspices of the USFS approval.
I have asked for the better part of two day how this gets done. There are no trail maintenance volunteer groups in the Eastern Sierra. You have to use materials that are there. And there is the question of it being a structure. This is after all a Wilderness...see the Wilderness Act of 1964.
The only thing that has been suggested that can work immediately is hiker education. I know enough not to go through this area after dark. I learned that the first time up. All you need to do run a search deaths on Mt. Whitney and John Likely shows up. Part of the problem here is most coming here are willfully ignorant of the dangers from the moment quota season begins..."Where can I rent clampons and a ice pick?" sound familiar? and continues into October where people have been killed glissading the chute using trekking poles as a break.
There used to be a sign on the patio cover and at the John Muir Wilderness entrance...PEOPLE DIE HERE!!! God, I wish these signs were never taken down.