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#22496 - 03/31/12 11:37 AM Re: HSHA Lawsuit [Re: Bob West]
bobpickering Offline


Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 432
Loc: Reno, Nevada
Originally Posted By: Bob West
How were the statistics on manure tonnage, etc., arrived at? Did N.P. rangers actually do a scientific study, or are those stats approximations based on guess work? I cannot imagine any ranger willing to carry scales around the mountains to measure poop! Unless the measurements were made closer to the pack stations, where the animals are more likely to take a dump in an uphill section of a trail.

It's not hard to estimate the tonnage of horse and mule poop deposited in the wilderness. Any decent horseman knows how much hay and grain he feeds. My Anglo-Arab eats 17 pounds a day. My Thoroughbred eats 20+. Once it dries outs, the poop weighs the same as what the horse ate. Do the math. No scale required.

While humans and horses both damage the wilderness, it doesn't take a scientific study to figure out that a human on a horse with a guide and a pack mule cause more damage than a human on foot.

I love my horses, but the horseshit we step in on the trail didn't come from mine.

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#22497 - 03/31/12 11:53 AM Re: HSHA Lawsuit [Re: bobpickering]
Harvey Lankford Offline


Registered: 11/10/09
Posts: 1024
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Originally Posted By: bobpickering
Once it dries outs, the poop weighs the same as what the horse ate. Do the math.

Actually, even less! After all, the horse does get some caloric value out of what he eats, so it must have less dry weight or dry mass when it comes out the other end.

Sorry, the math is just a side track on the real issue, whatever that is here, whether it is manure, grazing, hoofing, or whatever. If it were manure alone, I suppose they could require horses to wear diapers. They do it in the city. For that matter, why not have both horses and politicians wear them?

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#22514 - 03/31/12 10:14 PM Re: HSHA Lawsuit [Re: Bob West]
Ken Offline


Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles
Originally Posted By: Bob West

I agree that any kind of disfiguring of the wilderness by humans or animals can leave a less-than-delightful visual experience. But you seem to be more concerned, in your comments, with the impact of pack animals, rather than hiker impact.



Uhhhhh, Bob.....the lawsuit that is the subject of this thread is about pack animals. It sounds like you are unhappy that George did not address the issue of hang gliders and kayaks.....??????

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#22519 - 04/01/12 07:00 AM Re: HSHA Lawsuit [Re: Ken]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 828
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
Groan. Kayaks and hang gliders, Ken? I don't believe you are serious! What kind of impact could they possibly have as long as they remain air-borne and/or in a river? (I'm not being serious.)

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#22521 - 04/01/12 07:12 AM Re: HSHA Lawsuit [Re: lucky]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 828
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
Thank you, Lucky for your sensible input. Unfortunately, the enviro-nazis often scream and throw tantrums loud enough to be heard by the desk-sitters in D.C. Yes, the USFS and Park Service do an excellent job within the limited resources the various political administrations have allowed them; hats-off to them for coping in an often thank-less job!

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#22523 - 04/01/12 07:22 AM Re: HSHA Lawsuit [Re: George]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 828
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
Thank you, George, you and your fellow rangers, for the hard work you do under very limited resources. We might disagree on a few points, but God bless you for hanging in there!

I recall when nearly every major trail in the Sierra Nevada had full-time, paid, professional wilderness rangers during the hiking seasons. Both Republican and Democrat dominated administrations bear the responsibility for the budget cutbacks we've seen in the past several decades. Volunteer groups can only do so much; we need our ranger army back in full force!

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#22570 - 04/02/12 09:55 AM Re: HSHA Lawsuit [Re: Bob West]
George Offline
Woodsy Guy

Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 202
Loc: California
Quote:
Volunteer groups can only do so much; we need our ranger army back in full force!


Well, that we can absolutely agree on! Thanks. And the same goes for you and everyone who volunteers to keep the trails clean and campers educated!

Quote:
How were the statistics on manure tonnage, etc., arrived at? Did N.P. rangers actually do a scientific study, or are those stats approximations based on guess work? I cannot imagine any ranger willing to carry scales around the mountains to measure poop! Unless the measurements were made closer to the pack stations, where the animals are more likely to take a dump in an uphill section of a trail.


Grad students! Who else? A good statistician could derive the amount of manure per unit distance per animal from this series of studies:

https://science.nature.nps.gov/research/ac/search/iars/Iar?reportId=25190

https://science.nature.nps.gov/research/ac/search/iars/Iar?reportId=25192

https://science.nature.nps.gov/research/ac/search/iars/Iar?reportId=26817

This was a multi year study looking at the potential of pathogens in horse manure in Tuolumne.

But I'm not up for figuring that out. For whatever it's worth, I used a simple calculation based on amount of hay an average horse ate per day (22 lbs). You guys are looping on an angels on-the-head-of-a-pin argument. To worry about this totally misses the point of that statistic (however derived and whatever result it gives). It's still a LOT of manure -- tons. But whatever the actual total, the critical problem is the runoff. Where do the pathogens, nitrates and nitrites go?

Also important is that horses and mules -- unlike people -- are not restricted where they poop. People are actually pretty good about taking a dump > 100 feet from water. There's exceptions, but not a lot. Not so with stock. Stock routinely urinate when stopping at a stream to drink. They graze in meadows all night which, by definition, are riparian habitat and close to running water; almost always less than 100 feet.

Quote:

Are there any statistics on the environmental impact of two-legged traffic in the backcountry? Tonnage of trash, human waste, trampled meadows, trail erosion, domestic dog messes, etc.? How about a fair comparison?


As Ken says, the discussion started on the HSHA lawsuit over stock use. This is not a zero sum game. That is, because hikers without stock support have (X) environmental impact, does not justify visitors with stock doing (X + 1). The question remains how much impact by both is acceptable? What is the carrying capacity of a wilderness area for the cumulative impact of both? My concern, and that of HSHA and, now, several federal courts is that neither USFS nor NPS have properly taken into account the impacts of visitors using stock.

Again: Stock impact is not held to the same standard that is used to limit foot-only impact.

There's also a social phenomenon going on here. When emphasis on minimum impact started in the early 70s, hikers quickly went along with the program: taking out their trash; making camps farther from streams; smaller or no fires; no soap in streams & etc. I went from taking out about 20+ burlap bags of trash per summer in the 80s to no more than one or two nowadays. I have to say that during this same period, with few exceptions, stock users were resistant and outright hostile to any suggestion that they look for ways to reduce their impact. It was like pulling teeth to get the simplest reductions in impact: don't tie to a single tree for more than the time it takes to load or unload; tie on hardened ground; small fires etc.

With all due respect to the arguments several of you are making, none seem to admit to a significantly greater impact of stock or ways to reduce that impact. It would be great if, instead of living in some romantic 'horses built the west' cowboy novel, stock users would recognize the much greater impacts their animals have on fragile ecosystems. Then, when they travel, make the same concerted effort that hikers have done to reduce those impacts as much as possible.

g.
_________________________
None of the views expressed here in any way represent those of the unidentified agency that I work for or, often, reality. It's just me, fired up by coffee and powerful prose.

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#22579 - 04/02/12 03:37 PM Re: HSHA Lawsuit [Re: George]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 828
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
Thank's for all that input, George. Like you, I'm not up-to-speed on statistical analysis! But keeping talking, and you might convince me of your argument.

Do you believe that the current stock restrictions within Sequoia-Kings N.P. (I posted them in another thread) adequately address the stock impact?

I am assuming that you happen to be a ranger within that park. Do you agree or disagree with the current restrictons? If you disagree with them, what would you like to see changed?

I agree, that in the past, packers have not been agreeable to changing their habits, but in conversations I have had with local packers, they indicate that they are doing their best to comply with current regs. Regardless of past history, do you believe packers are complying with the current regs?

One more question. What would be the overall impact of N.P. backcountry trail work if pack stock (commercial contractors and government) were no longer used for that work? How would it get done?

For the packers it is not a romantic, Old West hobby, but a hard way of making a living that they happen to enjoy. Many are going to go out of business if the HSHA law-suit is successful - expecially on the West side of the range.

On a slightly more humorous note...horse and mule manure makes excellent fertilizer (it really make our garden grow well). Maybe it's all those nitrates...hmmm. But I'm not too sure that anyone outside of Southeast Asia would use human manure as fertilizer...LOL.


Edited by Bob West (04/02/12 05:48 PM)

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#22584 - 04/02/12 04:39 PM Re: HSHA Lawsuit [Re: Bob West]
KevinR Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 595
Loc: Manchester, NH
I grew up around horses and enjoy their personalities, but dislike slogging thru horseshit on the trails. I've never met a hiker who told me how much they enjoy meeting horses on the trails, either. Certain groups just don't mix well - hikers and snowmobilers don't mix well. Neither do hikers and horses.

Horses aren't native to the Sierra, at least since about the Pleistecene era, if memory serves. They were introduced by Europeans. As for their work in support of backcountry trail maintenance - I can't speak to that. What I do know is that trails I sometimes hike, including parts of the PCT, get rather chewed up by horse traffic and free range cattle. Personally, I've never seen anyone on horseback doing trail maintenance on the PCT, but perhaps they do.

If horses are needed for essential services in the backcountry, then I'd like to see pack animals considered who have less impact on the environment. Llamas come immediately to mind. I've watched them pack in/pack out organic matter from the high elevation toilets near Longs Peak, and am amazed at their speed, agility, and minimal impact on the treadway. Plus, their droppings are dry, like goats, sheep and rabbits.

I'm not persuaded that there's a need to continue to use horses for purely recreational purposes in the backcountry, particularly in designated wilderness areas. We no longer allow motorized/mechanized vehicles in the backcountry, maybe it's time to phase out horses for recreational purposes. Not immediately, but overtime - perhaps 5-10 years.

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#22586 - 04/02/12 05:44 PM Re: HSHA Lawsuit [Re: KevinR]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7880
Loc: Fresno, CA
been watching this thread for a while. Maybe it's time to post...

I like the idea of low-impact pack animals. But people can't ride llamas. I would not like to see horses completely restricted from the back country. But I do like George's point that packers should do their best to minimize the impact of the pack animals.

My last summer adventure comes to mind, where we hired horses and mules to pack in my wife and daughter, kayaks and gear for a group of seven to Thousand Island Lake. There is no way I would have tried to hike the other two in my family in and out on that trip. Horses and mules add another dimension and open up possibilities for some who would not otherwise experience the back country.

But this statement is what I really want to comment on...
> I'm not persuaded that there's a need to continue to use horses for purely recreational purposes in the backcountry, particularly in designated wilderness areas. We no longer allow motorized/mechanized vehicles in the backcountry, maybe it's time to phase out horses for recreational purposes. Not immediately, but overtime - perhaps 5-10 years.

So many times over the years, we see specific groups or specific individuals say something similar. "Maybe we should close off this area to _______". or "Those machines have no place there." "It's ok that Yosemite closes the Half Dome cables to thousands without trying any other options."

There are groups trying to close access to snowmobiles even over roads in Yellowstone. CARS drive the same roads all summer. What is wrong with a different vehicle in winter??? I'd love to ride the Tioga Road on a snowmobile -- why not a well-patrolled single day each year?

We ALL enjoy access to the wilderness. It is NOT ok to cut it off to specific groups of people. This trend began with extremely tight trail quotas, where other options could have been tried. Bicycles are prohibited where they could be allowed, perhaps on specific trails on limited dates.

It is my opinion that ALL groups of people should be allowed access to the wilderness. It is not a happy solution to only allow a select few access. Doing this is like cutting off our own noses.

There are ways to allow more people to enjoy our wilderness. Advocating for fewer and fewer sets me on fire!

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#22612 - 04/03/12 11:42 AM Re: HSHA Lawsuit [Re: Steve C]
Ken Offline


Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles
Steve, I see your point, although I am not in favor of accessing wilderness by way of something that fundamentally alters the character of wilderness. I don't think you meant to included that.

Dune buggies, for example.

But I agree with you that doing what is possible to increase access is not only desirable, but important. People only seem to value things that they experience. Even a single experience as a child can influence a person's value of wilderness for their entire lives. This is why I think that it is so important that there be places like HD and Whitney, where a large number of people who would not otherwise have the experience, get to do so.

We'll never see cables put up anywhere else. Wilderness managers are usually zealous in their protection, and such things as cables, wilderness toilets, etc....are viewed as a desecration, and only tolerated because they are "legacy", but to be removed if there is any way to do so. Often, I've found their views to be narrow on the subject.

Of course, allowing people in, but doing so in a manner that causes little or no damage to the wilderness is the critical thing.

It's finding the balance that is the thing.

Trails are the compromise. Constructed trails are NOT natural. They require a huge amount of work to maintain to standards that allow easy progress. There is a lot of effort expended to hide the work that is done, so you won't know it happened. Cutting off branches at the trunk, so that won't see a "bird perch"; Taking the cut branches and throwing them off the trail downhill (so they won't fall back on the trail), with the cut ends facing away from the trail so it won't be seen; rubbing the cut surface of a stump with dirt to disguise that it was recently cut; Cutting down a small tree within 3 feet of the trail, rather than cutting off all the branches on the trail side, creating a bizzare looking tree with branches on one side----that's a lot of work to create an "appearance" of no work.

But doing all this creates a corridor of impact. Very few people leave the trails to any degree, except at camp. So as a percentage, the trail is tiny, tiny. And that is where the impact is concentrated, to spare the surrounding areas.

But, I will admit that stock has always, and continues to, bother me. The impact is obvious, and their impact extends beyond the trails, as George notes.

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#22613 - 04/03/12 11:44 AM Re: HSHA Lawsuit [Re: Ken]
Ken Offline


Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles
There are also areas where stock does not go, some of the most beautiful places in the Sierra.

If I don't want to be around horses, there is no trouble finding places that they don't access.

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#22626 - 04/03/12 08:00 PM Re: HSHA Lawsuit [Re: Bob West]
George Offline
Woodsy Guy

Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 202
Loc: California
Quote:
Do you believe that the current stock restrictions within Sequoia-Kings N.P. (I posted them in another thread) adequately address the stock impact?

I am assuming that you happen to be a ranger within that park. Do you agree or disagree with the current restrictions? If you disagree with them, what would you like to see changed?

I agree, that in the past, packers have not been agreeable to changing their habits, but in conversations I have had with local packers, they indicate that they are doing their best to comply with current regs. Regardless of past history, do you believe packers are complying with the current regs?

One more question. What would be the overall impact of N.P. backcountry trail work if pack stock (commercial contractors and government) were no longer used for that work? How would it get done?


Bob:

Excellent on all counts and goes to the heart of the problem! For whatever it's worth, I've been a backcountry ranger in Sequoia Kings for over 35 years (and Yosemite before that). CYA message: nothing I say here represents nothin' official from NPS, my beloved superintendent (whose photo hangs before me even now, incense burning below it...) or President Obama.

Current stock regs. don't address the main problems because, on the whole, they don't address the ecological impacts of stock. Meadows can be closed to grazing but often only AFTER damage reaches a critical level.

All but a very few meadows along trails are open to grazing, leaving none as examples of what a pristine alpine ecosystem should look like. I believe this is central to the responsibility of wilderness policy to provide to visitors. Critically, the effects of grazing on nesting habitat of riparian birds, small mammals etc. is just not known or in any way monitored.

You've still got manure and mechanical impact (roll pits, runoff, stream bank erosion when animals go to drink) from all levels of stock use.

I think it's absolutely possible to significantly reduce impacts from stock and still keep all of the pack stations in business. I'm definitely in favor of these guys being able to bring people into the backcounty by stock. But they really have to go with the program as far as reducing their impact goes.

What I'd do (were I King!) is ban almost all grazing by stock above, say, 9,400 feet. I'd require outfitters to bring in feed if they want to camp with stock in meadows above that arbitrary altitude. It represents a very rough dividing line between extremely fragile alpine meadow and habitat and meadows that can better recover from some levels of grazing.

Some outfitters are already bringing in feed for most all of their trips. I think Craig London is among those who decided it's just easier. They don't have to go on a major hunt for their animals in the morning. They can just feed from grain or pellets; load up and be off the next morning. Others have spent two and even three days stuck because they can't find their stock when they let them loose for grazing.

I'd work with the packers to agree on certain meadow that were OK to camp at and establish hardened (bare ground) areas where they'd tie up their animals. They'd absolutely understand to rake the manure over a wide area before they leave. Some meadows, they might not be able to camp at all, to preserve the absolute pristine feel to them (horses still have to go to water, roll to get rid of the dust and sweat -- that's a potentially serious impact in some areas).

But (again, were I King) would have bins (e.g. bear boxes) where packers could cache feed between trips to reduce the need for more animals to carry feed per trip. Likely at a ranger station or some other already impacted area.

The current lawsuits have only been directed at commercial packers. However, in NPS, administrative stock use has a major number of use nights per season. (Watch the careful wording ahead...). It does not seem unreasonable or impractical that perhaps this could be significantly reduced as well with no effect on trail maintenance support (and where combined with helicopter support, as is currently the case).

g.
_________________________
None of the views expressed here in any way represent those of the unidentified agency that I work for or, often, reality. It's just me, fired up by coffee and powerful prose.

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#22636 - 04/04/12 01:55 AM Re: HSHA Lawsuit [Re: George]
lucky Offline


Registered: 03/29/12
Posts: 5
Loc: CA, USA
Great discussion guys. Here is another perspective different from our ranger. From the Yosemite official site: 4,047,880 total visitors/year, 1,416,758 or 35% of total self-describe themselves as hikers and included are 142,864 visitors registered as overnight stays in the back country. From the EPA: average human body waste is 4.4 lb./day and this includes urine: 1.5 L or about 1.5 KG or about 3 lbs. Now here is the math: 4,047,880 visitors produce 8,905.3 tons of human waste in the front country. Assuming the 1,416,758 hikers spend only one day hiking will produce 3,116.8 tons of human waste. The 142,864 back country visitors spending the night in the back country will produce 314.3 tons of human waste. I don't have any stats on the number of horses using the back country to figure out that body waste BUT is it possible that human body waste impact is a larger number than the horses' body waste?? I will say yes. Please prove me wrong! Also, the similar math for our ranger is this: 35 years in Sequoia-Kings/not including prior time in Yosemite as a back country ranger, spending say about 60 days/year in the back country adds up to 9,240 lbs. or 4.62 tons of human waste and that is a lot of s… unaccounted for. He used the ranger cabin that was built and maintained by using horses. The majority of his supplies were packed in by horses. In addition he produced an American average of 4 lbs./day of garbage amounting to 4.2 tons that was backpacked out or packed out by horses. Please correct me if the numbers don't add up. That is why when I talk about horse manure I know my s…. Next will comment on reducing/removing horses who are allowed by law and replacing them with helicopters and other mechanized equipment in the wilderness as defined by the wilderness act.


Edited by lucky (04/04/12 02:23 AM)

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#22640 - 04/04/12 09:22 AM Re: HSHA Lawsuit [Re: lucky]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1148
Loc: NorCal
Hold on there, Lucky. You're mixing up numbers all over the place. Backpackers and Rangers don't leave 4 lbs per day of trash in the wilderness just because the average American sends that much trash to a landfill every day from home. Yosemite wilderness would be a huge garbage dump and we don't see that.

You're also not including the backcountry solar composting toilets in Yosemite that handle a lot of the human waste. Ironically, the composted human waste is hauled out by horses and mules. You're also neglecting the difference between humans following rules for depositing their waste away from water while horses have no concept of this. Clearly, its not a simple matter to compare human impacts to horses in the wilderness.

There should be no doubt that impacts from one horse are much greater than from one human. People don't crap all over the trail, eat tons of grass, and roll around in fragile meadows. Cumulative impacts are more difficult to compare because there are many more humans than horses, but these simple assumptions you are tossing around are misleading. This is exactly why we need more study of this problem, as described in the lawsuit and ruling.

I don't see anyone trying to ban horses in the wilderness, except maybe the fringe groups. The lawsuit is specific to commercial outfitters focusing on quantifying impacts and establishing new rules with justifiable limits. So there's no need to mix helicopters or trail maintenance into this discussion. Nobody is going after trail maintenance and Ranger support using horses.

George brings up several simple best management practices (BMPs) that should not be a large burden for commercial outfitters. I vote for George to be King of the mountain on this one. I like the idea of stockpiling feed in bear boxes and keeping horses out of the meadows to the greatest extent possible. Seems like they should be doing these things already, but unfortunately it often takes a lot of pressure to get people (especially competitive businesses) to do the right thing if it takes extra time or money. Rules even the playing field. It took lawsuits just to get them to study the problem.

I wonder how practical it is for horses to use diapers or to scoop up their droppings and carry their waste out just like humans are forced to carry wag bags on Whitney. Who wouldn't love to see less horse crap on the trails? but it's probably not very practical.

Personally, I like seeing horses in the backcountry and I'm confident commercial outfitters can make significant changes to reduce the impact with a reasonable amount of effort.

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#22642 - 04/04/12 10:51 AM Re: HSHA Lawsuit [Re: George]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 828
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
George, I'm curious, but you don't have to answer this question if you need to CYA - I understand.

How much input does N.P. get and accept(or want to get) from the "boots-on-ground" personnel (the backcountry rangers) before creating mitigation regs? I'd hate to believe that they aren't talking to you guys, and/or are listening hard to the fringe groups instead.

A couple of observations:

It seems obvious that bear boxes for stock and the feed would have to be brought in by mules. The logistics of that operation would have to be studied very carefully, so that excessive dunnage trips aren't defeating the purpose of the operation.

Are there many areas of just dirt that could be designated for the stock to sweat-roll? I know that stock couldn't care less where they do it. I know that on the Bishop Pass trail on north side, there are designated stock turn-around spots on dirt; perhaps there are areas like that could be used use sweat-roll spots. But I know that most packer camping areas don't have extensive dirt only areas; just wishful thinking on my part, I suppose.

I wouldn't like to see resupply drops made by helicopter, instead of by stock trains. Helos present other environmental problems. Does Yosemite still rebuild the High Sierra camps using helo support?

Thanks again, for all your input on this topic.

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#22644 - 04/04/12 10:54 AM Re: HSHA Lawsuit [Re: SierraNevada]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 828
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
Putting a diaper on a mule or horse would create one of the biggest rodeos you've ever seen! Even a hat flying off the head of a rider can send one of those critters into a panic.
Yee Haaww!

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#22648 - 04/04/12 03:48 PM Re: HSHA Lawsuit [Re: Bob West]
George Offline
Woodsy Guy

Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 202
Loc: California
This is actually turning into a fact-based discussion. Good work in starting it Bob -- and everyone else for contributing.

Lucky: for the reasons Sierra Nevada outlined, your stats are too far off to be useful. One misunderstanding seems to be the reliance of ranger stations on stock and implying -- well, it's not clear what the point is.

Depending on needs and conditions, both ranger stations and trail crews can be resupplied either by stock or helicopter (or the ranger carrying stuff in). Most stations were built around 1970 and materials taken in by both horse and helicopter. Three ranger stations are now being built as replacement and both helicopter and stock are used (with feed brought in for the stock -- they're not grazing).

In Sequoia Kings, a helicopter is specifically recognized as a "minimum tool" -- along with stock -- that can be used to support trail crews, rangers or emergency operations. This recognizes that both methods have an impact and that circumstances may support the use of one over the other. For instance, use 10 head of stock and two packers for 3 days or two flights for a total of 45 minutes and two landings of less than 10 minutes? Which has less impact?

In actual practice, most ranger's gear is brought in by helicopter -- too much snow in June, usually. It's taken out by stock in October. There are no resupplies between going in and coming out -- it all comes in at once! For an approximately 100+ day season, my wife and I bring in about 1,300 lbs of food and gear. So there's garbage from the food containers and packaging, but not a whole lot. Much of it (knowing you want all the details!) is bulk -- like flour or rice. The occasional can of Confit du Conard and, OK. a darned good wine selection. Note to travelers: good wine weighs exactly the same as bad wine).

And once again, the critical difference in people feces vs. horse manure is where it goes -- close to or far away from water. Ranger stations have outhouses (the solar ones don't work well, though Yosemite still uses them, I think).

And as for my own, ummm, waste being "unaccounted for"! Well, good taste forbids -- but I know where it is, don't you worry your pretty little head 'bout that!

Lies, damn lies and statistics

An interesting statistic, though is:

Quote:
A 1,000 pound horse will defecate approximately four to thirteen times each day and produce approximately nine tons of manure per year. The 1,000 pound horse will produce, on the average, 37 pounds of feces and 2.4 gallons of urine daily, which totals about 50 pounds of raw waste per day in feces and urine combined.

http://www.extension.org/pages
/Stall_Waste_Production_and_Management
Typically a ton of horse manure will contain 11pounds of N, 2 pounds of P, and 8 pounds of potassium (K).


There's about 7,000 use nights by stock (in 2008 in all of Sequoia Kings). So based on the above, that's about 350,000 lbs. of urine and manure deposited. Where does it go? What impact does it have? I can say that most human waste is farther than 100 feet. And, as everyone knows, Wag Bags are now required for people in the Whitney corridor.

Diapers have been suggested for stock and they are used in city parks and even required on, for instance, some watershed lands (San Francisco near Crystal Springs -- I think). But obviously that's impossible with the above tonnage.

But you're again missing the point. As noted before, it's not zero sum. Impact by one user group (hikers, say) does NOT somehow justify equal impact by another (stock). The idea is to reduce impact by BOTH.

As another side note, your figure for backcountry visitors in Yosemite seems extremely high. Their site is down right now, but the literature up to about 2000 reports under 100,000 use nights (!) so the number of actual overnight users would be less. It might have gone up somewhat, but I don't believe by that much. I'll check back with their site. That's a lot of backcountry use. (By contrast, Sequoia Kings in 2003 had 22,000 backcountry users and a little over 100,000 use nights).

Hmmm. Too much information.

g.


Edited by George (04/04/12 03:50 PM)
_________________________
None of the views expressed here in any way represent those of the unidentified agency that I work for or, often, reality. It's just me, fired up by coffee and powerful prose.

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#22660 - 04/05/12 07:47 AM Re: HSHA Lawsuit [Re: George]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1148
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By: George
Ranger stations have outhouses (the solar ones don't work well, though Yosemite still uses them, I think).

Yes, Yosemite does use solar toilets very successfully on the high impact trail to Little Yosemite Valley. They work great and are serviced using mule trains to haul out the dried and composted waste on a weekly basis. They are much better than the typical outhouse toilet at a campground.

I agree with you there are old toilets at alpine elevations that have not worked very well, but that doesn't mean they can't. Rocky Mtn NP has been using solar toilets very successfully for 29yrs on Long's at Peak 12,000+ ft with about the same number of hikers as Mt Whitney. They refined the design and they made a commitment to maintenance - which is NOT done by Rangers.

Just wanted to make the point that solar toilets CAN work just fine. Interestingly, RMNP uses llamas to service them on Long's Pk. Now back to Trigger and Seabiscuit.

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#22662 - 04/05/12 09:52 AM Re: HSHA Lawsuit [Re: SierraNevada]
George Offline
Woodsy Guy

Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 202
Loc: California
Interesting about the solar toilets. I'll have to check into that more. My impression in the past (and I looked into these pretty extensively some years ago for Ostrander Hut) was that whatever is being used, maintenance is really just taking out mostly raw effluent -- that there's very little composting.

Now that's OK. It's just that they're not truly composting and perhaps there's cheaper methods without all the surrounding composting tech. Ostrander essentially uses ammo cans (a more expensive version: Jonny Partners). They've got maybe 20 of them and they're just packed out at the end of the season.

When I worked at Little Yosemite in the 70s, we had chemical toilets which emptied into a big culvert with burlap over a grate. We'd let the, umm, effluent dry for maybe a week, then roll up the burlap and pack it out. Worked fine (well, except for the blue hands...).

But I don't keep up anymore and perhaps they do truly work as advertised... .

Thanks for the information!

g.
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None of the views expressed here in any way represent those of the unidentified agency that I work for or, often, reality. It's just me, fired up by coffee and powerful prose.

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