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Notes From The Field

The Reluctant Enthusiasts

The Reluctant Enthusiasts

March 12, 2018 | By Jason Fitzgibbon

As Ed Abbey so eloquently stated, it is not healthy - mentally or physically - just to fight for the land, it is of utmost importance that we get out there to enjoy it. And those words still ring very true; the land would have far fewer advocates if it were merely something to fight for, as opposed to something that we fight for because of the limitless joy it brings us. Unfortunately, the opposite also holds true; if we all devoted our lives to merely enjoying the land, and left the fighting for a select few, our growing outdoor community would have a rather significant problem on our hands. And such is the case now, with more and more of us enjoying the land, some of our most beloved places are at risk of being loved to death.

The Buttermilk Boulders, just west of the small town of Bishop, California, epitomize this issue well. Within recent years, there has been a massive surge in the number of people climbing and camping in the area, and the results of the increased traffic have left local land managers in a bit of a tizzy. Increased wear and tear to the area and a general lack of land stewardship (by many folks that are entirely new to outdoor recreation) has also placed quite a heavy burden on local environmental and climbing advocacy groups such as Friends of the Inyo, who have been making efforts to step in where overwhelmed and underbudgeted land managers have been unable to.

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