Welcome to the AppalachianTrailCafe.net!
Take a moment and register and then join the conversation

the baxter debate continues

    This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to our Cookie Policy.

    • the baxter debate continues

      pressherald.com/2015/08/02/mai…ising-number-thru-hikers/


      Maine’s Baxter State Park pushes back on rising number of ‘thru-hikers’

      The park's keepers want to stay true to Gov. Percival Baxter's mandate – 'forever wild' – but some say their efforts could prove costly.
      BY KEVIN MILLER STAFF WRITER

      [IMG:http://www.pressherald.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/798222-20150729_Baxter_4-1024x755.jpg]
      [IMG:http://www.pressherald.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/798222-20150729_Baxter_6-1024x738.jpg]
      [IMG:http://www.pressherald.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/798222-20150729_Baxter_2-1024x769.jpg]
      [IMG:http://www.pressherald.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/798222-20150729_Baxter_5-1024x681.jpg]
      [IMG:http://www.pressherald.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/798222-20150729_Baxter_3-1024x683.jpg]
      [IMG:http://www.pressherald.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/798222-20150729_Baxter_72-1024x688.jpg]
      [IMG:http://www.pressherald.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/798222-20150729_Baxter_1-1024x715.jpg]
      Jesse Metzger, 19, of Newton, Mass., whose trail name is “Sputnik,” celebrates his Appalachian Trail thru-hike Wednesday atop Mount Katahdin. Upset with some hikers’ behavior, Baxter State Park officials want groups affiliated with the AT to address their concerns or potentially find another northern terminus. “That would be seen as a very big deal,” Sputnik said. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer
      TOWNSHIP 2, RANGE 10 — “Sputnik” had just emerged from the most remote stretch of the Appalachian Trail – 100 miles of Maine “wilderness” with no stores, towns or even paved roads – when he paused to consider a different ending to the life-changing trek he was about to complete.
      Behind him lay 2,170 miles worth of footsteps stretching from Georgia to this spot on Abol Bridge offering two images of Mount Katahdin: one rising out of the forests, and the other reflected in the water of the West Branch of the Penobscot River. Ahead of “Sputnik” – Jesse Metzger’s trail name, chosen by other Appalachian Trail “thru-hikers” because of the Russian appearance of his winter cap – was 10 miles of wooded trail followed by the momentous 5-mile climb to the peak that’s been his destination since Feb. 25.



      [IMG:http://www.pressherald.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/798222-BaxterPark_Locator-591x1024.jpg]

      [IMG:http://www.pressherald.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Baxter-Hikers-chart0802.jpeg]


      But Katahdin could be just another mountain to future users of the trail known to legions of hikers as simply “the AT.” Baxter State Park officials, upset with the behavior of a relatively small number of hikers and facing growing challenges accommodating the Katahdin-bound thru-hikers, are pressuring local and national groups affiliated with the AT to address their concerns or potentially find another northern terminus of the trail.
      “That would be seen as a very big deal,” Sputnik said while glancing toward the 5,267-foot peak. “It’s quite an icon, as you can see.”
      More than 15,000 people have either started or, more frequently, ended their 2,185-mile thru-hike atop Mount Katahdin since Earl Shaffer became the first person to walk the entire AT in one trip in 1948. The bulk of those hikers have made the trek during the past decade, as the trail’s international stature has grown thanks to several thru-hiker books, a vibrant outdoor recreation economy and the emergence of social media.
      Last year, roughly 800 of the 2,864 hikers who began the trail with the intent of hiking it in its entirety actually accomplished that feat, a success rate of 28 percent. But that is up from 472 thru-hikers in 2008, according to statistics maintained by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the nonprofit that works with the National Park Service and local hiking clubs to maintain the AT.
      As those numbers steadily increased, so have tensions between the overseers of America’s best-known hiking trail and those of Baxter State Park, the largest swath of undeveloped wilderness in New England.
      According to park officials, some AT thru-hikers are flagrantly breaking park rules on alcohol, group size, camping and other restrictions intended to maintain the “wilderness” aspect of the park and protect the fragile alpine environment atop Katahdin.
      Baxter officials have been raising those concerns for at least three years, but the issue went public last month when ultramarathoner Scott Jurek was given three summonses by rangers for alleged rule violations hours after he celebrated his record-breaking run of the entire trail in just 46 days. But to Baxter’s numerous critics, the Jurek situation as well as park officials’ statements on AT thru-hikers are the latest examples of overzealous park protectionism that is actually harming the park’s reputation and, in turn, the local economy.
      The number of registered long-distance hikers at Baxter has more than doubled since 1998, the year the humorist author Bill Bryson published “A Walk in the Woods,” a wildly popular account of his failed thru-hike. Park officials are bracing for another surge following the release next month of a movie version of the book starring Robert Redford and Nick Nolte.
      Although representing just 3 percent of park users, AT users consume a disproportionate amount of staff time and resources.
      “From the park’s perspective, we don’t want to provide more resources for this, so they need to help us,” said Jensen Bissell, the park’s director.
      By “they” Bissell is referring to the organizations and clubs that are responsible for overseeing the AT and connecting with the long-distance hiking community, most notably the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, state-level trail clubs and the National Park Service.
      “I think what has happened in the (history) of the trail’s existence is some areas have become more loved, and those are areas where we have to develop individual strategies to promote more awareness,” said Laura Belleville, senior director of conservation for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. “I’m hopeful we can resolve the challenges that Baxter has raised. They’re not easy issues and there is no silver bullet.”
      • • • • •

      While Baxter State Park officials insist that rerouting the trail’s northern end is a real possibility if those concerns are not addressed, others see the threat as a high-profile bluff aimed at sparking dialogue.
      Either way, that dialogue is happening in earnest in meeting rooms, in online discussion boards – and all along the trail from Maine to Georgia.
      Sarah Morse, aka “Leap Frog,” appeared stuck between disbelief and deep reflection Wednesday morning as she paused in her descent on a rare flat stretch of the trail and asked another hiker to snap a picture of her with Katahdin in the background.
      Like all of the other thru-hikers encountered in and around the park over several days, the 23-year-old was fully aware of the debate over Baxter State Park’s relationship with the AT, despite spending much of the past several weeks in remote areas where smartphones are merely dead weight in the backpack.
      “To go through the 100-Mile Wilderness and end at Katahdin was just perfect,” said Morse, of North Berwick. “It would be unfortunate if thru-hikers would cause Baxter to close the park to the AT.”
      Leap Frog said she observed her moment on the summit with a candy bar and some pictures. Others mark their achievement in ways that violate park policies.
      A Google Images search yields plenty of pictures of thru-hikers celebrating with bottles of beer or booze in hand, some while standing atop the summit sign. Some thru-hikers have opted to pose with the sign wearing nothing at all, while others enjoy a celebratory puff of marijuana.
      Of course, thru-hikers aren’t the only park visitors to break the rules. The majority of alcohol and drug offenses on Katahdin’s summit are likely committed by day-hikers.
      With a summer staff of 60 in a 209,000-acre park, Baxter managers do not send rangers to Katahdin’s summit – an arduous, hourslong hike no matter the route – every day even in the busiest months. And rangers have been known to look the other way as long as the rule-breakers are discreet, are not endangering themselves or disturbing others.
      On July 12, however, a celebratory bottle of bubbly thrust the AT-park tensions into the public spotlight.
      Having completed the entire 2,185-mile-long trail in a world record-breaking time, Jurek marked the occasion by popping a bottle of champagne brought to the summit by a member of his group. Several park rangers were in the large crowd watching Jurek that day, and when his group gathered in the parking lot hours later, rangers presented him with three citations: public drinking, littering (for spilling champagne on the summit) and hiking in a group larger than 12.
      The citations likely would have gone unnoticed amid the national news coverage of the historic run if Bissell hadn’t disclosed them in a stinging criticism of Jurek that he posted on the park’s Facebook page.
      The post, which accused Jurek of bringing a corporate-style event to the most revered spot in the wilderness park, had drawn more than 900 comments, many of them highly critical of Bissell and the park. After more than a week of silence, Jurek fired back by accusing Bissell of vilifying him with inaccurate depictions in a post that he predicted would do much more harm than good to the park’s national reputation.
      Bissell stood firmly by the post and its tone last week. But by publicly calling out Jurek, Bissell has also called additional attention to concerns about AT thru-hikers that he says he has been conveying to trail managers for three years.
      Bissell reiterated Thursday that relocating the trail away from Katahdin is a potential option if the park’s governing board, the three-member Baxter State Park Authority, doesn’t see a reduction in the impact of thru-hikers.
      “There is a timeline on this,” Bissell said. “They (the authority) are not going to just accept this for an (indeterminate) time. For them the park comes first.”
      • • • • •
      That “park comes first” mentality stems directly from Baxter’s creator, the late Maine Gov. Percival Baxter, who made it his lifelong mission to permanently preserve Katahdin and keep the surrounding forests “forever wild.” Baxter almost single-handedly created the park that bears his name by acquiring land and then transferring ownership to the state. And he fastidiously controlled use of that land – and protected it from the whims of future generations of politicians in Augusta – by ensuring each parcel was transferred with restrictions “carefully worded into a binding and unbreakable Trust Deed.”
      The park’s blanket ban on all dogs except service animals as well as the policy against hunting throughout much of the park come directly from those restrictive “deeds of trust.” While park officials have softened some restrictions, the debate over AT thru-hikers is merely the latest in a lengthy history of tensions between park managers and the public over access to Baxter regarding activities such as snowmobiling, ATV-riding, hunting and camping.
      Bissell pointed out that Baxter never mentioned the AT in his deeds.
      “It’s not in our mission,” Bissell said.
      On Wednesday afternoon, the rocky and boulder-strewn summit of Katahdin was crowded with dozens of day-hikers enjoying a windy yet picture-perfect summer afternoon on the highest point in Maine.
      A steady crowd gathered at the iconic, weather-beaten summit sign for pictures, then spreading across the landscape to relax and refuel before beginning a descent that, for many, is even tougher and more dangerous than the climb up.
      At least three thru-hikers and one “flip-flopper” – hikers who cover the entire trail in a season, but not in a straight line – reached Baxter Peak during a roughly 90-minute period, among dozens of others. They all had their own way of celebrating the achievement, but none did it with alcohol, drugs, nudity or other blatant rule violations.
      In fact, the only alcohol seen on the summit that day was a day-hiker discreetly sipping a beer among a larger group.
      “Biscuit,” a 19-year-old thru-hiker from Chicago who goes by John Brady when he isn’t on the trail, was all smiles as he enjoyed a bag of chocolate-covered peanuts and later a donated bag of sour cream and onion potato chips that he had been ogling.
      Steph “Superfeet” Jones, a 27-year-old flip-flopper, marked the occasion by savoring a tube of Vegemite, the yeast- and vegetable-based paste beloved by her fellow Australians and a select few elsewhere.
      Between questions from day-hikers curious about his five-month odyssey, Biscuit seemed to sympathize with both sides of the issue. He said he “totally gets” people wanting to really “celebrate” their achievement, but added you can’t spray champagne all over the summit in front of cameras and rangers.
      “It would be a real disappointment if they had to move the trail,” he said. “It’s definitely understandable with the mission of the park.”
      While Jurek set a new world record in 46 days, Caleb Payne spent 4½ months away from his wife and Kentucky home in order to raise awareness about colon cancer.
      Dubbed “Semi-colon” by his trail compatriots because cancer had claimed part of his colon just one year ago, the 55-year-old was filled with emotion as he posed for pictures holding banners and shirts promoting the Colon Cancer Prevention Project and a “Fit Test” diagnostic tool for the disease. He also posed shirtless to display the scars left by his surgery.
      After the pictures, Semi-colon celebrated by downing a sandwich and attempting to call his wife, from a spot where cellphone signals are fleeting.
      “I can see both sides of it, but I think Baxter is really pushing a lot of buttons,” Semi-colon said. “I feel like we (thru-hikers) supply a lot of good will. We do a lot of trail maintenance, we shop in stores and support the local economy. But there are always bad apples.”
      • • • • •
      Reducing the number of “bad apples” was the primary focus of a meeting held in Millinocket eight days before Semi-colon finished his hike. In addition to Bissell, attendees included representatives from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the Maine Appalachian Trail Club, Friends of Baxter State Park, the Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association and several area business owners.
      The group has remained tight-lipped about the meeting’s outcome because the discussions continue. But among the early results of the dialogue is a commitment to improve outreach to and education of thru-hikers about Baxter State Park’s unique restrictions, especially in New England trail shelters and hostels.
      Other options include a pre-registration or permitting system along the northernmost stretch of the trail in Maine in order to better space out hikers during the peak season between August and mid-October.
      Among those in attendance was Paul Renaud – trail name “Ole Man” – who operates Millinocket’s Appalachian Trail Lodge that offers hikers a clean bed and laundry facilities as well as a gear shop and a shuttle service to and from trail heads. His wife, Jaime “Navigator” Renaud, runs the Appalachian Trail Cafe in downtown Millinocket, where the ceiling tiles are covered with the trail names of hundreds of successful thru-hikers who have stopped by over the years to leave their mark and grab a bite.
      Ole Man says he is well aware of the increasing problems with a small group of thru-hikers over the past three years. As the online debate continues over Jurek and what some view as the park’s heavy-handed response to him, Renaud said everyone needs to “calm down, back up and chill out” as the parties work on a solution.
      “I would say 98 percent of the hikers don’t do all that much up there,” Renaud said. “Most of them just want to take the picture up there and then come back down. And then they do the partying down here. But there are a few.”
      Renaud, who also worked with hikers near the trail’s southern terminus on Georgia’s Springer Mountain, said he is confident the issue can and will be addressed because the trail just wouldn’t be the same if it ended anywhere else.
      “We have been to most of the national parks and we have been to a ton of state parks,” Renaud said of himself and his wife. “There is nowhere in the country like Baxter park.”
      The “Class of 2015″ ceiling tile at the Appalachian Trail Cafe had only a few names on it as of Thursday afternoon. But there is a wave of several thousand hikers steadily, ploddingly approaching Maine from the south.
      And those involved in the trail community, as well as Baxter State Park officials, only expect that crowd to grow in size in future years.
      The at-present tense relations between the trail and Baxter State Park have been a hot topic on the trail and among AT devotees ever since Jurek’s momentous summit.
      But for the vanguard of this year’s crop of thru-hikers arriving in Baxter last week, the only thing that mattered was completing the final 5.2 miles – or the last 0.2 percent – of a 2,185-mile trek along the mountainous spine of the eastern U.S.
      Roughly 18 hours after taking in the full scope of Katahdin from Abol Bridge, Sputnik climbed the final steps and briefly touched the summit sign before disappearing to enjoy a few minutes of quiet contemplation. He then returned to the sign, climbed up it and made a giant victory-V with his arms as Biscuit snapped the pictures.
      “Attrition,” who will once again have to get used to responding to James Lenning, climbed the mountain earlier Wednesday in order to watch the sunrise and “enjoy the solitude” atop Katahdin. Bushy-faced and bedraggled, and wearing a shirt held together at the shoulders by threads that had been tied back together, the 22-year-old Minneapolis resident said he hopes the AT’s northern end remains in place.
      “I think the arc of the trail is perfectly designed for northbounders to end at Katahdin,” he said.
      And with that, Attrition resumed his steady march away from the summit that he had spent months chasing.
      its all good
    • If the ATC succeed in getting more people to flip flop or go southbound to alleviate number pressures in the south BSP's numbers will continue to spiral compared to when most finished there.
      Resident Australian, proving being a grumpy old man is not just an American trait.
    • alcohol evaporates... so I just don't see how that is littering... the BSP rangers have some issues, but I doubt its with thru-hikers.

      I think a move completely out of Maine would be a good idea.

      There are probably higher hikable moutains in New Hampshire that could be used for the end of the AT. I don't know that much about NH, so it may not be feasible to have a trailhead there with the same AT length.

      But since the people of Maine want to be left alone, I am all for that. Take our money and go elsewhere.

      Back about 1957 I was up there with my folks visting dad's relatives. Very standoffish. Even the relatives. I hope to travel the AT for my 70th birthday year, I'll stop short of Maine and then go home.

      Yeah, I am a bit upset by the BSP rangers.

      As for how I would celebrate my accomplishment, completing the AT, I would drink some water then take a nap and head home.
      --
      "What do you mean its sunrise already ?!", me.
    • while new hampshire is the most spectacular state on the AT, maine is the most beautiful. it would be foolish to exclude maine from the AT and it will never happen.

      if BSP boots out the AT then i would end the AT at the park border. thru hikers that plan ahead could secure a permit and then legally summit K. i have some ideas on how this process could work.

      i also think there is merit in moving the springer teminus to AFSP. this would also require some infrastructure changes to the park.
      2,000 miler
    • I've never been in Baxter or hiked the AT in Maine. I did vacation for ten days on the coast and the Mainers were very friendly. I was kinda surprised because we get a lot of Tourons in Northern Michigan and it gets old sometimes.
      bacon can solve most any problem.
    • max.patch wrote:

      while new hampshire is the most spectacular state on the AT, maine is the most beautiful. it would be foolish to exclude maine from the AT and it will never happen.

      if BSP boots out the AT then i would end the AT at the park border. thru hikers that plan ahead could secure a permit and then legally summit K. i have some ideas on how this process could work.

      i also think there is merit in moving the springer teminus to AFSP. this would also require some infrastructure changes to the park.
      I think there could be a legitimate imminent domain case with the AT and Baxter.
      Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.
      Dr. Seuss Cof123
    • Rasty wrote:

      max.patch wrote:

      while new hampshire is the most spectacular state on the AT, maine is the most beautiful. it would be foolish to exclude maine from the AT and it will never happen.

      if BSP boots out the AT then i would end the AT at the park border. thru hikers that plan ahead could secure a permit and then legally summit K. i have some ideas on how this process could work.

      i also think there is merit in moving the springer teminus to AFSP. this would also require some infrastructure changes to the park.
      I think there could be a legitimate imminent domain case with the AT and Baxter.
      i haven't thot of that angle, but you may have a point.
      2,000 miler
    • max.patch wrote:

      Rasty wrote:

      max.patch wrote:

      while new hampshire is the most spectacular state on the AT, maine is the most beautiful. it would be foolish to exclude maine from the AT and it will never happen.

      if BSP boots out the AT then i would end the AT at the park border. thru hikers that plan ahead could secure a permit and then legally summit K. i have some ideas on how this process could work.

      i also think there is merit in moving the springer teminus to AFSP. this would also require some infrastructure changes to the park.
      I think there could be a legitimate imminent domain case with the AT and Baxter.
      i haven't thot of that angle, but you may have a point.
      I'm not usually a fan of it but federal land rights trump state land rights. If Governor Baxter's family still held it as private land and paid property taxes my thoughts would be different. The land is off the tax rolls and should be available for the people. Otherwise Baxter should be paying taxes.
      Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.
      Dr. Seuss Cof123
    • Rasty wrote:


      I'm not usually a fan of it but federal land rights trump state land rights. If Governor Baxter's family still held it as private land and paid property taxes my thoughts would be different. The land is off the tax rolls and should be available for the people. Otherwise Baxter should be paying taxes.

      I've heard you make that claim several times now, and you turn the law on its head to make it. (It would also be disastrous public policy, but I won't get into that here.)

      (1) You are aware, I hope, that there is no Federal property tax? Moreover, if there were, the Federal Government and the States are each forbidden by the Constitution from taxing the other. (That, for instance, is why employees of the State governments do not participate in Social Security. The Fed cannot collect the employer's contribution.) By your insane argument, my township shouldn't be allowed to have its town pool because it doesn't pay property tax on it, charges residents a fee for it and doesn't issue passes it to nonresidents, so the Federal government should just come in and take it.

      (2) You have the law of land tenure also entirely on its head. The States, rather than the Federal government, are actually the sovereigns for land within their borders. (The exceptions, enumerated in the Constitution, are military bases, government buildings and the District of Columbia.) The Federal Government, I agree, owns over a quarter of the land in the US. It acquired it by purchase, mostly before statehood. (The Louisiana and Gadsden purchases account for the fact that Uncle Sam owns most of the West.) (The Constitution, article 1, section 8, clause 17.) It cannot even purchase land within a State without the consent of the State Legislature. (The same clause.)

      (3) Although the Constitution forbids State and Federal governments from taxing each other, the Congress has recognized the fundamental unfairness of the fact that Federal holdings within the States deprive the States of tax revenue. In every budget since 1976, the Congress has authorized Payments in Lieu of Tax (PILOT) on all the National Parks, National Forests, and BLM open spaces. There is a complicated patchwork of laws that enable the States to tax the Fed in this way. AMTRAK, for instance, pays full State corporate taxes just as it if were a private for-profit corporation. Department of Education pays local school taxes in proportion to the value of Federal real property in the school districts, in the form of 'education impact aid grants.' The Federal government has revenue sharing agreements with the States for mining, oil extraction, grazing, logging, and similar operations that take place on its lands.

      (4) Because the tax-exempt status of the land in Baxter State Park affects only the taxpayers of Maine, it is no business of the Federal Government. The voters of Maine appear not to have a problem with it.

      (5) BSPA receives no taxpayer funding. My understanding is that its operating expenses, including staff salaries, derive entirely from its trust funds and the income from its forestry operations. If it were forced to privatize, as you would have it, I'm virtually certain that its books would show it operating at a loss, and even if I am wrong and it has retained earnings (perhaps the stock market exhibited irrational exuberance), it would still meet the test for a 403(c) non-profit. Non-profit organizations are not required to serve all comers, either.

      (6) The Congress has never authorized a general power of eminent domain for the National Park Service - and may not even have the constitutional power to do so (see above). Most of the National Parks were actually created before statehood, by enabling acts of the State legislatures, or out of land that the Federal government already owned. Where eminent domain was used, it was the State's power of eminent domain that enabled it, not any Federal power.
      I'm not lost. I know where I am. I'm right here.
    • AnotherKevin wrote:

      Rasty wrote:

      I'm not usually a fan of it but federal land rights trump state land rights. If Governor Baxter's family still held it as private land and paid property taxes my thoughts would be different. The land is off the tax rolls and should be available for the people. Otherwise Baxter should be paying taxes.
      I've heard you make that claim several times now, and you turn the law on its head to make it. (It would also be disastrous public policy, but I won't get into that here.)

      (1) You are aware, I hope, that there is no Federal property tax? Moreover, if there were, the Federal Government and the States are each forbidden by the Constitution from taxing the other. (That, for instance, is why employees of the State governments do not participate in Social Security. The Fed cannot collect the employer's contribution.) By your insane argument, my township shouldn't be allowed to have its town pool because it doesn't pay property tax on it, charges residents a fee for it and doesn't issue passes it to nonresidents, so the Federal government should just come in and take it.

      (2) You have the law of land tenure also entirely on its head. The States, rather than the Federal government, are actually the sovereigns for land within their borders. (The exceptions, enumerated in the Constitution, are military bases, government buildings and the District of Columbia.) The Federal Government, I agree, owns over a quarter of the land in the US. It acquired it by purchase, mostly before statehood. (The Louisiana and Gadsden purchases account for the fact that Uncle Sam owns most of the West.) (The Constitution, article 1, section 8, clause 17.) It cannot even purchase land within a State without the consent of the State Legislature. (The same clause.)

      (3) Although the Constitution forbids State and Federal governments from taxing each other, the Congress has recognized the fundamental unfairness of the fact that Federal holdings within the States deprive the States of tax revenue. In every budget since 1976, the Congress has authorized Payments in Lieu of Tax (PILOT) on all the National Parks, National Forests, and BLM open spaces. There is a complicated patchwork of laws that enable the States to tax the Fed in this way. AMTRAK, for instance, pays full State corporate taxes just as it if were a private for-profit corporation. Department of Education pays local school taxes in proportion to the value of Federal real property in the school districts, in the form of 'education impact aid grants.' The Federal government has revenue sharing agreements with the States for mining, oil extraction, grazing, logging, and similar operations that take place on its lands.

      (4) Because the tax-exempt status of the land in Baxter State Park affects only the taxpayers of Maine, it is no business of the Federal Government. The voters of Maine appear not to have a problem with it.

      (5) BSPA receives no taxpayer funding. My understanding is that its operating expenses, including staff salaries, derive entirely from its trust funds and the income from its forestry operations. If it were forced to privatize, as you would have it, I'm virtually certain that its books would show it operating at a loss, and even if I am wrong and it has retained earnings (perhaps the stock market exhibited irrational exuberance), it would still meet the test for a 403(c) non-profit. Non-profit organizations are not required to serve all comers, either.

      (6) The Congress has never authorized a general power of eminent domain for the National Park Service - and may not even have the constitutional power to do so (see above). Most of the National Parks were actually created before statehood, by enabling acts of the State legislatures, or out of land that the Federal government already owned. Where eminent domain was used, it was the State's power of eminent domain that enabled it, not any Federal power.
      Yeah Rasty...I was just gonna say all dat. Thanks Kevin :D
    • AnotherKevin wrote:


      (6) The Congress has never authorized a general power of eminent domain for the National Park Service - and may not even have the constitutional power to do so (see above). Most of the National Parks were actually created before statehood, by enabling acts of the State legislatures, or out of land that the Federal government already owned. Where eminent domain was used, it was the State's power of eminent domain that enabled it, not any Federal power.
      perhaps i'm reading this wrong, but it appears that there is a precedent here:

      Condemnation cases like that against the Gettysburg Railroad Company exemplify another use for eminent domain: establishing parks and setting aside open space for future generations, preserving places of historic interest and remarkable natural beauty, and protecting environmentally sensitive areas. Some of the earliest federal government acquisitions for parkland were made at the end of the nineteenth century and remain among the most beloved and well-used of American parks. In Washington, D.C., Congress authorized the creation of a park along Rock Creek in 1890 for the enjoyment of the capitol city’s residents and visitors. The Department of Justice became involved when a number of landowners from whom property was to be acquired disputed the constitutionality of the condemnation. In Shoemaker v. United States, 147 U.S. 282 (1893), the Supreme Court affirmed the actions of Congress.

      Today, Rock Creek National Park, over a century old and more than twice the size of New York City’s Central Park, remains a unique wilderness in the midst of an urban environment. This is merely one small example of the many federal parks, preserves, historic sites, and monuments to which the work of the Land Acquisition Section has contributed.

      justice.gov/enrd/history-federal-use-eminent-domain
      2,000 miler
    • AnotherKevin wrote:

      Rasty wrote:

      I'm not usually a fan of it but federal land rights trump state land rights. If Governor Baxter's family still held it as private land and paid property taxes my thoughts would be different. The land is off the tax rolls and should be available for the people. Otherwise Baxter should be paying taxes.
      I've heard you make that claim several times now, and you turn the law on its head to make it. (It would also be disastrous public policy, but I won't get into that here.)

      (1) You are aware, I hope, that there is no Federal property tax? Moreover, if there were, the Federal Government and the States are each forbidden by the Constitution from taxing the other. (That, for instance, is why employees of the State governments do not participate in Social Security. The Fed cannot collect the employer's contribution.) By your insane argument, my township shouldn't be allowed to have its town pool because it doesn't pay property tax on it, charges residents a fee for it and doesn't issue passes it to nonresidents, so the Federal government should just come in and take it.

      (2) You have the law of land tenure also entirely on its head. The States, rather than the Federal government, are actually the sovereigns for land within their borders. (The exceptions, enumerated in the Constitution, are military bases, government buildings and the District of Columbia.) The Federal Government, I agree, owns over a quarter of the land in the US. It acquired it by purchase, mostly before statehood. (The Louisiana and Gadsden purchases account for the fact that Uncle Sam owns most of the West.) (The Constitution, article 1, section 8, clause 17.) It cannot even purchase land within a State without the consent of the State Legislature. (The same clause.)

      (3) Although the Constitution forbids State and Federal governments from taxing each other, the Congress has recognized the fundamental unfairness of the fact that Federal holdings within the States deprive the States of tax revenue. In every budget since 1976, the Congress has authorized Payments in Lieu of Tax (PILOT) on all the National Parks, National Forests, and BLM open spaces. There is a complicated patchwork of laws that enable the States to tax the Fed in this way. AMTRAK, for instance, pays full State corporate taxes just as it if were a private for-profit corporation. Department of Education pays local school taxes in proportion to the value of Federal real property in the school districts, in the form of 'education impact aid grants.' The Federal government has revenue sharing agreements with the States for mining, oil extraction, grazing, logging, and similar operations that take place on its lands.

      (4) Because the tax-exempt status of the land in Baxter State Park affects only the taxpayers of Maine, it is no business of the Federal Government. The voters of Maine appear not to have a problem with it.

      (5) BSPA receives no taxpayer funding. My understanding is that its operating expenses, including staff salaries, derive entirely from its trust funds and the income from its forestry operations. If it were forced to privatize, as you would have it, I'm virtually certain that its books would show it operating at a loss, and even if I am wrong and it has retained earnings (perhaps the stock market exhibited irrational exuberance), it would still meet the test for a 403(c) non-profit. Non-profit organizations are not required to serve all comers, either.

      (6) The Congress has never authorized a general power of eminent domain for the National Park Service - and may not even have the constitutional power to do so (see above). Most of the National Parks were actually created before statehood, by enabling acts of the State legislatures, or out of land that the Federal government already owned. Where eminent domain was used, it was the State's power of eminent domain that enabled it, not any Federal power.
      The Appalachian Trail is entirely on Federal Property. The federal government has a easement I believe.

      I would bet my tent that the pension and benefits for the state employees that work at Baxter are not being financed entirely by Baxter.

      Besides how long has the AT gone through Baxter? The length of time without a legal dispute creates a problem for Baxter.

      As for the barring non residents. If Maine wants that kind of treatment then maybe they can forgo all federal funding and give it a try on their own.
      Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.
      Dr. Seuss Cof123
    • nps.gov/ncrc/programs/nts/legislation.html

      The original legislation of the national scenic trail act specifically names mt. Katahdin and states that access to the public is guaranteed under the federal legislation. Baxter has a huge problem if they want to kick out the federal government.
      Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.
      Dr. Seuss Cof123
    • Rasty wrote:

      nps.gov/ncrc/programs/nts/legislation.html

      The original legislation of the national scenic trail act specifically names mt. Katahdin and states that access to the public is guaranteed under the federal legislation. Baxter has a huge problem if they want to kick out the federal government.
      That doesn't matter if the enabling legislation steps beyond the powers of the Federal government. I imagine that access for thru-hiking could fall under the Commerce Clause, but guaranteed access to the public does not mean that access cannot be regulated, even severely constrained. You can't just waltz down and launch a raft in the Grand Canyon - people wait years for a permit.
      I'm not lost. I know where I am. I'm right here.
    • Rasty wrote:

      The Appalachian Trail is entirely on Federal Property. The federal government has a easement I believe.

      It is simply factually incorrect that the entirety of the Appalachian Trail is on Federal property. The Federal Government purchased no part of Baxter State Park from the State of Maine. Nor did it purchase any portion of Mount Washington State Forest from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, nor of Fahnestock, Hudson Highlands, Bear Mountain or Harriman State Parks from the State of New York. At the time of the National Scenic Trails Act, there was well established public access to the Trail in those places, and no need was felt to exercise a condemnation. It is highly questionable whether a Federal condemnation exercised against a State (as opposed to a private party within the state) is even Constitutional.

      Rasty wrote:

      I would bet my tent that the pension and benefits for the state employees that work at Baxter are not being financed entirely by Baxter.

      OK, assume that they are funded by the taxpayers of Maine. Unless you believe that we no longer enjoy a federal republic, it is the business of the voters of Maine how their State taxes are spent.


      Rasty wrote:


      Besides how long has the AT gone through Baxter? The length of time without a legal dispute creates a problem for Baxter.
      Adverse possession does not apply. Nobody has asserted a claim of land ownership against Maine.

      Rasty wrote:


      As for the barring non residents. If Maine wants that kind of treatment then maybe they can forgo all federal funding and give it a try on their own.

      Now you're being silly. Let's say that my town gets Federal highway funding, or Federal assistance to law enforcement, or Federal education aid. (I believe that they get all three.) Are they now require to issue free nonresident passes to the town pool because they've accepted Federal grants in unrelated areas? Do we enjoy a federal republic, or are the State and local governments entirely without power, subject to arbitrary override from Washington? You appear to believe the latter.
      I'm not lost. I know where I am. I'm right here.
    • I have the right as an American to walk down the Appalachian Trail. As long as I don't personally break the rules then punishing me for others transgressions is not acceptable. Enforce the laws but don't infringe on my rights to move about my country. That is my expectation of the federal government.

      Any state that decides I can't walk down the AT needs to be straightened out. My rights to public land supersede the state or authority.
      Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.
      Dr. Seuss Cof123
    • Rasty wrote:

      I have the right as an American to walk down the Appalachian Trail. As long as I don't personally break the rules then punishing me for others transgressions is not acceptable. Enforce the laws but don't infringe on my rights to move about my country. That is my expectation of the federal government.

      Any state that decides I can't walk down the AT needs to be straightened out. My rights to public land supersede the state or authority.
      you are not free to hike the smokies without a permit.
      its all good
    • hikerboy wrote:

      Rasty wrote:

      I have the right as an American to walk down the Appalachian Trail. As long as I don't personally break the rules then punishing me for others transgressions is not acceptable. Enforce the laws but don't infringe on my rights to move about my country. That is my expectation of the federal government.

      Any state that decides I can't walk down the AT needs to be straightened out. My rights to public land supersede the state or authority.
      you are not free to hike the smokies without a permit.
      They are also not free to refuse me a permit. Baxter wants to kick me out.
      Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.
      Dr. Seuss Cof123
    • Rasty wrote:

      I have the right as an American to walk down the Appalachian Trail. As long as I don't personally break the rules then punishing me for others transgressions is not acceptable. Enforce the laws but don't infringe on my rights to move about my country. That is my expectation of the federal government.

      You have a right to walk the trail. Nobody says you mightn't have to pay for the privilege or get a reservation - as you already must in GSMNP and Shenandoah. (OK, in Shenandoah the fee is waived for those who enter and leave on foot, you still need to fill out the permit form.)

      And in fact my prediction is that the northern terminus will remain at Katahdin - it would take an act of Congress to change it, and our current bozos can't agree on anything but wars, prisons, and corporate welfare. It might well work out, though, that hiking it as part of a conventional thru-hike might present a heavy burden of bureaucracy, possibly including a need to commit before starting at Springer to a particular time of arrival at Abol Bridge. That's no more unlawful that the possibly years-long wait for a Grand Canyon launch reservation.
      I'm not lost. I know where I am. I'm right here.
    • AnotherKevin wrote:

      Rasty wrote:

      I have the right as an American to walk down the Appalachian Trail. As long as I don't personally break the rules then punishing me for others transgressions is not acceptable. Enforce the laws but don't infringe on my rights to move about my country. That is my expectation of the federal government.
      You have a right to walk the trail. Nobody says you mightn't have to pay for the privilege or get a reservation - as you already must in GSMNP and Shenandoah. (OK, in Shenandoah the fee is waived for those who enter and leave on foot, you still need to fill out the permit form.)

      And in fact my prediction is that the northern terminus will remain at Katahdin - it would take an act of Congress to change it, and our current bozos can't agree on anything but wars, prisons, and corporate welfare. It might well work out, though, that hiking it as part of a conventional thru-hike might present a heavy burden of bureaucracy, possibly including a need to commit before starting at Springer to a particular time of arrival at Abol Bridge. That's no more unlawful that the possibly years-long wait for a Grand Canyon launch reservation.
      I'm fine with getting a reservation but believe that Baxter needs to accommodate hikers because we have a right to be there. Enforce the laws in place but they need to get off their asses and get to work. I actually think it's pure laziness on these employees part. They don't want to find a solution and just want things to remain the same. The easy lazy solution is to kick everyone out. How about building a bunk house to accommodate the thru hikers? They already have built structures in the park so they can't use the excuse that building structures ruins the wilderness.
      Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.
      Dr. Seuss Cof123
    • socks wrote:

      hikerboy wrote:

      I think maine would secede from the union if that were to happen.
      Maybe Texas and Maine could get together and form there own Country...and a trail connecting the two. Call it the "Show me your nuts trail"

      Texas can seceed... the US Congress made Texas put it in Texas law. Texas just chose a bad time to do it the last time they tried. And Texas can split into 5 states. Also forced on them by the US Congress in 1845. All they have to do it is do it, already approved.

      Not all Texans are crazy. At least I'm not, and my other personalities agree with me... :)
      gif.014.gif :thumbsup:
      --
      "What do you mean its sunrise already ?!", me.
    • Rasty wrote:

      hikerboy wrote:

      Rasty wrote:

      I have the right as an American to walk down the Appalachian Trail. As long as I don't personally break the rules then punishing me for others transgressions is not acceptable. Enforce the laws but don't infringe on my rights to move about my country. That is my expectation of the federal government.

      Any state that decides I can't walk down the AT needs to be straightened out. My rights to public land supersede the state or authority.
      you are not free to hike the smokies without a permit.
      They are also not free to refuse me a permit. Baxter wants to kick me out.
      The US Constitution only allows the persuit of happiness, we aren't actually allowed to be happy.

      But I try to be happy anyway.
      --
      "What do you mean its sunrise already ?!", me.
    • AnotherKevin wrote:

      Rasty wrote:

      ask the folks that lived around Roan if the federal government has used imminent domain in creating a national park? The answer is yes.
      The Federal government used eminent domain with the consent of the State legislature.

      Fed Law trumps State Law. I know a number of present day politicians and talking head pundits on tv say something else, but they are totally wrong. They should have stayed awake in high school government/civics class.

      The US Constitution may not cover hiking the AT. Persuit of Happiness isn't about obtaining happiness.
      --
      "What do you mean its sunrise already ?!", me.
    • JimBlue wrote:

      Fed Law trumps State Law. I know a number of present day politicians and talking head pundits on tv say something else, but they are totally wrong. They should have stayed awake in high school government/civics class.
      Or perhaps you should have stayed awake.

      The Constitution, article 6, clause 2:
      This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding. (Emphasis added.)

      To that extent, you are correct that Federal law is the supreme law of the land. Nevertheless, the Federal government may not legislate beyond the powers granted to it by the States in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution. often called the enumerated powers. Laws made beyond the enumerated powers are void and of no force.

      Alexander Hamilton (Federalist 33), explaining Article 6:
      But it will not follow from this doctrine that acts of the large society which are not pursuant to its constitutional powers, but which are invasions of the residuary authorities of the smaller societies, will become the supreme law of the land. These will be merely acts of usurpation, and will deserve to be treated as such.

      One of the most recent applications of this principle was the overturning of the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 in United States v. Alfonso D. Lopez, Jr., 514 U.S. 549 (1995). In that case the Court held that a Federal law regulating the carrying of handguns near schools was not passed pursuant to any of the powers of the Congress enumerated in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, and was therefore void. The Federal government still has limits on its power.
      I'm not lost. I know where I am. I'm right here.
    • Hiking the AT is many things but I really don't think it is the pursuit of happiness.
      You can be happy, but it certainly isn't the principal emotion. The sense of achievement, physical health, camaraderie, appreciation of nature and sense of accomplishment may leave you happy at the end, but I wouldn't describe the hike as a pursuit of happiness. It's actually a bit of a grind when you're doing it. Most people's "funnest" memories are actually from the times they weren't hiking.
      Resident Australian, proving being a grumpy old man is not just an American trait.
    • That would make it Level II fun; i.e. ex post facto fun. That fun that is fun only when done.

      Personally, I think it is a menagerie of all 3 levels of fun. Some of it is simply fun when being done, Level I fun. Some is the above, fun only when done, Level II fun. Some of it is neither fun when being done nor fun when done, it simply sucked, ergo Level III fun.
      If your Doctor is a tree, you're on acid.
    • OzJacko wrote:

      Hiking the AT is many things but I really don't think it is the pursuit of happiness.
      You can be happy, but it certainly isn't the principal emotion. The sense of achievement, physical health, camaraderie, appreciation of nature and sense of accomplishment may leave you happy at the end, but I wouldn't describe the hike as a pursuit of happiness. It's actually a bit of a grind when you're doing it. Most people's "funnest" memories are actually from the times they weren't hiking.
      and thats why i prefer a lash to a thru hike. much more about the journey, less about the destination. i don't remember a time on the trail when i wasn't happy.
      its all good
    • I do like about a 1000 km myself.
      Possibly I am like that because it's the length of the Bib where I fell in love with hiking but I didn't feel either the Bib or the Camino were too far but the AT was just too long. I only got to Katahdin because we revelled in what became a LASH of NH and ME.
      Resident Australian, proving being a grumpy old man is not just an American trait.
    • it wasn't always the case. years past when my hikes were limited to a few days or a week, it was much more about the destination, whether it was bagging 4000 fters in nh or tackling the toughest sections and climbs i could find, it was many times about the physical challenge ,and completion was the only option. as i grew older i would plan my sections giving me plenty of time to make adjustments without stressing about how much time i had left on the trail to get from point a to point b.
      but on a lash, i would just hike till i got tired or ran out of money or both, and that was liberating. i never worried about where i was or where i was going, and the longer i was out, the more my worries would fall away.
      "the pursuit of happiness" is a lie
      happiness is not a destination, its a lifestyle choice.
      its all good
    • hikerboy wrote:

      it wasn't always the case. years past when my hikes were limited to a few days or a week, it was much more about the destination, whether it was bagging 4000 fters in nh or tackling the toughest sections and climbs i could find, it was many times about the physical challenge ,and completion was the only option. as i grew older i would plan my sections giving me plenty of time to make adjustments without stressing about how much time i had left on the trail to get from point a to point b.
      but on a lash, i would just hike till i got tired or ran out of money or both, and that was liberating. i never worried about where i was or where i was going, and the longer i was out, the more my worries would fall away.
      "the pursuit of happiness" is a lie
      happiness is not a destination, its a lifestyle choice.


      Your flexability is a result of experience and knowledge. I find that as I gain more situational experience, I become more open to having a loose plan and seeing what happens. I could not have done that a year ago.
      In life there are no limitations. Except stupidity. If you're stupid, you're screwed.

      Stephan Pastis
    • I think I still need a destination and a bit of a schedule more because of being partnered than anything else. I think if I just said I am going out for 3 weeks and I don't know where I will finish I wouldn't be going anywhere....
      ;)
      Resident Australian, proving being a grumpy old man is not just an American trait.
    • AnotherKevin wrote:

      JimBlue wrote:

      Fed Law trumps State Law. I know a number of present day politicians and talking head pundits on tv say something else, but they are totally wrong. They should have stayed awake in high school government/civics class.
      Or perhaps you should have stayed awake.
      The Constitution, article 6, clause 2:
      This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding. (Emphasis added.)

      To that extent, you are correct that Federal law is the supreme law of the land. Nevertheless, the Federal government may not legislate beyond the powers granted to it by the States in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution. often called the enumerated powers. Laws made beyond the enumerated powers are void and of no force.

      Alexander Hamilton (Federalist 33), explaining Article 6:
      But it will not follow from this doctrine that acts of the large society which are not pursuant to its constitutional powers, but which are invasions of the residuary authorities of the smaller societies, will become the supreme law of the land. These will be merely acts of usurpation, and will deserve to be treated as such.

      One of the most recent applications of this principle was the overturning of the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 in United States v. Alfonso D. Lopez, Jr., 514 U.S. 549 (1995). In that case the Court held that a Federal law regulating the carrying of handguns near schools was not passed pursuant to any of the powers of the Congress enumerated in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, and was therefore void. The Federal government still has limits on its power.

      However, the Feds have done a number of things, and enforced it, that they are not authorized by the U.S. Constitution.

      I have watched a number of politicians on television misquote the founders on a number of things.

      Sometimes the courts agree with the feds altering what is allowed and not allowed.
      --
      "What do you mean its sunrise already ?!", me.