Nature Photography, LLC
No, Really, Leave No Trace
The recent toppling by two Boy Scout leaders of a rock formation known as a “goblin” has sparked widespread outrage. For those who may not have heard the details of the event, they are as follows: On October 11, the two men, while leading a troop through Goblin Valley State Park in Utah, pushed over a large boulder that was balanced on a thin ridge of supporting rock. They videotaped the event, posted the video to Facebook, and the video went viral.
The men claim that they were attempting to prevent a future death from the natural toppling of the rock. This doesn’t make sense to me. The likelihood that the boulder would have toppled of its own accord in my lifetime was pretty slim, and even if it had, the added chance that someone would be near enough to it to be injured or killed was slimmer still. But even if it were about to topple, there is another very important point to remember here: they were in a state park specifically created to protect the very types of formations that the men destroyed. The proper course of action would have been for the men to notify the rangers that they felt the formation was unsafe. The rangers could have then assessed the formation, and if they agreed with the men, they could have taken the proper actions to protect the public. This does not mean that the parks department would or should have somehow reinforced the boulder to keep it from falling; they could have simply cordoned off the area to keep visitors a safe distance away. This would have allowed the public to continue to appreciate the formation and observe the natural progression of erosive forces. Had the formation been on private land and the men had the blessing of the landowner, the story would be very different. But because this was in a state park, one specifically dedicated to the protection of the goblins from human destructive forces, I can only wonder at how the men convinced themselves this was the right thing to do.
Everyone who enters ANY natural area should be aware of potential risks, and take the proper measures to minimize their own exposure to hazards. This does not mean that it is necessarily appropriate to remove the hazards, but rather to conduct oneself appropriately around them. Let’s face it, the natural world, just like the man-made one, can be a dangerous place. It is important to be aware of one’s surroundings, and to learn the necessary skills to navigate the area safely.
There is a great deal of beauty and exoticism in the natural world, but in order to continue enjoying it, we must be willing to protect it – from ourselves. There is no other creature on Earth as destructive as man. And it doesn’t have to be all of us doing the destroying; it only takes a few “bad apples” to reduce an awe-inspiring place to rubble. This is why we have state and national parks, so that a system is in place to preserve these choice locations for the enjoyment of all, including future generations. Unfortunately, it is in the nature of some people to destroy things merely for their own amusement. We see it in cities all the time: it is at the very heart of riots and vandalism. Our great outdoors are not exempt from this menace. Often stunningly beautiful places will be marred with spray-painted graffiti. Carlsbad Caverns has begun limiting access to previously open cavern rooms because a number of individuals took to throwing oranges and other items at the formations trying to break them. (Unfortunately, in some cases they succeeded.) The examples are too numerous to recount here; suffice it to say that I could go on and on. While I am not convinced that the two Boy Scout leaders belong in this group of people who destroy things simply for a momentary laugh, having seen the video, I am not convinced that they don’t either. Even if I give them the benefit of the doubt, I am saddened by their lack of common sense, their lack of awareness of where they were, and that they demonstrated such ill-judgment to a group of teenagers for whom they were supposed to be leaders. The admirable tenets of the Boy Scout’s “Leave No Trace” principles were certainly discarded in this very unfortunate incident.
(Since the incident, the men have been removed from their leadership positions with the Boy Scouts, and an investigation into possible criminal charges continues.)
Come See Us at Our Pasco Christmas Show
It’s that time: the holidays will be upon us soon. Now is the time to get that perfect gift for the nature lover in your life. Come see us at Custer’s Christmas Arts & Crafts Show in Pasco, Washington, November 8-10, to choose from some stunning framed and ready-to-frame pieces. Get your shopping done early so you can actually enjoy the season. We look forward to seeing you there!
Custer Christmas Arts & Crafts Show
The TRAC Center
Friday, November 8: 10am – 8pm
Saturday, November 9: 10am – 6pm
Sunday, November 10: 10am – 4pm
Get 10% off of boxed sets of Christmas cards when you order from our specials page. Each box contains two each of five different images. Or, get a five-card pack of Christmas cards free with any purchase of $200 or more at the show.
On Sunday, November 3rd, our clocks “fall back” out of Daylight Saving Time.
· In the U.S., DST was first implemented towards the end of World War I as a means to save energy, namely through the conservation of coal.
· DST was enacted and repealed several times before it became widespread during the energy crisis of the 1970s.
· Broadly speaking, farmers and those businesses that rely on evening darkness (such as drive-in theaters) do not care for DST much, while many other retail businesses favor it.
· The original energy-savings of Daylight Saving Time have been nullified by the widespread adoption of cooling systems such as air conditioning. Whereas in the early days of DST lighting was the major energy drain, a problem that DST was able to help alleviate by shifting more light into the evening, now cooling and heating systems use much more energy than lighting. Because of the later evenings, people now keep cooling systems on longer, more than compensating for the amount of lighting energy saved.
· Multiple efforts have been made to get the same benefits of Daylight Saving Time, without having to deal with the hassle of changing the clocks, by getting people to get up and start their day an hour earlier. Needless to say, these efforts have not been successful.
· While a push to rescind DST is ongoing, there is one question that must be asked: if we get rid of Daylight Saving Time, how will we remember to change the batteries in our smoke detectors? ;’)
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