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 The Trek: The Journals

•
Team: South
Jan Nesset
Sunday, September 8
Public Lands And…Not You?
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The amazing double rainbow Team South enjoy at Wahweap Marina, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

The amazing double rainbow Team South enjoy at Wahweap Marina, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
Courtesy Lorie McGraw

The world population continues to grow unchecked, including in America, and visitation to public lands is slowing. Huh, that doesn’t make sense! Visitation should be increasing.
Well, are you an older American or someone whisked into an urbanized lifestyle? Are you in a dual-career family or of a culture that is fast-growing in America but slow to catch the outdoor bug?
Lake Powell Deputy Ranger Bill Pierce points to the above as factors that contribute to declining visitation of public lands. September 11 has accounted for recent declines, especially from the international crowd, but over the years Pierce said that overall visitation usage has dropped by as much as 25 percent.
He says that the “Graying of America” is partly responsible, especially for declines in backcountry use. Older Americans, the people who at a younger age led the charge into the backcountry, are slowing up and staying closer to the trailheads or, unfortunately, home.
Pierce also points to the “Urbanization of America.” Because of where and how people are choosing to live, increasingly in urban areas, people are losing touch with the land.
He adds that the shift in our society to dual-career families – women are more and more taking a place in the workforce – has meant that families have fewer opportunities to break away and enjoy the outdoors.
Finally, Pierce said that the culture of the United States is changing, too. Backcountry activities and the outdoors are foreign, generally speaking, to the fastest-growing cultures in America, such as Hispanics, blacks and Asians. These cultures literally don’t know what they’re missing.
Pierce said that the Park Service has tried numerous ways to diversify but again and again the challenge is without a satisfying win.

Lake Powell gets mixed reviews from our team. One person says it has an unreal nature that makes her uncomfortable. Another wants to see a tree or two. I like it, although it does appear somewhat superficial. I also can’t shake my desire to see without imagination the river below. As is there’s an inland sea covering it.
Drought-stricken, Lake Powell is 70 feet below full pool. With 1,960 miles of shoreline, that leaves one big bathtub ring. It’s easy to see where water once lapped against the sandstone because of the whitewashed area between the water surface and the high water mark. Above is red sandstone.
I cannot imagine what a surface area of 1.25 million acres is but that’s the size of the Lake Powell National Recreation area, of which only 13 percent is lake. There are more than 90 side canyons to the lake and more arches than in Arches National Park.
House boats of several sizes, motorboats, sailboats, personal watercraft (PWC) and human-powered boats travel Lake Powell, sometimes in great abundance such as during the summer months and fair-weather holidays. We’re on the lake after Labor Day, which we hear was quite busy.
All is well with the floating world unless you are an ardent fan of PWCs. In 2000 the Park Service banned all PWCs from all recreation areas except for 21 areas, of which Lake Powell is one. But there’s a rule-making process going on that may deal a death blow to all PWC use in national recreation areas. Pierce said the goal here is to make a decision by next April before the busy season begins. However, although PWC users have received an extension to use their craft until Nov. 6 of this year, there’ll be no such fun after then unless a decision to allow use is made.
Pierce said the Park is considering three alternatives: 1) continue PWC use as it currently exists today, 2) a national rule to exempt all PWCs in national recreation areas or 3) allow some exceptions. On Lake Powell the “some exceptions” would be keeping PWCs out of the tributaries where vegetation and wildlife issues are concerns.

Pierce said that the Lake Powell Recreation Area is run similarly to a county. On any given night during peak season there are 40,000 people on the lake. The Park Service has emergency services, fire fighting capabilities, maintenance and utility facilities and people, carpenters, stone masons, on and on. It also maintains 8 water systems from wells to tap water systems to filtration plants. Marinas such as Dangling Rope are fully Park run. Pierce clarifies by saying the marina is entirely Park run but the cost is shared with concessionaires, of which Aramark is the largest. Aramark and the Park Service employ so many people at Lake Powell that the Park Service built a school in Bullfrog large enough to accommodate 60 to 70 of their kids. Dr. Kay Gandy had the honor of giving a presentation to the kids this morning. She was welcomed with a giant banner in front of the school.

Imagine being raised on this immense and fun recreation area. To these kids public lands have a special meaning – “home.”


for Sunday, September 8
North South Both




Biographical
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Team: South
Jan Nesset
An experienced outdoorsman, Jan Nesset knows that everyone has to pitch in at camp
A native of Montana and the third of four children, Jan Nesset joins American...
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List of All Journal Entries
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Wednesday, April 28
Jan Nesset
American Frontiers: Part II: Taking Stock
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Sunday, December 1
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Canyonlands in December
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Thursday, November 21
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Snow Raspberry Bounty
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Sunday, November 17
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The Bisti Badlands
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Friday, November 15
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Public Land Flows Through It
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Thursday, November 7
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A Day At Earth Analytic's Home
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Tuesday, October 29
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Slot Canyon Adventure
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Monday, October 28
Jan Nesset
Some Things Never Change
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Sunday, October 27
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Back To The Wave
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Monday, October 7
Jan Nesset
The Thing About Summits
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Saturday, September 28
Jan Nesset
A New Beginning: National Public Lands Day
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Thursday, September 26
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Big Day of Sneak and Salvage
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Wednesday, September 25
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History-Coated Strawberry
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Tuesday, September 24
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The Last Of It
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Monday, September 23
Jan Nesset
Dinosaurlandia
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Sunday, September 22
Jan Nesset
Over The Edge
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Saturday, September 21
Jan Nesset
God Bless America
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Friday, September 20
Jan Nesset
Sometimes It's A Tough Life And We Get To Do It
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Thursday, September 19
Jan Nesset
The Niche Near You
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Wednesday, September 18
Jan Nesset
Snow Day
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Tuesday, September 17
Jan Nesset
A Capitol Reef Bull's Eye
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Monday, September 16
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A Lucky Rift
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Sunday, September 15
Jan Nesset
Riding The Hog's Back
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Saturday, September 14
Jan Nesset
Oh Rhythm My Rhythm
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Friday, September 13
Jan Nesset
Precious Images
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Thursday, September 12
Jan Nesset
From the Hole to the Staircase
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Wednesday, September 11
Jan Nesset
Happy Days
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Tuesday, September 10
Jan Nesset
Do You Believe In Magic?
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Monday, September 9
Jan Nesset
The Bridge Over the River Why
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Sunday, September 8
Jan Nesset
Public Lands And…Not You?
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Saturday, September 7
Jan Nesset
That Place So Special
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Friday, September 6
Jan Nesset
Just Looking To Have Some Fun – Be Dammed!
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Thursday, September 5
Jan Nesset
Do The Wave
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Wednesday, September 4
Jan Nesset
The Condors Are Coming!
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Tuesday, September 3
Jan Nesset
Fires Are For The Birds
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Monday, September 2
Jan Nesset
Back On Top
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Sunday, September 1
Jan Nesset
Perfection
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Saturday, August 31
Jan Nesset
The Wheels Have Left The Tarmac
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Friday, August 30
Jan Nesset
Star Light
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Thursday, August 29
Jan Nesset
The Traditional Connection
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Wednesday, August 28
Jan Nesset
Onward and Upward On Mountain Bikes
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Tuesday, August 27
Jan Nesset
Checkerboard Kings and Queens
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Monday, August 26
Jan Nesset
Aldo Leopold As Ranch Manager
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Sunday, August 25
Jan Nesset
A Story In Everything
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Saturday, August 24
Jan Nesset
Fire In The Whole
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Friday, August 23
Jan Nesset
"Good Morning, Flagstaff!"
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Thursday, August 22
Jan Nesset
Hoping For The Best
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Wednesday, August 21
Jan Nesset
Could Get Stinky
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Tuesday, August 20
Jan Nesset
Wheels Asunder
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Monday, August 19
Jan Nesset
Hurt Me, Thank You!
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Sunday, August 18
Jan Nesset
Roads Aplenty and Rocks of Pleasure
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Saturday, August 17
Jan Nesset
Of Dragons and Fire
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Friday, August 16
Jan Nesset
Motorcycles and the Zen of Route Mechanics
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Thursday, August 15
Jan Nesset
Puzzled
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Wednesday, August 14
Jan Nesset
A Day Off, Sort Of
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Tuesday, August 13
Jan Nesset
A Delightful, Light Day
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Monday, August 12
Jan Nesset
Courage On Eagle Mountain
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Sunday, August 11
Jan Nesset
Farewell
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Saturday, August 10
Jan Nesset
My Aching Back In The Saddle
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Friday, August 9
Jan Nesset
Back In The Saddle
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Thursday, August 8
Jan Nesset
In The Saddle
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Wednesday, August 7
Jan Nesset
Shut My Mouth!
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Tuesday, August 6
Jan Nesset
Diversity and Song
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Monday, August 5
Jan Nesset
An Unraveling
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Sunday, August 4
Jan Nesset
A Bagged Peak
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Saturday, August 3
Jan Nesset
Lines On A Map
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Friday, August 2
Jan Nesset
GPS-Marriage Made In Heaven
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Thursday, August 1
Jan Nesset
Free Wheelin'
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Wednesday, July 31
Jan Nesset
An Excellent Start
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