View Full Version : Say it ain't so.

11-15-2006, 06:49 PM
I just read an article (http://www.courant.com/features/lifestyle/hc-backpacking.artnov14,0,3653187.story?coll=hc-headlines-custom2) in the Hartford Courant which implies that backpacking is on the decline.

2 years ago my younger son experienced the same nirvana that I've had the fortune to experience when he cleared the tree line on the Air-Line. This year my older son has been bitten by the same bug and on a recent 3 night stay at Pinkham, my wife is now determined to experience the rigors and rewards of backpacking. The article must be wrong as in my minute part of the universe, I have just experience a huge increase in the known hikers. :D I know that many others my age no longer hike, not because of a lack of love for the outdoors, but due to failure of certain vital joints to function pain-free (knees in particular).

Is the article correct? Is there a dropping off in interest in hiking? Thoughts please?

Bill O
11-15-2006, 08:12 PM
Without seeing the article or the data I have no idea if this statement is true. But, I'd have to assume the Courant is correct, it is a very respectable newspaper. Does this data include population growth? If the US population grows at 1% per year, but backpackers only grow at .5% per year than the sport/hobby is declining. In reality, the number of backpackers is still growing though.

I'm not sure if this is a concern. Every sport has their hayday at one time or another. Sometimes they decline for years, then make a resurgance. As far as I know skier visits to ski areas peaked in the 1980's and has been declining ever since. I think General aviation peaked around that time, and I bet bowling peaked in the 70's (that's big ball bowling to those in NH).

Either way, I think this will be an interesting discussion.

11-15-2006, 08:45 PM
Baby Boomers are getting older. Their joints are struggling a bit like they did not before. So, a major portion of our population is no longer hiking or backpacking.

It is sad to say but kids do not seem to be playing outdoors. I look down the street on a nice weekend - no kids. After dinner on a nice evening - no kids. Our grandkids are outdoors all the time. They are pulling of the kids in the area out, but generally the kids are inside a lot more than we ever were. So, I am not surprised with the article. Both of our grandsons have been hiking with me - one went with me to the summit of Mt Washington last summer.

But, the group of folks that works for me are getting to be more outdoor oriented. Several play tennis together after work. Some go on their bikes around the office parks on the trails. We have had a couple of office ski trips and a few office hiking trips. They just need organization and little push.

The article does not surprise me.

Mike D
11-16-2006, 09:39 AM
...and I bet bowling peaked in the 70's (that's big ball bowling to those in NH). :p

You pious such-and-such. I'm sick and tired of you out-of-staters denigrating candle pin. You turn your noses up and say "back at home, we have real bowling. But it's so easy to knock down those humongous pins with that humongous ball. It's like saying softball is the "real" baseball. :p

I've said my peace.

rockin rex
11-16-2006, 10:22 AM
One day in the Adk high peaks be it winter or summer and you will see that is not true. I have yet to have a shelter or tent site area to myself in the high peaks. Go to Baxter State park in Maine and in the summer when the parking lots are full they close the gates and you can't drive in. I have had to park outside the park quite a few times and then walk in hitching a ride on the perimeter road to get to the trailheads. I have been hiking and backpacking my whole life and I see more people now, especially families, then I ever have before. I really feel it is opposite of what they are saying. Hiking and backpacking is increasing.

Bill O
11-16-2006, 05:51 PM
That article was taken a little out of context. The only data they showed was that overnight backpacking trips are on the decline. They stated that hiking in general and outdoor recreation were both increasing.

Again, I'm not really sure what there is to worry about here. This just means less people and more space to camp in the backcountry.

11-17-2006, 08:42 AM
Exactly, the article was concerned with overnighting and not day-trips.

11-17-2006, 10:50 AM
I downloaded GoogleEarth so now I don't have to hike ever again!

Mike D
11-17-2006, 06:02 PM
Further study is needed to determine the corelation, if any, between Google Earth and the decrease in backpacking.

11-17-2006, 07:35 PM
Further study is needed to determine the corelation, if any, between Google Earth and the decrease in backpacking.This is starting to sound like the beginning of a government study grant request. :D

11-17-2006, 07:58 PM
ain't so joe..just different..my husband and I hiked our way to marriage inthe whites. no ice climbing..but we managed to get our children into nature,science and the fragile earth. we live in ct., didn't see that article. will be up again thanksgiving for short hikes,good food, best memories..again!!(older kids may come, but the 10 yr old can't wait!! again!!)

rockin rex
11-17-2006, 10:20 PM
Where were you married in the Whites?? My wife and I were married on Mount Washington and I hiked to my wedding. No better place to be married than in the whites.

12-09-2006, 02:13 AM
we actually got married in n.conway with our "modern"marriage..our 3 children. (now 4.) "dated" inwhite mtns. finally have resources/time to come back.went thanksgiving w/e..WARM!! only did champney falls & twisted knee..going back up feb vacation. Can't believe we've never really been in summer!!how funny!!hope to this year.