News of Note
We've been hosting the annual photo contest, in one form or another, for four or five years and each year the process and philosophy evolves a bit. Last year we realized that in addition to gathering (and rewarding) beautiful photography, we bear a responsibility to make sure that the pictures in the contest show the values represented by our organization and an established "outdoor ethos." Those values are probably most easily expressed by the "Leave No Trace" principles which, boiled down to their very essence, advise us all to "take only memories and leave only footprints."
For that reason, this year we had to disqualify two photo entries which, especially when explained by the photographers who snapped the shots, appeared to be quite harmless. Fortunately, both Paula and Rose understood why we had to remove their photographs. It was Rose, in fact, who suggested my using her picture to illustrate "what not to do in the woods."
Rose Michels' photograph, entitled "Alien adventure?," shows a series of in-stream rock cairns. Rose was quick to point out that she and her hiking companions did NOT build the cairns and, in fact, when they returned a few weeks later they had been dismantled. She just thought they were cool-looking. I certainly can't blame her for finding them beautiful. Plenty of people have - and do! Any Google search on the subject will serve to confuse you utterly, and we have no wish to add to the debate of whether they are historically significant, art, metaphysical, vandalism, littering, or completely unimportant. In our microcosm of the outdoor world, they are simply not allowed - especially in a stream they have the potential to disrupt habitat and contribute to streambank erosion. So please don't do it.
Take only memories. Leave only footprints.
A photo by Paula Livingston is somewhat more problematic. Entered in the Dogs in the Outdoors category, her "Rocko visits the park" is pretty whimsical - even more so when you realize that Rocko IS Paula's pet! As she explains, her landlord won't let her have a dog so she has Rocko, whom she brings in, constructs and dismantles, and takes away whenever she pays a park visit, photographing him in various locations. Banning him was difficult for me as I did find him utterly adorable (especially with his required leash). But Paula understood the ultimate ruling that allowing him to compete in the contest might encourage others to take rocks from within the parks and build their own litter of puppies.
I thank both of these generous ladies for seeing the bigger picture and helping us to continually improve and refine the photo contest and spread our message of care and concern for the public lands that belong to all of us!
There are only a few more days to snap up your tickets for the Sam Lewis environmental education center fundraiser at Burning Bridge Tavern! If we do not sell a minimum of 30 tickets before the 23rd we will have no choice but to cancel the event and that would be a sad day indeed.