GRA wrote:OTOH, do we really want to inculcate the idea that the rescue is just a cellphone call away any time you're feeling a little uncomfortable? I have read credible accounts of people calling from the top of Half Dome to say that they were tired, and demanding that the rangers send a helicopter up to bring them back. I've also had conversations with ranger friends who relate similar if less ludicrous examples.
Yes, I've also heard of such accounts. Probably the solution here is to send these folks the bill for their rescues! Even if billed for only a fraction of the rescue costs, many would be deterred from frivolously calling for help.
GRA wrote:The Park Service's problem is that they were given a dual mission, with the two parts in conflict: "...to promote and regulate the use of the...national parks...which purpose is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."
Yes, there certainly has to be a balance. Human enjoyment of wild places virtually always involves some level of degradation; even the existence of a narrow hiking trail has some impact. Ideally, we'd hope to achieve a high level of public "enjoyment" at the price of only modest degradation. Roughly speaking, we want to maximize the enjoyment:degradation ratio. Actively encouraging and accomodating EVs is, in general, a great way to improve that ratio compared to what we have today. Letting motorized vehicles run amok through the parks would hurt the ratio, of course.