portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reposts united states

corporate dominance | forest defense

Brave New World Wilderness

The sickos at the American Recreation Council keep taking greater control of how our public lands are treated. This idea of introducing hi-tech modes all around our wilderness and park lands is about the worst one I've seen come out them yet, right up there with their steamrolling of rules designed to commodify all public lands and turn us into "consumers" of nature from which their member corporations can greatly profit. What are we gonna do about it?
From:  ssilver@wildwilderness.org
Subject: Using Technology to Conquer Wildness and Commodify the View
Date: July 21, 2004 9:53:17 AM PDT
To:  ssilver@wildwilderness.org

I will not introduce the following info from the American Recreation
Coalition other than to say is it frightfully important that you read it and
understand its ramifications. They've provided a vision of a Brave New
World for Outdoor Recreation.

Scott Silver

"The most beautiful thing we can experience
is the mysterious." -Albert Einstein

"The tourist who buys access to his scenery
misses it all together." -Aldo Leopold

------ begin quoted -------


Examples of Opportunities to Apply Technology to Outdoor Recreation

Scenic Byways Virtual Tours: as you "fly" over a high-resolution aerial
photograph on your computer screen, an audio narration describes the
corridor and icons of key features - from trails to campgrounds to museums
to boat ramps - appear. Clicking on any of the icons brings up detailed
information and visual images - and even allows actions such as making a
campground reservation. Go to  http://demo.byways.org for a demonstration.

Trail and River Virtual Tours: the same concept as above, applied to trails
and rivers and other corridors.

Webcams to provide real-time information on weather, foliage conditions,
crowding, etc. Webcams are widely used by ski areas and are newly available
for key national park sites.

PDA field guides to trees, flowers, wildlife downloaded for specific
areas/sites: a 21st century adaptation of favorite printed guides. Santa
Monica Mountains NRA and the Discovery Channel are working on a pilot of
this concept.

GPS-triggered interpretation on DVDs/CDs

Downloadable up-to-the minute maps showing key features and restrictions
(fires, motorized/mechanical activities, permits required, overnight
camping, etc.)

Geo-caching: using GPS units to find hidden objects (and using the
communications links vital to geo-caching to prevent disturbances of
sensitive areas and to promote a cache-in/trash-out ethic). See

Wildlife- and bird-watching databases (recording of observations by
date/time/ location with GPS units and organized into GIS to provide visitor
guidance on likely opportunities)

Software that integrates photos and sound clips with GPS-identified
locations to create electronic trip tales

Wireless transmission of interpretive data to vehicles, phones and PDAs

Downloadable multi-lingual interpretive programs for PDAs at public lands

Multi-lingual CDs offered at entry points to key federal areas (sponsored by
non-profit or for-profit partners) with interpretive information, safety and
other information to be played in private vehicles driving through public

Audible and visual warnings through GPS units and GPS-enabled PDAs when
crossing into zones with key restrictions (temporary or permanent),
including fires, motorized/mechanical travel restrictions, etc. (rough
analogy to invisible fences for pets)

IR systems along heavily used trails to allow "talking trees" (analogy to

GPS units that can record travel during a visit and then be downloaded into
a GIS system that can produce a map-based souvenir depiction of the visit,
with information on distance traveled, ascent/descent information and more

Websites that use visuals (and especially video clips) to catalyze visits

Training classes at federal recreation sites on use of GPS, digital cameras,
etc., and availability of rentals of needed equipment via

Downloadable tours for GPS units and GPS-enabled PDAs, especially for
cultural and historic sites, that direct visitors without the cost and
impact of signs, allow customization of tours, and can direct visitors away
from threatened and overused sites

Integration of passes and mini-CDs into one item, giving the pass added

Downloadable and unique "souvenirs" at key physical sites - such as photos
or electronic postcards - which would be collected by avid outdoors

Source: American Recreation Coalition
(developed for Partners Outdoors 2004), 1/3/04

Scott Silver
Wild Wilderness
248 NW Wilmington Ave.
Bend, OR 97701

phone: 541-385-5261
e-mail:  ssilver@wildwilderness.org
Internet:  http://www.wildwilderness.org


'We condition the masses to hate the country,'
concluded the Director. 'But simultaneously we
condition them to love all country sports. At the
same time, we see to it that all country sports
shall entail the use of elaborate apparatus. So
that they consume manufactured articles as well as
transport. Hence those electric shocks.'

'I see,'said the student, and was silent, lost in

--- Aldous Huxley, from Brave New World


"May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous,
leading to the most amazing view." -- Edward Abbey