My 2 cents on the Incline mess

By MATT CARPENTER
www.skyrunner.com

7/17/1997

Today the “Out There” section of the Gazette ran a story with some totally off-base information. This story, combined with a previous Gazette story, would have you thinking that we are the ones keeping the “ugly scar” from going away. Look, I wish the Incline was never built! However the fact is, it was. Let’s get some use out of it! Anyone who has been up the thing knows the truth — people are not the problem — we step on the ties! All except a dozen or so have not moved in years. There is a drainage problem not a people problem. It was eroded so bad next to the ties in one spot that you could see the water pipe exposed 20 feet below. Hopefully, some great efforts that took place by the water department have put a stop to that. Without those efforts a lot of ties would have gotten washed away and there would have been a very big problem because they are the only thing preventing that whole slope from washing down. With as many times as I and several others have been up the Incline we have never seen a single person hiking up next to the rails despite the claims of some. It would be stupid, dangerous and just plain next to impossible. There is no vegetation whatsoever where we go! One section, halfway up the Incline next to the 12th switch-back of the Barr Trail, is getting crossed over but this can be fixed — add a trail there! I have seen people getting onto the Incline from Barr Trail just as I have seen people bailing off of the Incline to get to the Barr Trail. The two come within 20 feet of each other — how do you expect people NOT to cross here?

There are many people on the Peak that have looked at me with that “f___ you” look when I tell them to stop cutting switch-backs. I told no less than six people by the A-frame on one Sunday alone. I know how fragile mountain environments are because I spend more time in them than most. Walking/hiking/running up rail-road ties does not fall into that category! However, I do not claim to know it all — I will gladly hike up with anyone who feels that people are causing damage so they can enlighten me. If they prove that we are causing the damage they claim, I will stop running up it. It seems awful hypocritical of the COG railway department to rip out a section of the Incline for a parking lot yet whine about people who, over seven or so years, have left little if any trace. But before I bite the hand that feeds me, let me also say that I am very grateful to the very same COG railway department for not closing it off because yes, it is their land!


Let me know what you think


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