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Spring 2000

Unintended Consequences:

The TPWD does not understand that climbers are an asset, not a liability to the park. The trash pile at the left is one of many at the park. Climbers tend to pick up trash, not leave it. Prior to the PURP, climbers were known to spend rest days on informal trash patrols. Now that it is so hard to get into the park, every second of time inside has to be spent climbing. Now, there are simply too few climbers to police the 'Tanks and prevent this type of litter from happening in the first place.

We are still trying to get more information about the new rule regarding picking up trash. At present, the word from the TPWD is to err on the side of archaeological safety and "don't disturb what looks like trash - it might be archaeologically significant".

I have included some photos of some of these artifacts below. We left them where we found them as instructed. However, we did not bother to notify the anthropologists about it. They can have fun finding it themselves ...

The "blue ribbon litter" is particularly annoying. The photos do not do it justice - the ribbons are everywhere; you can't gaze in any direction without being affronted by them. They are largely ignored by everyone on N. Mountain.

What the TPWD and others ignore is the fact that rainfall is the single biggest factor that determines the density of the vegetation at Hueco. In dry years the undergrowth vanishes, and it grows back completely when it is wet. We have seen first hand several drought cycles in the last 30 years. Human traffic is a minor factor compared to rainfall. And, if the TPWD had just let the EPCC, Access Fund and others build the trail system they offered years ago, erosion would not be a problem.

Many climbers who have not been to Hueco since 1998 comment about the "piles of rubble" - they ask what they are, why, what's up with that ... Of course, the rubble piles are part of the PURP beautification plan, which called for the removal of the horrible, ugly, white-Euro, culturally insulting picnic shelters. There was plenty of money and manpower available three years ago to rip them down and turn them into piles of stone that litter the frontside, but that effort stalled out, and the piles are still there. It's the first thing you will see as you approach the classic El Murray problems on the Mushroom boulder. (Editor's Note December 2004 : The rubble piles have finally been removed.)