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Diplomatic Theory

 There's a difference between having the desire to fight and the ability to win.  In the backcountry, you can have all the differences with rural people all that you want.  But it's not the way to sustainability of the trail.  Resistance to the trail, it's hikers versus the public is not practical, or efficient.  They'll just produce a poorly functioning machine if it does work.

In front wheel drive cars, when it's stuck on a slick of mud or ice, it's not wise to torque the drive wheels.  Your more likely to get free by using minimum power.  More often than not, more torque worsens their situations.  The way out is through what I call "backcountry diplomacy."  They likely don't trust oratories like mine (I have to curtail it).  They're what some people call simpler.  You don't humor them with all the internal politics of an organization.  Instead, you recognize that you're a visitor in their home and you do things their way.  If you do, in this area, that's the way to win.

A favorite metaphor of mine is the Catholic Saint Patrick.  He was known for the miracle of expelling all the snakes out of Ireland.  But his ability to convert the Celtics to Christianity is something that is noteworthy in light of this blog.  Saint Patrick apparently had difficulty converting the pagans at first.  It wasn't until he modified certain Christian symbols that they started converting in groves because the population recognized their importance.  Our approach of getting them to change and identify with hiking has been flawed.  What we have to do with distance hiking trails is figure out how they think, what they value and make what they already do apart of the fabric of what we do.

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