You have no idea how much hate mail I get from locals who threaten me with violence, demanding I take down directions to their local swimming spot. I get it, you don’t want anyone to “destroy” your local swimming hole with graffiti and litter. But from what I’ve come to learn, this form of localism is rooted in xenophobia and really just an excuse to be a dick.
There are many reasons why people leave big cities like Los Angeles, but for the above type of person, they leave, essentially because they can’t stand people. The fear, paranoia and hatred of their neighbors, exasperated by politicians and the 10 o’clock news, drives these types into rural areas. Once in these areas, these people become irrationally paranoid and distrustful. I’ve had a gun pulled on me by the guy who lives at the mouth of the Blackstar Canyon Falls trail. I’ve been told by a guy who lives along the Matillija Falls trail that hiking to the falls is illegal (it’s not) and he was gonna call the cops. I’ve been told to leave Tar Creek while swimming at the cascades by someone claiming that it’s illegal to be down there (then why is he allowed to be there?). Sadly, once these people move into rural areas they attract family and friends to the area with similar beliefs and mindsets, and then whole communities of bigots begin to sprout up. The Twilight Zone called it in 1959 with Valley of the Shadow.
The cause of this is lack of education and socialization. Public schools are a fucking nightmare in urban areas, this can be traced to our federal government’s budget allocation. We spend more money on foreign wars than anything else, and no war since WW2 has been in the interest of the public. Defense companies have deeply seeded interests in our government and our taxpayer money has lined their pockets for years while our public schools go to shit; not to mention our infrastructure, economy, civil rights, environment…etc. This is why these type of people exist, they have no social skills so they leave.
Back to the point, we all love the outdoors, and we love it cuz we can share it with our friends and family. So when we find a new hiking trail, waterfall, swimming hole or hot spring we tend to tell people about it. Why? Cuz what’s the point of experiencing something and not being able to share that experience with another person. And that begs the existential question, if no one else experiences it, does it really exist?
The problem happens when social networking gets involved. The rise of Facebook and Instagram has slowly destroyed the secrecy of our swimming holes. Tar Creek is now illegal to visit because all the trash left behind is killing the condors. Rindge Dam and the upper pools at Eaton Canyon are now illegal cuz kids keep dying there. Vickers hot spring has been taken over (illegally) by some fascist hippy commune Ecotopia claiming they are trying to restore the place when in reality they are only there to make money off it (and have failed). And Deep Creek Hot Springs is a fucking hellhole with the amount of people damaging the fragile ecosystem of that creek.
We can’t stop idiots from trying to deter us from visiting swimming holes in “their backyard” but we can stop closure of our local swimming spots by cleaning up trash, painting over graffiti and staying safe. It is our duty as outdoorsmen to steward the land we love, and it’s our duty as cliff jumpers to acknowledge our limits and stop DYING at our swimming holes. It’s fucking insane that I even have to mention this crap in 2015. Pass this common sense on to your friends, family and youth.
Never Forget Tar Creek
Never Forget Rindge Dam
Never Forget Eaton Canyon