This week in RMP we have focused on the overuse of wilderness and the philosophy behind wilderness recreation. An important question this week is “should these new extreme activities be allowed in the wilderness?” The first thing that came to mind when I thought about this question was wingsuit flying. It is the most extreme thing I have ever seen any human do. Its amazing what people can do when they overcome fear. I believe that extreme activities like white water rafting, climbing, base jumping, skydiving, and wingsuiting are amazing and should continue to progress; but in a sustainable way.
When the desire to participate in these activities increases, their meanings will change with time. The same thing happened to the wilderness- with the rise of transportation, intellectual, equipment and information revolutions which provided Americans with easier access to wilderness areas along with all the information and gear needed to travel around these places.
Every aspect of the wilderness is eventually going to be overexposed in my opinion. We are only getting closer to each other each day with advancements in every technology. It is human nature to want to explore, and I think people want to become better connected with the earth and with their own bodies as well. What I think this means for the future of extreme sports is that they will only become more popular.
This can be a good thing or a bad thing. If we have groups of people in the future jumping off of cliffs and video cameras streaming every jump, this is the point where I think wilderness will be loved to death. As Nash mentions, there should be some wonder and unknown in the wilderness and if public areas form within it, the wildness of nature is totally lost. Eric Julber’s “access philosophy” supports public access to the wilderness. Nash mentions his philosophy to conclude that the nature Julber loved was not wild-he confused scenic beauty with wildness. Julber’s philosophy can relate enormously to present day civilized culture in America. His philosophy is basically the central idea of what most of today’s culture revolves around. You see “nature” on Television and included in every advertisement, but it is just a paradox. All that the government wants is money- and they penetrate into the deepest values of humanity: the love of nature- to get what they want.
With all of this hype about extreme sports, few people are actually getting out and participating. I think this is because it is somewhat difficult to actually get out and do things like wingsuiting especially, because you need special training, physical and a lot of mental strength, and unfortunately, money. I would say that is a bad thing, but for now I think the accessibility level is at a good spot. The people that do these things share them in videos- like the one I posted here- and watching the experience is enough for some people. But who knows, extreme sports like this could very well become easier accessible to regular citizens in America in the near future.
My conclusion to the main question”Should new extreme activities like like base jumping, white water rafting, wingsuiting, etc be allowed in the wilderness?”-is Yes…for now.