Trail flagging. - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 06-03-2018, 07:07 PM Thread Starter
Headed for the Mountains
 
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Default Trail flagging.

Do you like it or consider it garbage?

I consider it garbage. We removed a wack load today. Some had the elevation written on them, which didnít agree with my gps... and some were just along the trail.

Anyway. We removed all the flags we saw.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 06-03-2018, 10:32 PM
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To take the other side of the issue for a moment...

Flag tape exist for many reasons, only some of them are gratuitous. Among other legitimate users, property owners, surveyors, resource managers and trail builders use it, and sometimes less-experienced people trying to mark their (return) route use it. While personally I object to the overuse and abandonment of tape on well-traveled and easily followed routes, I've also thanked it for helping me out of tight spots in the past, when trails are overgrown or braided (and yes, too much tape is often a liability more than a help) .

The context of where one finds it is important, as is the right of any one user to overrule the actions of another user. Unless one knows the purpose of the marking (or lack thereof) AND has a right to remove it (by being the property owner/manager), best to err to the side of being conservative and leave it be. One always has to consider the fact that one is not the only user of the area. If it disagrees with the accomplished hiker (or their device), it's easier to ignore or hike elsewhere, than for the inexperienced to get un-lost (which we all agree is happening more and more). You may consider it an eyesore (and I'm not saying I disagree with you), but another user may rely on it more heavily. Again, I don't know the context of your situation, but I would suggest that wanton tape removal should be discouraged without knowing the reason for it being there.

Perhaps there's an argument here for more responsible tape use, such creating an etiquette by marking it's intended purpose or year of placement to clarify it's purpose. I would like to see a bio-degradable flag tape that deteriorates after 5-6 years come on the market, it would mitigate the issue of one-use or abandoned tape.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 06-03-2018, 11:36 PM
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I don't think it is garbage. If you are trying to scope out a new trail, you need markers. They are important to indicate detours from the main trail. Up here on the Sunshine Coast, it is used to identify trees during pest management activities. You may be an an accomplished and experienced hiker, but I have had occasions when I have been very happy to see a piece of flagging tape.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 06-04-2018, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by susied View Post
Up here on the Sunshine Coast, it is used to identify trees during pest management activities.
I've seen that on occasion. I think it also identifies some trees which may be rotten inside and subject to windfall. I would use flagging tape sometimes when I bushwhack but remove it when coming back. Also, some paths are less defined and not maintained and flagging tapes (already in place) has helped me get on track.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 06-04-2018, 10:28 AM Thread Starter
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This is in an area we’ve been using for years and the flagging only appeared in the last couple of weeks. While I aggree with flagging in remote areas to indicate where exits are, and to flag new routes or exits which can then be removed when no longer needed, flags on an obvious trail every 50m is unnecessary.

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post #6 of (permalink) Old 06-04-2018, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by shinsplints View Post
This is in an area weíve been using for years and the flagging only appeared in the last couple of weeks. ....... flags on an obvious trail every 50m is unnecessary.
This is what you should have wrote initially then I would agree that if a path is well defined then flagging should not be needed.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 06-04-2018, 02:12 PM
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Placing flagging tape along an existing trail is littering, pure and simple.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 06-04-2018, 04:18 PM
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Are you opposed to the metal markers nailed to trees as well? How about cairns above treeline?

It's possible that the flagging tape you removed was there for a planned trail upgrade and it's marking the main trail. Unless you know the purpose of the flagging, why is it your right to remove it? I've seen a few local trails that I thought were clear and obvious ruined by trail braiding by inexperienced users, one example being the Wedgemont lake trail.

How about people who aren't using the trail during ideal conditions? I'm often on trails when they are still covered by snow or hiking in the dark by headlamp and having flagging is a certain benefit in those situations.

Saying the above, I'm not a fan of flagging on well established trails, I'd prefer to have the reflective metal markers, placed close enough to see at least 2 at a time.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 06-04-2018, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Dru View Post
Placing flagging tape along an existing trail is littering, pure and simple.
Respectfully, I would again argue context.

Tape for the purpose of marking a clearly well-trodden trail in summer is gratuitous I agree, but firstly, not all tape is there to mark the run of the trail, as mentioned previously; given the OPs example that elevation was marked (inaccurately or not) it may not have been mark the trail, but a property management boundary or a dozen other reasons unbeknownst to the passerby (it's not really a support for the position I'm defending, but I could understand how one would be choked if they had spent time flagging an area for a legitimate reason only to come back to find someone had removed it all, more so if they learned it was just because it conflicted with someone's outdoors aesthetic. Either party could conceivably call the other a vandal).

Additionally, trails that are easily followed in the summertime may not be so when snow-covered. An example that comes to mind is the Cheakamus Lake trail; every winter many skiers get lost skiing out of bounds on the south side of Whistler and, assuming they clear the substantial cliff bands and frozen waterfalls below the Cake Hole, end up along the Cheakamus River somewhere between the lake and civilization. This is enough of a problem that WB and the municipality have installed non-lingual signs intermittently in the bottom of major drainages pointing the way to the highway some 10-11 kms away. Since the trail is not heavily traveled in the winter due to its lack of car accessibility the bed is not obvious, especially when foliage is weighed down with snowfall. Flag tape that would seem excessive in the summertime might mean the difference between spending the night out or not for many. Admittedly, this may not be an issue for lower mainland trails without sufficient snowfall or isolation, hence my argument of the importance of context.

https://whistlersar.blogspot.com/201...-whistler.html

The overuse of flag tape (again, subjective judgement) could definitely be considered irresponsible, but the rash decision to remove tape when unaware of its purpose could also be construed as such, but have more serious consequences, ranging from merely frustrating to dangerous. Not saying that the worst is likely, only that there's more potential when expected trail markers are removed.

I don't personally feel that strongly about flag tape, just illustrating another position from the OP. I have no problem assuming it's there for a reason and ignoring it beyond postulating on it's purpose.
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 06-05-2018, 11:14 AM
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Without knowing the purpose of the flagging its hard to say if this was justified or not.

If it was some kind of survey activity, then you may have just created a whole bunch of work for someone to go and redo it all over again. If it was someone just trying to be "helpful" then sure. Personally I would have left it as is, and perhaps contacted the land manager to see if it was the result of planned activities in the area. That it has elevation details on it would make me lean towards some kind of survey or planned activity. Someone doing it just for the sake of marking a trail is unlikely to mark each and every one
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 06-05-2018, 01:27 PM
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I don't know what the original circumstances so I have no real judgement on that and would only make a general comment. If the tape has coodinates and elevations on it then I would assume it has some kind of survey purpose and leave it alone. Maybe they plan to move the trail to give it time to recover, maybe its a survey for mapping purposes or ecosystem documentation, there are alot of potential reasons for someone to write details on flagging tape. Someone spent some time and effort to put those details on it, that's not usually just for "marking" at trail.

On the other hand gratuitous blank flagging on an obvious trail is pointless and I would agree is garbage, unless its placed high up for potential marking when under snow.

Last edited by sthorout; 06-05-2018 at 01:30 PM.
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