Use lasting materials in backcountry

Thanks for the essay by Neil Woodworth, “Natural Not Always the Best” [January/February 2012], arguing that synthetic materials can be best for backcountry construction. It is right on target.

In these days of shrinking budgets, it makes zero sense to build structures like bridges and privies out of stuff that is going to quickly rot. Steel cable, Trex decking, and other similar materials are made to last; that’s why experts use them in real construction projects.

Folks seem to forget that the trail itself is a man-made feature. True wilderness would not have man-made trails, markers, and signs. But since we have chosen to have a trail, it makes sense to maintain it and not try to pretend that it does not exist.

I have been espousing this position for many years, and I’m usually greeted with a chorus of derision, as if it’s somehow sacrilegious to use these materials.  It’s nice to see another voice pointing out the logic here.

Tom DuBois, Glens Falls

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