Reviewing the News w/ Cody Townsend (May 2022) (Ep.214)

On the Blister Podcast, Cody Townsend and Jonathan discuss the ethics of trail magic; wildfire management; how Cody broke his toe; a new segment for Reviewing the News; and a whole lot more.
Cody Townsend during one of The Fifty Project descents (photo by Bjarne Salen)

Cody and I are back to talk about the ethics of trail magic; wildfire management; how Cody broke his toe; a new segment for Reviewing the News; and more.




9 comments on “Reviewing the News w/ Cody Townsend (May 2022) (Ep.214)”

  1. “When people immediately call for heads to roll whenever a prescribed or managed fire burns outside of the predetermined burn perimeter — even before there is an investigation — they are abdicating our collective responsibility for this problem. Firefighters who endanger their lives to protect our communities during fire season are often the same people we have tasked with using prescribed fire to solve this problem. They are from our communities. They are our neighbors, friends and family. It makes no sense to honor them as heroes when they are suppressing a wildfire, but immediately prejudge them when a prescribed fire escapes — in both cases they are trying to address our collective wildfire problems.

    Escaped prescribed and managed fires that cause extreme damage are relatively rare, but when they occur, we must thoroughly investigate to learn the causes. Learning from past errors and unrecognized risks is essential and is exactly what happens following an airplane crash. We do not assume the causes or assign blame to pilots before investigating, and we don’t permanently ban all flying going forward. We investigate to determine facts and learn how to reduce future risks by improving decision processes and safety systems. Ultimately though, we must balance the risks of using fire with those of not using fire.”

  2. Thanks Joe, that’s how I feel but put much more eloquently than I on the pod. Unfortunately a relatively few people and politicians use escaped burns to win short term points.

    • No worries Cody, you brought up a ton of good points on the pod and it reminded me of this op-ed that really hit the nail on the head about our collective reactions to fire.

  3. I know it’s the point of this podcast, but it’s weird to me that Jonathan and Cody admit to having little experience with thru-hiking and trail magic, yet have super strong opinions about it.

    Cody’s comments about “drinking concrete“ came off to me as prescriptive and gatekeepy about how people should experience the outdoors. A common saying among thru-hikers is to “hike your own hike”, meaning if people want to Bear Grylls it, that’s fine, but if people want to enjoy the social aspects and find some trail magic or meet some trail angels along the way, that’s ok too. It doesn’t cheapen their experience. I’d also suggest that if someone is looking to push their limits, a well-traveled and highly documented narrow corridor is not the best choice, but to check out many of the adjacent public lands.

    Totally agree on the points about overdoing it (like the couch and dumpster) or leaving food unattended. But In my experience, most of this stuff is low key, near trailheads, and often attended to by trail angels as it’s a way for them to socialize.

    • I believe the “drinking concrete” comment was directed specifically at his Bugaboos to Rodgers Pass traverse, as that can be a notoriously difficult trip

  4. I’m with Cody on “trail magic” being a violation of leave no trace. Last year, on top of a local peak well inside a designated wilderness area I came across a camp chair, weathered and torn. A sharpie marker was stuffed in the cup holder, and a few visitors had left their names and dates as if it was a peak register. Some, in writing, even expressed gratitude for arriving at the peak and having a comfy place to sit.
    Sit on a rock people. That camp chair was just another piece of trash careless left behind by humanity and an eyesore on an otherwise pristine peak. I really doubt the one who left it here will be back to get it when it’s no longer usable.

  5. Fun fact… some of the new Top Gun flying scenes were (I’m told) filmed in the Cascades, and in the valley right by Stevens Pass and Cascade Powder Guides. I think they regularly fly EA-18s training runs up those valleys from Whidbey Island NAS. (I’m not from there, but was visiting earlier this year. I’m sure some locals can confirm, or know more.) BTW, still pumped from watching the new Top Gun last night! More geeky plane stuff and not giving away too much… Iran does still operate non-tailhook F-14s; the only country we sold F-14s to was pre-Iranian revolution Iran.

  6. Twitter is lame. Musk isn’t buying it, he is a grifter and you can’t take anything that guy says at face value.

    The real value and cultural importance of Twitter is way overrated. A very small amount of people in the US actually use it and an even smaller amount produce most of the tweets. If the news stopped reporting on it and stopped using reactions as something that is newsworthy, which it isn’t, Twitter would be out of business already. It is really just something celebrities, the press and politicians use.

    A River Run Through It is great! Goodfellas is my favorite movie of all time.

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