This e-mail was sent to approximately a dozen people who have contacted me recently. Not all of the contacts were negative, but most had a sense of frustration about the process. I wanted to share my response with everyone…
You are recieving this message because you have sent me a question over the last month or so in regards to participating in the Flags on the 48 event.
I apologize for the blanket e-mail, and for the long response time. I have been very overwhelmed with real life for the past month and a half, and some things just had to drop lower in the priority list.
As you may know, the list filled up very quickly, and this has caused some ire and frustration for those who did not get on the list. I’d like to explain why the signup process exists in its current format.
As the organization for the flags event came about this year through discussions on the FOT48 forum, it was clear that we should continue with a first-come, first-served signup basis this year. It is impossible to find a way to make the process 100% fair, as what is fair can be somewhat subjective.
The process for this year came out of discussions with the group, and the programming was written by me. The main concern on everyone’s mind was to achieve 100% coverage of the 48 peaks. We have yet, since this memorial started, achieved this goal.
As a result, two ideas came to rule the signup process:
1) A primary representative will exist for each peak. This is the person who initially signs up for a peak. They would become the primary contact for that peak. The peak would then be “claimed” and further signups would be prevented, so as to encourage other peaks to be covered.
2) We would “reserve” the accessible peaks (Cannon, Washington, Wildcat D) so that non-hikers could have a way to participate.
We had no idea that so many people would be itching to be primaries. As a result, some groups have been left out. Some have hurt feelings as they feel they have a right to certain peaks, and others are just not pleased with the process in general.
In response to this criticism, I’d like to point you back to the original reason for this event. We are hiking and planting flags to commemorate those who had their lives taken (not “lost”, nor willingly “given”) from them on September 11, 2001. That is the main point.
With that in mind, I’d like to suggest a few alternatives:
1) Hike the mountain of your choice. I hope that not having your name on a web list doesn’t prevent you from participating by hiking to the top of the peak and being present at the flag.
2) Bring some goodies for other hikers, talk about the event, or just be there.
3) Bring your own flag, even. There is nothing to prevent 2, 3 or 20 flags on the peak. (Just remember LNT).
4) Celebrate the memorial on a non-4k peak. There are plenty of other oft-visited peaks (Little Haystack comes to mind) that you can put a memorial up on.
5) Support the event. Tying back in to #1, just being present at the top, saying thank you to those who are there, is a HUGE help. Maybe even offer to carry some of the gear back down. Make some friends.
In my mind, this event goes farther than just signups and forums. Those are all talk. Someone once told me that you know you truely believe in something when it goes from your head, to your heart, to your hands.
With that, I hope to see you all in 18 days.
-Stephen (formerly The8re)