Originally Posted by David Spiegel
...he gives exposure the sport which brings in new money for the industry and helps benefit growth.
I hear you. My struggle is with growth being a good thing. We could probably debate this point to the chagrin of our fellow buzzards but here's how I see it.
Growth, meaning more people participating in the sport, means more demand on a limited supply. Yes, more whitewater parks may be developed, but have we made any progress toward having a better ratio of resources for boaters? I don't think the construction of parks has kept pace with participation. The rivers can't get bigger and there won't be more of them, only more people using them. Perhaps conservation and access awareness increase (I'm not sure this is true but let's say it is for the sake of arguement) but so does the environmental impact caused by the use. More boaters equal more trampled shoreline, more trash, more cars driving to rivers, more broken/obsolete boats in a landfill. Does the conservation and awareness outweigh the impact? Unlikely in my opinion. Frankly I'd take a Dancer on any quiet river over a run on the Ark in a Burn.
As a backcountry skier, I've thought about this same arguement when serveral years ago the editor of Couloir touted the 'growth of the sport' as a good thing. So, although it may have seemed like I was being an ass when I posted my question, I was serious and I have given it more than a little thought.
Cheers man. Happy boating.