Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
I referred to walking back but did not and am not advocating it. Ever since on-road parking was discontinued, forcing climbers to carry everything with them to the base of the climb, walking back became impractical other than for a few routes near the Uberfall.
The lack of traffic up top has been a good thing for the environment up there, but a scenario, admittedly no longer a practical one, in which climbers walked to the base of climbs already equipped and did not return to the base would have distributed the population load over a larger region, making the massive erosion at the cliff base considerably less, and would have freed the routes from the fusterclucks imposed by descending climbers on ascending parties. Although we'll never know, I don't think it obvious that a more balanced usage might not have been better in the long term.
As for focusing impacts to keep new ones from happening, that was the Preserve's idea about established bolted rap lines, but seems to be happening is that climbers keep establishing new impacts by adding new convenience anchors.
One way of looking at this is that the Trapps is by now one giant impact and has already been sacrificed to the demands of convenience. With luck, the never-ending spread of these conveniences will help to create a generation of climbers with little or no interest in branching out to far more inconvenient areas that are now untouched by comparison.
But it is just as possible that populations will move out, and they will simply bring their current practices with them, so that newer areas will be almost immediately overrun with rap and toprope anchors; this is what happened at Lost City, and in view of climbers' overwhelming new tendency to foul their nests, I'm beginning to think that restricting climbing access to certain areas is a good idea.
As for the argument that sport climbing practices at the Gunks are by now as "traditional" as, say, having to construct your own belay anchor, something that a growing cohort of "trad" climbers are only marginally competent at, I can only say that traditions per se are of no intrinsic value.
What I think is of value is keeping the gunks as a place where future generations can still experience the best aspects of trad (as opposed to sport) climbing. There are fewer and fewer crags where this is possible; sport climbing, as Royal Robbins said, is the child that wants to eat its mother.