Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
Why thank you Kent. If anyone out there aspires to the exalted position of historical treasure, let me assure you that there isn't a single good thing about it.
Even though I've installed or upgraded some tree rap anchors myself, I think it is a bad idea for the reasons Kent describes. The trees will be killed by soil compaction caused by climbers. Of course, it makes absolutely no sense to install bolts right next to the trees so that there is no relief of the trampling; this is one of several major defects of the Preserve's reactive bolting program. They let climbers, who by and large don't care about ecological impacts, decide where those impacts will be concentrated.
A number of people have said there is no solution to these issues. I agree that at this point we can't expect climbers to come up with any on their own, especially as the ranks of young climbers from the gym expand, since these folks, talented as they are, don't know what trad climbing is and tend to define it totally in terms of what type of gear is used for protection.
The situation is a bit like what happens with many kids growing up. They can be very picky about what foods they eat. When they get older, they "discover" all kinds of tasty things they wouldn't touch earlier in life. If these same kids got to determine food production in their early years, we might have little more than macaroni and cheese for everyone.
At this point in the evolution of climbing, trad climbing is more and more in the position of those tasty grown-up foods. If the people who know what it is and appreciate it don't advocate for its survival, the kids won't get to choose something different later on, because the "something different" won't be there.
In places like the Trapps, the only hope I see would be for the Preserve to intervene, a possibility that seems unlikely to me. I don't think the Preserve has any vested interest in preserving trad climbing per se, especially since one of the intrinsic ingredients in trad climbing is risk.
But one could speak of rational resource management, which we don't see at the moment either. What is needed is a sufficient number of intelligently planned bolted rappel routes to service the entire crag, coupled with an outright ban on any climber-installed rappel anchors. This would inevitably mean that some short walks at the cliff top would be required to access descent routes, and so might bring some more erosion to the top, although the descents could be planned so that most routes to them would be as slabby as possible and erosion-prone slopes and gullies could be avoided. All that would, of course, be part of planning the descents.
The choice to fully isolate the top from serious impacts is otherwise going to be at the expense of (1) the cliff base, which has already been severely impacted and which cannot, at this point, be protected, and (2) the trees on the cliff, some of which have already been killed by climber's soil impacts. I think descent routes and paths to them at the top could be planned with very little real impact to the top, but of course it's not as if I've made a careful study of it.
Of course, even with a ban on climber-installed rap anchors, such anchors will be created. But I think an official ban will mean that there will be many climbers willing to cut rogue anchors down, and so there will be enough control to keep the situation from getting out of hand, as it is now.