I have already posted on Mountain Project a rant about the Nears becoming an outdoor climbing gym...
I haven't even climbed in the close part of the Nears in a few years because of the overcrowding (but then I haven't been to the Gunks on a non-weekend day for quite a while). The topropes everywhere, people spraying about everything, loud conversations about their latest conquests, people trying to red-point the first pitch of Broken Sling and spending a whole day on that one pitch. I can't even imagine it getting any worse.
I am not saying a bunch of careless, smoking, micro trash generating gym rats annihilated the Laurel. I don't know what happened.
Smoking needs to be banned in the Preserve. And the Mtn Laurel didn't pull itself out of the ground.
But, I would say, that if there was a consistent ranger presence walking the base of high traffic areas and with that a gentle reminder of trail etiquette, leave no trace principals and general consciousness of our beautiful climbing area it would go a long way to containing some of the devastation.
Fully agree. I also think that there should be an edict in the high traffic areas that limit toproping on popular climbs with decent protection on crowded days. Enforcement would be a simple request by the ranger based on subjective elements. That's it. Maybe eventually this theme would become more of a local tradition. How many pins were driven into Gunks rock after John Stannard's clean climbing push in the early 70's? Not many and this was back in the day when EVERYONE banged pins at every other rock climbing venue on the planet.
I think your idea of educating the newly birthed gym climbers about the ways of the Gunks is appropriate and possibly game changing.